Mid Week Faith Lift
May 14, 2014
“All Things Beautiful….The Divine Feminine”
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
Happy Mother’s Day to all this fine morning! Mother’s Day originated in the US in 1872 as a remembrance to celebrate peace and to help heal the pain of the Civil War. This year marks the 100th Anniversary of Mother’s Day as a national holiday. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as a day to honor mothers. There were some Senators who resisted this because they felt it was unfitting to have only ONE day to honor mothers. I am almost certain they re-thought that one though, because I can hardly imagine in 1914 that a whole month…Mother’s Month….a whole month for moms to just take care of only themselves…really ? Not gonna happen! Get real, right?
So what are we celebrating today? The fact of biological reproduction is the least of the celebration, although that is no small thing and has been essential to the survival of the human species. What with 7 Billion people on the planet and sustainability of life a major concern, I am not sure how much more of this we need to encourage! So what do we celebrate today, if not our reproductive capacity as women?
I saw a poster in a high school guidance office of a teenage girl with a newborn and the caption was “It is an 18 year service project!” Well, that is a start, but in reality it is a lifelong service project and it goes both ways, as any of us who have cared for an ageing parent realizes. And it is a lifelong relationship: wonderful, awful, rewarding, special,loving, good, bad or ugly that can actually continue throughout our entire life—long after our mothers have left this earth plain. When you hear yourself saying something that sounds just like your mother….well that can be a mixed blessing because some of us had stellar moms and some of had moms that only had stellar moments, and most of us fall awkwardly somewhere in between.
If you are a mom, it is hard not to feel a bit uneasy on Mother’s Day, because it is a job and a relationship that is 24/7 for 365 days a year ….year after year after year. As a very human being, it is hardly possible to live up to the saintly images and accolades on Hallmark cards. It is a 2 Billion dollar business for Mother’s Day you know….Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving! As a recovering perfectionist and a mother, each year this day, Mother’s Day, leaves me feeling vulnerable and somewhat anxious. Pedestals are small and somewhat dangerous places. Not for me, and not too much fun! It is a matter of perspective and seeing a bigger picture. And while we are not all biological mothers, we all had a mother of some sort in order to get here. To gain a larger than pedestal perspective, I want to read a passage from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet about mothers and children….
“And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children. And he said: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you, And although they are with you yet they do not belong to you….
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the Infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrow may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves the bow that is stable.”
As children, as biological beings we are also spiritual beings, the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. In that awareness, let us consider the Divine Feminine energy as a life energy that has been celebrated and worshipped since antiquity. There is a pantheon of goddesses and goddess worship that continues in some cultures to this day. There are Indian Goddesses Lakshmi and Kali, the Egyptian goddess Isis, the Celtic goddesses Bridget and Epona and Gaia, the embodiment of the Earth. These goddesses were not on pedestals; they consorted with the gods, made weapons and went to war to defend their young as well as bearing them.
In Western cultures we see it most clearly in the Celtic spiritual practices, which are deeply connected to the earth and all the cycles of earth and its fertility. It is in that consciousness of fertility, that consciousness of waiting, that the divine feminine energy derives its power. It is a consciousness of planting that reflects nature and what happens every spring when new life breaks forth. It is the power of the consciousness of creative waiting, of holding sacred space for something to grow and emerge that is the power of the Divine Feminine. It is the yin energy of the yin/yang and most of the Eastern spiritual practices recognize the power in the potential energy. It is the creative waiting that allows something to take space in us and grow without necessarily seeing, knowing or even understanding what is growing or how. It is creative waiting, not creative rushing! It is Divine Order, not divine rushing! It is the Divine Feminine!
Our western culture is so focused on product or measurable outcomes that we have lost touch with the incredible energy of creative waiting, of holding sacred space; the power of process. I mentioned at a Contemplative Leaders meeting last week that while our church wants to grow in numbers, the most important growth is in consciousness. The first question another minister asked me was, “How in the world do you measure that?” My response was that you measure it in how we treat one another, in our language and in our behaviors toward our selves and one another. In reality, female and male energy are truly different ways of knowing and the feminine energy of creative waiting makes space and supports the action that comes forth from the process without having to own it or manipulate it…much like the power of the bow in Kahlil Gibran’s poem.
Our language is so focused on the doing or the outcome that we do not speak pleasantly or positively of waiting or gestation. It is something good to have behind us. The buzz phrase in the common parlance right now is “move forward” or “going forward” which bypasses the power of “creative waiting” . The energy of the Divine Feminine and creative waiting is to “move into” or “move through” lest something vitally important be lost in the process. The process, like human birth, can be messy and we don’t accommodate that messiness very well in our culture. But to birth something new is a messy process and often confusing and slower than we want it to be. But much like a baby, the more time in gestation, the better the final outcome, even if we don’t like it! Jesus spent 40 days of spiritual gestation in the desert prior to the Easter experience of new life….human gestation takes 40 weeks! HMMM!!
I don’t speak French, but I know enough of the structure of the language to know that all nouns are either masculine or feminine—thus a hotel (the structure) is masculine and the rooms (inner spaces) are feminine. There is an intuitive acknowledgement that both masculine and feminine energy are present in all things. The Buddhist or Taoist example is that of the vessel. It is made up of the walls and the space inside and neither could exist without the other. The space inside is the womb or feminine energy and too often we have looked into the vessel, saying “oh, there’s nothing in it!” not valuing the emptiness or potential. We have not seen or valued the “nothing” that is there. If the vessel were solid, it would not serve its function and be discarded. It is in the energy of both the masculine walls and the female emptiness or “sacred space” that allows for the creative divine energy to flow. This is what it means to “hold space” or hold the “high watch.”
That is one of the features and the power of Unity that was a powerful attractor for me…that when we pray, we acknowledge Mother/Father God. Acknowledging the Divine Feminine was incredible to me! We can actually do that?!? I felt seen and valued in the theology of Unity and the first time I heard it during a service in 1989 at Unity of Des Moines, I cried. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. And then Charles goes on to talk about the Divine Feminine as our feeling nature and the Divine Masculine as our thinking nature. When we bring our head and our heart together we then fully open to the Christ energy or the energy of God in us! Wow, that was revolutionary back in 1928 and it still is. Thank you Charles and Myrtle Fillmore!
As I really thought about the Divine Feminine and the concept of “Creative Waiting” it became clear to me that our notion of Divine Order is really an affirmation of the Divine Feminine. There is a Scripture in the Gospel of Mark which completely fits with the idea of “Creative Waiting” and the idea of the Divine Feminine and the nature goddesses of all traditions. It is from Mark 4:28 “The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.” What is it that is asking to be birthed in you? As we speak of the creative flow of life, we are in the energy of the Divine Feminine, inviting the space for Divine Order to unfold; creating and holding the space for it to unfold. I make a space, a womb in my heart and mind for God. In that place of letting go of ego, of stillness, of emptiness that is the Divine Feminine, I open to the loving energy of mother God and listen for guidance, intuitions, nuances and nudges. I tune into the Divine Feminine that is present in Creative Waiting in the Silence so that all I do unfolds in the Divine Order of the Divine Feminine.
We are immersed in the power and Presence of the indwelling Spirit of the Divine Feminine! May we birth a wondrous creation!
Blessings on the path,