An Overview of the Divine Feminine/Goddess
The Divine Feminine at its source is one. Yet the Goddess is known by innumerable names and manifestations across the world’s cultures. Many of these conceptions are mysterious and seemingly paradoxical. Some manifestations show the Goddess as the benevolent, nurturing Mother; others represent her as the fierce and even terrifying Mother who dances on the cremation grounds. The Divine Feminine has been honored and worshiped as the Virgin Mary, Diana, Cerridwen, Hecate, Pele, Inanna, Athena, Demeter, Sarasvati, Kuan Yin, Brigid, Yemaya, Tara, Kali, Asherah, Isis and White Buffalo Calf Woman, to mention just a few. But beneath these many different faces, aspects, and symbols we find the enduring essence of the Divine Feminine, which is always the same. No matter how she may appear to us, the way of the great Mother is ultimately always rooted in the Power of Love and the Supreme Truth. If we sincerely invoke her assistance, we can always trust her loving, unwavering guidance. Let us remember that the story of the Goddess in our story – it is a story of love and healing, birth and death, renewal and evolutionary change… And it is the Mother of the Universe who holds the key for this new vision of a brighter future for humanity.
The re-emergence of the Divine Feminine
After millennia of suppression of the Divine Feminine—as a result of the increasingly patriarchal paradigms that emerged in all systems of organized religion across the cultural spectrum—the Goddess is once again becoming a powerful symbol for what is most needed in our modern and postmodern times. When we look at the teachings of all the Goddess wisdom traditions, we see that the following values are honored: cooperation (creating “win-win” situations), partnership, inclusivity, creativity, playfulness, sustainability, peaceful resolution of conflict, responsible stewardship of natural resources, and a generally more nurturing, caring, and supportive environment that takes our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing into consideration. In the Goddess traditions, all expressions of life are viewed as intrinsically sacred — everything is connected or interrelated in the great web of life. Spirit and flesh (and by extension the body and nature) are viewed as ONE. We are talking here about a more holistic and brighter vision for the future of humanity — a future that is rooted in Goddess values.
God has not always been viewed as a “Father”.
Compared to the worship of the great Mother Goddess dating to the prehistoric period 20,000 BCE and more, the understanding of God as “Sky Father” is actually fairly recent in Western culture. Roughly we can say that the worship of God as the archetypal “Father” emerges primarily in the first millennium BCE with the Abrahamic religions stating that there is only one God. There are many historical explanations and reasons for this development but chief among them is that these religions became increasingly managed and dominated by men. And more often than not, the aspect of “God as Mother” was lost in translation of scripture or deliberately omitted. For example in early Christianity, God was rather viewed as a “parent”—that is, as both father and mother (note: the Aramaic word for God was “parent,” and Aramaic was the language of Jesus Christ). We also need to remember that the great mystics and sages in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have always venerated the Feminine Face of the Divine in addition to the Masculine Face of the Divine. In the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah, for example, the feminine divine presence on earth is referred to as the divine Bride of the God of Israel.