The Sacred Feminine

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‘God’, or ‘Divinity’, however you use these terms, is endless, infinite, and timeless, and as such is inherently indefinable and unknowable.

But the Sacred Feminine aspect of the creation is the vehicle, the ‘Vessel’, through which the infinite Divine can be expressed in our finite world. And only the Sacred Feminine can lead the soul back to the Divine.

A defining characteristic of the Masculine is the need to think things through in a linear, step-by-step manner, to experience a reality that is limited and finite and therefore straightforward, controllable, and ‘knowable’. A defining characteristic of the Feminine, on the other hand, is the ability to experience reality in a holistic, open-ended, all-at-once manner, to take in and accept limitlessness and infinity. Needless to say, we each have a share in both of these characteristic abilities, but the Sacred Feminine in the world (women) and within the individual (the heart) must introduce the Sacred Masculine to the unknowable reality of the Divine. In the sacred stories, for instance, it is the Celestial Aphrodite who must unbind perfected souls and release them into bliss. And this is why Miriam had to die first, before Aaron and Moses: the Shechinah must lead the way.

Another defining characteristic of the Masculine is that it expresses the Active force within the creation, and as such it is always involved in doing, fixing, making, and acting. The Feminine, on the other hand, is the Passive/Receptive force of creation. This quality of passivity has been given a very bad name in our frantically productive society, where it has been saddled with negative and destructive connotations of weakness and submission. But if the truth be told, passivity is the higher quality. Action is the emblem of the realm of Matter and Time: the Masculine ‘does’. Passivity is the emblem of the realm of Spirit and Eternity: the Feminine ‘is’. It is this ability to be passive, to ‘be’ without having to ‘do’, that allows the Sacred Feminine Vessel to receive pure, endless, unknowable Being, without having to limit it or define it through any agenda of her own, and then to bring it to birth as infinite abundance and love in the physical world.

In the Old Testament, the Sacred Feminine is represented by various characters, including Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, and Miriam, who nurture and protect the patriarchs and Moses. In the New Testament, She is represented by the Marys, who nurture and protect Jesus (who represents the Sacred Masculine). But the Feminine power in the scriptures is not some sweet gentle ‘goddess’, representing all the ‘nice’ qualities that are missing in men. She is the Shechinah, the ‘Presence’ of God in the Creation, the force that hovers over the Ark of the Covenant, the ‘Mother of All Living’ who pours forth all the forms and qualities in the infinite universe. She is Life, from the primordial Chaos, to Eve, to ‘Rahab, the harlot of Jericho’. She is the Beauty of Rachel and the Wisdom of Leah. She is Miriam’s prophetic power. She embodies the secret of the Red Cow, for she is the mystery of blood, sex, birth, and death. She is the Sea, the boundless power of the Unconscious. She is the Mother and the Whore and the Wife and the Destroyer.

Fountain Goddess
Fountain Goddess,
originally uploaded by chefranden.

In the Christian story, She first appears to Jesus in the guise of an abundance of women led by a triad of Power, Grace, and Joy, reuniting with the Sacred Masculine so that together they will be capable of completing the journey back to Divinity.

“Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene [which means ‘High Tower’], from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna [which means ‘Grace’], the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna [which means ‘Joy’], and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.” (Luke.8.1-3)

To say that Mary Magdalene had been ‘cured of seven demons’ does not mean, as has often been said, that she was a particularly egregious sinner. She was no more a sinner than you or I. But Mary Magdalene had been fully initiated. In scriptural symbolism, ‘Seven’ signifies complete achievement, and this means that every single level of Mary Magdalene had been purified and perfected. She is the archetype of the soul that drinks in the total experience of life on earth, who has the good sense and humility to ask for God’s help (like the Samaritan woman), who pours forth love and attains complete forgiveness (like the woman with the alabaster jar), who
completes all of the Great Work and has been healed at every level of her soul, and who will now remain the powerful ally and protectress of the Spirit right to the very end – Mary, unlike the other apostles, will still be present at the Cross. And apart from Jesus himself, there is no indication that anyone else in the New Testament achieves her level of initiation, with the single exception of her male-counterpart, Lazarus.

Was Mary Magdalene the secret wife of Jesus? Was she the ‘vessel’ of his semen and his children, the mother of a lost line of kings, and thus the authentic ‘Holy Grail’? All of this is beside the point. Not because it is unimportant to return the Sacred Feminine to her rightful place in western civilization. On the contrary. It is urgent. But chasing after gossip, scandal, and conspiracy theories, is not the way to do it.

Socrates taught his pupils that only those things which help to perfect one’s soul can be called ‘moral’ or ‘good’. If we found a Marriage Certificate with both of their signatures buried in a desert cave, how would this discovery contribute anything to the perfection of one’s soul? The search for this kind of ‘proof’ is fascinating and fun, but it is of no spiritual significance. It is merely a diversion. We should put aside the scientific demand for ‘proof’ and the academic
fascination with textual criticism, and ask ourselves more important, human, and relevant questions: What are these stories trying to tell me? How can these words help me with my life? How can my struggle to unveil their inner meaning help my soul evolve? What are they telling me to do, and how can I do it?

The reason we must restore the Sacred Feminine to her full divine stature in our lives and culture is because without her all spiritual evolution is impossible! Without her all the ancient myths and holy scriptures are useless! We cannot follow Demeter and Persephone back up to Olympus, we cannot obey the Law of Moses, we cannot walk in Christ’s footsteps, if we continue to misconstrue everything that is said about the perfect equality, the required harmony, and the absolute inter-dependence of ‘Male’ and ‘Female’ at every level of Creation. All of this is in the stories. Nothing is hidden. But the meaning of the words has to be penetrated and understood. As we have seen, only the Sacred Feminine, within the soul of a human being or the soul of a civilization, can receive the pure, endless, unknowable Being of God, without trying to limit or define it, and then bring it to birth as infinite abundance and love in this world. And only the Sacred Feminine, through pure noetic intuition, can reconnect us to that infinite, timeless, Divine Being, and lead us home.

The consequences of her degradation, a crime for which men and women are equally responsible, are constantly and painfully visible in the disintegration of compassion, decency, kindness, and human meaning, that we witness all around us.