BIBLICAL LADY WISDOM

Our Holy Mother Goddess

 'The Holy Spirit: The Feminine Aspect of Godhead'


As the result of new findings in the Dead Sea Scriptures, the Coptic Nag Hammadi and intertestamental texts of Jewish mystics found side-by-side the writings of the early Christian church, scholars are recognizing the Holy Spirit as the "female vehicle" for the outpouring of higher teaching and spiritual rebirth.

The Holy Spirit plays varied roles in Judeo-Christian traditions: acting in Creation, imparting wisdom, and inspiring Old Testament prophets. In the New Testament She is the presence of God in the world and a power in the birth and life of Jesus.

The Eastern Church places the Holy Spirit as the Second Person of the Trinity with Christ as the Third, whereas the Western Church places the Son before the Holy Spirit.

In the Old Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls the Holy Spirit was known as the Ruach or Ruach Ha Kodesh (Psalm 51:11). In the New Testament as Pneuma (Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit was not rendered as "Holy Ghost" until the appearance of the 1611 Protestant King James Version of the Bible.

Ruach Ha Kodesh was considered a voice sent from on high to speak to the Prophet. Thus, in the Old Testament language of the prophets, She is the Divine Spirit of indwelling sanctification and creativity and is considered as having a feminine power. "He" as a reference to Spirit has been used in theology to match the pronoun for God, yet the Hebrew word ruach is a noun of feminine gender. Thus, referring to the Holy Spirit as "she" has some linguistic justification. Denoting Spirit as a feminine principle, the creative principle of life, makes sense when considering the Trinity aspect where Father plus Spirit leads to the Divine Extension of Divine Sonship.

Church doctrine regards the Holy Spirit as a person, not a force like magnetism. The writings of the Catholic fathers, in fact, preserve the vision of the Spirit encapsulating the "peoplehood of Christ" as the Bride or as the "Mother Church." Both are feminine aspects of the Divine. In the Eastern Church, Spirit was always considered to have a feminine nature. She was the life -bearer of the faith. Clement of Alexandria states that "she" is an indwelling Bride.

Amongst the Eastern Church communities there is none more clear about the feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit as the corpus of the Coptic-Gnostics. One such document records that Jesus says, "Even so did my mother, the Holy Spirit, take me by one of my hairs and carry me away to the great mountain Tabor [in Galilee]."

The 3rd century scroll of mystical Coptic Christianity, The Acts of Thomas, gives a graphic account of the Apostle Thomas' travels to India, and contains prayers invoking the Holy Spirit as "the Mother of all creation" and "compassionate mother," among other titles. The most profound Coptic Christian writings definitely link the "spirit of Spirit" manifested by Christ to all believers as the "Spirit of the Divine Mother." Most significant are the new manuscript discoveries of recent decades which have demonstrated that more early Christians than previously thought regarded the Holy Spirit as the Mother of Jesus.

According to Professor Neil Q. Hamilton at Drew University School of Theology, the Gospel of John shows us how "the Holy Spirit begins to perform a mothering role for us that is unconditional acceptance, love and caring." God then begins to parent us in father and mother modes.

A Catholic scholar, Franz Mayr, a philosophy professor at the University of Portland, also favors the recognition of the Holy Spirit as feminine. He contends that the traditional unity of God would not have to be watered down in order for scholars to accept the feminine side of God . Mayr, who studied under the renown German theologian Karl Rahner, said he came to his view during his study of the writings of St. Augustine (AD 354-430) who saw that a significant number of early Christians must have accepted a feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit such that the influential church father of North Africa castigated this view.

It is becoming clear in re-examining the first 100 years of Christianity that an earlier Christianity was closer to the "Feminine Spirit" of the Old Testament, the Ruach or the beloved Shekinah. The Shekinah, distinct from the Ruach, was seen as the indwelling Divine Presence that activated the "birth of miracles" or the anointed self. Accordingly, the growth of traditional Christianity made alternative adjustments of the original position of the "birth of gifts" as Christendom compromised for the privilege of becoming an establishment.

The new directions of spiritual and scientific studies are showing that it is now possible that the Holy Spirit, Ruach Ha Kodesh, can be portrayed as feminine as the indwelling presence of God, the Shekinah, nurturing and bringing to birth souls for the kingdom.

The Keys of Enoch tell us that the Divine Trinity is beyond the anthropo-morphic forms of male and female. Here our own masculine or feminine natures are only symbols of the Divine and our Life's manifestation in the Universe. And herein we understand who we really are, as we both male and female make our own preparation for the rebirth of our "Christed Overself," unified as the peoplehood of Light, the "Bride," for the coming of the "Bridegroom"- - the Christ.

This webset page was assembled by Sea Priestess Grace on Thursday August
 

 

God is Light
ISRAEL
The origin of the word Israel is quite interesting and takes all of our Judeo
Christian heritage back to a deep connection with ancient Egypt.
The word Israel is made up of three ancient forms IS RA EL.
When we define each part we find the deep truth.
IS Female---- I·sis1 (º s¹s) n. Mythology. An ancient Egyptian goddess of
fertility, the sister and wife of Osiris.

RA Male---- Ra1 (rä) also Re (r³) --n. Mythology. The ancient Egyptian sun
god, the supreme deity represented as a man with the head of a hawk crowned
with a solar disk and uraeus.

EL GOD---- the Hebrew term el also became an equivalent to the English
term god, as in the verse: "Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods"
(Exodus 15:11), in which elim (the plural of el) is used as gods.

There is Israel. The female and male that is within all living things that
together equal God. Or as Jesus put it, the Kingdom of God Is Within You.



Scripture proclaims an entirely different understanding of power. In both the
Old and New Testaments, our God hears the cries of the oppressed and leads
them to freedom, while over-lords are reduced to insignificance. Jesus
incarnated this theme in his life and teachings especially with regard to women.
When a woman preaches, she is a living testimony to the God who turns Nobody
into Somebody. Outside the church, women still struggle with inferior jobs,
low pay, the trivializing and wasting of their talent. but within the church,
women proclaim a God who puts down the mighty and exalts the humble and meek.


