Artemis of Epheshia.
These names were once held with great reverence, and carried unimaginable power. They are the names of the Earth Goddesses throughout time in varying cultures, and if the list were to be complete, it would be very, very long.
To worship the divine as feminine was a foregone conclusion. Women and the Earth had much in common. They still do. They were ruled by the cycles of the moon, they grew new life from within their body, they fed and sustained that life with the abundance that flowed from their breasts. Women were magic. Women still are.
What would the world look like if today, if God were still a woman? What would the experience of women and men have been had they grown up inside a culture where the divine was feminine, mothering, nurturing, powerful, and abundant? Where cooperation and unity were valued over individualism, where each decision was based on how it would effect the children, and their children, and their children, seven generations down the line.
It is not hard to imagine that the people who grew up steeped in such a culture might have values that were reflective of the feminine. Values that favored life, balance, equanimity, and inclusion rather than war, power-over, division and exclusion.
What such a world would look like is almost impossible to imagine. The dominant theology in the west has been masculine, and with it the eradication of the feminine. Even when there were Goddesses mentioned, they were subjugated and at the mercy of the Gods that took their place. The story that informs our culture is that God is a man, and his earthly representative and our savior is also a man. Through his holy spirit, God spoke to men on earth, and told them to write down his laws and edicts; by men, for men, to distribute as they saw fit. Women, under the rule of Yahweh, were property, much like goats and land. They were not permitted to teach, were encouraged to be meek, mild, and obedient to the men. This teaching is still found inside the walls of the majority of churches. In most denominations of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, women are not permitted to hold positions of Pastor, Preacher, Priest, Deacon or Rabbi. Think about that. 50% of the population are told they cannot hold positions of spiritual leadership based upon their gender.
We can talk about progress, about feminism, about gender equality all that we want, but we must remember that we are talking about it inside of a paradigm where the masculine is valued as greater, is considered the “norm”, and where anything outside of that norm is considered less-than, suspicious, and in need of being controlled.
I am going to rewrite the blue paragraph, substituting masculine for feminine, man for woman, and God for Goddess. Watch what happens:
The dominant thealogy in the west has been feminine, and with it, the eradication of the masculine. Even when there have been Gods mentioned, they were subjugated and at the mercy of the Goddesses that took their place. The stories that inform our culture are that Goddess is a woman, her earthly representative and our savior is also a woman. Through her Holy Spirit, Goddess spoke to women on Earth, and told them to write down her laws and edicts; by women, for women, to distribute as they saw fit. Men, under the rule of Asherah, were property, much like goats and land. They were not permitted to teach, were encouraged to be meek, mild, and obedient to the women. This teaching is still found inside the walls of the majority of churches. In most denominations of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, men are not permitted to hold positions of Pastor, Preacher, Priest, Deacon or Rabbi. Think about that. 50% of the population are told they cannot hold positions of spiritual leadership based upon their gender.
Interesting, is it not? It sounds like fantasy, like fiction. And yet, the opposite is what our culture is steeped in, and believed by the majority to be the truthful word of the Divine.
It is said that deep culture, the part of our heritage and social workings that we cannot see, the part that is so embedded within society and self that it is as invisible as the air that we breathe, is an enormous part of what informs who we become. Our culture denigrates women, even when we think that outwardly, it does not.
It is our deep culture that demonizes, villainizes, and denigrates the feminine. There are 195 countries in our world. 11 of those have elected female heads of state. Eleven. In the United States, women make up 51% of the population, and yet, they hold only 17% of the seats in congress, and women of color, only 4%. This really isn’t shocking in light of the fact that women were only granted the right to vote in 1920, nearly 100 years after the fight for the vote began. Women in the west still struggle for equality on all levels, and women over the rest of the Earth struggle for their lives.
Beaten, raped, taken as property, mutilated, stoned, beheaded and set afire, living in poverty, birthing in poverty, no access to education, to safe places, to safe anything. Living with menstrual taboos, gender taboos, birth control restrictions and lack of education, women in poverty must work doubly hard to survive. Infants are even killed by their own mothers who have come to devalue themselves and anyone like them to such an extent that they view their newborn daughters as nothing more than a piece of garbage to be discarded.
This must change.
The masculine holds the majority in every single position of power. Testosterone driven male ego has been making the decisions for the world for a very, very long time, and the earth and it’s inhabitants are paying the price. We are reaching the point of no return. The unchecked greed and lust for power and control is destroying the earth. We need to make sweeping changes from top to bottom. We need to bring back the honoring of the feminine. We need places for women inside of the centers of spirituality where they can usher in a matriarchal view of the world. Where they can embody the Goddess. We need to tap into the vast uncharted and forgotten waters of the feminine divine.
The incredible numbers of women and even men who are waking up to the feminine is astounding. I believe that as we reconnect with the Earth, with wild things, with the wildish nature inside of ourselves, we are calling Her home. We are, like birds who sing the sun up in the morning, singing the song of the return of the Goddess. Let’s hope we are not too late.