Highest Self Podcast 464: The Hidden Patriarchy In The Spiritual Community


Much of what you see in the “divine feminine” space online is not actually the divine feminine… The divine feminine is not about being a submissive, male fantasy version of you that swallows her truth and instead uses her sexuality to receive attention, validation and love.

In this solo episode for the first time ever, I share an experience as a young woman in a “tantra” workshop in India and how horrific it was. I address the hidden patriarchy that is often present in the polarity space, how women are often used for our innate desire to be loved and why we need to speak about it as a spiritual community. While there is great beauty in true Tantra.. A lot of the practices we see today in the “neo tantra” space are not actually Tantra but used as a form of manipulation.

This is a deep, vulnerable, and raw episode about a topic that is often silenced but now, enough is enough. Remember- the feminine is also embodied through rage, power, truth, sovereignty, strength, and everything else in between.

Listen to my episode 575 on what is going on in Iran: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3U3ulAaaEEzqT5SwmOVCHU?si=pm__63zoQX-DaGsdInv4RA

Find out the laws that women in Iran are forced to follow in my reel here: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cj6CjNmAjA-/

Watch my reel on why makeup is a form of political resistance in Iran: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cj6CjNmAjA-/

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Episode #464: The Hidden Patriarchy In The Spiritual Community with Sahara Rose  

By Sahara Rose


[00:00] Sahara

You’re not here to make me more open, only I make myself open when I trust, because you can’t force a rose to blossom, she will do it in her own timing and the right environment, with the right people. And guess what, bitch, she’s still got thorns! Because we are not just the rose, we are also the thorns, and that’s not what the patriarchy wants, it wants to shed us from the thorns like the watermelon wants to remove our seeds, it wants to make us all sweet, all the time, and that’s not what the feminine is. The feminine is also our rage, it’s our power, it’s our truth, it’s our sovereignty, it’s the strength that pushes out human life onto this earth, it is all of that! 


[01:00] Sahara

Namaste! It’s Sahara Rose, and welcome back to The Highest Self Podcast, a place where we discuss what makes you, your soul’s highest evolvement. 


[01:08] Sahara

If it’s your first time listening, welcome! I’ve had this Podcast for over five years and we continue to dive deep into spiritual and soulful topics that I feel are so important to be discussed. And my approach to spirituality is really a lot more grounded, fun, relatable, earthy and honoring the sacred feminine energy within us. And that’s really what I want to jam about on today’s Solocast. 


[01:34] Sahara

So, I’ve been noticing, online right now, that a lot of people are awakening to the hidden patriarchy that has been within the spiritual space. And when I say the word patriarchy, I am not saying I am against men, I am happily married, I grew up with a bother that I’m best friends with, I love men so much! But the patriarchy is the male control over the feminine and the non-binary energy. So, it’s really the suppression of the feminine by the toxic masculine, and that’s really what the patriarchy is. 


[02:12] Sahara

And this has existed for the past 2000+ years through many different religions, governments, cultural, societal beliefs, we’re not going to get into all of that in this Episode. I’ve been talking about it a lot on the Podcast and in Rose Gold Goddesses, my Sacred Feminine Mystery School. But I want to speak about how, sometimes, the patriarchy can wear a spiritual cloak. Sometimes it can put some Polo Santo mist on and wear some Mulla Beads and pretend to be the conscious bro, but it’s actually still the same patriarchy, whether they are even aware of it or not, whether we are aware of it or not. Because the patriarchy isn’t like men being like “Hey, I’m going to dominate women”, but rather, it’s a belief system that men are superior to women. 


[02:59] Sahara

You know, we’re seeing this played out in the extreme right now, in my motherland of Iran, where women are literally being killed, tortured and raped by the government simply for existing, simply for singing dancing, showing hair. Women are considered half of a man, women are legally allowed to murdered by their husbands, there are so many rules that I’ve been sharing about on my Instagram that shows the patriarchy is a very, very real thing. And if you don’t believe me, I mean, just look at what’s happening in Iran, look at what’s happening in many, many parts of the world, in its own unique way (and I will link my Episode below, about what is actually happening in Iran).


[03:35] Sahara

But now, let’s talk about more subtle approaches because sometimes we think “Oh, well, the patriarchy is over in the Middle East, we’re all good here. Peace!”, and it can still exist. 


