Spirituality

Who Cares If God is Male or Female?

imageRecently, I had a discussion with a friend about my journey of finding the Sacred Feminine. They asked me, “Why does it matter if God is male or female?” Good question! Honestly? It doesn’t matter in the actual gender sense. In my opinion, God is both mother and father (see post here where I talked about this). They initially thought that was the point of my journey, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg! 

“The Sacred Feminine is a concept that recognizes that “God” ultimately is neither male or female, but a Divine Essence – an essence that is in a unified balance of masculine and feminine principles – a dynamic interdependent ‘immanence’ that pervades all life. The Asian Yin Yang is a good representation of this idea.

However, seeing the divine as an abstract concept of overseeing, distant consciousness, or immanence, is a challenge for most humans, myself included. We all have a basic need to put the inexplicable into tangible form in order to explore and understand our relationship to it. Thus we tend to attribute human characteristics to the unknowable. We name and assign form to an abstract concept in order to relate to it at our level. So the Divine Essence or Absolute has become a “Father” God figure that we were taught to visualize, pray to and imagine having a personal relationship with. In and of itself, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Unfortunately, seeing the vast, infinite, absolute and indescribable “God” only in the form of masculine metaphor and symbol has severely limited our human spiritual potential and greatly hindered our ability to live in peace and balance on this earth. For the last several thousand years, the dominant religious belief systems of our world have been patriarchal which sanctioned social ethics that elevated God the Father over Mother Earth and men over women. 

But it hasn’t always been this way! It is important to remember that for eons before patriarchy, throughout the Paleolithic and Neolithic ages, there were worldwide “Mother/Female and Earth” honoring societies that lived a more egalitarian, sustainable and peaceful culture that thrived without war for thousands of years. It is urgent to rediscover and rebuild the lost memory of those cultures to inform us and inspire us to construct a more stable foundation for society’s future.

Remembering the lost matriarchal civilizations authenticates and validates the significance of the Sacred Feminine and the importance of women and female values. 

It is time to balance the masculine and feminine principles within our belief systems, our religious doctrines, our cultural ethics, and within ourselves.

It is time to honor the Sacred Feminine. “Honoring the Sacred Feminine,” in the spiritual sense, means valuing the feminine principle, along with the masculine principle, as equal and fundamental aspects of the Divine. From a planetary level, it means respecting and healing our Mother Earth. From a cultural standpoint, it means reawakening the archetype of the Goddess through entertainment and the arts and using language that gives equal emphasis to “she” and “her.” In the societal sense, it means re-creating the role of Priestess, and respecting the contribution of women in business, science, art, and politics, as well as the home and community. In a religious view, it means offering ceremony and service that reaffirms our connection to the divine, the Goddess, the earth, and each other. In the human sense, honoring the Sacred Feminine means especially valuing the innate worth of woman’s body, mind, and soul, as well as appreciating the “feminine” qualities in the male character. “ (Tate, 2014). This is what my journey in re-discovering the Sacred Feminine is all about, my friends. 

 *Tate, Rev. Dr. Karen. (2014). Voices of the Sacred Feminine, Changemakers Books. ISBN: 978-1-78279-510-0.

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I Am Mother



One of the main componenets of the Sacred Feminine is the mystery of creation. It is the one thing that men absolutely cannot do. It is exclusive to women. Not only is a woman able to give birth physically, but she is able to be a place where the light of the soul takes on human form and remains true to its essential nature. But what about those women who can’t physically give birth, like me? Where is the mystery of creation for us? Are we a “lesser than” version of the Sacred Feminine? Do we still contain the connection of oneness, the connection of heaven and earth within ourselves? Does this exclude us from this divine circle of women?

These are questions I continually ask myself as I delve deeper into the Sacred Feminine and the divine exploration of the other side of my beloved God. I refuse to accept that I am “less than” a woman who can give actual brith to a new life. While I cannot, I can still create. “I Am Mother” (painting shown) was created over a period of six weeks as I explored this concept. It started out as a simple scribble drawing, inspired by Florence Cane in Art Therapy. I used that scribble drawing and discovered the hidden, subconscious images within the scribbles. Over time, it metamorphised into its current state. It is a constrast of light and dark, yin and yang, sun and moon. It is the various faces of Our Mother. 

“I Am Mother” gave me glimpses beyond my individual self into the archetypal world where the symbols that belong to all of humanity also change and transform. I was working not just with the substance of my own soul, but with the soul of the world. The light I discovered in my own depths is a spark of the World Soul, and the world needs this light to evolve. I realized that I am not a mother in the traditional sense, but a Mother in the global sense. It is a much larger concept of Mother that I ever imagined or can fully grasp, hence the glimpses. If all was revealed at once, I don’t think I would be able to comprehend it or become overwhelmed by it. “I Am Mother” showed me that we take on our role as guardians of the planet, and we do so with the consciousness of oneness that includes and connects the sacred and the mundance, the inner and the outer, spirit and matter, the world’s soul and body and our own, the individual and the planet. 

