The rosary has a problem. A big problem. It’s the number one issue holding people back from picking up a rosary and trying it on for size.
The problem is the opening prayer. You might know it as the “Our Father” or “The Lord’s Prayer.”
If you were raised in any Christian church, it’s imprinted permanently in your memory banks, try as you’d like to dislodge it.
And if, like me, you left the church decades ago, vowing you would never ever grace those doors again...
But you are hearing that the rosary isn’t a Christian prayer after all; it’s ancient goddess prayer...
And that’s kind of exciting...
And so, you think you might, you just might, want to explore the rosary...
But when you begin, or even consider beginning, there’s that prayer, again. And it’s still full of patriarchal language.
- That whole “thy kingdom come; thy will be done” thing. That doesn’t sound like ancient goddess prayer….
- And “lead us not into temptation.” What kind of nonsense is that! What kind of demonic god leads us into temptation?
The whole things starts to sound crazy again, and so you walk away.
The gate through the “our father” is just too hard to cross.
Well, I’m standing at that gate. Right beside you. Wondering if I too can say that prayer.
- I’m all in on the Hail Mary now that I know the three lines actually honor the maiden, mother, and death crone faces of the goddess.
- And I’m in love with the “Glory Be” now that I do it the way Perdita Finn teaches, not honoring three males gods—father, son, holy spirit—but honoring the natural life-giving trinity of Father, Mother, Child.
So 90% of the rosary feels totally right in my heart. But what to do about those 6 Our Fathers?
Well in almost comical timing, Clark Strand posted this article on Facebook two days ago. My heart sang with joy. Yes yes yes yes yes!
If you are wondering how that patriarchal prayer can be in a goddess rosary, this is for you.
THE OUR FATHER AND OUR MOTHER
by Clark Strand
Western religion has traveled so far down the road of monotheism that, at this point, there is no awareness left within it that Yahweh-Jehovah-Allah is a sky god and therefore only part of the equation that produces and sustains all planetary life. As we have journeyed progressively further and further into a monotheistic world view (this is now true even among those cultures which preserve a nominal polytheism) we have lost our connection with Our Mother and with the Earth.
The rosary is one of a tiny handful of spiritual devotions left in the world that we can still turn to in order to get that connection back. For the rosary preserves both the Our Father AND the Our Mother. In the wave-like oscillation of Hail Marys and Our Fathers, the two basic prayers of the rosary, we find a reenactment of the dance of soil and sunlight that gives rise to—and sustains—all life on Earth. Add the fifteen episodic "mysteries" of the rosary to those two prayers and you get the evolutionary storyline of the entire planet reduced to a narrative scale you can relate to and apply to your own experience of life. Birth. Death. Resurrection. It's the oldest, wisest, most durable pattern there is.
In the rosary, the ratio of Maters to Paters is ten to one. The Maters (the Hail Marys) function as both a mantra and a matrix. They are the womb within which our spiritual awareness is conceived and nurtured, and from and into which that spiritual awareness is eventually "born."
As a prayer, the Hail Mary functions at a very deep, mostly unconscious level. That is why we often have the feeling of "dozing off" during a decade. Recite ten Hail Marys back to back and your breathing becomes more even and relaxed, and your heart-rate slows. Its wisdom comes to us in much the same way that an infant takes in nutrients from its mother's body, along with water, oxygen, and everything else it needs: through the umbilical cord.
That's just the beginning of the article. I’m including the whole thing in the Handbook I’m creating for the Rosary Intensive which opens next Tuesday.
And to help with the actual wording of the “Pater” prayer, I’m also including Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz’s translation from the original Aramaic.
Turns out Jesus never said “father” or “kingdom” or “sin” or any of those bugaboo words.
- Neil said that Abwoon, translated as “our father” is more of a non-gendered verb.
- After 40 years of intimate relationship with and study of this prayer, Neil said his understanding is that Jesus is saying “Oh fathering, Oh mothering.”
- And—how’s this for thrilling—the Aramaic word Malkutah that is translated in English as “kingdom” is a feminine word and would have to be translated “queendom.”
- And as for “lead us not into temptation” Jesus said nothing of the kind.
So, this week I changed how I say the “pater” with just a few adjustments. Immediately, the prayer showed me how delicious and necessary it is for the mater and the pater to dance together in harmony, as all indigenous peoples have always known.
So if the “our father” has been standing in the way of joining our Rosary Intensive, please know that everyone in the intensive has exactly the same issue.
And Clark Strand and Perdita Finn are going to open our hearts and our hands and our voices to the ancient earth-wisdom of this profound earth-based goddess prayer.
We open Tuesday, March 3, and meet on Tuesday, March 10 and 17, followed by a celebration on Saturday, March 21. Don't worry about missing any of the calls; everything is recorded.
to dancing and praying in sacred wholeness and harmony,
PS: And if you were not raised christian, hooray; you can just walk right through that gate! The rosary belongs to everyone in every tradition and in no tradition. This is the original earth-honoring prayer. Come and walk the rosary with us!