ISIS – ASTARTE – DIANA – HECATE – DEMETER – KALI – INANNA
There, amidst the crazy crowds, it struck me how very easy it is for me to accept the Goddess in a myriad of forms – the above chant naming a mere seven of them.
I don’t have any issue building an abundance altar dedicated to Lakshmi, or tuning into the energies of Sekhmet and Durga, or indeed roaming a public gallery seeking out different representations of the Goddess throughout history.
So why has the notion of “the Goddess” never been particularly prominent in Western culture? Well, that’s for another post.
But I think this has been to my advantage.
Even though I might bemoan the patriarchy or decry the exclusive representation of God as male in Christianity and other religions, the upside is that it has left my receptivity to the Goddess W I D E O P E N .
Despite the strong symbolism of the trinity of Father, Son & Holy Spirit, I have plenty of imagination for the Divine to encompass ever so much more than “two men and a bird”. **
It is easy for me see the Goddess in different forms and different religions. Because I don’t have a preconceived notion of who and what she is – enforced by decades of cultural and religious imprinting – she can be anything and everything and that’s perfectly fine with me.
If I had grown up with a strong female Goddess symbol, defined in the narrow way the Christian church has delineated “God”, the Goddess might be much more difficult for my adult self to embrace. I say this despite the fact that I come from a family of armchair Christians (at best). It’s that hard to get away from the male God stereotype – he’s everywhere!
Besides, isn’t it highly appropriate that the very essence of Divine Sacred Feminine presents herself in so many shapes? That She is so many things stemming from one Divine Essence? Aren’t we as women just as multifaceted – fulfilling different roles, taking on different forms throughout our lifetime(s)? Mamma’s just reflecting herself back to us.
As I said, I was brought up with Christianity as a vague default faith. When I prayed (until recently that is, and if I prayed at all), I prayed to God as an omnipresent and omnipotent being but somehow – insidiously, consciously and unconsciously – I couldn’t escape visualising a wise and greying father figure.
Now I pray to the Goddess in any which way she chooses to show up. Blissfully unburdened by lifetimes of cultural conditioning, she comes to me.
Easily. Wisely. Lovingly.
And thank God for that!
** quote from a Catholic nun in Sue Monk Kidd Dance of the Dissident Daughter (1996)
Images: josephinewall.co.uk, mysticmedusa.com, museum.classics.cam.ac.uk, greek-mythology-pantheon.com