[03:44] Sahara

So, I’m going to tell you a story that I’ve never shared before, ever, and I’m going to share it here, and it’s a very vulnerable one. And my mom’s listening to this, sorry, but I have to share this. 


[03:54] Sahara

So, when I was 23 years old, I went to Goa, India, which is a very spiritual community in south India, lots of hippies, lots of Tantra stuff, and at this time, this was almost 10 years ago, I was very new to the word Tantra. I honestly thought Tantra was like, you know, you hear of tantric sex, I thought it was like a sexual practice, but I was hearing “Oh, Tantra is actually this more embodied path to spirituality”, and I was very interested in that. 

So, there was a Tantra festival going on at this place, I believe it was called The Love Temple, near where I was staying, and I decided to go. And I walk into the shallow, where it was taking place and there were only a couple of us there, myself, being a 23-year-old girl, and a few Russian men in their late 50s, and one other young girl around my age. And the teacher was a female, she was in her 50s, also Russian. 

So, she begins to tell us how the feminine needs to be more soft, it needs to be open, it needs to be receptive, men don’t like a woman who’s too loud, who’s too assertive, who’s too in her power, you have to be open like a beautiful blossoming flower at all times and allow yourself to receive, and most of us, women, we have been so conditioned by society that we are so hardened, so what we really need right now is to practice ourselves, opening up for the masculine energy to penetrate us and in that place we can blossom into our full feminine potential. So, really, we need to disarm ourselves and allow ourselves to be just these open, water-like vessels. Okay, that sounds interesting, makes sense. So, then it comes time for the practice and the practice is, the men, 50, late 50s, men, are going to sit down while we, young, 20s, girls, are supposed to give them lap dances. 

And instantly, I knew, even then, that something was wrong with this, I don’t even know these men, I don’t even speak the same language as these men, these men could very easily be my father, even grandfather, in some cases. This doesn’t feel honoring my sense of self, my sense of worth, my own boundaries. So, I didn’t want to do it and the woman was like “Oh, that just shows how conditioned you are, because your walls are just so high and your heart is just so closed and you need to open because when we can open ourselves up to worship the masculine, it doesn’t matter who’s in front of us, we can just open ourselves up to be penetrated by the divine and it’s important for us to see beyond the person and just see them as God in human form and worship them like that person was God reincarnated”. 


[06:45] Sahara

Again, you could say, spiritually, that can make sense, but the practicality was, I was a 23-year-old girl, supposed to give a lap dance to a 58-year-old man who I did not know! Does that resonate to you as true? Because we can take a spiritual truth of like, yes, the feminine gets to open, but the actuality, the practicality of “So, you little girl, who’s just entering the spiritual space, who doesn’t even know yourself, to prove that you are worthy of love, you need to bypass your entire sense of emotional wellbeing, erode your boundaries to prove to some spiritual God up there that you are, indeed, a feminine Goddess being”. Thank Goddess, my true divine feminine self was online because I walked out of there and said “No! I will not do this!” I was disgusted! There’s no fucking way I’m going to do this! And I left! But the other girl stayed, and I don’t blame her because of how much guilt and how much shame we are pushed upon in the spiritual community to be so open, and submissive, and soft, and it comes back to the conditioning that we had as children, from these Disney movies, from these fairytales, that one day, this knight in shining armor is going to choose us, who’s going to save us, and we just have to be pretty, and beautiful, and soft, and quiet enough for them to choose us. And it’s that exact same fantasy that makes us as women – by the way, if you go to most Tantra trainings, spiritual trainings in general, they tend to be more women, because women tend to be more open to “How can I change to maybe grow, or maybe to receive love?”, and then you’re telling me the reason why I’ve never had a good relationship, the reason why I’ve never felt this, never felt that, is because I am not open in my yoni enough, and the way for me to prove myself is to give a lap dance to some dude. A lot of women are going to, unfortunately, bypass their intuitions and say yes to that, because of how beaten down we’ve become, because of how gaslit we’ve become. Because, often times, we enter the spiritual space of like “Okay, my old way of relating was not working, right? So let me just erase my memory of everything that I’ve ever learned and step into this entirely new system and this entirely new philosophy, and even though that doesn’t feel right, that must mean I’m just not open enough”. What a perfect recipe, right? What a perfect recipe for a man to be in power! Because, let’s dive deep into these polarity trainings. I’m curious, who teaches the majority of them? Who’s written the biggest books? Every training I’ve seen has been taught by a man. 


