When I sat down to write this article, I consulted Wikipedia’s glossary of spiritual terms and discovered God but no Goddess under “G”. Although one of my readers immediately added a definition of the Goddess, I was deeply impacted by this omission. It verified what I’ve always known: in our modern sensibilities, God is the fundamental construct for Divinity, and the Goddess doesn’t even make the list. That’s not to say that the Goddess isn’t recognized and honored by many, but collectively we don’t identify with or adhere to a feminine concept of the Divine.
You may ask yourself: why does this matter? What do we gain from a feminine concept of the Divine? I could answer these questions from an intellectual perspective, but that doesn’t sit well with me. It’s like talking about someone in the third-person when they’re standing right beside you.
Beneath our everyday existence is a vast realm of mystery that is the between-the-worlds home of those we have named God and Goddess. We humans have always known this and have given voice to our connection to these otherworld beings by conceiving and naming their qualities, powers and gifts through our mythic storytelling and spiritual and religious practices. But the Gods and Goddesses exist in their own right, independent of our human conceptions.
Let’s return to the questions of why the Goddess matters, and what we gain from a feminine conception of the Divine. But rather than me answering these questions, I will do my best to get out of the way and let the Goddess speak for Herself:
I am the shining light in your cells and the beating love in your heart. My ethos is one of creation, of life giving birth to and nurturing life. Your body and soul are woven of my sacred essence, and the material world is the outer expression of my presence.
Photo Credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash
I was born into a world that didn’t teach me what it means to be a woman in accordance with my true, sacred feminine nature and power. Instead, it made me see my womanhood as weak, small and inferior, meant to serve and please others. It taught me that power was an outside force, defined and imposed by others, that belonged to the realm of men.
Though I started my adult life on the wrong track, seeking my place and power in a masculine-defined world as an educated, career-focused business woman, my deeper Self had another plan that set me on the path of reclaiming the lost fragments of my whole, holy womanhood.
I did feminist graduate studies, ran my own gender-equity consulting business, read countless books on women’s ways and Goddess theology, spent countless hours in therapy and personal development, moved away from the city to a small, rugged island to reconnect with Nature, practiced magic, went to witchcamp, and became a priestess, dreamer and daughter of the Goddess.
Still something essential was missing, connected to the dark, death powers of my sacred feminine nature. This is the story of when this precious fragment returned to me.
It’s the early hours on the day of the Winter Solstice. I jolt awake with the word “miscarriage” screaming in my brain. I dash to the bathroom to find blood coming from me that isn’t supposed to be there at week eleven in my pregnancy. My partner soothes me, and calms me down enough to take me to the hospital. Later that morning, an ultrasound confirms that our baby has died — a child we had consciously conceived and desperately wanted.
Our midwife gives us a choice: to stay in the hospital for a procedure or to let things run their course at home. I’ve been down this road before, having miscarried five years earlier. No one had told me then that thirty percent of first-time pregnancies end in miscarriage, nor prepared and coached me for this eventuality. We had gone the hospital route, and the experience had been disorienting and disempowering. This time would be differently; I would tend my own miscarriage.
In the darkest hours of the night, in the turning before the new dawn, my womb begins to convulse, releasing the dead life within. For hours, with each release, I collect the tissues of our child in a one-quart mason jar, not knowing which would have been his perfect face, his beating heart, his tiny body, his reaching hands, and his sweet toes. There are no eyes for me to close, or lips for me to kiss goodbye. This indistinguishable flesh, mixed with my life-giving blood, is all my partner and I have to mourn and bury.
In the midst of my keening grief, I remember myself — witch, priestess, wise woman — Holy Whore, Holy Reaper — midwife to both life and death moments with the powers of creation and destruction within my living womb.
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These are powerful times that call for powerful presence. The world as we know it appears to be coming apart at the seams, in both immensely positive and terrifyingly negative ways. And we must find our place and power, our love and goodness, in the midst of this river of change that carries us forward to a brighter or desolate future. The Goddess speaks to this transformative moment, calling us to collect and weave the silver threads of Her love and life-centered ways into a tapestry of love that offers a new vision for our lives and shared human society.
I feel the import of this moment, like all of Creation is holding its breath, waiting to see what we humans will choose at this colossal tipping point. I’ve visited this tipping point many, many times with the Goddess and always She returns to the same message: you already have what you need to heal your soul and this world; it’s inside of you, my greatest gift to you, and your most sacred birthright — love.
By this the Goddess doesn’t mean our human, emotional kind of love, but the love that infuses all living things in the unfolding Cosmos, that drives life to create and nurture new life, and to honor and embrace the brilliant manner in which every life form, and every one of us, holds a unique, essential piece of the shining, living, breathing whole.
I feel the Goddess in my fingertips as I write this post. I feel Her in my heart and in my solar plexus.
“Find these threads in your own life. Gather them to you as the precious gifts that they are. Weave them into a new vision, a tapestry of love that centers your everyday existence, and your choices and actions in the goodness and beauty that you are, and the goodness and beauty of your Earth home. And then live your tapestry of love, with all your heart and all your will, knowing that this, and only this, will bring the depth of change that’s needed to turn the tides into a brighter future in these perilous, exhilarating times.”