“When the world was born, I came into being. I am the unfading beauty of times to come. In me Grace is at work to divinize the soul. I shall continue to disclose myself to you. I am the Eternal Feminine.” ~ Teilhard de Chardin
One great difference between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity – perhaps even the greatest – can best be understood by examining the very different routes taken in translating the Greek word, theoria. In the East, theoria meant contemplation. In the West, it came to mean theory.
Western Civilization has rigidly theorized, defined and dogmatized almost everything revered by early (pre-Constantine) Christianity. Over the centuries, Christianity has evolved into a horribly out of balance (out of touch with reality) top-down patriarchy. This is why many of us speak of “The End Times.” ‘End of what,’ we ponder? End of an age? That’s for certain! The final, gasping breaths and end of an exhausted, misogynistic Western worldview? Probably. And if so, ‘good riddance,’ but let’s hope Western Civilization can be salvaged by evolving (finally) a more balanced and rational spirituality.
The journey to the re-emergence of the Divine Feminine will involve a conscious act of human spirit and genuine contemplation, not simply memorized “correct beliefs.” Correct beliefs and rigid, impenetrable dogma: these are instruments of manipulation and control. Would that more Christians recognize that. You might recall what Jesus said of religious authoritarians: “For you are like whitened tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones…” (Mt 23:27)
Theologians all agree we can articulate absolutely nothing about the incomprehensible essence of God, an eternal, unknowable mystery. And although we can voice nothing about God’s essence (ousia), which is the transcendent nature of God, we can, however, glean much from the experience of God’s activities (enérgeia) on Earth, God’s immanent nature. Some faiths teach God is heavily involved in the world (God’s will) while others extol individual free will, a philosophical disputation for some other time.
I believe it is imperative to have faith in a personal God with whom one can build a relationship. This automatically precludes gods of abstract forces, concentrations of energy and Prime Movers. We have at our disposal a plentiful inventory of personal Gods to choose from. For me, at the time I wrote Chrysalis and since, my own personal God has been the Divine Feminine. In fact, Jewish mysticism declares that God’s activities on Earth, God’s immanence, are indeed the actions of the Shekinah – “the feminine presence of God who dwells among us.” This teaching is based on writings from the Talmud and Kabbalah.
The Shekinah was in the mist that guided the ancient Israelites through the desert to the Promised Land. Throughout human history there have been many manifestations (theophanies) of the Divine Feminine. Until, that is, she was repressed – some say exiled. “We know and understand by historical and current world conditions, that patriarchy is the force of power and suppression of the Feminine, rooted for millennia in religious doctrine…” (Source)
The Greeks knew this mystical feminine presence as Sophia, Holy Wisdom (left). The Romans as Magna Mater – The Great Mother. In ancient Egypt she was first Hathor and later Isis. In the Northern Lands she was Freya; in Celtic Lands, she was known as Danu and as Shakti in Hindustan. In Chrysalis she reveals herself as The Moon, the art adorned with Ishtar’s Eight Pointed Star of New Beginnings. And in Christian mystical thought she is Mary the Mother of God.
I [Sophia] am the breath of the Most High, blanketing the Earth like mist, filling the sky like towering clouds. I encompass distant galaxies, and walk the innermost abyss. Over crest and trough, over sea and land, over every people and nation, I hold sway. ~ Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 24:3-6
In Chrysalis we propagate the “breath of the Most High” as implicating prana or pranic energy, which continuously traverses the seven chakras and reunites with its wellspring, the Universal Soul. Prana is a Sanskrit word meaning life force. However, we are unable to evolve a personal relationship with prana in the same idealized way we can relate to Sophia or, say, to the Divine Feminine. Consequently, we tend to ascribe human characteristics to our deities. A process called anthropomorphism.
Those qualities we humans ascribe to the Divine Feminine include gentleness, dependability, constancy, nurturing, compassion and empathy, to name a few. I attach no small significance to the fact that Queen Elizabeth was often photographed wearing a lovely brooch that accentuated the eight-pointed Glorious Star of Regeneration and New Beginnings. In Chrysalis, regeneration is symbolized by the Phoenix.
Will the death of Elizabeth II mark a new beginning and herald a new era? In practicality, of course it will. For me, and perhaps for many others, it is proving difficult to let go of the Elizabethan Era, the only era we have ever known. The Queen provided our material grounding – our refuge from the storms and uncertainty of disruptive change. We shall now rely upon the Divine Feminine more than ever. Obviously, I am an Anglophile, a staunch royalist who values tradition. I once lived in Celtic England (Cornwall) and will forever cherish those days just as I have cherished this remarkable woman.
The Queen is dead. Long live the King.
An excellent book by Caitlin Matthews titled Sophia: Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God is highly recommended.
© Toney Brooks, 2022