In exploring the evolution of patriarchy and God's image as male, I discovered, as did Steve Taylor (in "The Fall"), that the original concept of the Divine was feminine. Now, I'm not tempted, or even desiring, to worship the ancient, neolithic images of goddesses ... I'm intrigued by the consciousness of the people who made them. What *they* saw and experienced about life. My goal is not to suggest that we go backwards, "back to the Garden" or beyond ... back to the era of matriarchal consciousness. But we can learn from them ... while they weren't Utopian (and utopias are always exaggerated myths), they *were* egalitarian and non-violent (with no one in "charge", there was no one to fight against). Neither do I desire to throw out all the evolutionary progress we've made during this time of seeing God as male. My desire, and what I believe we need, is to combine the best of the masculine images *with* the lost feminine images ... and yet transcend them, allowing a fuller *new* consciousness to emerge. I'm looking for the Wholeness of Divinity ... nothing missing, nothing broken, nothing left out. All-Inclusiveness.
Back to those gleanings:
~ El Shaddai, an OT term for God, is feminine ... it means "Many-Breasted One." (& really, when you think about it, how better is the phrase, "this is My Body, given for you" manifested, than in a pregnant and nursing mother...?).
~ The root concept for compassion is the womb... suggesting that the God of compassion/Mercy, (rechem in Hebrew) is the womblike God.
~ Jesus likens Himself to a Mother Hen.
~ (There's a ton of female imagery in the biblical text, which has been obscured by translation -- the vast majority of translators have been male.) Deut. 32:18, in Hebrew, reads, "You forgot the God who gave you birth."
~ The term for the Holy Spirit (God's Spirit) is feminine. Ruah in Hebrew, and Pneuma in Greek, are both feminine nouns.
~ Wisdom is not just a concept, but is personified as a female ... Sophia, or Hokhmah. Sophia is describes as she who was preexistent, with God, who participated in creating the world ... she permeates all things ... a teacher, one with all things ... She guides and reveals God's will ... She is also referred to as a tree of life. Further, according to John (in his gospel), Sophia became the Christ. But why did the translators switch the term Sophia for the male term Logos..? Interesting.
~ Many early Christians understood God as "dyad" - a being consisting of both masculine and feminine elements ... God was both divine Father and divine Mother ... and the Secret Book of John (declared as "non-inspired" by the patriarchs), John writes, "a unity in three forms came to me ... it said, "I am the One who is with you always: I am the Father; I am the Mother; I am the Son."
~ If a religion speaks of God as warrior, using militaristic language ("crushing enemies", "soldier of God"), then we become a culture that values military and aggression.
~ If a religion speaks of God as a male king, we become a culture that values and enthrones men and masculinity.
~ Feminine love reunites us ... connects us to all that is. With God, with each other, with the whole of creation. We come from the same Womb -- the "body parable" of pregnancy shows us this interconnectedness. During pregnancy, the distinction of me and not-me becomes divinely blurry. Perhaps women can grasp this more easily than men, once we carry and deliver "another."
~ Love-making is another divine parable: anyone who has experienced a tender orgasm has experienced something of the Divine ... a connecting with another in a way that is beyond words, even beyond images.
~ I found this quote of Kidd's to be profoundly powerful:
"In Christianity God came in a male body. Within the history and traditions of patriarchy, women's bodies did not belong to themselves, but to husbands. We learned to hate our bodies if they didn't conform to an ideal, to despise the cycles of menstruation - "the curse," it was called. Our experience of our body has been immersed in shame.
"Waking to the sacredness of the female body will cause a woman to 'enter into' her body in a new way, be at home in it, honor it, nurture it, listen to it, delight in its sensual music. She will experience her female flesh as beautiful and holy, as a vessel of the sacred. She will live from her gut and feet and hands and instincts and not entirely in her head. Such a woman conveys a formidable presence because power resides in her body."
~ This is the divine dance ... and part of the dance is to forgive what we can, as we can. There is no healing without forgiveness; there is no forgiveness without love ... Love is EVERYthing.
~ Each woman (& indeed each man), must do what their heart tells them.
~ When we see patriarchy for what it is, and realize that it is killing who we really are, then our only option is deviance. We can choose to be loving dissidents.
~ What we need is a living, forceful power that is also compassionate -- a force that enables others to transform as well.
~ A mystic is one who has had an inward experience of the divine, one who finds ultimate authority within that experience, rather than in a source outside of themself. Prophets are ones who speak this energy out into the world. Conscious women are BOTH.
~ When women truly speak, we speak subversively ... we refuse to be uninvited ... we find surprising ways to invite ourselves. We heed the unheard cry of the one within, rather than the slamming door of the ego on the outside.
~ What does the true soul do? It loves, and it creates.
~ We must ask ourself: What is my deepest passion? What moves me profoundly? What am I here to be, and thus to do? What can I not *help* but do?
~ Notice what arises to keep us from beginning, and keeps us from following through ... that must be faced, questioned, understood, and absorbed by Truth.
~ Do not make the mistake of mistaking recycle patriarchal power for authentic female strength and authenticity.
~ Realize that status quo will resist ... it will call you a "bad mother" ... it will try to put you back into the box from which you have escaped. When this happens (and it will), keep in mind a line from the (female) Indian poet Mirabai, "I have felt the swaying of the elephant's shoulders and now you want me to climb on a jackass? Try to be serious!"
~ When we find our own inner authority, he who *thinks* he is your authority will rise up in protest. Remember: a life lived in fear is a life only half-lived. Refuse the fear (it's optional, you know). Dance your dance!
~ Consider these words of Walt Whitman's:
"Re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body."
~ We *are* the change the world is waiting for.
Again, if anyone wishes to join a book-study/discussion about this rather remarkable book, email me, brehmites @ aol . com (remove those spaces first), and I'll be happy to send you the invitation to join the list wherein it's happening).
Next ... exploring "A New Revelation" ... just for consideration...!