The year of the body--Week 37
in which She whispers through the mists of time: I am here. I never left. Come find me.
Friends, soul writers, mystics, and lovers of prayer,
I write these Notes from the Field on Saturday. I’ve learned over these last 9 months in this year of the body, that I need to wait until the week is almost over, so I have time to feel into the rhythm and possibility revealing itself as these seven days unfold.
I’ve learned that I can’t really plan what I’m going to write. I do not have a year-long or even month-long agenda or outline. Even as I sit down at three in the afternoon on Saturday, I typically don’t know what I’m going to say.
But my hands know. And often, I’m quite surprised by what comes out.
Like last week, when I connected the dots between the fundamentalist horrors of the Taliban and Texas unfolding at the same time. That awareness dawned as I was typing. When I finished, I glanced down at the handwritten notes I thought I would use, laughed, and tossed them in the wastebasket.
As I approached wakefulness this morning, September 11—another day we come face-to-face with the terror of fundamentalist religion—I felt a command to grab the notepad beside me, sit up, and take dictation. I had to scribble because the words were coming faster than I could write. Some ideas landed on the page as just a key word or two.
When I finished, I read what I’d written. And sighed. Yes, all this and more happens when god changes pronouns.
What I wrote isn’t news. Not to me.
I’ve been exploring what happens when god changes Her pronouns ever since She changed Her pronouns for me seven years ago on December 26, 2014.
Until that day, I’d always addressed my writing to “Dear God” or “DG,” ever since I stumbled upon soul writing in 1997.
All that time I never thought about god’s gender.
But on December 1 of 2014, I got sick. Big sick. I couldn’t function for what turned out to be 40 days and 40 nights.
During that time, I could do little more than read a bit, soul write a bit, and go to the bathroom.
The books on my reading table were somehow all about the sacred feminine. I read three of Margaret Starbird’s books on Mary Magdalene, Cynthia Bourgeault’s The Meaning of Mary Magdalene and Wisdom has Built Her House: Studies on the Figure of Sophia in the Bible by Silvia Schroer. (That dove on Jesus’ shoulder in the Jordan River? Yup, everyone knew that was Sophia arriving on the scene.)
On December 26, I started to write “Dear God” in my soul writing and my hand wouldn’t do it. Instead, out came, “Beloved Vibration of Sophia!”
And with that, a seven-year exploration into the Feminine Divine began.
Does seven years seem like a long time to you? I don’t think so.
I think it has taken me this long to really settle into the reality of Her living presence, because, like everyone else, I was indoctrinated by the horror story of god expelling the first humans from the Garden of Eden in Genesis.
And why did he do that? He banished them because Eve—and here’s where the terror campaign begins—ate of the one tree he ordered them not to touch. And what was that tree? Why it was the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
In other words, Eve wanted to know. To learn. To see the underlying truths of life. She wanted to dig below the surface of what she was told to do or believe.
Eve wanted to taste life to the full. She dared to want to know what god knows.
And for that, god lost it completely and tossed them out of paradise. And to heap pain on top of the trauma of losing their home, god blamed it on Eve, and announced from that moment forward that women would be subject to men and suffer horribly in childbirth.
You know the craziest thing about this story?
No one ever talks about what’s wrong with a god who flies off the handle so easily. He is having a tantrum. Any mother would recognize that.
What he needed was a wise mother to understand what was happening, articulate back to him what he was feeling, and help him calm down. If necessary, she might even have given him a little time out.
Instead, we get three thousand years of women being abused and controlled and silenced by men in all three Abrahamic religions.
If you have any doubt, listen to Paul:
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach or to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed and then Eve, and Adam was not deceived but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. (1 Timothy 2:11-14)
Or this little jewel:
“For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Let the women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, so saith the law. And if they learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home, for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” (1 Corinthians 11:3, 7, 9)
Can you see why I detest this guy? I won’t even put the title saint in front of his name. It gives other saints a bad name.
And, make no mistake, the religion we call Christianity is really of Paul’s construction. It should be called Paulianity.
Because under his direction, The Way—the Jewish movement dedicated to living as Jesus lived in a loving community with female leaders and bishops—was manipulated into something else altogether.
Under Paul, the teachings of Yeshua, who welcomed women followers and acknowledged Mary Magdalene as the greatest apostle, disappeared into a dark haze of misogyny.
