Waking Lovely

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Goddess, Eucharist, and Dreams of a Woman-Honoring World

I was raised with a God who was a He.  Always a He.  Those who spoke for Him, they were also males.  No woman could stand in the pulpit.  It would be horrifying if one did.

As I began my slow and gradual exit from Christianity, I began attending a mainline liberal church.  Far removed from my conservative Evangelical heritage and their communion of grape juice and goldfish crackers on a once a month basis (after being warned not to take it if in sin, or you might die), I watched my new group of people revolve their service not around a male pastor’s sermon, but instead around the Eucharist, around a communion where everybody partook of the Body and Blood of the Divine.

I finally gathered up the courage, after a few weeks, and went to the front and bent my knees to receive the Eucharist with the group.  A woman was in charge of the service.  As she handed me the cup of wine and spoke words over my head, I felt a deep well of tears begging to come up from inside.  That a woman could hand me Divinity?

I never knew how much it hurt, the absence of my gender in leadership roles, until that moment when the kindly older woman looked at me, her eyes surrounded by wrinkles from the years, and with authority in her voice, invited me to partake of God.  I was thirty years old and this was the first time such a thing had ever happened to me.

It was a life-altering moment.

I struggle with the God who is a He.  Not with God.  The He-ness assumed of God.  I hear it all the time.  God…He…God…He…  No one blinks an eye in assuming God is male.  If and when I substitute the He for a She, it’s as if the whole world jumps in shock.

That reaction, the horror and the affront (that one might suggest God was a She?), makes my chest tighten, my stomach clench.  I feel angry.  Something has been stolen from us and we are so blind, we side with and defend the thief!

Not because I have a problem with men.  I love my sons.   I have loved men, enjoying the rich sense of masculinity (whatever that mysterious thing is) that they bring to a relationship.  The world would be a dimmer place without the male gender.  Just as it would be without females.  And that’s the point.  The “One True God who is Not a Woman” is a dimmer kind of God.

Slowly, I work my way through “The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth.”  So much of it is now underlined, the sidebars scribbled with my notes, musings and questions.  Sometimes I read for a little bit and then put the book down, lean my head back and close my eyes.  A world where Goddess was not only assumed as normative, but as healthy, good, lovely.  A world where a woman’s monthly blood was seen as sacred, special, magical.  A world where testosterone did not overtake and usurp, but was part-of, in partnership with, a companion to.

It hurts.

It’s the kind of world I wish I knew, a world I wish I could raise my daughters in.  I cannot imagine what it would be like to have that kind of world as my birth-water.  I can take steps to help the world I live in, right now, move in that direction, even if ever so slight.

And as I pursue my eclectic spiritual path, it is one of the things I know—the kind of knowing that comes from somewhere deep in the bones.  My spirituality will honor women.  My spirituality will not spend itself on a male-centric path where the very first myth/story is of women ruining the world, on a kind of community that only has room for women insofar as they help the men, on the sort of God who is only to be referred to as a He.

There is a fullness, a wholeness, a richness to be had and it cannot come through a world where one gender stands on top of the other, nor a spirituality that leaves out one entire half of humanity.

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Spiritual Growth Re-Defined: Finding Me, Finding God

“The spiritual journey does not consist in arriving at a new destination where a person gains what he did not have, or becomes what he is not.  It consists in the dissipation of one’s own ignorance concerning one’s self and life, and the gradual growth of that understanding which begins the spiritual awakening.  The finding of God is a coming to one’s self.”  — Aldous Huxley

I like this.  Spiritual growth is the growing awareness of who I am, at my core.  My essence is wildly Divine.  My ego? Not so much.  My pain-body (as Eckart Tolle would call that thing that has a life of it’s own) is a disaster.  But there is a difference between those things and my essence.

In the evangelical Christianity of my childhood and young adult years, I was taught that my essence, my spirit, was dead.  I learned that the whole of humanity was like walking zombies.  You were born with a dead spirit.  I was born with a dead spirit.  Until the day that I asked Jesus to live in my heart, they explained, and then that was the day that my spirit came alive.

And so then it wasn’t so much a matter of coming to myself but a matter of trying to learn more about who Christ was.  Because it wasn’t about me—it was never supposed to be about me.  It was all supposed to be about Him.  And my spirit was now alive and all the work was done (since we can’t earn salvation) and that was that, so the business Huxley is talking about, the business of growing in awareness and understanding of my own essence, wasn’t on the table.  It wasn’t even under the table.  It wasn’t even in the room.