[09:48] Sahara

I remember being at a training taught by a man, it was mostly women, and he was telling us how to be a woman, “Oh, no, you need to be a man at the end of his work day, he doesn’t like to be asked questions, do not ask him questions”, “Oh, you want him to help around the house, do you know what you should do, you wear lingerie. You should wear lingerie and just play some music and sensually dance and rub your inner thighs and smell really good, and then, if that doesn’t work, you should make him a snack, because men really like snacks. So, make him a snack and pour him a nice cold beer and then rub his feet because he’s just so exhausted from a cold long day. Rub his feet and maybe rub his back and scratch his head, and then, you know what, don’t expect anything because he still might be tired”. So, you know what, all you can do is just inspire him to his fullest potential, you definitely cannot tell him what to do. No way, that’s totally going to lose your feminine velour”.

Let’s just take a moment to think about that. If I can’t tell my husband “Hey, honey, I need support”, “Hey, honey, I’m carrying a lot of the load”, “Hey, honey, I’m overwhelmed”, “Hey, honey, guess what, I also work”, “Hey, honey, guess what, you’re not taking care of me while I’m sitting around at the spa all day, so just as tired as you are, I am”. And it’s beautiful to want to do things for your husband, and it’s beautiful to want to do things for your wife, but why is it that us, as women, we can’t say how we feel and we have to just sexually inspire them to come to the conclusion that they need to take out the fucking trash? Why is it that they are so afraid of us for asserting our needs, for asserting our boundaries, for having a voice? This approach to spirituality is actually the patriarchy in a spiritual cloak, it’s the exact same thing, it’s saying that you, as a woman, have to manipulate yourself and use your sexual energy and use your beauty because if you use your power, men will reject you. And we see this playing out on social media, everyone’s a coach, talking about the divine feminine energy, but most of them are not actually utilizing it.

That’s why I don’t even use the word, at this point, divine feminine, because it has been so distorted by this, that I use, now, the word sacred feminine, because it has a different texture to it. Because the true divine feminine is embodying our full expressive selves, but the way that it has been coopted in this online spiritual world is, it means being a submissive, sensual, wet, juicy, open goddess, at all times. “Do not have a voice, do not have a purpose, do not have a sense of self and definitely don’t ask me to do anything around the house!”   




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[14:18] Sahara

I thought we weren’t in the 1950s anymore, are we back? I’m confused! Because this is the same thing. There is nothing divine about negating your boundaries, there’s nothing divine around having to figure out how to sexualize yourself enough to get what you want. Our sexualities are ours for us to own, not for me to figure out how I’m going to present it to you so I can receive respect, receive love, receive freedom, receive equality. 


[14:58] Sahara

And I see this happen so much, I know people who are successful, growth-oriented, beautiful women who have also fallen victim to this narrative, that their boyfriends keep cheating on them and they’re like “You know what, it was my fault because I wasn’t in my feminine enough and that’s why he had to go cheat on me with a girl that he found on Only Fans, because, you know, I was answering emails, how could he be attracted to me? So in my masculine!” 


[15:30] Sahara

It’s like, let’s follow that thread, okay! If a man says you checking your emails is so in your masculine, he is not sexually attracted to that. Okay, let’s say you stop checking your emails, okay, you get fired from your job; okay, let’s say you get fired from your job and your business collapses, then what? Oh, you have to rely on him, okay. Let’s see, does he want to work and provide for you too? Hmm, that’s starting to feel heavy after a little while. Okay, hmm, he’s starting to get a little bored after a while. Oh, he’s starting to judge you. Oh, you’re just a stay-at-home wife, oh, you’re just a stay-at-home mom. Oh, he’s doing the exact same thing, cheating again because you’re not interesting enough, you’re not in your power enough. So, the exact same thing happens and they’ll find a way to blame it on you, “You’re too masculine. You’re too feminine. You’re too this, you’re too that”. We can’t live our lives around trying to make anyone else happy, let alone being dictated on how to be our gender by the opposite gender. 

