Sunday, October 30, 2011

Goddess Thealogy in a Trinitarian Tradition: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Goddess the Holy Spirit, Maiden, Mother, and Crone

I've been thinking lately about the Goddess in relation to the Trinity. I think perhaps because Goddess thealogy for some reason or another tends to get excluded from most Christian traditions, and given that my family is rooted in a Christian tradition, I have been thinking of ways that the Goddess really is already present in that tradition. It occurred to me that the Trinity is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father and Son are fairly clearly defined in the Christian traditions, but what is this Holy Spirit? It is very mystical and mysterious. It is described as wind or breath (air element). It is almost vapor-like, something that can move within and without, or at times it is described as a fire (fire element). What I have come to believe is that the Holy Spirit is the Goddess.

We really don't hear much in the Bible about this Holy Spirit. I mean, there was that bit in Acts where the Holy Spirit mixed up people's speech, confusing people and causing rumors of drunkenness (and I know there were more instances, but in all fairness God and Jesus did get a bit more attention in the Christian Scriptures). And it seems to me that very much like the confusion in Acts, Christians are generally speaking quite confused by the Goddess. Most Christians don't quite know what to do with Her. And so rather than trying to understand one another's [theological] language, rather than trying to actually come to terms with a feminine aspect of the Divine, we place a "Spirit" label on Her, though we are careful not to actually refer to the Holy Spirit in feminine terms. No, it is "God the Father, God the Son, and GOD the Holy Spirit." Never do we hear "Goddess the Holy Spirit." In fact, when someone dares to invoke the Goddess, people become uncomfortable because it sounds like one is invoking a separate deity. However, if the Trinity is 3 in 1, then why can't the Goddess simply be a part of that Divine Being. That is exactly what I tell my daughter.

My five year old daughter has noticed on more than one occasion that most people don't understand the Goddess. I think most of us would say the same about the Trinity. In fact, I've had to explain to my daughter also that when we talk about God and Goddess, they are not separate, but rather different parts of the same Divine Being. I don't think she really understands this. Most of us don't get the Trinity, so why should a five year old? But I figure that for now the best I can do as a parent is to introduce her to all three parts of the Trinity, and so most every night before I tuck my daughter in to bed we pray. I always begin by asking her if she'd like to pray to God, Goddess, or Jesus. In this way, she can connect in her own five year old way to particular varying aspects of the Divine rather than through one (typically masculine) name alone.

There is a symbol that is used in both Christian circles as well as in "pagan" circles. It is a triquetra. In Christian circles, it symbolizes the Trinity. In "pagan" circles, and in its Celtic originality, it symbolizes a different trinity, that of the feminine life cycle of maiden, mother, and crone. This life cycle can be seen in the seasons. It can be seen in the waxing and waning of the moon cycles. It can be seen in life herself. I believe both aspects of it's symbolism are relevant. With Goddess recognized as the Holy Spirit, we are also free to recognize the beauty in the cycles all around us. They are cycles created and moved by the Divine Herself, so why label one symbol as Christian and another as pagan? Why not recognize the divinity in both Trinities? Why not recognize the unity in both Trinities?

God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Goddess the Holy Spirit, Maiden, Mother, and Crone be with you now and always. Amen.

Surrounded by the elements, Surrounded by the Goddess

My family and I moved about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Moving always has it's own challenges, but I must say that this move comes with it's own freshness as well. We moved from an urban setting to a rural setting (though only 15 minutes from the city). With these new surroundings I am feeling a renewed connection to Mother Earth and the oneness between us.

I am quite literally surrounded by all of the elements: earth, air, fire, water. When I step out onto my back porch, all around our back yard (and side yard, and front yard) are trees (earth), which are absolutely gorgeous with their flaming reds and oranges this time of year. The wind (air) blows these changing leaves about and brushes past my cheek as though the Mother is giving me a kiss or whispering loving words in my ear. We used our fire pit (fire) for the first time last weekend as we had family over and roasted veggie dogs. We also have a pond (water) inhabited by fish (put there for fishing, but they are safe as long as we live here) who love when we bring treats of bread for them to eat.

The Goddess can be found inside our house as well. Ironically as I was taking my 5 year old daughter through the house, she noticed the spirals the previous residents had painted in the walls and doors of the bathroom, and she said, "Look! It's the Goddess! Someone else must know about her too!" We also have 2 fireplaces, a hearth for the family altar (we just need a statue of Brigid), which we really missed having in our prior home.

