Monday, April 28, 2008

Beginning My Goddess Journey

I was raised with a patriarchal image of God but I've always known, intellectually, that there is a Divine Feminine. Even the Jewish and Christian holy books allude to that, although with Christianity that's often glossed over ... almost like the uber-masculine God was patting women on the head condescendingly "Sure, sure honey, femininity has its own power and is part of Me... Even the Great and Powerful Lord has feminine qualities" ... and then the folks running things in the earthly realm clarify that woman's power is to help men, who are the real focus of God's work. It always did kind of chafe me! I got all fired up about it as a teenage feminist - I didn't have experience or balance, but I certainly did have passion! (The plight of teenhood.) However, I don't know what it is to experience the Divine Feminine, to be in communion with Her...that is not something I've ever had.

This fall, I looked up some information on Paganism. I don't remember who or what, but someone said something that made me curious, and also made me think that maybe I didn't know as much about Paganism as I thought I did. Because being raised strict Torah-observant Christian, you learn a lot about Paganism. You learn all about the Pagan roots of Christmas and Easter, about pagan symbolism in modern Christianity, about the many many warnings in the Bible about pagans and witches, etc etc. So I did know a bit (a lot more than most Christians who insist that the decorated evergreen tree with presents under it is not pagan in origin... and even when they say "Yule log" they don't recognize the connection to ... um... Yule.) But there was a lot I didn't know, a lot I assumed, and a lot I just didn't understand. Because I had only learned about it through one filter, had only seen it from one paradigm.

I was blown away by what I learned. So many beautiful ideas and images... it's really stunning. Once you get over the "The Bible says this is Evil and you will be cursed" thought, past that way of reading the Bible... you see that there is Truth to be found in earth-based Paganism (can't speak for Heathens or other Pagans, since I don't know as much there... needless to say there is a world of diversity in Pagan belief). I am so inspired by the Feminine Divine.

I'm beginning to see that powerful men stole the messages of those who had been in communion with the Divine, who wanted to share their experience and encourage others to seek that connection... they took the messages and twisted them to suit their own purposes. At best they simply interpreted the messages through their very limited, patriarchal filter that couldn't understand, let alone relay, anything outside that view. They rewrote the Goddess as a noneity, as a pagan idol, as a symbol of rebellion against the true male God, as just one of the Devil's lies...and women as either whores and witches (the evil kind), or as good girls (submissive to men, never complaining, subservient, obedient, meek, asexual). Those are our choices: to either be Maleficent, the evil, selfish, powerful, destructive witch... or to be Aurora, who was sweet, good, giving, and so passive that she could sleep through the whole story without it mattering much. I am so glad that Paganism introduced me to a wonderful way to see woman at each stage of her life, and to the feminine aspect of the Divine.

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