Further Study: What is the Sacred Feminine?
"What is the Sacred Feminine?
Abridged Essay by Amy Peck (Amalya) (c) 1996, rev 4-20-12
The Sacred Feminine is a paradigm of Universal Motherhood. It is a principle that embraces and weaves concepts of the Holy Mother, the Goddesses of ancient mythologies, the Divine Self within, Mother Earth doctrines and lore of indigenous peoples. It is a principle that weaves concepts of wisdom, compassion and unconditional love, plus other metaphysical, shamanic, pagan and magical practices..
The Sacred Feminine is a concept that recognizes that "God" ultimately is neither anthropomorphically male or female but a Divine Essence (Goddessence) beyond form and duality—an essence that is a balance and unification of masculine and feminine principles, an essence that possesses within Itself the potential for manifesting both male and female—a dynamic, interdependent immanence that pervades all life.
But seeing the divine as an abstract concept of omnipresent consciousness, or immanence is a challenge for most humans. We all have a basic human need to put the inexplicable into a tangible form in order to explore our relationship to it. Thus we tend to anthropomorphize, or attribute human characteristics to, the unknowable. In other words, we name and assign form to an abstract concept in order to relate to it at our level of ability. So the Divine Essence or Absolute has become a "Father" God figure that we were taught to visualize, pray to and imagine having a personal relationship with. Unfortunately, seeing the vast, infinite, absolute and indescribable Goddessence only in the form of masculine metaphor and symbol has severely limited our human spiritual potential.
For the last several thousand years the religious belief systems of our world have been patriarchal which sanctioned societal ethics that elevated God the Father over Mother Earth and man over woman. It is time to balance the masculine and feminine principles within our belief systems, our religious doctrines, our cultural ethos and within ourselves. “Universal order is maintained through balance and mutual respect of the male and female”. To gain this equilibrium, we must shift our focus for a while to the Holy Mother and the Divine Feminine—we need to explore the metaphor of the Mother, and the symbol of the Goddess. We need to emphasize "Motherly" love, wisdom, compassion and creativity, and we must empower women and celebrate their contribution to spirituality, culture and society.
Ultimately, what we should advocate is not that a concept of the Goddess replace that of God, but that we hold each spiritual principle with equal reverence. Then in the human dynamics, we can strive not so much to make woman equal in strength to man—but to regard her strengths as equal. In so doing, perhaps then our interpersonal and inter-cultural relationships can achieve a healthier balance and unity. It is time to honor the Divine Feminine—to remember and reclaim our Heritage—in order to restore wholeness within our religions, our selves, our communities, and our earth.
Defining the Sacred Feminine, like defining "God", is an daunting task. However, to begin to nurture our awareness of this concept, I offer the following collection of ideals that describe "Sacred Feminine" which I have summarized from the comments and writings of many people:
The "Sacred Feminine" paradigm…
~ Is the nurturing, welcoming, accessible, kind, gentle (yet firm or fierce when necessary), compassionate, accepting, forgiving, patient and wise attitude of the Loving Mother Essence.
~affirms and values the "Divine Mother" or Goddess as birthgiver and creatrix—as the aspect that brings life into the world. Regards consciousness and love as the dynamic powers of Life and Creation—regards the active, interactional, and adaptive modes of creation as feminine.
~cherishes nature and all the earth's beings—affirms life and appreciates all its beauty, bounty, diversity and mystery as well as respecting it's ferocity. Sees the human body and soul or spirit as inherently good and worthy of esteem.
~ sees the Divine as the intelligent consciousness and life force essence within all life and immanently accessible within each being, versus the Divine as only an external "God" or "prophet" or only accessible through "chosen" or "ordained" individuals or unchallengeable scriptures.
~ fosters peace, moderation, and balance. Promotes respect, acceptance and tolerance of others—"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" and "do what you will, but harm no one".
~ believes in "Magic" as events (currently scientifically inexplicable) of positive synchronicity, serendipity, "coincidences" to which an individual contributes in the creation of by one's intention through visualization, affirmation and action, and recognizes by intuition.
~encourages a holistic approach to healing of mind, body and spirit and fosters positive self esteem, inner growth, Self awareness, Self-realization, and Self-actualization. Values the cultivation of one's sacred heart—inner wisdom, intuition, inner truth, inner divinity.
~ is especially respecting, empowering, and encouraging to women (to balance the centuries of suppression of the feminine nature), yet without elevating one gender over another. And particularly validates and celebrates woman's passages of menarche, menstruation, birth-giving, and menopause.
~ values the reclaiming, rediscovering, remembering and restoring of the lost ancient evidences of matrifocal societies and cultures, Goddess archetypes and lore, and the history of empowered women, leaders, priestesses, healers, mothers, artists and activists.
~ cherishes devotional, creative or artistic expression (dance, music, etc.), as a valuable, sacred experience
respects egalitarian, partnership and democratic models of community and societal structure, and promotes non-hierarchical, non-authoritative, non-dogmatic style of leadership.
~ honors cycles of life, nature, of the body and the individual. Respects the process of death as a natural (and sometimes potentially benevolent) cycle of nature and respects an individual's freedom of choice in death. Respects a woman's freedom of choices in birth-giving.
~ regards the dark side of nature and human consciousness not as evil but as a manifestation of the "winter" and destructive cycle of nature and thus part of the process of life and learning.
~encourages us to be present in the moment; appreciates inner reflection and meditation. Encourages us to hold the intention of compassion, love and patience in all actions and thoughts no matter how significant or mundane.
~ appreciates the inventing and sharing of ceremony and ritual to assist one and another through life's cycles, individual changes, passages and yearly seasons.
~ regards sexuality as a natural and intrinsically good and sacred experience between loving, consenting partners whether for pleasure or procreation.
~promotes personal integrity. Encourages us to live life honorably for the experience of the blessing it is now—not for some reward in "heaven" or out of fear of punishment in "hell". And since all life is seen as interconnected, we are also encouraged to be accountable and responsible for our intentions and actions, knowing "What you sow, you reap".
~ Recognizes that there is a male and female aspect to each personality and encourages both men and women to cultivate the balance of their own inner masculine and feminine aspects.
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of the full original unabridged four page version of this original essay by Amalya.
*Please contact Amalya for permission to reproduce or use excerpts from this article: AmalyaGoddess@aol.com