April 14, 2019

{Goddess Journey} Part Two


Sharing another section from the Goddess Journey chapter of my book-in-progress, A Memory of Love: The Spiritual Mission of a Princess.

 The Reappearing Goddess

“In the middle of the 1970s,” a decade before most of the world became aware of Lady Diana Spencer—and before she added her own ‘goddess’ essence to modern culture“a paradigm shift took place, partly inspired by the rapid development of the women’s movement,” wrote Lanier Graham. The author of Goddesses told of various books of the time that “revolutionized how people looked at the roots of their spiritual heritage.”

Before books like The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas and When God Was a Woman by art historian Merlin Stone, then later in 1987, a heralded game-changer, The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler, “history textbooks had been stating or implying that the male had always been dominant in Western theology.” The consciousness-shifting winds of the more open-minded Aquarian Age were blowing through—energies we saw in the social upheavals of the 1960s and ‘70s—and a truer history of women was being revealed. “Western culture had been dominated by the male-oriented values of Indo-European culture for so long that it took a social revolution—the women’s movement—to start to bring it into balance,” explained Graham.

Discoveries in archaeology, studies in mythology, scholars of social history and linguistics were finding that “goddess cultures tended to be egalitarian, earth-centered, and nonviolent,” and these findings were then being taught in colleges and universities. “The image of the earth as sacred and society as balanced between male and female,” Graham wrote in 1997, “has become a powerful inspiration to people in the women’s movement, the ecology movement, and many other new ways of thinking.”

Joseph Campbell reminded us: “The goddess represents nature. The god represents society. And when you have a mythology that accents a god over a goddess you have a religion that accents society over nature. Then with the Fall, nature itself is cursed.” As we felt these goddess nudges in the first years of the twenty-first century, it was only natural that women and family issues of health and well-being and concerns about the environment were in the headlines. (Our Mother Earth, after all, is metaphorically represented by women’s bodies.) “There is something coming up in our own consciousness now, with the ecology movement,” Campbell wrote over fifty years ago, “recognizing that by violating the environment in which we are living, we are really cutting off the energy and the source of our own living.” It is this “sense of accord” that is so disrupted today. No wonder humans are so out-of-sorts; they have not been in accord with themselves, their very nature, since this break in consciousness. No wonder with the power of this reappearing goddess energy that so much fear-based, women-bashing backlash has been stirred up!

I had a real-life experience of this years ago, and a reflection of the hateful conflicts now on the rise today. In the late 1990s, a friend and I went on a day-long road trip from Atlanta to Huntsville, Alabama, to see an exhibit at the Space Center, where neither of us had ever visited. We turned off the expressway and while driving through the rural countryside, I saw a sign with huge, hand-painted letters; it was like a punch in the gut similar to what I felt on November 9, 2016. The message read: “FATHER CHURCH, YES. MOTHER NATURE, NO.”

That seems to sum up this violent backlash coming at us today, as I sit here writing in 2018—with the toxic masculine and the dark feminine trying to destroy the “mother” in all of us, the nurturing spirit of humanity, the health and well-being of our life-sustaining home, our sacred mother, our “Mother Earth.”

Lanier Graham gives us this history, writing at the end of the twentieth century:

...a few thousand years ago many goddess-oriented civilizations were destroyed by extremely aggressive Indo-European tribes. They demolished the old cities and then reconfigured civilization throughout most of the settled world from Greece to India. These barbarians worshipped aggressive sky gods and had scant room in their theology for goddesses; to them, women were little more than property and sexual objects. Not only did male gods become supreme, but females lost their sacredness, in a dramatic turning-around in human history that my friend Joseph Campbell called the ‘patriarchal inversion.’ It was even argued by some fathers of the early Christian Church in Rome that women had no souls. Twentieth-century men have at last started to realize that when males lost their reverence for that which is female, they also lost something within themselves.

The grasping, last-gasp obscenities of this “patriarchal inversion” were on display in the dignified halls of the United States Senate Building in Washington D.C. in the autumn of 2018 when leering, screeching white men defended their outdated network of cruelty and cronyism—no matter the cost or number of souls squandered—against one lone, brave woman speaking her truth. (And whether anyone was aware or not, she was representing the goddess spirit in us all.) This cowardly mischief was cheered on by a president whose motto seems to come directly from Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s patched-together monster, as written by Mary Shelley two-hundred years ago: “If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear.”

This is what happens when humanity is disconnected from the “spiritual feminine,” Jim Fitzgerald wrote in “The Death of the Heart,” his essay for When a Princess Dies. “Since Reformation times, there has been a dearth of religious imagery, particularly of women, through which both men and women might maintain a connection to the spiritual feminine.” What imagery that remained left “a divine King but no Queen” in both the consciousness and unconsciousness of men and women. This created a split, according to Fitzgerald, as the feminine spirit became an object of “the rational mind”—and its profane opinions and deprived thoughts. “This split—of mind from matter, of spirit from nature—has continued to the present.” However, when he wrote this at the time of Diana’s death, near the end of a millennium, Fitzgerald was among many who sensed things were changing. “The values of the heart, not those of the mind, have begun to be sought after and appreciated. A new relationship to the Earth and Nature is growing. We are witnessing a change of heart.” 

The rise of Trumpery—and the hate it stands for and the “loss of soul” it reveals—is a desperate strike against this new heart energy. “I think it was this that Diana, as a woman of the times, equally a sufferer from the ills and neuroses of modern life, it was this new heart that she represented,” Fitzgerald added. And it is this “new heart”—a sacred calling of the “spiritual feminine”—that Diana and Charles’ sons inherited and now speak its message, as well as live its values, from their spot-lit world stage. These are aware, awakening men—who attracted and married aware, awake women—and they are rallying the “new heart” troops, encouraged along by the reemerging goddess consciousness their mother helped crack open!

I think of Diana and her sons when I read lines from a Sharon Olds’ poem about feeling less raw after experiencing such heartache, “as if some goddess of humanness within us caressed us with a gush of tenderness.”


[Glorious Inanna,” third and final section of this goddess-focused chapter, posted soon.]