Sunday, February 06, 2005

EOTM: The Goddess

The Goddess represents all that women are, might be, and hope to become: as the God represents the same things for men. When there were many gods and goddesses, each of them represented a separate face of what we have now come to call "the human condition". There was one for each of the best and worst, and the sometimes simply mundane, characteristics of women and men.

The many faces and incarnations of these beings, as well as the ease with which they could change shape or name, testified to a deep intuitive understanding of human nature which was passed from generation to generation by the oral tradition of myth and legend. Within each person lies the potential to be creative or destructive, as well as the potential to understand which of their acts contribute to creation and which to destruction. The process of social maturation is the gradual development of these abilities and the increasingly conscious choice applied to selecting one's own actions based on the probable consquences of that act.

For the past several hundred years the Goddess has been under siege. The empire that the Romans began and eventually spread to span the entire globe under the reign of their students, the British, set out to destroy her because she interfered with empire building. Now the the god, too, is under siege: for the same reasons and in the same manner.

In every woman dwells some of the goddess, as in every man dwells some of the god. As each child makes the torturous journey from helplessness and dependency to the responsibilities and freedoms of adulthood, the god and the goddess represent the collected wisdom gained by thousands of generations of observation of how people can and do act. In the stories called myth and legend are the lessons learned regarding how each action we choose affects the lives of others, what its consequences will likely be. Using these lessons we can apply the force of consciousness to creating the world we desire by selecting our acts based on what we wish to create.

Most religions of the common era have lost sight of this. As humanity has become more densely packed and often cannot tolerate the slow process of maturation, guidelines for action have become externalized in the form of rules or commandments. Over time, people stopped teaching the understanding of why one "should" or "should not" do a particular thing and substituted compliance for understanding. The goddess and the god were moved outside of each person. Without internalizing the divine, both the sacred and the profane aspects of it, humans remain eternal children: forever dependant on the understanding of others to inform their actions. Yet, when those they look to have not internalized it either, they place themselves in slavery to the power of other unmatured children who will pass along their own helplessness and dependency, but call it wisdom.

In the dark ages before the Renaissance, compliance was enforced by a reign of terror called "The Inquisition". Dark and angry children in grown-up bodies tortured and killed all who did not bow to their so-called "wisdom". Learning itself was considered dangerous and vigorous attempts were made to stamp it out. Heirs of an empire begun hundreds of years before sought to consolidate their power, all power, by destroying all who opposed it. Because their one and only god was male, they attempted to destroy and discredit the idea of the divine feminine. Millions died for refusing to accept the moral authority of these self-appointed masters.

Much of the world today still lives in the shadow of those murderous times. Colonialism spread across the globe, confiscating ancestral lands, destroying entire cultures, and wiping out entire peoples. By first separating themselves from the divine then claiming to understand and represent it exclusively, these empire builders have set themselves against life and become a cult which worships death. In their view there is no meaning in life except to prepare for death and what happens afterward. They worship death, not life.

The Goddess was gravely injured, but she did not die. Deep within millions of women she waited out the dark times until her wisdom was again needed to heal the world. The God, as well, came close to death because the divine was confiscated from all human beings to be placed in the hands of a parental figure. No human was allowed to look inside for answers. All answers were to come from outside ourselves: from the empire builders, the enslavers. Now those answers are failing completely, and women and men are turning back to the Goddess and God within themselves.

Marianne Williamson speaks of "glorious Queens" as opposed to "slave girls" in "A Woman's Worth" and Robert Bly speaks of the need to find and reclaim the "inner King" in "Iron John". The King and The Queen are the earthly manifestations of God and Goddess. They represent the highest level of spiritual achievement available to us mere mortals. Most people tend to think of kings and queens in terms of the power that they have over the "common folk". Those who think of it in those terms have it backwards. The only power a true king or queen has is the power of self-mastery and the realization that we all serve a power greater than ourselves. Whether this power be called by the name of some particular god or goddess, or simply by the name "life", only those who dedicate their lives to its service will be able to find meaning, and unity, and purpose in their lives. Those who master this find people compellingly drawn to them. Which is why those people make them into kings and queens.

Many current worshipers of the goddess have fallen into the same pattern as the old Inquisitors. Dark, angry, and twisted children; they hate the god and seek to elevate the goddess above him. Under the lie of "equality", they seek superiority, power, and mastery of everything except themselves. They have come to worship only one face of the goddess: the dark and destructive face of Kali: the destroying face of ”The Bitch”. Men, having lost the god within themselves, no longer understand how Shiva uses his own power to balance the power of Kali. Instead, they cave in and supplicate to her. As a result, all that is good in them gets burned away and they become empty of all goodness, all godness, within. Some come to worship the dark power as well, and resort to violence to save themselves.

These men, as well as the men who hate the god and seek to elevate the goddess above him, are fools: dangerous fools. As the goddess must remain strong to balance the destructive power of the dark faces of the god, so must the god remain strong to balance the dark and destructive faces of the goddess. When either grows too powerful, many die and are lost.

George Lucas gave us a modern day version of the myth about this eternal struggle. Luke-who-walks-the-sky battles Darth Vader: literally "Dark Father". Rage and hatred are very powerful forces. Women's claim that "women+rage = power" is the cry of wounded and angry children lost in the dark. Anything + rage = power: rage = power. But it is a destructive power, not a creative one. The hate-intoxicated zealots who worship the dark and destructive face of the goddess are as much to blame for her loss of respect as those who hate all her faces. Men and women alike need to reclaim the light faces of the goddess and the god as well as the dark: if we, their children are ever to be freed from the darkness to walk again in the light of love for each other.

The best all round site I know for the many aspects of the goddess is:


Further Reading:

The God

Male Sexuality