We look forward to celebrating the changes brought by each new season, watching the transformation of the elements surrounding us, and watching as we are transformed by their presence, and by the presence of the Goddess through our own elemental natures.

Earth my body.
Water my blood.
Air my breath.
Fire my spirit.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Akhilandeshvari: The Never Not Broken Goddess

I know so many people right now going through hard changes/transitions and journeys in their lives....a friend battling cancer, friends confronting infertility, other starting new chapters in their lives through new relationships or new jobs or new locations. I, myself, am in the midst of major changes in my life. My daughter is preparing to begin kindergarten. My husband is preparing to change jobs, which will mean a move sometime in the coming months. And with our move, I will have to pack up my own yoga and massage business and move too, being unemployed for a time while reestablishing myself and my clientele in a new community.

In the midst of change or transitions, there is a part of us that wants to run screaming in the opposite direction or plant our feet firmly and say, "No! You can't make me!" And yet while change can be terrifying, it can also be exciting and rewarding, and as my wise sage of a hairstylist told me, "When there is change, there are infinite possibilities. It is only when you take away the prospect for change that those possibilities cease" (or something along those lines...she probably said it much more eloquently than I can recall). It's so easy to get comfortable in our lives. But is comfort what it is really all about? Is comfort what we really need? Perhaps it is when we get too comfortable that the Goddess reminds us about all the other possibilities and exciting opportunities that are available if only we will get out of our comfort zone...If only we will ride the wave of fear that holds us back from all that is beyond.

Apparently the Goddess knows what it feels like to ride the terrifying waves of change, because I recently discovered Her in the form of the Hindu Goddess, Akhilandeshvari. (Here is the article where I discovered Her.) Her name quite literally means "never not broken goddess," and She is my new shero. She is not weak in her brokeness; rather, She renews Herself over and over again through brokeness, ridding Herself of the things that keep Her comfortable or stuck from moving on to other more rewarding and limitless possibilities. And that is what Akhilandeshvari offers us in the midst of our own fear of change....the possibility of the power of starting over, of embracing the change, and embracing the infinite possibilities that come along with change.

Akhilandeshvari does not promise an easy transition. Rather, it is the journey through that makes us stronger. She, herself, is seen riding on the back of a crocodile, symbolic of the fear often attached to change. The crocodile spins it's prey, wildly thrashing about, even disorienting it's prey. Likewise, on the path of change we may sometimes feel disoriented, even thrashed about as though we are spinning wildly out of control.

Even so, there is hope. We are not alone. Our Divine Mother is riding the crocodile with us, and we will make it through. And know this...when we make it through, we will not come out the same on the other side. We regenerate through change. Like a salamander who, when trapped, lets go of its tail and grows a new one, we will be different. And because of our renewed self, we will have a whole new life of endless possibilities ahead of us....until the next time we face change, and then we will do it all over again. Just like the Goddess, Akhilandeshvari, we are "never not broken," and as such the possibilities are limitless.

Monday, March 14, 2011

She is not dead...She is rising.

Today as my daughter and I were coming home from her preschool, our road was blocked by a truck that was cutting down and hauling off a tree. My five year old daughter, budding environmentalist that she is, was quite disturbed by this image. I tried to explain to her that it was very likely that the tree was either sick or had been hurt in a recent storm. Even so, with sadness she said, "The Goddess is in the tree. The Goddess is dead." I then reminded her that the Goddess is in everything...She is not dead because the tree is dead; rather, She lives in the mulch that the tree will become and She lives in us and in all that is around us.

The Goddess is present as Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Perhaps it is the Crone Goddess that lives within that tree, walking with it from this life (form) to the next. She is the same Goddess who lives in the darkness of the new moon. However, just as the moon slowly reveals herself until finally shining in her fullness, so too, if we look around us, we will see the evidence of the Goddess in her other forms of Maiden and Mother as the earth buds in anticipation of the new life of spring and the harvests of summer and fall.

As we celebrate the season of Lent in the Christian calendar, I am reminded of the words that many congregations say on Easter Sunday, "He is not dead. He is risen. Christ is risen indeed." And in remembrance of those words, I say the same regarding the Goddess...She is not dead, She is rising. Out of the dormancy of winter, She is rising. In the midst of destruction, She is rising. She is rising indeed.