The proof is in the original paintings in the rooms where The Way worshiped in the hundred years after Jesus’ death. The walls were painted with equal numbers of male and female saints and bishops. But the women were soon painted over into men. (See Saving Paradise by Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Ann Parker.)
Once Sophia showed up on my pages, I realized I had an insatiable hunger to know more.
I needed to find Her. I longed to hear Her speak to me, not in the patriarchal texts that try so hard to bury Her, but in Her own ancient and holy voice. Like Eve,
I decided to bite into the fruit of Her tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
And oh man, have I found evil.
There is no other word for it. All three patriarchal religions have committed unspeakable crimes against Her. Against Her Goddess names and figures. Against Her sacred women priestesses. Against Her sacred groves where we prayed. Against Her ancient prayers and chants. Against Her people—the indigenous peoples of all the lands. And against the land Herself, Mother Earth, source of all life, all food, all water, all sustenance.
So, I think it’s not an accident that on this 20th anniversary of a horrific attack by fundamentalists of a patriarchal religion, I was awakened with all these powerful reminders of what happens when god changes Her pronouns.
The big one. The first one. The one that changes everything is that She fits in my body, my female body.
- Suddenly my body is holy, my breasts, my womb, my skin, my hair. Because it’s Her body.
This body that was once revered as the expression of the Goddess Herself, is sacred once more.
- The earth comes alive because Mother Earth is Her body. Everything on earth is filled with Her life force, every mountain, every tree, every insect, every flower.
The Earth is sacred.
- Suddenly fairytales, legends, myths come alive and I see them not as silly stories but as sacred burial grounds for Her truths.
Ancestral stories are sacred.
- Pre-history opens up and I find Her. Everywhere. Despite thousands of years of attempts to murder the Goddess, her figures still surface. She rises. She is remembered.
Her faces are sacred once more.
- I can no longer bear the solar calendar created by the Catholic church. It’s linear and ugly in comparison to the circular lunar calendars that humanity used for thousands of years before Christianity. The moon is now my calendar and I’m constantly surprised by the synchronicity between what’s happening in my life and the phases of the moon. The Moon sings the song of life, death, and rebirth as She has from time before time.
The Moon is sacred.
- I can no longer ignore the threads of misogyny, racism, power, abuse, rape, greed, and war that ripple through all patriarchal religions and governments. I don’t know how we are going to get there, but I know that we must find a different way of living together.
Community is sacred.
- I know what I know. I see what I see.
Truth is sacred.
- I find my voice. After lifetimes of being silenced, I am silent no more. I speak.
My voice is sacred. Your voice is sacred.
- I can no longer pray the prayers of patriarchy. The words turn to dust in my mouth. I need living prayers. Prayers that cherish my body and enchant my soul. And as a prayer artist, this has been the great joy of my life.
Prayer—real living prayer—is sacred.
The list is longer, but I think that’s enough for one day!
If you want to find Her, I invite you to change Her pronouns.
If you’ve always written to a male god, prayed to a male god, or never even thought about who or what god is, pick up a pen and address Her by one of Her names. Maybe Isis. Maybe Our Lady. Maybe Sophia, Hokmah, Shechinah, Astarte.
Maybe address her as Queen of Heaven—that’s the name that appears in the most ancient texts.
This Queen will not banish you from the garden.
This Queen will not silence you.
This Queen will not punish you.
This Queen will hold you in love.
Call Her and She will come. She will arrive in Her temple—your body.
Wisdom has built Her house and Her house is you.
She calls to us from Proverbs 9. Like an ancient Goddess figurine, She surfaces even in these patriarchal pages:
Wisdom has built her house
she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her animals,
she has mixed her wine,
she has set her table.
She has sent out her servant girls.
She calls from the highest places in the town,
"You that are simple, turn in here!"
To those without sense she says,
"Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
It's quite a feast she has laid out for us. So come and taste from the fruit of her trees.
And watch in wonder as you, too, find yourself setting off on the long and holy walk that leads back to Her.
to the delicious discovery that the Feminine Sacred is alive and singing sweet songs of love,
PS: If you want to start learning about how patriarchy has silenced the Goddess, you might begin by reading When God Was A Woman by Merlin Stone and The Alphabet vs the Goddess by Leonard Shlain.