Do you ever wonder why we take for granted that God is a male and doesn’t have a wife? Do you ever wonder when human beings began to think of themselves as apart from the rest of Nature and possibly superior to Her? Just what process of human history and evolution has led us to where we are today, on the brink of environmental disaster, unprecedented chronic diseases and mismanagement of resources and public health, and general disregard for people, animals, and nature?
I am not an expert on history, the environment, or feminist studies, but I have a curious mind and I like to think about why things are the way the are. Of course I accept that my understanding will be extremely limited, and that as a human being there is only so much I can perceive. Still and all, it strikes me repeatedly how a combined fear and hatred not so much of women per se, but of the feminine pervades our culture and society, perhaps more in the United States of America, but also around the globe. This fear has perpetuated a desire by societies to control women, fertility, and generally prevent women from developing their personal potential through education and career around the world. Fear and the desire to control often go hand in hand.
My own religious upbringing was Jewish, but even as a child I began to question the motivations of the lone and fearsome male Jewish god. Though I have read that God did have a wife, but somehow she was written out of history for the convenience of male theologians, most likely. Throughout our western religions, the fear of the feminine is pervasive. The myth of the Virgin Mary, the persecution of women as witches who possessed knowledge of the power of plants and traditional feminine wisdom are but a few examples. As we know, Christianity sprouted from the heart of ancient Rome, in a part of the world where polytheism reigned. It seems as if civilization as we know it as transformed from nomadic societies of hunter-gatherers who respected and indeed needed to respect the power and wisdom of nature was born into an atmosphere of desire to overpower nature, to conquer her. The initial respect and powerful connection to Nature of primitive humans seemed to have given way to a desire to domesticate, and to control.
By taking away knowledge of Nature, by detaching people from worship of goddesses and of connection to the feminine, we have divorced ourselves collectively, from a very powerful part of ourselves. We can observe in the world we live in today, the severe consequences of this compartmentalization. It is as if we have cut ourselves off from our very soul, believing that we can live and thrive from the mind alone. We have been taught to trust in science, which has become a religion in itself. Many have been taught that they need to be “saved” by some force outside of self, be it science or Jesus, not realizing that the power and voice of Nature, that feminine voice of the soul, speaks to us all from within.
We can only restore our relationship with Nature and rekindle a balanced life within our human communities, with the animals, plants, and other beings that populate our planet, if we accept and consciously embrace the feminine within ourselves.
I personally hold a great sense of respect for Jesus, whom I believe was a rounded and fully individuated human being. He held the feminine in great respect, and I feel very certain that he revered women and treated them as equals. How we have come to a place where the feminine has been reduced to an institution which is barely alive in our collective conscious is something with which we must all grapple and with which we must come to terms if we wish to survive and perpetuate our human culture and existence on Earth.
The myth that Jesus’ mother, Mary, was a virgin, was created to take away from the powerful feminine process of procreation. I understand that the story was also created to transmit the idea that Jesus was both a human being and a spiritual being, and that his existence was a supernatural one. But simultaneously, this myth transmits the sense that feminine power was feared at that time, and that religious leaders wished to take focus away from pagan gods and goddesses, which were very much alive for the peoples who believed in them at that time in history. The great diversity of gods, goddesses, and other spiritual beings was in fact proof that the diversity of spiritual reality was much more present in the hearts and minds of ancient peoples. This consciousness of spiritual diversity helped people to be more self aware and more differentiated in their inner lives. Today, without this type of diverse spiritual guidance, we are limited to seeing the spiritual realm as one in which there is only one male being which ostensibly contains everything, but we are not privy to a more extensive clarification of that one male god’s inner diversity.
Basically, traditional societies which live in close relationship and proximity with nature possess much detailed knowledge about the cycles of nature. The respect they hold for Nature is submissive on some level, because She is more powerful than any of us. Reverence for Nature and for the feminine shows respect for the forces that allow us to live, and with this respect, we act accordingly and take only as much as we need. Native American peoples, for example, would wait for guidance from Nature guides and spirits before building a house or structure, knowing that timing and placement are sensitive issues. They knew how to listen to the voice of Nature within, and this wisdom allowed them to create civilizations that were able to flourish without much harm to the environment.
