Picture Three: Perceiving the ox. Ten Oxherding Pictures. Attributed to Shubun (n.d.) Japan, Muromachi period.
Handscroll, ink and light colors on paper. 9/5/2013
In search of my mother's garden, I found my own.
Alice Walker , author, poet, activist
The Scheherazade Model offers a suggested paradigm for meaning which has three story-based elements: mythology of self, mythology of other and mythology of planet. The model derives its name from the famous Persian storyteller of The Arabian Nights. Scheherazade is known for her spiral of nested stories which she told over a period of 1001 nights. By telling her stories she not only saved her own life, but she transformed the heart of a kingdom.
The Scheherazade Model emphasizes the elevation of feminine values. Feminine values, also known as intrinsic values, focus on the importance of community and harmony, as opposed to masculine values which center on the elevation of the individual and the mastery of the environment.
The way we tell our stories directly affects the way we live our lives. And our storytelling is largely based on the monomyth, a masculine narrative model also known as the hero's journey. The monomyth has several distinguishing characteristics. It centers around an individual who is almost always male. It also values skills which enable the hero to master the environment and realize personal achievement (e.g., career, awards, money). These values are commonly referred to as extrinsic or masculine, as opposed to feminine values which are grounded in harmony with the community and the environment. What we can lose when our stories are skewed to the masculine is a recognition of our essential interdependence with creation and each other.
This shift toward a feminine narrative that the Scheherazade Model provides is important both individually and globally. On an individual basis, feminine values are the ones that are more strongly correlated with a sense of well-being and satisfaction with life. This is true for both men and women as they age. On a global level, an embracing of feminine values is a necessary step toward lessening hostility and violence. By focusing on our interconnectedness, we can create a world in which there are fewer divisions between us, a world in which we share more equally in our natural resources and abundance, a world in which we exist in harmony with each other and with our environment.