The Sacred Feminine

The truth of the sacred feminine is easy enough to establish, not by
searching for hidden codes in medieval paintings but by taking
seriously Jewish and Christian scriptures and traditions.

Is God masculine or feminine? Even to pose the question is to realize
that God, as a spiritual being beyond our comprehension, is neither
male nor female. Or perhaps more accurately, considering that Genesis
1:27 indicates that woman and man were both created in God's image,
God can be described using feminine as well as masculine terms.

To be sure, the Bible uses not only masculine images to depict God,
but feminine images as well. Consider Isaiah 66:13: "As a mother
comforts her child, so will I comfort you" (NIV). Throughout the
Psalms, God is described as a mother hen protecting her children
under her wing.

The Holy Spirit in particular is an archetypal image that evokes the
feminine divine. She gives birth (John 3:6), life (2 Corinthians
3:6), inspiration (2 Peter 1:21), comfort (Acts 9:31), and groans as
if in childbirth (Romans 8:23). Furthermore, she is described as a
dove and as fire -- both feminine images of the divine in that
culture.

There is another compelling feminine image in the Bible: That of Lady
Wisdom. In the Jewish Wisdom literature, beginning with Proverbs,
God's Wisdom is personified as a woman (see Proverbs 8:1-9:6). And as
many biblical scholars now recognize, some of the principal New
Testament passages about the incarnation (including John 1:1-18 and
Colossians 1:15-20) are rooted in this Jewish Wisdom tradition,
depicting Jesus as the incarnation of divine Wisdom.

From a feminist perspective, this means that Jesus incarnated both
his "Father" (God) and his "Mother" (Wisdom) in his own person (cf.
also Luke 7:35). If we add to this the fact that God's Wisdom and
God's Spirit are closely linked or even equated in biblical
literature (cf. Wisdom 7:22ff) and the fact that the Spirit is an
archetypal image of the feminine divine, we may think of the Spirit
as (in a sense) Jesus' Mother.

This approach to the Trinity is not new. Some early Christians did
countenance the Spirit as Mother. For example, both Origen and Jerome
favorably quoted a passage from a second-century Jewish Christian
Gospel (the Gospel of the Hebrews) in which Jesus referred to the
Holy Spirit as his Mother. Up until the fifth century, the Syriac
church used the feminine pronoun of the Holy Spirit, regarding her as
"our Mother." The idea of a Father-Mother-Son Trinity was popular
enough in the fifth century to draw the criticism of Augustine (De
Trinitate XII.5).

However, the sacred feminine ideal in the early church was not
limited to Motherhood. For example, Methodius of Olympus (260 - 312
C.E.) explored Paul's image of the Spirit-indwelled Church as the
Bride of Christ, comparing the relationship of Christ and the Spirit
with the relationship of Adam and Eve.

Using biblical terms, we can actually use sacred feminine language of
each of the three "persons" of the Trinity. For example, we can say
that the feminine divine is God as Mother and God (Wisdom)-in-Christ,
as well as the indwelling God (the Spirit). This expanded Trinitarian
formula images each of the three "persons" using feminine metaphors
that actually complement masculine metaphors like "Father" and "Son."

Why can't more churches incorporate these biblical terms into their
liturgies and worship? Wouldn't it help to restore the rightful place
of women as equal partners with men in the task of building up the
Church? Wouldn't it also signal a willingness to consider seriously
the criticism that churches have historically suppressed women?

The Humanity and Divinity of Christ

This approach to the divine feminine also holds promise for
addressing another difficult Trinitarian question: The humanity and
divinity of Christ.

Some oversimplify the issue by depicting the divinity of
Christ as a doctrine of fourth-century political expedience. But the
problem goes deeper than that, since Christ was considered divine
long before the fourth-century Council of Nicea. A more profound
problem, at least for Christians, is how to recover an appreciation
for the humanity of Christ without denying his divinity.

The question is particularly poignant since the Church Councils
articulated their ideas in the philosophical language of their day
(neoplatonism), and the ideas and terms they used are all outmoded.
Posing the question afresh, what does it mean to say that Jesus was
"human"?

The  humanity of Jesus is emphasized most
vividly by the contention that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
A fully human Jesus could very well have married
and fathered children. That many Christians are troubled by the
thought arguably reveals a deep-seated reluctance to think of him as
truly human.

Nevertheless, again, there are more substantial considerations that
force the question of Jesus' humanity even more acutely.

How could a divine being -- the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent
Creator of all things, "become" truly human? If "humanity" isn't just
a "substance" but a collection of experiences of uncertainty,
limitation, and mortality, how could a divine Jesus truly have been
"human"?

Could Jesus have been imperfect? Wrong about anything? Uncertain? If
not, he could hardly have been human. And in actual fact, there is a
strong tradition in the New Testament that Jesus was human in those
very ways. For example, Jesus "grew in wisdom" (Luke 2:52) and
"learned obedience" (Hebrews 5:8). He admitted when he was wrong, as
illustrated by his encounter with the Syrophoenician woman (Mark
7:24-29). But if Jesus was that authentically human, how could he
also have been the very incarnation of God?

One compelling answer is, again, that what Jesus incarnated in his
life was the Word or Wisdom of God -- that is, the personification of
God's own character. That which was "pre-existent" in Christ was
God's Wisdom.