“I Am Mother”

I am life-giving, nurturing, possessive.

I am expansive, embracing, passionate.

I am swirling energy, passive calm, paradox.

I am honest, deceiving, punishing.

I am soothing, caressing, rocking.

I cradle you.

I push you away.

Angry, joyful, ironic.

I am life-sustaining, promising, shelter.

I am all these things.

I am hope.

I Am Mother.

God is He/She

For years I struggled with the idea of a God who was prone to angry fits, wrath, vengence, punishment, and remote up there in the Heavens. I wondered, is there more to Him? To this? I knew He was a God of love, too, but it seemed I had to always play hide and seek with Him to experience His transcendent love. I grew up a pastor’s kid, in more churches than I can count, and unfortunately, saw the dark side, the seemy underbelly of religion. Religion damaged me. Hurt me. Hated me for who I am and what I wanted to be. I became an outsider, a non-believer, an outcast from the church. But I never stopped pursuing the God I wanted…a God of love. And He, or should I say SHE, never stopped pursing me.

As far as I can remember, my art has always channeled various forms of women….naked, voluptuous, pregnant, scarred, damaged, broken, pieces, radiance, life-giving, and so on. It was variations of the same embodiment, the Sacred Feminine. Although at the time, I didn’t realize who SHE was and how much She was pursuing me. She appeared continuously in my art, begging to be seen in Her wholeness, Her Oneness. It is only within the past two years that I have come to discover who She really is. She is the Sacred Divine Femine, the Goddess. She is the love and nurturing Mother Earth. She is the other side of God. Without Her, there is no complete Him.

In our Western Judeo-Christian culture, we have been dominated by a masculine, heavenly God. He is one who banished us from paradise. He was the God of wrath, tempered occasionally with love and kindness, but woe to the one who got on His bad side! Then it became hell-fire and brimstone, an emphasis on our human failings and sinfulness. Over the years, morality engraved fear rather than love into our religious culture, stressing human inadequacy and leaving a trail of repression and neurosis. How much has this image of a remote and wrathful diety influenced our relationship to the divine? I fear, too much.

When God is relegated to the heavens it is easy to lose touch with the divine in everyday life. We come to know Him only as a distant authoritarian father. We feel alienated, impotent, uncared-for, unprotected, isolated, and no longer an integral part of the great wholeness of life. We lose our purpose to life. The sacred wholeness of life belongs to the feminine aspect of the divine, the Great Goddess. For Her every act is sacred; every blade of grass, every creature is a part of the Great Oneness. In contrast to His awe-inspiring transcendence, She embodies the caring divine prescence.

Banishing God to the heavens, we lost touch with the sacredness of the earth and its many forms of life. Reinstating the Goddess means restoring the sacredness of a nurturing, all-embracing divinity. God’s masculine omnipotence and transcendence need to be balanced by the feminine aspects of care and nearness. God is both Mother and Father. We are wrong to restrict our image of a transcendent diety to the patriarchal power-drive. Reinstating the feminine, all-embracing Goddess does not mean we reject the masculine diety. They are One, each a piece of the other.

She is the Love I crave, the Oneness and Wholeness of life and reconnecting with myself and Mother Earth. I have always believed that you can’t have one side of God without the other. There is no masculine without the feminine. It requires balance. If there must be retribution and omnipotence, there must be nurturing love and connection. Otherwise, we are left to wander in a soulless, dark world where nothing matters and the patriarchal power-driven image will dominate, as it has for the last few centuries, causing ruin, heartbreak, and despair.



What is The Sacred Feminine?

WHAT IS THE SACRED FEMININE?

I find my path in life is always taking surprising directions, yet there is a constant theme of “I Am Mother” and the Sacred Feminine. It has only become more apparent in the past year and a half, during my studies at Cedar Crest College in Art Therapy. But what does the “Sacred Feminine” mean? Or when someone says the divine feminine is the way to healing and enlightenment? Is it a Christian concept? Buddhist? Pagan? Wiccan? New Age? Is it even tied to religion? Or is it a spiritual concept? 

The answer is simple. The divine feminine is the goddess in all traditions, and has been since the beginning of time. These traditions are a mystical, magical, powerful, part of primal Mother Earth. They symbolize balance and healing, renewal and restoration. The feminine principle is one of nurturing love, acceptance, understanding, compassion, insight, intuition, creativity, forgiveness, healing and wisdom. Whatever your beliefs and choice of traditions are, whether She appears to you as Ishtar or Mari, Gaia or Quan Yin, as the great Mother Mary or Magdalene, or as one of the pantheon of goddesses from ancient Egypt or Greece or Rome, to Africa or the Middle East, to the cults of the Black Madonna, or whether she is spun from one of the archetypes of the indigenous tribes, such as Spider Woman, the divine feminine is still the primordial She who creates from a central source.

