The Face of Feminist Spirituality - the heart of the woman-soul
One woman’s journey to rediscovering and reclaiming Goddess
Having been born as a woman in this age, my soul guided me to uncover a feminist spirituality for myself and other women like myself. There is an inherent conflict in the word feminist and spirituality. Feminist implies a divisive separation which is in direct contrast to the all inclusiveness of the word spirituality. I liked to use the word woman-soul and eventually this led me to an intimate relationship with goddess.
We do not only experience ourselves as women on a physical level, but more intensely on an emotional and psychic level. I uncovered my deep thirst for spiritual intimacy and soul ecstasy on the psychic level of my being and it was only through a direct experience of the relationship between my sexuality and goddess, that I could begin to marry these two concepts in myself.
All that is psychically experienced as woman-soul has been repressed by ourselves as women, in a patriarchal world with male-based spirituality.
There is an inherent conflict in the words feminist and spirituality. Feminist implies divisive separation and spirituality implicitly calls for ego-less and selfless action.Women have been conditioned and have inherited through the mother-line the submission to the patriarchal systems and societies in many subtle ways.
This is the most nebulous and fragile concept for any woman who is experiencing the deep thirst for spiritual intimacy and soul connection. Deeply etched into the collective woman-soul is the shaming of all that is feminine through thousands of years. This shaming of all that is psychically experienced as woman-soul and has never found an acceptable voice in male-based and male dominated spirituality, has been suppressed and repressed by women themselves.
Using the words feminist spirituality is extremely painful, conflicting and divisive.This is indeed the deepest conflict and inner division that many women on a conscious spiritual journey do experience though. The ultimate goal or focus of all spiritual paths and disciplines is Union or One-ness. The deepest yearning of a woman’s soul is indeed One-ness, but this mystical union within can only be experienced between two equal parts of self.
At the root of a woman’s longing for wholeness lies her suppressed voice and identity as a woman. Before she becomes truly conscious of a defined spiritual path, she experiences life as an open, sensitive and vulnerable being in a body and psyche which follows cycles and rhythms which are only reflected back at her in the natural world of seasons, plants and animals.
Nowhere else in the daily life of the household, nor society at large, are these cycles acknowledged, nor honoured. From her earliest age does she experience the differentiation made by gender and the deep–seated discrimination against feminine nature.
Nature as a feminine expression of Life and the ultimate expression of Goddess herself, is harnessed and subjected to mechanical means for profit and human comfort.
For years I was happy to teach from spiritual books and Gnostic scriptures. The deeper I entrenched myself into meditation and other spiritual practices, the more I discovered a gaping contradiction and inner conflict within myself. In my practical work as spiritual healer and teacher working mainly with women, I found this same inner conflict reflected back at me. We, as women, living in our current, modern world, had, at this stage of our journey, not had the luxury or privilege of asserting ourselves and being received positively for that assertion, as yet. We are now, embarking on a path of spiritual discipline, being asked to give up this assertiveness which we have never owned. We are being asked to put others first and ourselves last. Something that we have become accustomed to and which we have been living at great cost to our own sense of worth and value and those of our mothers and daughters.
I would find myself teaching those women, sitting in the circle, facing me with anticipation and hope, just the opposite of these teachings. I would advise them to start claiming their lives back. To put themselves first, to become strong and selfish mothers to their inner children, to fight for what is rightfully theirs and to claim their sacred space, to stake their boundaries and to learn to say no. As my inspired words became more and more feminist in nature and they appeared to be in contradiction to many accepted spiritual teachings. I tried to digest and assimilate these teachings as they flowed through me from my higher awareness and understanding – as they flowed through me from Her that I now intimately know and understand as Goddess.
But the conflict worsened as I observed women’s psyches and inner worlds flowered and blossomed into healthy bodies and clarity of purpose and sense of self. At a deeper level, a more subtle and more powerful conflict was raging within myself and within some of these women, who although they were witnesses to this powerful growth in their own inner worlds, came up against the wall of conditioning.
The ancient path of Goddess worship addresses the imbalances of both society and the individual. Through reverence of and devotion to the Great Mother (the Organic Living Light Within) profound transformation and regeneration takes place on both the individual and cosmic levels. The Great Mother is known as the Kundalini (Kali Ma) in the Hindu and Eastern traditions. In the Western mystical traditions, the Holy Spirit is the baptismal fire of birth of the Divine Human being.
As the Divine Feminine within is healed, an infinite well of compassion, nurturance and groundedness into the physical self, become accessible to the whole person. Unity Consciousness is unattainable by only half of the Personal Self. The Divine Marriage, the sacred union within, is between the personal self and the Higher Self (Shakty and Shiva). The manifested separation between these two have to be healed on all levels, in both male and female.
Spiritual growth and sadhana (spiritual achievement) is impossible without the practical application into daily life. Self-mastery entails a deep understanding of the light and shadows of the personal heart as well as the expansion of the Will to the Light. True spiritual growth will awaken the Great Mother within.
When She awakens, we step into a life beyond the expectation and understanding of our intellectual mind. We access a wonderful sense of being more than the self and as She unfolds within, the human being is challenged into living a life of devotion and service to the All and the One.