To put the question differently, when John 1:14 states that "the Word
became flesh," should we propose that Jesus became flesh, or that the
Word became Jesus? Many Christians tend toward the former notion, but
that makes it much more difficult to think of him as truly human. The
latter interpretation, however, could very well accentuate Jesus'
humanity. A fully human Jesus who incarnated the very character and
love of God could still suffer as we do and sympathize with us,
 

The Gospels of Mary," calls this a reliance on
>"Peter's story," which he describes as "a line through a male God to
>a man named Jesus to a man named Peter." In contrast, Gnostic texts
>and a certain 21st-century novel purport to tell "Mary's story"- -one
>in which gender doesn't matter, and sexuality is a natural, even a
>celebrated, part of life. At a time when sexual ethics and the
>definition of the nuclear family are changing for many people, this
>alternative vision of Christian can be very attractive. In addition,
>these texts offer hope for anyone who's felt rejected or marginalized
>in their lives,
>
>In the Secret Gospel of John (Codex II, pages 3 - 5) of the Nag
>Hammadi Texts,
>
> "For the Perfect One beholds itself in the light surrounding it.
>This is the spring of the water of life that gives forth all the
>worlds of every kind. The Perfect One gazes upon its image, sees it
>in the spring of the spirit, and falls in love with the luminous
>water. This is the spring of pure, luminous water surrounding the
>Perfect One."
>
> "It's Thought became active, and she who appeared in the presence
>of the Father in shining light came forth. She is the first power:
>she preceded everything, and came forth from the Father's mind as
>the Forethought of all. Her light resembles the Father's light; and
>the perfect power, she is the image of the perfect and invisible
>virtin Spirit. She is the first power, the glory, Barbelo, the
>perfect glory among the worlds, the emerging glory."
>
> "She glorified and praised the virgin Spirit, for she had come
>forth through the Spirit."

 

The Feminine Gender of the Holy Spirit

 On the Orthodox Revision of the Gender of the Holy Spirit

 

Jaroslav Siefert, one of the Nobel Prize winning poets, has said that if you want to know truth look to the heretics. Jesus Christ said that his words are truth. Jesus, himself, by most at the time was considered the worst of heretics and even today in secrets of some hearts he is considered the same and worthy of his humiliating death. Paul, in his time, was, and to this day, is considered by many as a chief heretic. He, too, was personally silenced by execution. Marcion, a labeled second century heretic whose actions insured that the Pauline letters would be preserved, was also silenced in a differing and more enduring way.

When we look for truth along the bloody trail of the heretics what they said needs to be harmonized with the words about and from the chief heretic, Jesus Christ. In of itself, being labeled a heretic does not guarantee the truth of the entire message or even any part of it. If the message of the heretic does harmonize with scripture then we have truth. Martin Luther was considered a heretic by the then established church because he proclaimed that justification came by faith rather than works. It became evident from scripture that his words on the subject, in the end, were true. It was fortunate that he was given the time to develop his message and the means to make it known to a large number of hearers; otherwise, he and his message, as others were, could have been swept under the rug of personal destruction so that we all could still be paying the church to justify our dead family members.

When we look to the heretics we have two problems. First, we have the tactics used to destroy what is considered heretical. The initial response to a heretic is silence so that a response does not draw the attention of others. If the apparent heresy persists the heretic is punished by character assassination or public humiliation so that others tremble at the thought of adopting the heresy. Finally, if possible the means of the state are used to silence the heresy as it was with the Arian controversy of the fourth century. The heretic’s words are adulterated to obscure the so-called heresy and to convict him. Tertullian, who was an educated Roman attorney, used his skill to convict someone by selectively using Marcion’s words to counter his so-called heresy. Like Tertullian’s writings against Marcion, many times what we have existent today of the heretics words were written by those who detested them. It has been said that whether a leader is determined to be good or bad is based on who writes the history books. In the case of Marcion, since all of his own writings and writings in support of him were destroyed, we have only had one side of the story. The second problem we have is that in places the words of the original scripture have been altered purposefully to eliminate what the Orthodox Church considered as heresy and its possible resurgence. This chapter concerns what I believe is one of the most detrimental alterations of this kind from the texts.

To expose this alteration we ask from our understandings of the nature of man what could have been the scenario that precipitated this probable internment of truth. We search among the accumulated historical debris of some considered church fathers for their silence or fragmented relics of truth amongst their criticisms. We also search the words of some who were people of conscience who left us a record of the possible alternatives to what they were to record for acceptance within the Orthodox Church. Next we look to the minute detail of the text itself and then to the scope of all scripture to synthesize our understandings of truth. Finally, we consider, that if this is true, what are the implications for faith today.

For this study we have begun by focusing on the heretic, Marcion, who was noted disparagingly as a facilitator of the so-called Gnostic heresy. What gem or gems of truth can we sift from the historical remnants of the Gnostics’ beliefs through the detail of the texts and the scope of scripture to find this pertinent heresy? According to Elaine Pagels’ enlightening book, The Gnostic Gospels, one of the established church’s primary fears of and primary accusations of the Gnostics was that they were attracting large numbers of women and having women minister in contrast to the Orthodox Church. Was there a basis in ancient scripture for the fundamental belief in the value of women in their churches or was this a “throw back” to the more proximate pagan prophetesses and goddesses in Greek religion? From a variety of sources in their writings it is apparent that they believed that the Holy Spirit was the feminine spouse of God the Father. As one moves on, I believe that one will see that they had justification from a basis in scripture for this belief.

G. Zuntz, the noted higher critic, from his lifetime of examining the oldest Greek texts and textual fragments from the third century forward, writes that there was no attempt in the West to maintain the integrity of the original texts until Jerome produced the Latin Vulgate at the request of the papacy in the fourth century. Zuntz, by using the standard practice of textual comparison, in his detailed analysis of the oldest Pauline manuscript, notes, in his book, The Text of the Epistles, numerous places where the text has been altered. Jerome, himself, in letters to his colleagues, bewails the fact that he has so many variant texts to select from for the compilation of a standardized version. At one point before him he has the old Hieronymian text and its revision. He says, “The differences throughout are clear and striking.” In his writings he does leave us a clue to the subject at hand. At one point he has before him the Gospel to the Hebrews written in Aramaic used by the Syrian Christians which, as some now say, was the forerunner to the gospel of Matthew and predated the four canonical gospels. In it, Jerome says that the Holy Spirit is expressed in the feminine gender and is considered the mother in law of the soul. (Library 11, commentary in Isaiah, chapter 11: Library 2, commentary. In Micah 7.6) So here is some additional external evidence from an unrelated source that the Holy Spirit was originally considered feminine.

