Monday, 7 May 2018
Polite society, the Divine feminine - and blood.
"She changes everything She touches, and everything She touches changes,
We are changers and everything we touch is changed."
So goes the little ditty I'm humming this morning after someone asked me in an email about the feminine aspect of the Divine. It's a tune from back in the heady days of the 80's and some of the 90's, during the (momentary) resurgence of the Mother Goddess.
There are those who would take me to task for calling it a momentary resurgence. But how you see it depends on your definition of Mother. And Goddess. And feminine. And the Divine.
So I try not to get into that fray too often, the semantics and politics and ideology .. after all, what place have such things in matters of faith? Nor is faith even the word I should use here. Understanding is a better word. My understanding of the Divine is feminine because I am feminine.
My understanding of Creation is that it is the expression of the Divine into physical form - as one of those expressions (because I'm part of Creation too!) the Divine is expressing itself in female form, right down to every cell in my body.
We have to use analogical thought when we ponder the Divine. That's why Jesus spoke in parables; they reach that higher truth that the heart understands. And Jesus, let's face it, was a man, speaking to men. In His time and place that was appropriate. This doesn't discount the value of His teachings to women at all - which also means that the teachings of the religions that understood the Divine as feminine would also hold value for men.
Problem is, those teachings are pretty much lost. Few written records, even fewer heartled folks who can understand them; they're expressed in analogical thought. Worse, ever fewer who can understand that those teachings are still 'written' in the DNA of every living thing on the planet, and expressed in all form.
It's not a matter of matriarchy vs patriarchy, but a matter of analogical thought vs the linear logic we're used to. Creation speaks to us in analogies. This flower looks like an eye, therefore ingesting it sharpens the sight - the Doctrine of Signatures at the root of medicine is a perfect example of human beings' natural ability to understand the language of Creation.
Women who avoid exposure to excess artificial light tend to ovulate on the full moon and menstruate on the dark of the moon. High tide, low tide. As above, so below. The analogical language of Creation. Something to think about if you're trying to conceive (or trying not to!).
Those heady days during the (momentary) resurgence of the Mother Goddess brought with them such little tidbits of wisdom (and many more). But they were swallowed up in the larger wave of feminism itself. Feminism's insistence that women have equality with men in the men's world meant that the fields of women's health, herbal medicine and child rearing, traditionally female, continued to reflect the essentially masculine values. It is the masculine, invade and conquer technique, that prevails .. so now we have fertility treatments that force the woman to ovulate, herbs to 'defeat' disease rather than restore health and day care centres to 'free' the mother from the burden of the child.
There are far more women in the field of medicine, for example, than previously, but most of these women are now thinking like men.
Not that there is anything inherently wrong with male thinking, far from it. But without the balance of the feminine it becomes distorted and destructive. That's why I say that despite appearances, few women who profess to honour the Mother Goddess actually do. If they did, they'd stop insisting on competing with and denigrating men, for one thing.
How can you honour the feminine by heaping shame on the masculine? You can't. It's madness. How can you restore health by ingesting poisons? You can't, that's madness too. Both of these are examples of masculine thought gone awry, and until we remember what the feminine is, and restore the balance, we're not getting anywhere good.
What is the feminine? In the human female it's the power to bleed and not die.
Did I shock you there?
It is the essential fact of womanhood, you know. Anything that disrupts that system in a woman is bad for the woman, and what is bad for the woman is bad for everyone around her. Only in the culture that understands that can women, men and most importantly children, thrive. That's the mistake that women trying to out-men the men are making. Menstruation in a healthy, safe woman is not a 'medical condition', not painful or debilitating, it just is what it is. This was one of the messages of that brief time of the Mother Goddess's return. But such a message - menstrual blood and everything it stands for - was/is something "polite society" is very freaked out by.
Great story - Back in the '70's, I think it was, when Stonehenge was still closed to the public because it was on military property, a group of women wanted to hold a ceremony there for the Summer Solstice. Soldiers were on guard, refusing to let the women through - all they wanted to do was sing to the rising sun, how threatening was that for heaven's sake?! Well, this crazy group of women hit on the ultimate solution. Those on their periods started waving their bloody rags and tampons and danced toward the soldiers - Ha! The soldiers fell back right quick; the women not only got through and had their ceremony, Stonehenge has been open to the public ever since.
Even most women are horrified by that story, and that's sad, and proof that most women aren't comfortable with everything it means to be women. Those women at Stonehenge could have thrown rocks, but they didn't. They used their own blood, the soldiers didn't have to shed theirs. The women didn't fight their way through, they danced, and the line of soldiers just melted away.
Men remember our power; our Mysteries still keep them in awe of us. Yet feminism puts those Mysteries aside, calls our power to bleed and not die a medical condition, calls our children 'burdens' and calls the men who love us (and need us) the 'oppressors'. Is it the men who are out of touch, or is it us?
The faces of the Goddess - the feminine aspect of the Divine - are archetypes. Maiden, Mother and Crone, the three stages of a woman's life, are at the basis of innumerable variations - as many as there are women. These give us positive "role models" (to use a term I detest, but whatever) to incorporate into our growth and all the changes we go through. There is nothing shy, retiring or submissive in any of these, but there is nothing that makes men (or God the Father) the enemy, either. It's a heart thing, a faith thing, a Mystery thing. To make it a battle of the sexes or political ideology misses the point entirely.
Of course I'm in error when I refer to the return or resurgence of the Mother Goddess. The Divine is eternal, whichever face She/He wears is only a matter of human thinking about that which is beyond thought. Analogy. Parable.
But it's what we have, so we may as well use it. The Goddess is still here and will be as long as there are women who seek a familiar face to guide, comfort and inspire them through the ever changing experience of being women.
We are changers and everything we touch is changed.