The meaning and importance of The Divine Feminine has been troubling me again these past couple of days.
A mention of a conference on this very theme at which one of my dear minister friends is speaking (which sadly I’m not free to attend), a day for celebrating and embracing the Divine Feminine prompted by an email that landed in my inbox yesterday (which I’m not entitled to attend), and reflections on the subject by a follower of Rudolf Steiner (whose book I’m currently reading but not fully comprehending), have served to trigger my curiosity again.
The concept of what is masculine and what is feminine troubled me through most of my ministry training. I have my own ideas of the character of these different energies, of course, but I’ve no way of knowing whether what I feel as “masculine” or “feminine” corresponds with what others experience – and how can I?
Baruch Luke Urieli , the author of the aforementioned book (“Male and Female, Developing human empathy”), offers some ideas about how the male and female essences might be distinguished:
“Womanhood (is )…an all embracing gesture that receives, that carries, that is open to whatever may come. It has a universal and cosmic breadth. The male gesture is…directed firmly towards the earth. It is determined, thrust out of the cosmos…it has the urge to penetrate (the earth existence) and to transform it.”
He goes on, referring to the Venus urge: “(It tells ) of living in the embracing and sheltering breadth of the cosmos; it speaks of the longing to be as wide and as sheltering as the cosmos, and of the pain – and joy – which such an urge will necessarily bring with it for an earthy human being. ”
This seems a step forward from the usual sloppy, and I believe inadequate, distinctions that are made between male-like and female -like properties – generalised statements about aggression versus nurturing, directive versus embracing, etc. It also goes beyond just thinking about what men and women embody, if what lies beyond biological function is really quite as different as might often be assumed. But I’m not sure I really understand what he means.
What’s more, I think that I’m still a long way from understanding the mystical meaning of what is The Divine Feminine and what is The Sacred Masculine (other than, perhaps, the sexual act, or what is played out as a dance in Tantric practice, etc).
Are there archetypes specific for each sex, or can (for example) the energies, patterns for living, and natures of – say – the Greek gods and goddesses have something to offer anyone, irrespective of their birth sex?
I don’t know the answer to this question, but I suspect that if such archetypes do speak to us, their teachings and gifts are universal – at least in a world that is undergoing something of a spiritual awakening.
I’d love to know what happens at workshops such as the one to which I’m not invited – ones that invite gathered “sisters” to find the goddess within. If you’ve attended or even led such an event and feel free to tell me, please do! (Interestingly, I’ve yet to come across a Sacred Masculine / “Find your inner god” type event that I might be able to attend. Please let me know if you hear of one! Maybe men are too much of a hard sell for this sort of thing).
Perhaps such goddess workshops aim to acknowledge, celebrate, and embrace the feminine. They may recognise that this is no less divine than that that we call masculine, and they might invite confident expression of what flows within. And so the divine might shine.
If I’m right, this would be quite wonderful to witness. But we are all, to a greater or lesser degree, masculine and feminine. And we’re all divine. So I remain confused. But I won’t be giving up my inquiry into what all this means any time soon.