Where then do we go for direct textual evidence that the Holy Spirit was, in the origins of Christianity, considered feminine? We go to the existing Greek minuscules copied in the early part of the last millennium to find only circumstantial evidence. Likewise, as we go to the earlier copied Greek uncials, the Byzantine copies, the eastern Syriac Peshitta, and the Old Latin we find some peripheral corroboration. Then when we go to the earlier copied Old Syriac that predates the Peshitta we find a pearl of great price. In the most ancient of the rare Old Syriac copies, the Siniatic Palimpsest, from the 4th or 5th century, found in the Covenant of St. Catherine in the Sinia by Mrs. Anes Lewis and transcribed by Syriac Professor R.L. Bensly of Cambridge University in 1892, the words of Jesus in John 14:26 read:

But She -the Spirit - the Paraclete whom He-will-send to you- my Father - in my name - She will teach you every-thing; She will remind you of that which I have told you.

(Translation by Danny Mahar, author of Aramaic Made EZ)

In both the Hebrew and Aramaic language the word spirit is in the feminine gender but in the Greek language it is neuter. It is the Greek neuter word, pnuema, that was employed by the ancient Septuagint translators of the Hebrew Old Testament when they translated the feminine ruach into Greek. The authors who wrote in Greek were limited in expressing the Holy Spirit in the feminine by the constraints of the language. In addition, signposts directing one to the feminine nature of the Holy Spirit may have been removed or altered. Bart Ehrman, writes in his book, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, that from his comparative analysis, the Orthodox Church altered the texts to counter various beliefs considered heresies, especially during the time of Marcion, when they were compiling their own canon of the four gospels. It was the early gospel of John that was a favorite of the Gnostics and considered heretical by the Orthodox Church according to textual critic Walter Bauer. What if to sustain their developing male hierarchy and to contain the growth of the Marcionite and Gnostic churches and their attractiveness to women, the orthodox revisionists altered additional signposts to this feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit and emphasized their modified canon to counter Marcion’s canon of Luke and the Pauline letters and the Gnostics beliefs? When we add the evidence in the scope of scripture and the historical evidence of conflict between the Orthodox Church and the Gnostics, I believe one can consider this likely.

 (It is also interesting to note in the context of early church history that the Gnostics’ writings rarely refer to the orthodox canon of the four gospels and over time refer less and less to it. Could it have been that they were aware of the revisions concerning the feminine gender of the Holy Spirit and had no desire to give credence to the altered canon used by the Orthodox Church to stifle them? This, I believe, eventually worked to their detriment, because it seems that groups of Gnostics diverged widely from the scripture as a whole. Could it be that they, in their portion of separation, were eventually reversed and, in a different manner, twisted in disarray?)

When we move forward and consider the witness of the stars where no man’s hand can make alterations, the feminine gender of the Holy Spirit becomes more likely. Moses, in writing the book of Genesis, proclaims that the luminous celestial bodies in the darkness of night’s heaven and the sun’s brilliant light are for signs. Signs are symbols that point to something beyond themselves. Half of the major constellations are named with Semitic words that are feminine. In fact, within and in proximity to many of these major constellations are signs that point to a male-female interrelation. Joseph Seiss’ book The Gospel of the Stars, states that the two figures in Gemini, according to the most ancient Zodiac of Dendra, are not identical twins but those of a man and woman walking hand in hand. He goes on to say, that the word Gemini in the original Hebrew, Arabic and Syriac does not carry so much the idea of two brought forth at the same birth as it does the idea of a long betrothal brought to its consummation in perfect marriage. The old Coptic name of this sign signifies “the completely joined.” The constellation of Virgo, which represents the woman about to bring forth, has above it in the sky the constellation Bootes that is named with a masculine noun. Peter, in his second epistle, calls light in darkness and the dawning sun a “more sure word of prophecy” than even the voice from heaven heard on the Mount of Transfiguration. (II Peter 1:19)

Why could it be then that the second century theologians and translators were blinded to the importance of the femininity of the Holy Spirit? The power of Rome, in which Western culture is deeply rooted, was built on the three disciplines of virtus, pietas, and fides. Virtus conveys the idea of an individual’s harmonious integration. According to Pierre Grimal, a professor of Latin literature at the Sorbonne, this harmonious integration may not be what we first think. He writes, “When a Roman spoke of virtus he was less likely to mean conformity to abstract values than spontaneous assertion by action of the essential virile qualities of self mastery – granting to the feminine weakness, with a certain contempt, the characteristic of impotentia sui, an inability to control its nature.”  In the second century, in the West, the educated Roman male who was trained in this discipline of male self-mastery became the bishop or the theologian. Because of the prestige and power of Rome these exerted pressure on the Eastern churches to conform to their doctrines. In the third century the Roman bishop actually excommunicated all the Eastern churches that would not change the date of Easter from the Hebrew calendar’s date that corresponded to a day determined by each year’s particular lunar cycles to a consistently prescribed Sunday based on the Julian calendar. In time even the power and influence of the Roman Emperor began to be used by the West to settle doctrinal disputes with the Eastern churches.

In the East the esteem of women was quite different from that rendered by this Roman discipline of virtus. The Hindu culture, which was built upon Eastern thought, yet was spared Roman influence, today retains many original ingredients of the East. Bishop K.C. Pallia, a converted Hindu, when teaching from Solomon’s proverbs about the instruction of the father and the law of the mother writes, “The children have been taught that the mother comes first, the father second, the teacher third and God fourth.  So in India, if you don’t love and obey your mother, father, and teacher, there is a saying God will not sing.”              

In the Greek, there is a feminine letter eta that gives light on feminine divinity. It is used in combination with the Greek word men in one verse of the Biblical texts. These two words are used in the accepted Greek text in Hebrews chapter six, verse fourteen and are translated as surely as they are in secular Greek literature. In Greek these two words are combined as an idiomatic expression that if translated literally would be meaningless in English and most other current languages. The first word, eta, is most times rendered as the dative pronoun, she. The second Greek word, men, has at its root a relation to the moon. During the Bronze Age men was the name of an Anatolian moon goddess. At other places, where it is used without the eta, it is translated month, which in ancient eastern culture corresponded to the lunar cycle. When this verse is read literally, it could read that she-lunar was the one who blessed Abraham. From this we can say that feminine divinity blessed Abraham.

