Saturday, August 4, 2012

A New Feminine Spirituality


The night sky possesses an unparalleled power to excite the human imagination.  Intimate, yet infinite.  Dark, yet full of light.  Near, yet unreachably far.  No part of our world displays such immediately accessible patterns of order, and no part of our world remains so deeply mysterious.  According to the anthropologists, our ability to count, to factor time, to measure space, to invent myths, and to do rational science are all closely bound up with our ancestral experience of the sky.2
            Chet Raymo, 365 Starry Nights

The starry heavens call to us.  We know something magical lives up there!  That’s why we make a wish upon a Star. The stars hold the patterns of our stories, the purpose of our lives.  They are the transmitters of Universal Wisdom. Now these patterns are changing, are growing, are deepening. We are in the midst of Galactic change.  We are headed into deep space.

Women’s Search for a New Spirituality           
            The night sky impresses upon us the vastness of the universe, the unknown depths of life, the awesome magnificence of creation.  Even though modern scientists are exploring the heavens and bringing us closer to understanding what those heavens are made of, our individual experience of the night sky is still one of awe and worship.  We instinctively know it is the invisible realm from which all life is created.  “We are stardust, we are golden” is the truth, because we are composed of the cosmic dust that forms the galaxies and the stars.  Is it any wonder that we've placed Spirit up there in the heavens?  And yet the heavens are also within us, and so we search for that lost bit of stardust within the material world as well.
            Women exploring their spirituality have a grand passion and hunger for new ways to see and express the spiritual experience of being a woman.  Our spiritual search is a search for our lost Sovereignty, which is grounded in the sure knowledge that we are inter-connected with each other and the Cosmos.  Feminine Spirit demands wholeness, which means an equal union with the masculine principle, unlike the separation and domination of the masculine over the feminine that the old patriarchal model demands.  Allerleirauh's tasks are designed to help her integrate her left-brain, masculine solar consciousness with her right-brain, feminine lunar consciousness.  Once that is accomplished, she has to find meaning in her life.  She has to find her spiritual purpose.   She has to find her relationship to the stars.
            Allerleirauh’s shimmering dress of the stars symbolizes women’s search for a new spirituality, one in which we find a new god-image which reflects our feminine experiences. Like the starry sky which is ‘dark, yet full of light’ it is our spirituality which guides us through the darkness of life.  It is our spiritual stories which guide our hearts and minds to build a worthy and honorable life.  It is our spiritual essence which fills us with Wisdom and Love. 
In the Father’s house, we have been excluded from the western spiritual traditions whose vision of reality has consciously and unconsciously excluded women and our experiences of life.  If spirituality is the conscious transformation of the ego's attitude to bring it into alignment with the deepest will of the Self, then women who wear the dress of the stars are dancing to experience, cultivate and express their unique spirit. When a woman is true to herself, all her relationships and her creations express the light of truth and the touch of love.   
For too long, women have been forced to hide and repress our true nature and accept the projections of men as well as roles that are approved of by the patriarchy.  Freed from masculine expectations, women find the inner freedom to joyfully flourish in our feminine nature. Just imagine what the world will be like when all women have the freedom to use our gifts and to express our perspectives.  That time is coming.  More and more women are providing strong role models for our girls.  And Lady Wisdom is gestating new ideas and images of what women are capable of within the collective unconscious.  These new archetypal images will arise as women connect to the repressed feminine realms of the unconscious.  As Wisdom's daughters integrate these new images into our belief systems, we will have the guidance we need to leave the Father’s house and establish our own.
Patriarchy, entrenched as it is in our religious beliefs, is firmly embedded within our own psyches.  Patriarchy is built on racial, sexual, economic and political domination and oppression, and it has separated women from our unique spiritual gifts which are grounded in our bodies.   Its vision has shaped the archetypal patterns within the collective unconscious for the past 4,000 years. Remember, we are influenced not only by our parents’ beliefs as well as by our society’s rules, but by the archetypal patterns we psychically inherit – the instincts that make us human.  Those instincts, like Allerleirauh's mantle of furs, wake us up to the fact that we need to create a new story out of the ancient forms.  Now those archetypal patterns are changing and restructuring themselves, because they no longer resonate with our modern consciousness.  They've lost their feeling attachments and have become stereotypes.  So like Allerleirauh, Wisdom's daughters are called upon to re-energize the archetypal patterns.  While the archetypes create reality, we get to write the stories.   And right now, we need wise stories, deep stories, true stories.
One important pattern being renewed is our relationship with the Divine.  Instead of religious institutions mediating that relationship, people are engaging in their own spiritual practices, wanting to experience Spirit, and not just believe in it.   Patriarchy dare not approve of individual spirituality, because spirituality frees us from outer rules and control and empowers us to be responsible for our own relationship with the Divine. Feminine spirituality sees love and wisdom as the ground of our being, and understands that our ultimate inter-connectedness begins with the knowledge that matter is Spirit, that the Kingdom of Heaven is, indeed, within us.  
Patriarchy, on the other hand, has imposed on us a vision of the separation and opposition of Spirit and matter, disconnection from our inner Self, competition with and control of others, domination of wealth and resources and a hierarchy of values based on power and domination, sinners and saved.  In patriarchal beliefs, someone is always Chosen, making everyone else outcast.  This is the story that frames the Judeo-Christian belief: being outcast from the Garden made us all, but especially women, sinners.  The first great sin of murder occurs because one brother gets chosen by God over the other.  But the choosing of one makes an outcast of the other.
This is why it is so important, as well as so incredibly hard, to break the stranglehold these underlying beliefs have on us, but these beliefs are the source of our rage, our fears, our shame and our confusion.  Women have been outcast while men are the chosen ones, and we have had to twist ourselves to fit their expectations.  The great wound is that we have been outcast from our feminine understanding of Spirit and life and instead, have been spiritually nurtured only on masculine values.  This is why Allerleirauh must labor so long and so hard in her mantle of furs before she can wear the star dress.  She must break out of the old, damning spiritual paradigm of the Father and discover her true relationship with Spirit.  Like this brave princess and Dame Ragnell, each woman has to struggle with the enchantment we’ve been put under and break free from beliefs that negate our unique powers and destiny.  We have to recognize ourselves before we can be recognized by the Other.  
It is only by becoming virginal again, being-in-oneself, that we can hope to expand and discover our powers and gifts, and stand up to a belief system that fears power in a woman (which occurs in both men and women).  As we go within and look to our inner sky that is ‘dark, yet full of light’ for new guiding images, we see ancient images of womanhood and the Goddess appearing in the dreams and fantasies of modern women.  The stars' light being ancient, the night sky possesses such a 'power to excite the human imagination' because the Wisdom that is the Goddess is intimately connected to the imagination.  When we look to the stars, we look to understand who we might become.

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