I am not interested in a man telling me how to be a woman in his male fantasy version because his only concept of being a woman is someone who’s there to rub his feet at night and to take care of his erections and to be his trophy wife. He doesn’t deal with the shit that we deal with. He doesn’t have the same trauma in his lineage. He has not seen the woman in his lineage being abused, abandoned. He has not ever had to deal with having your womb be a commodity. He might say “You know what, pro-choice, pro-life, tomato-tomato, why are people arguing?”, he’s never been in a position that that law mattered to him. Most men don’t even know what their own mothers have gone through. Most men are completely cut off about the way that the feminine has been suppressed throughout the world, and even in their own blood line. Because what we women do best is put on a happy face and we push forward and we try to create better lives for our kids and the people around us because we don’t want to bog people down. So, of course, they don’t know, because we have been made to believe that our full expression, our full truth, our full experiences are too much, so put a pretty bow on it, get in the kitchen, put on some lingerie and keep being of service. Fuck that! Fuck that shit! 


[18:05] Sahara

I will be of service when I’m so, naturally, full that is an expression of me. I think it’s beautiful to want to offer your partner massages and gifts, but they need to earn that, they need to earn that level of respect. It doesn’t come just because they’ve decided they are the enlightened masculine, so you better get on your knees for them No! Respect and trust is earned, it’s not given just because you have a penis.


[18:36] Sahara

And I see this happening again and again in the spiritual community, the Tantra space, it’s like “Hey, welcome to Tantra workshop, okay, you have to take all your clothes off and do extremely intense sexual practices with total strangers and if you don’t want to do it, it just shows how closed off you are”. Who’s benefiting from this? I’ve noticed a pattern here, it’s this polyamorous dude who, then, puts himself in a position of power that all of the women want to be with this one person, because often times, and we’ve seen this happen in a lot of Tantric communities such as Agama, that these men who are in charge of it say, for you to become spiritually activated, you need to sleep with me because I offer you sexual powers and I am essentially the God in the space, so if I am choosing you, even for a night, that means you are worthy of a God”. 

And you might be laughing at “Who the fuck would say this?” Uhm, look up, most of these Tantric, spiritual centers, aka cults, not all, a lot are cults, and a lot of them aren’t even Tantric, they’re just straight up spiritual cults. Seen this happen time and time again, and that’s even happening right now, Benito, is another prime example. A lot of women are speaking out about the sexual abuse that was happening in that community. 

So, we need to talk about this because I had no idea about any of this when I was 23 years old and I very easily could’ve been one of these girls who could’ve been manipulated into a cult, who could’ve been manipulated by some spiritual man who claims he has all of the answers, and the way to get them is to sleep with him, oh, and you better do it without a condom because sexual energy cannot transfer through if there’s a condom. I’ve literally heard that. Or “Oh, we must have had a past life together, I’m feeling this cosmic, karmic energy between you and I, but oh, there’s a love curse and the only way that we can eradicate this love curse and be with our divine partners is if we have sex to break this curse, otherwise neither of us will be with our true twin flames”, also heard that one.


[20:44] Sahara

There are a lot of fuck boys who realize they put on some spiritual clothing, they can go to the spiritual festivals and take advantage of young women in their maiden phases who often just want, more than anything, to be accepted, to be chosen, who are open to learning entirely new things, even if it means negating their boundaries because they haven’t learned how to listen to their bodies yet. So, a lot of these men know that there is a huge opportunity for them to abuse women in these communities. And maybe you have experience with some of these in many spiritual festivals, communities, events out there, you can feel it. And often times, you feel it but then you convince yourself “Oh, you know what, he’s a really nice guy”, “Oh, it must be my block”, “Oh, it must be me just not open enough”, “Oh, I must not be spiritually advanced enough”, right? So, we gaslight ourselves, we override our boundaries, we do things that we know we don’t want to do, we don’t have to do, but we feel like we should do to be accepted, to be loved, to be chosen.


[21:59] Sahara

So, this is a really important conversation to be had in the spiritual space, because I think a lot of us have noticed it, maybe we’ve talked about it to a couple of friends, I haven’t heard anyone do a podcast about it, so that’s why I’m just coming out there and sharing my experience, because I have had many with these different. And I’m not just saying it’s spiritual dudes, it’s often the women too, because the person who is the teacher, at that Tantra workshop I went to, was a women. 