If the Holy Spirit is feminine, which is most probable, then, it had a presence in the Old Testament. Stephen, a follower of Peter, told the religious leaders of Israel that they and their fathers had always resisted the Holy Ghost. What then would be the name of feminine divinity in the Old Testament? From this verse in Hebrews, it would reasonably have a relation to Abraham. When God came to Moses with his charge to lead these fathers from bondage, he said that he had formerly been know to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by the name of El Shaddai. (Exodus 6:3) Shaddai, in the Aramaic, is in the feminine gender. In the Hebrew it has closely associated words that have feminine meanings. In both the Hebrew and Aramaic, it means full breasted. Reasonably, in all this, although intentionally closeted away from the mind’s understanding in the second century, feminine divinity has had an ongoing principle role in the affairs of men.

What it being dealt with is the Gnostic belief that the Holy Spirit is the feminine spouse of God the Father, the witness of an early Syrian Hebrew manuscript that the Holy Spirit is feminine and, as such, is the mother in law of the soul and marginalized etas. (In this context it is also revealing that the Greek word for soul is rendered in the feminine gender.) We also have the testimony of John 14:26 in a copy of the Old Syriac. We are now looking beyond the minute detail of the texts to the light of the scope of scripture to see if these supposed heretical beliefs have additional substantiation and an application to further faith.

The eminent nineteenth century British Biblical scholar, E.W. Bullinger, in his book, A Great Cloud of Witnesses has said that the Greek word in Hebrews chapter eleven for the heavenly country that Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob sought is used six times in scripture. He says in all of the five other places “it is rendered his own country, referring to the earthly parental home of Mary and Joseph.”  These patriarchs sought a homeland with both spiritual mother and father without fulfillment. They looked for what Paul found when the mystery was revealed to him.

 Paul also uses this word, country, though from its feminine root when he speaks of the whole family in heaven and on earth in Ephesians chapter three verse fifteen. Natural observation and the definition of words require that we define a family as mother and father with their progeny. There is a section of Pauline scripture that adds much light when considered in its entirety. It is Romans chapter one. Romans and both Corinthian letters were written at a time when Paul was taking the churches onward to a more mature level of understanding of the family of God, as later revealed in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. This was the time for him to bring the church through the transition from those things seen on this earth to those things unseen in heaven. He understood that the original natural order of things was a pattern for those things unseen in the heavenlies and that the interrelationship of God’s creation on earth was a schoolhouse for learning the heavenly plan of salvation. In Romans chapter one verse twenty he says according to the King James Version:

 

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;

 

The book of Genesis is the fundamental Biblical record of those things that are made from the creation of the world. Paul writes that the unseen can be seen by the things that are made. In Genesis, the book of things made, we see divinity’s desire to make man in their image.

 

And God said, Let us make man in our own image after our likeness…. Gen1:26

 

The Hebrew word for God in this verse is elohiym. It is in the plural so the pronouns us, and our are properly supplied. Any thing more than one is plural. In the next verse the Hebrew word for God is also elohiym. In this next verse, the pronoun translated as his is also plural and should be translated their.  The image of their own, in which elohiym created man, was male and female. These Gods or elohiym were and are two; male and female- the Father and the Holy Spirit. They made mankind in the likeness of themselves.

In Genesis, before man is formed out of the dust of the ground and is given the breath of life to become a living soul, he is created first as male and female in the image of God. It is only after man is formed out of the ground and after being made a unified living soul that man is separated into two distinct parts to fulfill God’s desire for a new family through procreation. The later context of Romans chapter one deals ultimately with the behavior of the two seen parts. It contains Paul’s strong admonition against homosexual and lesbian behavior. Paul’s concern about this behavior was not based on a desire to reveal the self-incriminating judgment just upon those who engaged in the practice but was based on a desire to bring all men up to understand the mystery that had been hidden in God from before the foundations of this world. Here, in Romans chapter one, Paul uses this obvious example of human corruption for a warning to all humankind. All have endeavored, in some form or fashion, outside of faith, in sincere ways, to intemperately and impatiently attain the divine through preconditioned self-satisfying means.

In all of Paul’s writings there are, it seems, only two things about which he was most concerned in the church – faithfulness in the marriage relationship and faithfulness to his gospel. He knew that the one flesh of the marriage relationship was a shadow of things unseen in the realm of the soul and the realm of the Spirit. In Ephesians when he speaks about the one flesh relationship between husband and wife he concludes by saying, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Without a respect for the power brought forth by the union of male and female and an appreciation for the corresponding sanctity of the sexual relationship of husband and wife in this earthly realm, Paul knew that one would limit one’s self from having one’s eyes opened to understand the mystery of Godliness emanating from the heavenly realm. He was dedicated to the revelation given him from Jesus Christ and his commission to first bring forth the fulfillment of salvation’s plan attained through the knowledge of the masculine wed with the wisdom of the feminine to bring forth the union in Christ.

Now we speak more specifically to the Holy Spirit being the mother in law of the soul according to the Hebrew Syrians in light of the scope of scripture and from the light that the Greek word for soul is also in the feminine gender. They, being from a Jewish background, had always believed that they collectively as a bride would become married to the Messiah at which time all their sin would be forever cleansed. As ones betrothed to be married to the Messiah they knew from the scripture and their culture that they were the property of their mother in law to be prepared for entrance into a new family upon the culmination of the marriage ceremony. In Genesis, the book of things made, when Abraham’s oldest servant brought Rebecca, the betrothed of Isaac, back from his far off relatives she first went to dwell in Sarah’s tent until the actual wedding feast. Ruth stayed with her mother in law Naomi even after her husband and the husband of Naomi died rather than return to her original family for support. She knew when she entered her husband’s family that in the event of his death that she would revert to being the property of her mother in law until she married another son or male blood line relative within the family or even waited for her mother in law to bear another son as a future husband for her. From the Old Testament record of things that were made and from their Hebrew gospel they could see that the Holy Spirit was the mother of the one to whom they were betrothed and as such the mother in law of their souls. Still there was a completing portion of truth that was later revealed to Paul that they did not yet know.