But for some of us, it somehow accidentally got in there.  Or we accidentally got out there, however it happened.  We started asking questions that our books, our theologians, our pastors, our Bible study group couldn’t answer.  We started noticing how those questions were hushed, shamed, or just ignored.  Sometimes we were even told that a good Christian would never ask such questions.  And sometimes, working to be good Christians ourselves, we told other question askers that very same thing…

There is a lot of energy that goes into making sure that people do not become aware that they are very powerful beings.  My suspicion is that this is because powerful beings will not be dependents.  And while I happened to experience this primarily within Evangelical Christianity, this interesting expenditure of energy focused on keeping people from their power is certainly not solely found there.  It’s found all through history in a variety of contexts, settings, governmental structures, religious paradigms, relationships…

I am walking in the awareness that coming into my own power (coming into my own God/dess-likeness) and learning to walk in that power (learning to live and move in love and compassion and truth and mercy, etc) is the spiritual journey I have been on for my whole life.  I just got really mixed up on the way.


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God: So Very NOT In Another Galaxy, Far Far Away…

“The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw—and knew I saw—all things in God and God in all things.”  ~ Mechtild of Magdeburg

For days and for years and for an entire life I was told the confusing evangelical tale about two Gods who were the same God.  One was a God who looked down from Heaven upon me, watching what I did, and the other was a God who lived inside of me.  It was supposed to be both/and, only it was often very difficult to meld the two.

I dutifully sang the song as a child, “Oh be careful, little eyes, what you see.  For the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes, what you see,”  I learned that little hands, little feet, and little eyes had better always be careful.

It was scary, knowing about that God in the sky.  They said He was a God of love, yet He was always watching in such a way that one had better not mess up.  “Oh.  So that’s what love is…”  Little girls can’t help it if they draw appropriate conclusions from confusing messages.

And yet there was also the God who lived inside of me.  After all, if I didn’t ask Jesus into my heart, I wouldn’t be in heaven.  So the God who lived far away now also lived inside of me.  He died so that I wouldn’t be sent to a place of eternal torture where I would beg for death but not be allowed to have it.  In order for me not to go to that place, He had to suffer horrible torture Himself as the sin of the world was placed upon Him, at which point (even though He too was God), the God in the Heavens was not even able to look upon Him.

This was a strange system, very confusing, yet constantly and consistently presented as simple fact and, given the disastrous consequences of pissing this God off, one tended not to question such a salvation. In fact, quite the opposite.  I began preaching this salvation to my friends, starting in 2nd grade and into adulthood.  I truly and honestly meant well.  I didn’t want to see these poor people go to Hell, the reality of which was so built into my core belief system that I did not even question it, even while hating it, until I was in my thirties!

The first set of verses I memorized as a child in a Bible memory program (a very popular one in the church world I grew up in) were about the wickedness of humanity.  I was taught that God was not even able to look at us unless we had Jesus (who was also God) in our hearts.

I remember my child learning those same verses, when I enrolled her in that very same program.  Good moms put their kids in that Bible club.  It’s just how it’s done.  How I winced as I helped her learn that same passage, “There is none righteous, no not one.  There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away.  They have together become worthless.  There is no one who does good.  Not even one.”  The book of Romans, as we interpreted it, clearly explained that we were, quite literally, worthless.

No wonder conservative Christianity is known for being judgmental.  With a worldview like that, how could a faithful practitioner not be?  Many loving and compassionate people live within the fearful walls of Christendom.  They don’t mean to be judgmental.  They are just doing what they are told, believing what they are taught.  Their awakening may come, some day.  Until then, it helps not to take their behavior personal.

God, as I was taught, was very separate from you or I.  He was male.  He was in charge.  And He was most emphatically not smiling when He looked down at what He deemed as worthless beings who had all turned away.

I love being out of that theological world.  I love looking out at humanity and not seeing them as either lost souls to be won to the Lord or evil “secularists” to beware of.  I love having a view of God/dess that is wide, expansive, and joyous.

I was quite specifically taught that those who said God was in all were dangerous.  For three straight decades, I eschewed even that thought.  And then the awakening began.  Now God is in my hands as I hug my little one.  Goddess is in the cucumber vines pushing out their sweet harvest.  The gods are in the water, air, wind and fire.  The Divine is everywhere.

This isn’t a world to be feared.  Don’t be careful, little eyes, what you see.  Eyes are open and you are awake now!  Drink it all in.  The colors, the richness, the pulsing vibrancy of life.  It was meant to be celebrated.