So, the patriarchy can also be lived and experienced through by women. She probably was taught the same thing, she probably was taught to override her boundaries and she’s created this false sense of reality that by doing so, she has made herself more open, when, actually, it has made her disconnected. Because when you allow yourself to go all the way there with a total stranger that you have no rapport with, you are basically cutting yourself off from your intuition, that I’m going to make a, kind of, sad metaphor here, but often, what happens to prostitutes is, they have no choice but to cut themselves off from their body because it hurts too much to feel. Because if you actually felt the violation that was happening every single time, you couldn’t stand it. And that is why there is so much substance abuse and suicide amongst prostitutes. So, this same energy in a way more micro scale is happening in these Tantric containers, of women who basically have to cut themselves off in order to be okay with this, and then convincing themselves “Oh wow, I’ve become so open”.


[23:34] Sahara

Now, that being said, there are many great Tantra teachers, and if you are interested in Tantra, I highly recommend, if you are a woman, to study with another woman because I do think there will be a level of more safety by someone who just understands the vulnerability of being in a female body and everything that that comes with.


[23:53] Sahara

You know, I have gone to different, not even just Tantric, but different spiritual workshops and practices that were taught by men, who just didn’t get that, who were doing a one-on-one session with me at night, in the dark, at their house, and I’m just like, to me, my body is alarm ringing, like “I am not safe, something could happen to me here, where’s my phone, what is I get raped, what’s going to happen?”, that’s an every-day occurrence in the mind of a feminine being. Men don’t have to think about “Oh, if I’m walking through this parking lot and someone chases me, where am I going to run, do I have my keys in between my knuckles so I can stab him in the eye?”, “Okay, when I sit in my car, can I lock my door as quickly as possible?”, “Okay, this guy is behind me, is he going to take my…?”, that is a constant for a woman. Men have rarely lived in fear of their lives, for a woman, it’s a daily basis thing.


[24:44] Sahara

So, I think that that’s why it is very important to have more female spiritual teachers of all lineages, whether it’s plant medicine, because I will also name, there have been rapes happening by the shamans in the Ayahuasca community, that many people have been going to, who are raping women while they are under Ayahuasca, and the shaman is under Ayahuasca. This is happening, people aren’t talking about it. And in many different forms that are more subtle as well.


[25:11] Sahara

So, as women, especially, we need to have our full discernment on, and who gives a fuck if someone tells us “Oh, you’re not spiritual”, “Oh, you’re so closed”, “Oh, you need a lot more softening and openness and receptivity to do”, say “Yeah, you know what, I’ll go do that, bye!”, because you’re not here to make me more open, only I make myself open when I trust, because you can’t force a rose to blossom, she will do it in her own timing and the right environment, with the right people. And guess what bitch, she’s still got thorns, because we are not just the rose, we are also the thorns and that’s not what the patriarchy wants, it wants to shed us from the thorns like the watermelon wants to remove our seeds, it wants to make us all sweet, all the time, and that’s not what the feminine is. The feminine is also our rage, it’s our power, it’s our truth, it’s our sovereignty, it’s the strength that pushes out human life onto this earth, it is all of that!


[26:16] Sahara

And I’m actually so happy to finally see it coming around, of social media, of women standing in their power because for a few years, it was like “Oh my God, she’s trying to be a girl-boss” or you know, “She’s hustling”, it was almost like we were looking down on women for walking, I’m sure you’ve, kind of, noticed and felt this. And this whole time, I’ve been telling people, being in your purpose is not a masculine quality, it is a human quality, it is your highest self’s quality. And it’s so easy to create these distortions of like “As a woman, you should only want love and sexuality and pleasure, and that’s it. And as a man, you should only want stillness and purpose and depth”. It’s like, the men also want softness and beauty and pleasure, and the women also want purpose and drive and stillness and devotion, we all are both. And the feminine within it has such a spectrum. 

If you look at the Goddesses, there is Kali Ma, there is Durga, Durga is, she’s riding her freaking lion and she’s a warrioress and she’s fighting battles, that’s also an energy of the feminine. Kali Mal, blue, with her tongue out, Goddess of Destruction, that’s also the feminine. 