The gospel of Matthew, which, as some scholars say, was taken from the earlier gospel of the Hebrews, attributes the conception of Jesus singularly to the Holy Ghost. Luke, who wrote later and who had spent considerable time with Paul, writes of the birth of Jesus Christ as a result of the combination of two distinct entities when he says of the angel’s words to Mary concerning the coming conception of Jesus, “the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” It was this encompassing knowledge of the Highest, or Father, that the twelve apostles and their followers were not given to know during the early church. Philip, near the end of his time spent with Jesus, was still asking Jesus to reveal the Father unto them. It is in Paul’s later transitional epistle of Romans that the term Abba Father was first given as a term to be used by those who had separated themselves from this world’s methods and had entered the spirit of sonship. The Aramaic word abba lends itself to the meaning of “the way unto the hidden source.”

So far we have seen that the original belief of the early church was that the Holy Spirit was feminine according Gnostic writings and an early Hebrew gospel. We have seen the substantial declaration from Paul that the things unseen of the power of the eternal Godhead are clearly understood by the things that are seen, referring primarily to things made in Genesis and written within the context of male-female sexual relations. Now let’s touch on several practical ramifications for growing faith.

  As written in the previous chapter entitled “That Day”, according to Jewish culture the mother had sole responsibility and authority for the care of the children in the family until they were five years old and then primary responsibility until a daughter married into a new family or a son passed the age of thirteen. Recently in a national news magazine it was written, as if it were a new discovery, that around five years old children matured to understand their independence and uniqueness as either male or female. It was at this time that the children began their formal education within the local synagogue or through accomplished household servants to be presented for maturation upon completion by the hand of both mother and father. Child psychologists also understand that the most formative years for a child’s character are those in the earliest years following birth and that the mother of a child has the strongest influence on the development of the child during this time. Sociologists have rightly said that the future character of a society rests in the hearts of mothers. Researchers at Princeton University have found that moral decisions are made predominately within the emotional or feminine center of the brain. (On the other hand, although wives whose husbands perpetually lose car keys may not agree, men, or masculine portions of the brain, are much more adept in the abstract ability of spatial orientation and logic.) Yes, as Jesus said, the kingdom of God is within you.

Why then have we so easily succumbed to the pressure to disassociate children from the nurturing care and instruction of their mothers? In the middle of the twentieth century breast-feeding was discouraged among mothers. Now financial burdens, competitive pressures to achieve, and some issues of gender equality have sent mothers of young children into the work place. It is not surprising that in a recent survey a large majority of working mothers said that they would rather be at home with their young children. Have we allowed the separation of and the ambiguities in members of a family because the true nature and function of the Godhead has been hidden since the first century?  Could all this be another divisive corruption of the family on this earth subtly designed to obscure the family in heaven?

In the late nineteen sixties gender equality came to the forefront of social issues. Understandably and reasonably so, since the model for marriage was based on the hierarchical relationship of male domination which was imposed upon mankind through the knowledge of good and evil. In its essence this knowledge demands a hierarchical structure among humankind in all things. In it, self becomes the center from which all things are judged and in the final analysis it demands that one be better than another or one be less than another. After the entrance of good and evil Adam judged himself better than Eve because he did not take the first bite and less than God because he saw himself now as naked flesh. There is a new model for marriage and the family that is based upon what was before the acceptance of this reasoning process that contrasts all on the linear scale between good at one terminal and evil at the opposite. The model commences before the beginning when there were two harmonized in one and then out of one and then back into one through reunion within and among progeny.

This concept of the feminine gender of the Holy Spirit is not new or original. The early church had this belief and within the last several decades it has been considered at large with acceptance by individuals of faith in all areas. It may be that this writing is a unique synergism in understandings and that there are some new considerations within what is written here to add to the accumulating evidence. Whatever the case may be there is much more that is written and to be written that patterns the feminine gender of the Holy Spirit through the breadth of scripture. There is much more to be understood about the male-female harmony in the entire realm of those things seen. There is much more to be understood about how the spiritual masculine and the feminine bring forth the brilliance of Paul’s revelation of the mystery and there is much more to be understood about the wholeness that this belief will bring to an individual and a society.

For now I close with these thoughts. When one becomes persuaded of the union of the feminine and masculine, Paul’s revelation opens dramatically as the consummate epic work of the eternal union that brings together sons and daughters as the one new man in Christ of Ephesians. Scriptures can now open to a new light through Paul’s revelation of consummation within the cross of Christ and through its implantation into the very core of man’s being to bring forth that one new man to dwell in the eternal light of the coming new heaven and earth. Accordingly, I offer this presentation so that the revelatory script of the knowing playwright and the intuitions of the wise director may be more fully understood and, in the end, be joined harmoniously together within our souls and within our family to bring to pass the eternal plan of salvation for all humankind through the cross of Christ.

 

 

 

Precious Moments

 

For several moments

Gliding through the forest’s sunlit canopy

I was enveloped in Her!

In every tree,

In each stretching root,

Extended branch,

Lifted twig, luminous green leaf

And fertile falling seed

The cellular symbiosis of pulsating,

Regenerating life

From the beginning

Was Her!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

Eloah: The Hidden Goddess of Israel
For a variety of reasons, interest in worshipping a Divine Female – a Goddess – has been surging through modern culture. Women and men from a variety of religious backgrounds, have sought spiritual practices that include adoration of a feminine deity. The urge in some is very strong – an irresistible spiritual pulling. Because Christianity and Judaism, overall, have denied the existence of a Goddess, many who seek Her have left those traditions, searching for alternative spiritual paths.
Just as people worship many different gods, it is true that people likewise worship an assortment of goddesses. History, religion, and the scriptures are in full agreement that there are, in fact, many gods, and many goddesses. Some worship this or that god and/or goddess, while others worship others, or perhaps many gods and goddesses.
The following is devoted to restoring to light the Goddess of the Hebrew Scriptures – the Goddess who is mentioned within the Bible that is used by Jews and Christians. The Goddess who was known to the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Goddess who is mentioned from Genesis through Revelation. The Goddess of the ancient Israelites and of the earliest Christians. The Goddess who has been hidden in plain view for many, many centuries.
This is not about one of the goddesses of the ancient Egyptians or Romans, nor a goddess revered by present-day Hindus, but the authentic Goddess Who was repeatedly mentioned in the Scriptures. The Goddess of Israel1 Who has been deliberately concealed by churchmen and scholars, century after century. Many sympathetic scholars who have set out to find Goddess in the Scriptures have failed, often confusing the true Goddess with goddesses whose worship the Bible condemns.
What follows is a restoration of knowledge that there is a Goddess in the sacred Scriptures. It is a revelation that original Israelite and Christian worship included and depended upon a Divine Female: the Covenant People of old believed in God the Father and Goddess the Mother.

