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Honoring the Divine Feminine

by Janan Stiles
Strafford, NH
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The feminine aspect has been prominent in the consciousness in the past year. From the international Women’s March to female leadership in governments and royalty to the #metoo movement there appears to be considerable pressure being exerted on some old norms. A recent article in NPR reported that the word “feminism was the most looked-up word in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary in 2017.” Online graphs of the use of this word throughout history are flat/rare until a small blip in the 1920’s (when women in the US were given the right to vote, non-white men being given this right in 1870) but not significantly until about 1970 and increasing after that. So, this is a very recent phenomenon when viewed historically. Given how deeply embedded the blame, shame, prejudice, exclusion, and fear of the feminine is in the consciousness over the centuries the intensity of these labor pains in such a short time seems remarkable.

Recently, an article came across the news headlines on my cell phone from Science Alert authored by Mike McCrae Dec. 1, 2017 entitled Scholars Have Found a Rare Copy of Heretical Writings on Jesus and His ‘Brother’, with subtitle: This didn’t make it into the Bible.

The article is a report on one of the 52 texts contained in leather-bound vellum codices buried in a pottery jar discovered in 1945 near the Egyptian town of Nag (Naj) Hammadi. The burial of the texts are dated at about 1,400 years ago. They were circulated on the black market for years before translation and publication decades later. These are what are known as the Gnostic Gospels, “an early, rather mystical form of Christianity.” The excitement about this fragment is that it was written in Greek rather than Coptic allowing for more insights.

There are a number of phrases in this text, and in related Gnostic Gospel texts, relative to the feminine aspect which keep stirring in my heart. I feel compelled to share some of them in regards to our surround of the intensity of the feminine in our Attunement work today.

In the Gnostic Society Library, the book, The (First) Apocalypse (Greek meaning a disclosure of knowledge or revelation) of James translated by William R. Schoedel, Jesus is answering James’ questions and teaches about the origins of “femaleness”, the confusion that occurred, Achamoth (the lower/human Sophia) the ‘imperishable Sophia’(feminine aspect of God, also ‘wisdom’ in Coptic) through whom redemption will come, etc.

“James said, ‘I am satisfied….yet another thing I ask of you: who are the seven women who have been your disciples? And behold all women bless you. I also am amazed how powerless vessels have become strong by a perception which is in them.”

I think we can hardly fathom the extent to which women, ‘powerless vessels’, were subservient at that time. As a survival mode or from inner direction, it seems doubtless that this drove them to act in many covert ways which likely increased the confusion, fear, and distrust of the feminine through the ages.

From a related Gnostic text translated by Elaine Pagels The Gospel of Philip:

“…the companion of the [Savior is] Mary Magdalene. [But Christ loved] her more than [all] the disciples, and used to kiss her [often] on her [mouth]. The rest of [the disciples were offended]…They said to him, ‘Why do you love her more than all of us?’ The Savior answered and said to them ‘Why do I not love you as (I love) her?…”

And from The (Gnostic) Gospel According to Mary Magdalene (The Gospel of Mary):

“Then Mary stood up, greeted them all, and said to her brethren, Do not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute, for His grace will be entirely with you and will protect you.
But rather, let us praise His greatness, for He has prepared us and made us into Men.
When Mary said this, she turned their hearts to the Good, and they began to discuss the words of the Savior.
Peter said to Mary, Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman.
Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them.
Mary answered and said, What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you…..”

Like rays of warm sunshine after eons of dark clouds what touches me as I read the disciples’ questions about ‘femaleness’ and the response from Jesus is the depth of non-judgmental understanding of ‘what happened’, how it will be resolved, the absolute love that the Master expresses relative to the feminine, his love for Mary, and the apparent effect his influence had on his female disciples and other women— the “powerless vessels” who became strong.

We are privileged to be a part of the intensity that is emerging relative to women, ‘femaleness’, and feminism. As this intensity increases I find it useful to continually discern what is real about the essence of this intensity. In Attunement we sense the absence of separation and of strife. We sense the truth of wholeness, inseparable togetherness with each other and within the female and male aspects inside each of us. There is a sense of the beautiful divine synergistic blending of the masculine and feminine in right position. It is this soothing clarity that we bring to the Attunement current. We don’t know the depths of what is working out on the inner planes. We sense the pressure of change but it is up to us, as always, to hold steady while factors work out. But perhaps with this reminder of the absolute love of the Master for both women and men, both the feminine and the masculine our task is a bit lighter.

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