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Spirituality for the Skeptic




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HOW ABSURD WOULD THAT BE?
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POST MODERN NIHILISM
THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST'S TWO NATURES
THE MYSTIC WAY
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HEBREW GODDESS
THE MYSTIC "SON" IN KABBALAH
TRUE NUMEROLOGY
MAGIC OF NAMES
JUDAIC/CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVES
OTHER SITES OF INTEREST

THE HEBREW GODDESS

GOD'S FEMININE SIDE

This God is a Supernal Mother who

rides and rises with a triumphant

shout.  (Tiqqine haZor, 47a)

 

 

After extensive research the scholar,

Raphael Patai, put out his final version

of his book,The Hebrew Goddess (1978).  

I find this book extremely significant; 

for the Hebrew Bible is the core source

of God as the Super Male Patriarch not

only of Judaism, but also Islam, and

Christianity as well, complete with all

the ludicrous personifications of some

monarchical dictator in the sky.  Even

if we see God's gender as a symbol, it

is an extremely unbalanced one: for we

have at least two genders in our world,

not just one.

 

But how valid is the Hebraic source of a

masculine God?  Far beyond the golden calf,

the Hebrew Testament is rife with the

ancient tribes slipping into the worship of

other deities (of which Patai gives ample

scriptural examples).  On up to the

Babylonian conquest and Jewish Exile, the

Goddess, Asherah, was the most constantly

named of the deities competing with YAHWH

among the Hebrew tribes.  (Asherah dates

back as far as 1750 BCE to her origins in

ancient Sumer.)

 

A three-foot storage jar was found in

northeastern Sinai dating to 800 BCE. 

On it was inscribed: "May you be

blessed by Yahweh and his Asherah". 

Here we have some objective evidence

beyond Biblical censorship that in

some quarters Asherah may have been

considered Gods consort or wife! 

Later, many more such artifacts were 

discovered.  See "The Lost Goddess of

Israel" in the March/April 2005

addition of the journal,Archeology,

(p.36-41) for the latest fascinating

facts on this subject.

 

After the Hebrews return from Exile,

around 400 BCE, their religion became

shored up into a strict patriarchy,

with God at the head.  But even before

the first century CE the feminine

"Wisdom" was being personified in the

Book of Proverbs and other sacred books

as God's earliest creation and perpetual

playmate.  The Jewish philosopher, Philo,

regarded the goddess, Wisdom, (or Sophia)

as the wife of God.  At that time Gnostic

writings, both Jewish and Christian, were

emphasizing the female element in religious

thought.

 

By the time of the Dark Ages in Western

civilization, Jewish scholars of the Near

East were already sowing the conceptual

seeds of the Hebrew Kabbalah. The esoteric

movement moved into Italy in the 9th century,

and in the 11th to 13th century epitomized in

Spain.  Moses de Leon (1240-1305) composed the

Zohar (Book of Splendor) in which the feminine

element played a very significant role.

 

By the 16th century, renowned Jewish

scholars like Moses Cordovero and Isaac

Luria brought the sacred diagram of the

Sefirot into full fruition.  Throughout

the symbols of the Sefirot, the male and

female principles were in perfect balance. 

Soon the Shekhina, God's female counterpart,

took precedence among both scholars and the

Jewish people.

 

Shekhina is derived from the Biblical

word, "shakhan", meaning "dwelling in". 

Shekhina was said to have dwelt within

the Holy of Holies during the Temple

periods as the Cherubim embracing God. 

After the Temple's final destruction,

when the Hebrews were ruptured from God,

it was the Shekhina who dwelt among and

within her people as the female Presence

of the Godhead. 

 

Philo called the Shekhina Gods inner Kingdom

on this earth, which was echoed by the

Talmud: "And Gods Shekhina dwelt among them" 

And the Midrash states: "God said, I shall act

as both Father and Mother for my people."  She

was also called Makhut, the maternal gateway

to the Divine Godhead.  The Jewish people

yearned to unite God with his Shekhina. 

 

Some therefore equated the Shekhina with

Israel itself.  But the great Jewish scholar,

Ezekiel Landu (1713-17931) instead emphasized

the unity of God and Shekhina as the

unification of the lower with the upper world,

of the male with the female aspects of God, of

myth with reality.  

 

Meanwhile during the Dark and Middle Ages the

Christian veneration of the Virgin Mary reached

such a crescendo among the people it became

an embarrassment to the Church.  And the

mystical Sufi element of Islam included the

female aspect of god in their poetry.

Mohammed's daughter, Lady Fatima, was also

revered to the stature of a goddess at one time.    

 

Suffice it that a strictly male Deity

is an artificial, unbalanced equation

that needs constant admonishmentand

strict control to keep it in focus. 

See also the books She Who Is by

Elizabeth A. Johnson and Is it Okay

to Call God Mother? By Paul R. Smith.

 

For a more Christian version, see Hymns of

Sophia below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HYMNS OF SOPHIA

THE BOOK OF THOMAS THE DOUBTER

Copyright: 2003.  Any unauthorized commercial use of the above material will be in violation of law.