Concealed In Plain View

Among the many pearls of truth that, for centuries, have purposely been concealed from those who attend churches and synagogues is the awareness that Elohim [el-lo-HEEM], the God of the Bible, is really simultaneously both God and Goddess. In the original Hebrew, the word Eloah [el-LO-ah], is the feminine form of ‘God’. The word, Eloah, literally means “Goddess”.
For centuries, theologians, motivated by divers agendas and biases, deliberately masked profound truths about Elohim, the God of the Bible. They deliberately concealed from the common person’s view the existence of the Divine Feminine within the Holy Scriptures. Even though some of the Hebrew words for God have a distinct and clear-cut feminine gender, translators and commentators have almost universally covered up this knowledge. They were unwilling to use the feminine word “Goddess”. Therefore, they consistently used only masculine pronouns when referring to God – even when feminine pronouns would have been more correct. There has been a calculated conspiracy to purge the Goddess from synagogues and churches.
Even present-day Bible dictionaries and concordances are still biased, and ignore basic Hebrew grammatical rules when it comes to translating the various words for Deity. The result is that most Christians and Jews have been hoodwinked into to believing that the God of the Old Testament is exclusively male, and Christians have been mislead into believing that the Holy Spirit is genderless.
When one studies the Bible in English, only, and when an individual is limited to what preachers and rabbis teach, it seems that there is no ‘real’ goddess for the People of the Covenant to worship. Those who study the Bible can easily discover that other people worshipped goddesses, and that God’s prophets condemned such practices. But it was not the worship of the true Goddess of Israel that was condemned, but the worship of other goddesses – just as the worship of other gods is forbidden.
This has left people who have felt drawn to relate to Goddess in quite a dilemma. If they have a Scripture-based spiritual background, it would seem that their worship of the Goddess is incompatible with the very Scripture on which they base their faith. If they voice their feelings to a pastor, they are almost universally discouraged. The reason is that most priests, pastors, and rabbis are graduates of theological seminaries that teach that there is no rightful Goddess in the Bible. The doctrine of churches and synagogues is deeply influenced by denominational dogma, by culture, and by the pressure of committees within their congregations. Therefore, congregants who inquire about a Divine Feminine are usually dismissed out of hand, and are dissuaded from pursuing Her. As the result, the majority of those who became seekers of the Divine Feminine feel compelled to exit Judaism or Christianity in order to pursue their quest. Many in the present are being drawn away from their spiritual heritage and millennia of tradition, attracted to the pantheon of gods and goddesses found in Wicca, or related Neo-pagan religions2, because it seemed to them that the belief in Goddess was contrary to Christianity or Judaism. Centuries of androcentric cultural bias have resulted in a modern exodus of those feeling the call of Goddess in their spiritual lives.
Many plain and precious spiritual Scriptural teachings have been buried by the scholars of mainstream churches. For example, the many names of God have been deliberately kept from Christians and Jews. Scriptural teachings of the true nature of God, and of the plan of redemption were obscured. These were no accidents, but very conscious concealments by religious leaders. The truth “has been falsified by the lying pen of the scribes.” [Jeremiah 8:8] One of the mysteries3 of the ancient writ is that the Goddess has been ever-present within the pages of the Bible.
The Scriptures were originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic4 , and other Semitic languages. For that reason, the following includes a careful exposition of Hebrew words. It also includes explanations of Scripture passages, as well as comments by early church leaders. References are found in Bible, and in other ancient Hebrew and Christian texts5.

Both Male and Female

Included among the many pearls of truth which have been intentionally concealed from nearly all churches and synagogues for many centuries is the awareness that Elohim – the God of the Bible – has both male and female attributes and aspects.
The androgynous nature of Elohim is quite evident in the account of the creation of mankind found in the first chapter of Genesis. “And God [Elohim] said, Let us make man [adam = mankind] in our own image, after our likeness…So God [Elohim] created man in the image of God [Elohim]…male and female created he them…and called their name Adam.” [Genesis 1:27, 5:2] Just as Elohim is both male and female, mankind was also created male and female.
In the original Hebrew of the Bible there is one word, Eloah, which literally means “Goddess”. Eloah is the feminine form of ‘God’. Other words describing God are also distinctly female. Hebrew nouns are usually gender-specific [although some can be gender-neutral in usage]. While some of the Hebrew words for God have a distinctly feminine gender, translators have almost universally chosen to suppress this, being unwilling to use the feminine word “Goddess”. Likewise, they have consistently used masculine pronouns when referring to God, even when gender-neutral or feminine pronouns would have been more appropriate. Most present-day Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and concordances are still biased, and ignore basic Hebrew grammatical rules when it comes to translating the words designating Deity. This has resulted in most Christians and Jews holding to the erroneous opinion that God is exclusively male. To most Christians and Jews, awareness of the Divine Feminine is not only unfamiliar, but, initially, may even seem unbelievable.

Elohim

Elohim6 is the Hebrew word that is most often translated as the English “God.” Elohim is gender-combined, plural word. The word Elohim is concurrently male and female, and simultaneously represents both unity and majestic plurality. Elohim is a compound of the feminine singular Eloah with the masculine plural suffix –im. The word Elohim represents a majestic, awesome God that is beyond the ability of the human mind to fully comprehend. We can comprehend some of the attributes of Elohim, but the fullness of the Godhead is beyond our understanding.
El7 is the masculine singular Hebrew word for God. Although specifically male, in practice, El is often gender-neutral. Eloah8 is the feminine singular form of the same word, and is correctly translated ‘Goddess’. In Hebrew, the –oah¬, –oh or -ah suffix makes a word feminine. This is very similar to the English suffix –ess, used in such words as waitress, stewardess, or poetess. Eloah is Goddess, the feminine form of God.
Elohim is a combination of the singular feminine word Eloah, to which the masculine plural suffix –im has been added. In Hebrew, the –im suffix is normally added only used to make masculine words plural. The question that naturally arises is, Why add a masculine suffix to a feminine root? The answer is that Elohim is androgynous, being simultaneously male and female in principle and attributes.