And yes, there’s also Saraswathi who channels creativity, there’s also Lakshmi who channels abundance, but they’re all different forms of the one, Shakthi, one feminine energy. 

So, you can’t really pick and choose, like, sure, maybe some dude wants you fully in your Lalita Sundari all the time, but guess what, if he dishonors your truth and dishonors your boundaries, Kali is going so come out. And that’s all the full feminine!


[28:09] Sahara

So, if this Podcast resonated with you, if you know anyone that could benefit from hearing this message, please share it. I hope that even if one person listening to this Podcast can avoid a situation like I’ve been in, or maybe they’re in a community or in a situation where they’re constantly negating their boundaries and this might just be the reminder and the welcome call, that is enough.

I didn’t even plan to do this Podcast, I was just on my walk and I was just like “Oh my God, I can’t believe this keeps happening, I just need to talk about it”.


[28:40] Sahara

So, even if one person, even if it’s you, listening to this, that’s like “Wow, I have noticed that I haven’t been using my full discernment because I thought that would make me more spiritually open, more in my feminine, more in my softness”, beautiful! You’re here, now, and this is the perfect time for you to have this realization and don’t be afraid of your strength, don’t be afraid of your power, don’t be afraid of your purpose, because guess what happens when the patriarchy takes over, which it has in many parts of the world such as Iran, where my family fled from. Because when they don’t allow us to work, what happens next is we have no control of the finances. When we have no control of the finances, we have no control of the decisions in the family, we have no control of the decisions of the family, the men have full control, the men control us, they control our livelihood, they control where, they control how we dress. And what we’re seeing right now happening in the Middle East is women are literally forced to cloak themselves, cannot – you know, in many parts of the Middle East, women don’t have a name, your name is actually ‘the mother of your eldest son’. So, before that, your name is ‘daughter of your father’, then it becomes ‘wife of your husband’, then it becomes ‘mother of your eldest son’. So, you are actually not even given a name, you are defined by your relationship, by the men around you, because that was what your worth was, whose daughter you were, whose wife you were, whose mother you were. You didn’t matter as a human being. And they cloaked us, and they shackled us, and they raped us, and they abused us, until today, when we remember. 


[30:16] Sahara

My grandmother was in a forced child marriage when she was 11 years old, to my grandfather, who was 27. And I don’t blame him, because the patriarchy taught him that that’s how it’s supposed to be. She was basically given by her father as part of a business deal, to my grandfather. And this happens time and time again, this is happening right now in many parts of the world, it happens in way more subtle ways as well, of women just not being in control of their lives, having to stay in relationships simply because they don’t have the financial means to leave.

And this is why, I believe, that women stepping into their purpose is the most powerful thing we can do to rise out of the patriarchy and into our sovereignty, because when a woman is in alignment with her Dharma, her soul’s purpose, the big reason why she is here, outside of her relationships, outside, being of service to others, that is when she truly becomes free. 


[3110] Sahara

So, that is really what my work has been about. You can check out my book “Discover Your Dharma”, which is all about finding your purpose, I’ll have some links below to my masterclasses and quiz, but this is really the time for us to ask ourselves “Why am I here? What makes me come alive? And how can I live a life where I am empowered and sovereign in my choices?” Because when you are empowered and sovereign, you don’t have to bend and manipulate yourself to get the stamp of approval of anyone else, because you have your own. 


[31:39] Sahara

So, thank you so much for listening. If you love this Episode, I would love for you to share it and I would also love to give you a gift for leaving a review for the Podcast. So, you can head over to the iTunes Store, leave a review for the Podcast, take a screenshot before you submit it and email it over to me and I will send you my free Womb Meditation. 

This is a meditation to connect to the language of your womb space and listen to the intuitive guidance that your feminine being is always giving you.

So, take a screenshot of your review and email it over to me at [email protected]. Again, that’s [email protected] and you can find that email and those links I mentioned in the show notes.


[32:20] Sahara

Thank you so much for being here today, I deeply appreciate and honor you! Namaste!   


Episode #464: The Hidden Patriarchy In The Spiritual Community with Sahara Rose  

             By Sahara Rose


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