Midweek Faith Lift
The Power of the Divine Feminine
Rev. Deb Hill-Davis
May 12, 2021
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Anath, Inanna
Lest you think I have gone completely around the bend or off the grid, this is a Goddess chant that I learned at Unity during a YOU, Youth of Unity Rally! One of the blessings of Unity is actually in the name, Unity. The beauty of Unity is that it recognizes and celebrates all religions as a path to experiencing the Power and Presence of that One, Mother/Father God! It was in a Unity Church in 1989 that for the very first time, I heard a minister refer to Mother/Father God and I remember thinking that I had not heard it correctly! But my mistake, the Unity understanding of God included Mother God and mentioned the Divine Feminine Energy regularly!
In reality, the Divine Feminine was nothing new, ancient peoples, during the time of Jesus had goddesses to which they prayed for assistance, guidance and protection. We are inclined to look at all of these as “primitive” religions, which were more “magical” in their practices than spiritual. To some extent that is true, but as I did a little more investigation, it became clearer that the goddess of the ancient world has a lot of sway over the lives of both women and men, and that power was overt, not covert and secondary. What a refreshing change to note and one, which we in the “post-modern” world are finally embracing- powerful women in positions of true power!
So what did these goddesses in the chant represent and who were they? Please note that the list is not exhaustive and there are goddesses in all cultures: Greek, Egyptian, Hindu, Roman, Mesopotamia and so on. Isis was an Egyptian goddess of the moon, of life and a protector of women, children and the sick. She represented faithfulness, love, inner beauty, insight and spiritual wisdom. Her symbol is the ANKH or wings. Astarte was also Egyptian and the goddess of love, of sexuality and beauty. Imagine if we had a goddess of love, sexuality, and beauty for all our young women today? How healing it would be if we could restore a spiritual aspect to sexuality! Sexual energy is extremely powerful and to have a goddess protector of that energy seems highly desirable in light of how our culture has handled women and sex.
Diana was a Roman goddess of the hunt and the moon. She was a protector of animals and women, especially in childbirth, a dangerous process for women in ancient times. Imagine if we invoked the energy of Diana to protect the animals we raise for food in this country? The Greek goddess Hecate was seen as having power over the heavens, the earth and the sea. She was very powerful and viewed as the goddess of prosperity. Her blessings were on the earth to yield a good harvest, the heavens for rain for growing food and on the seas for safety and a good catch! She is like a goddess of nature, of the earth. We certainly need that energy for the earth right now!
Along with Hecate, there is the Greek goddess Demeter the goddess of agriculture. She is goddess of the harvest and the cycles of life and death, also a protector of the earth. Anath is the goddess of love and war, the cycles of death and resurrection. And finally, Inanna is a Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, sex, beauty and political power! We could sure use a little of her energy right now in healing all the abuses of women in the #Me Too movement!
It really struck me how well articulated the aspects of the Divine Feminine are in all the ancient goddesses and goddess worship. While the worship practices were very much transactional with these goddesses, the aspects of the Divine Feminine in everyday life were so evident. The people had both gods and goddesses for a sense of Divine protection and power . In our present day world, what kind of healing power would we invoke if we returned to a higher consciousness understanding of the Divine Feminine? How would that be different for us now?
We have a template for how women are to be highly regarded that is reflected in the stories in all four Gospels of the Christian Scripture involving Jesus’ interactions with women. There are a number of these but today I share the story of Jesus and the Woman at the Well. He has stopped for a drink on his journey and this is what happens next.
Jesus and the Woman of Samaria
6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.
7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”
27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?”
What a powerful story! Let’s take a quick metaphysical trip through this story. First of all, it begins by telling us the time: 12:00 noon a significant number. Physically it was significant because people could mark it accurately with sundials and many events were designated for noon, so it is a marker that says “pay attention, this matters!” Metaphysically, 12 is the number of spiritual completion: the fullness of God is revealed and made known. Think 12 disciples, 12 months of the year….it is the fullness of time. It signifies that Jesus is about to reveal a profound spiritual truth and to a woman, a non-Jewish, Samaritan woman—totally outside of accepted behavior for him to even be speaking to her, and she notes that too!
Even more significant is that they are dealing with water, which physically and metaphysically represents life, the life force or life energy, another indicator that this is a significant story of great importance. It is especially noteworthy that when Jesus tells this woman of “living water”, she at first questions him and notes that he has no bucket. When Jesus tells her that the water, or life energy he speaks of is “living water” which will never leave you thirsty, she just asks how she can get some of it and does not argue with him! She gets it: she heard the deeper intuitive message that there is something more to life than just the physical water we drink that is even more vital for our good than actual water. No wonder Jesus told this to a woman; this is about the Divine feminine that knows through the power of intuition and Jesus speaks to that power.
Next they have an exchange testing each other out to take this even further. He tells her to go call her husband— the Masculine or thinking nature. And she says she has no husband, to which Jesus responds, yes, you have had 5 husbands, and the man you are now with is not your husband! Wow! If we think about this metaphysically, it again packs a wallop! The number 5 represents sense consciousness, our 5 senses, what we can know through our senses and “thinking” or masculine energy. Jesus powerfully acknowledges that she is not wedded to “sense consciousness” in order to “know” what is the truth. Again, it is the Divine Feminine that immediately recognizes the true power and presence of Spirit in Jesus and calls him a “Prophet.” They have each seen and been seen by one another. What a very powerful exchange—between the Divine Masculine in Jesus and the Divine Feminine in the Samaritan woman.
The final capstone of this exchange is that Jesus assures her that worship, or connection with “the Father” is not exclusive to the Jews, this Messiah experience is for everyone! What a powerful message that comes to us through a woman, the power of the Divine Feminine! And when the 12 disciples show up, they don’t say a word: they are just wordlessly astonished! The energy of the Divine
Friends, that is the effect of the power of the Divine Feminine. On this Mother’s Day, let us pause and realize that Divine Feminine Power that has always been there and always will!
Blessings on the Path!