Usually when one envisions a personification
of "God" within the Western paradigm of religious culture, one envisions
a masculine figure. Therefore many assume there is no "Divine Feminine"
aspect within the Western Tradition, but this is not the case. Although
it is not bandied about within Western ecclesiastical circles...the Divine
Feminine is definitely within the Western Judeo-Christian tradition and
is alternatively paired with the Divine Masculine aspect or seen as the
cause and birther of the Divine Masculine in manifestation.
Now within the Western tradition there is
only the "One," and that One is neither masculine/feminine nor any other
"physical" appellation/description we could imagine. It is beyond
the beyond, it is the Ain, the Ain Soph, the Ain Soph Aur (The Limitless
Light of No Thing), and out of that effluence of "All" the "One" extrudes...or
emanates...itself into physical form (the many become one and the one become
many). This is the beginning of the kabbalistic "tzim tzum" theory,
and the "Tree of Life" in one way is a hierarchical map of the One’s energies
as they are stepped down into physical matter. As these energies
are stepped down, it is often easier to describe them with masculine/feminine
appellations and descriptions.
There are ten positions on the "Tree of Life";
the first three are named the Supernal Triangle and incorporate the extrusion
of the "One" Kether (sometimes referred to as crown or will). From
Kether, instantaneously in some schools of thought and sequentially in
others, two more positions (sephirah) are extruded…Binah and Chokmah.
Chokmah is often shown as male, the bearded gray-headed man of most Western
art depicting "God," and he is referred to as wisdom. The position
is masculine/active in nature. The other sephir that is created in
this initial outbreath of the "One" is Binah, "Understanding". Binah
is the Divine Feminine, the "sea" from where all is birthed into form
and to which all will return…she is the collective potential of all that
will and can be. In the of Western Judeo-Christian philosophy she
is often called the Shekinah, "the presence of God," and it is she that
nurtures, guides and births the children of Israel (which means consciousness).
In the book of Genesis in the Bible we have
it clearly stated not that God, Jehovah or YHWH created the heavens and
the earth, but that the Elohim did. Now Elohim is a feminine noun
that means "Creator Goddesses." This would be in alignment with the
tzim tzum theory of emanation that form flows forth from Binah, the Divine
Feminine...which when within the plane of manifestation, as we noted before,
is called the Shekinah (presence of God).
When Miriam (the name derives from the word
for sea), who is the Priestess to the Shekinah, dies in the desert while
the children of Israel (consciousness) are wandering, they no longer have
water, for the Shekinah has left (so the Bible says). Moses is told
(by YHWH which means "creation") to "ask" a rock (meaning faith) to bring
forth water (meaning the flow of Spirit). Moses is too stuck in his masculine
polarity, and instead of asking uses force and strikes the rock with his
rod to bring forth water. Because of this not honoring of the Divine
Feminine he is not allowed to go into the promised land. Think about
This Trinity can be seen again within the
Christian tradition, and yet has been re-named as Father, Son, Holy Ghost.
The Holy Ghost would equate to the Divine Feminine, and even earlier in
our Western Tradition the "dove" was a symbol of the Divine Feminine and
the harbinger of the covenant with Noah. Thus Jesus is empowered
by the Divine Feminine, the Holy Spirit.
So at base level the entire Judeo-Christian
theology is based on the Divine Feminine (though you won’t get many to
currently admit it in orthodox circles). In fact Jehovah, YHWH, the
being that most people think is "God" in Western tradition, isn’t mentioned
till much later in Genesis, and it actually means "creation". YHShWH
or Joshua, the name of Jesus, has a "Shin" in the center, which is considered
a "Mother letter" in Hebrew...the letter of the Divine Feminine that can
manifest in matter through the principle of purifying fire. Like the dove
descending into Jesus. Jesus serves the Shekinah, as he states in
the New Testament: he is come not to change the law but to fulfill
it; remember Moses didn’t fulfill it, he struck the rock. Jesus also
says he will baptize by fire. Interesting, eh?
So if you wish to find the Divine Feminine
within the Western Tradition, fulfill the Law and be Baptized by fire,
it might be worth your while to do a little study on your own. Within
the Western Tradition the Divine Feminine is alive and well. She
may be hidden, but she will shine her face upon all those who seek "the
Presence of God."
Interesting books for further research are:
When Women Were Priests, by
Karen Jo Toriesen
The Woman With the Alabaster Jar,
by Margaret Starbird