It is a very legitimate question to wonder why and how the peoples of Africa, the Americas, and Asia were conquered and decimated by peoples who had no respect for Nature or for the feminine. These conquerors justified their fear and hatred of the feminine by first taking away the authority that goddesses, women, and the feminine previously inspired in the hearts of men. The boundless greed of the European colonizers of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific islands is still alive today in the greed we see in the behaviors of Wall Street investment banks, the corporate monopolies which control our media, food supplies, and healthcare systems today. We observe systems which take seemingly without any lessening of appetite and which contribute an endless array of products and services which we do not need and which are most often destructive to people, animals, and the environment.
My deepest personal belief is that we all personally possess the power to look within our own hearts. Each human being is part masculine, part feminine. We are not men or women. We are each forces of Nature, and Nature calls upon us all to grow and become self-aware. For in this process of self-awareness, we find peace, we find connection to all that exists, and above all, we find the voice of Nature which speaks in us and through us. By collectively cutting ourselves off from the voice of Nature, we have lost our very identity as human beings. By denying the feminine aspect of being human, whether our gender is male or female, we lose the ability to feel empathy, connect to all aspects of being, and to know that we are an integral part of Nature. Our creative and intellectual talents as humans can and must be tempered by the feminine to heal our hearts and to restore our environment to a place of balance. Life contains a notion of upheaval, of creation and destruction, and the force of light is balanced by darkness. Paradox is at the essence of being, holding us in its embrace.
It is my hope that finding ourselves together on the brink of extinction will somehow jolt the most resistant and blind among us to the realization that there is a better way of living and being than the one we have created over the last few thousand years. Perhaps the Native American peoples, the aboriginal peoples of Australia, the many ethnic groups of the African continent will become our teachers and will lead us out of the terrible situation we have brought upon ourselves. America today is an illustration of disconnection, and many of us feel the pain that this has caused. Yet many others still are completely asleep and have no realization of how the deep division in their being is the cause of the depression from which millions of Americans suffer. It is said that depression and mental illness will cost America trillions of dollars each year. No one seems to reflect much on the sources of the pain from which so many suffer, and the materialism of our culture simply produces new and more powerful medications with even more devastating side effects each day to diminish the symptoms of the voice of the soul. The depression from which we collectively suffer is the voice of our polluted waters, of our foods covered with dangerous chemicals, of the billions of animals treated with unspeakable cruelty in the name of producing affordable food. Our souls cry out from our being treated ourselves as machines, and pain comes from not being able to cook real meals or spend enough time relaxing with our children, family, and friends. We want to live simply, but we many of us are brainwashed to want things that we don’t need. We have allowed employers to strip us of all rights and respect in the name of profits and productivity. Yet how productive is a person who lives without being seen, heard, appreciated?
Nature is not a walking trail in the woods or some flowers that you plant in your garden. Nature is a goddess, a powerful force that lives in each of us. She is the force behind both life and death. We have been denying her her rightful place in our hearts, our legislation, our communities. We have denied her her rightful place in our souls and religions and spiritual worship. It is my hope that we will collectively wake up and rekindle our relationship with the feminine, and that we will hold her in awe and treat her with deference, within our own souls and hearts, and in Nature. We are all connected, and everything we think, feel, or do affects everyone and everything else. This is a very important law of life and nature. It is time to reawaken after the long sleep of materialism. We can co-create with Nature, and technology can co-exist and be tempered by the needs of all beings, and of our planet and the Universe beyond. Development will have to be more cautious, more slow. The simple knowledge that everything is connected is a source of awe. To create anything by nature causes consequences. By slowing down and listening to the voice of the feminine, of nature within us and in the world, we can create respectfully and design a legacy that will keep humanity alive and thriving.