The sacred feminine is a the term we use for that mysterious source of all life, the wellspring of creation. The big She. The feminine force that births both male and female forms. The circle that contains both yin and yang. The portal between the worlds. She is by nature indefinable, yet her presence has been experienced so tangibly by peoples of the earth from the beginning of time, that She has been honoured and deified in many forms as bringer of life, growth, decline, death and rebirth by many ancient cultures.The Goddess is our primary life force on the planet. If we don’t utilize the love, nurturing, understanding, and kindness of the divine feminine within all of us, we will not survive. We need this essence to return balance to our world, our bodies, and our lives.

The Divine Feminine is this unseen dimension of soul to which we are connected through our instincts, our feelings, and the longing imagination of our heart. Soul is not limited to our own psychic life. Soul is invisible nature, the immense web of relationships that is concealed beneath the veil of matter. It is something both inconceivable and immeasurable to which we belong, in which we live – an intermediate dimension between our physical world and the deep unknowable ground of being. 

The Divine Mother is asking us to trust and protect life, to work with her in all we do, opening our understanding to the knowledge that we are not separate from herself but an expression of her being. The unknown dimension of soul is our conduit to the Divine. Cut off from soul, the mind becomes impoverished, rigid, dogmatic, and inflated. In compensation for this loss of relationship with soul, it becomes driven by the need for ever more power and control. The journey in search of the unknown dimension of soul, back the way we have come, toward nature and the ground of our own nature, is difficult and even dangerous because it asks that we relinquish the certainty of deeply held beliefs, both religious and scientific. It means opening ourselves to discovery. The Sacred Feminine is urging us to open our minds to a new vision of reality, a revelation of all cosmic life as a divine unity. For those awakened to this vision, to be born a human being is not to be born into a fallen, flawed world of sin and illusion, cut off from the divine; it is to be born into a world lit by an invisible radiance, ensouled by Divine Presence, graced and sustained by incandescent light and love.

Love, Authenticity, and Truth

Been a long time…I thought I would give up blogging forever as I moved on to other things, but I have a pull to always write, to dialogue, to share my thoughts and hear the thoughts of others. I’m reading a book right now for our Lovers of Literature (LOL) book club, “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller. It’s provoking some interesting thoughts, touching on some things that I’ve always pondered. So much so that I feel compelled to write Donald Miller about by thoughts, something I don’t normally do. Yet, sadly, I’ve not found a way to connect or contact him. His blog, Storyline, and Facebook page seem to be completely devoid of his personal touch. Instead, it appears he has become more “corporate” and “untouchable,” marketing his new Storyline brand. How sad for me. Therefore, I’m sharing my thoughts publicly instead of privately…to hear your thoughts.

I struggled picking up this book, trying to get my book club to change it’s mind and choose another book (even though I’m the one who suggested it in the first place). No such luck. I’m stuck with it. I thought it would be another holier-than-thou, beat me over the head Christian book that would make me feel guilty for my shortcomings and failings as a “Christian.” But I’m finding that my mind is stirred, my spirituality is simmering, my desire to converse is spilling out of me into this blog post. A good thing, I suppose, when you really look at it.

I have always considered myself a Christian, but the meaning of that has changed as I’ve grown and stretched as a person. It is more about Christian spirituality now. I wince whenever I say that I’m a “Christian,” because I don’t associate myself and my beliefs with the larger, negative view of Christianity. As a matter of fact, I try to distance myself from it, embarrassed and shamed by the vitrol, ugliness, and judgment that radiates from the outspoken right-wing groups. Not to mention the cruelty of things done “in the name of Christ.” My heart aches because of it. I want to scream and shout, “That’s not Jesus! That’s not me! That’s not what it’s all about!”

I’ll be the first to admit my spirituality is messy, unruly, and uncouth. I was raised in the conservative church, and chewed up and spit out by the same conservative church. I know all the “rules,” the should’s and should nots. The feeling of not belonging because I’m different, authentic, and have a tendency to question authority. Why would I want to love something that doesn’t love me and who I am now, at this very moment?

I haven’t been back to an organized church since I was vomited out of the church 10 years ago, like a putrid sickness that was contagious. I was beaten and battered, disgraced and shamed, unloved and unwanted because I was me, my authentic self. But isn’t the church supposed to love the unlovable, the different, the cynics, the skeptics, the gay, the drug addicts, the artists, the rebels, the outspoken, the homeless, and still others? That’s what I thought. Apparently the church did not agree with me. I’m afraid to go back.

Now keep this in mind…I’m not bashing churches as a whole at all. I’m commenting on the ones that I’ve had personal experience with through the years. Yet still, I love God. I believe in Jesus. I believe in His all-consuming, graceful love for me and humanity. At times, I doubt it. How can He love someone like me? Is He even real? Is what I believe in even possible? Or is it all some odd fantasy cooked up by someone and we’ve all been fooled? I worry that I won’t live forever with Him. I’m scared that when I turn to dust, it’s just that….dust. Nothing. Finite. But Jesus says that with Him, we are everlasting, infinite.

I keep coming back to the same two questions…Does He really exist, and if so, Does He really love someone like me?