Eloah / El Shaddai

El Shaddai or simply Shaddai are other titles of God. As has already been mentioned, El means ‘God’. The word shad means “woman’s breast” [Strong’s 7699], and shaddai [7706] means “breasts”, “breasted”, or “many breasts”. Though El Shaddai is translated as “Almighty God”, “God Almighty”, or “the Almighty” in the English Bible, it literally means “God with breasts” or “[many] breasted [One]”9 There remain some who refuse to properly translate shaddai as “breasts”, however, the parallelism of the language used in Jacob’s blessing, in Genesis 49:25, emphasizes that this is the correct translation. “El Shaddai who blesses you…with blessings of the breasts and womb.”10 The descriptive title El Shaddai depicts the Goddess of Israel.
A fascinatingly important declaration was revealed in Exodus 6:3: “To Abraham, Isaac and Jacob I appeared as El Shaddai, but I did not make my name Yahweh11 known to them.” While there is Scriptural evidence that the Patriarchs were actually aware of the word Yahweh, evidently Elohim related to the Patriarchs primarily in the feminine manifestations of Eloah and El Shaddai. This revelation given to Moses is highly important to our understanding. The Deity the Hebrews knew was the Goddess Eloah, or El Shaddai.
Eloah appears 57 times in the Old Testament; two-thirds of those mentions occur in the book of Job. Shaddai or El Shaddai appears in the Tanakh [Old Testament] forty-eight times. Thirty one of those occurrences are found in the book of Job. The fact that Job lived during the days of the Patriarchs, combined with Yahweh’s declaration to Moses about the Hebrew Patriarchs mainly recognizing Deity as El Shaddai, allows us to conclude that the Goddess attributes of Elohim were much more clearly understood in Patriarchal times. Although the names Elohim and Yahweh appear in Scripture many more times than Eloah or El Shaddai13 , we must notice significance in the fact that the earliest Hebrews had a considerable understanding of and relationship with the Divine Feminine.
In the book of Job are two specific declarations of the femininity of Eloah. Yahweh announced to Job, “the sea…leapt tumultuous from the womb.” [Job 38:8] Then, Yahweh rhetorically asked, “Out of whose womb came the ice?” [Job 38:29] Obviously, these verses [and others] undeniably attribute feminine characteristics to Eloah.
Eloah is synonymous with Shaddai, the Goddess. “Can you claim to fathom the depth of Eloah? Can you reach the limit of Shaddai?” [Job 11:7]14 “Then Shaddai will be your delight, and you will lift your face to Eloah.” [Job 22:26] “Can he be happy with Shaddai? Can he call on Eloah at all times?” [Job 27:10] A similar verse is, “Now what portion does Eloah allot from above; what fate does Shaddai apportion from [Her] heaven?” [Job 31:2]
A number of verses, mostly within the book of Job, mention either El or Yahweh as distinct from Eloah. “I would seek unto El, and unto Eloah I would commit my case.” [Job 5:8] “Does El pervert judgment, or does Shaddai pervert justice…if you search for El and plead for mercy from Shaddai?” [Job 8:3,5] “This is the portion of a wicked man from El, and the heritage appointed him by Eloah.” [Job 20:29] “I swear by the living El who denies me justice, and by Shaddai who has filled me with bitterness.” [Job 27:2] “El judges the Righteous and Eloah is angered by the Wicked every day.” [Psalm 7:11] Similar passages include Job 15:25, 22:17, 23:16, 33:4, 34:12, and 35:13.

The Holy Spirit

The Hebrew Ruach ha Kodesh is the phrase that translates into the Holy Spirit. Ruach is feminine, and the Aramaic equivalent ruah is also a feminine noun. These words are paired with feminine verbs and pronouns15. The Hebrew phrases “Spirit of Elohim” and “Spirit of Yahweh” consistently use feminine grammatical construction. The Holy Spirit is feminine, and is another designation of Eloah. Therefore, following the original texts, the Messiah promised: “I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that she may dwell with you forever.” [John 14:16]
The Holy Spirit is identifies as the Comforter in John chapters 14 to 16. This role of comforting is associated with mothering, of course. “As a mother comforts a child, so shall I comfort you.” [Isaiah 66:13] In Isaiah 11:2, the “Spirit of Wisdom” is also called the “Spirit of Yahweh”. Irenaeus, a second century bishop, declared that the ‘Wisdom’ of whom Solomon wrote in the Old Testament is identical to the Holy Spirit so often mentioned in the New Testament. [Against Heresies]
The Holy Spirit inspired those who wrote the Scripture. [2nd Timothy 3:16] It is through infusion of insight from the Holy Spirit that we are able to understand the depths of Scripture. [1st Corinthians 2:11] The Holy Spirit reveals spiritual truths to sincere believers. [Moroni 10:5] She interprets our prayers and the intents of our hearts. [Romans 8:26] She gives spiritual gifts to believers, such as the gifts of healing, prophecy, beholding spirits and angels, and speaking words of wisdom. [1st Corinthians 12:1-12; Moroni 10:7-17 (7-11)]
Another word commonly used to refer to the Holy Spirit is ‘shekinah’. The feminine word shekinah appears in Aramaic translations of the Bible, and is commonly use within modern Judaism. Shekinah is the equivalent of the Holy Spirit; it means “Divine Presence”. The –ah suffix indicates that it is Feminine Divine Presence.
The Didascalia, Apostolic teachings written during the 3rd century, compared the Deaconess [female minister] with the feminine Holy Spirit. The ministry of the Deacon was likened to the masculine attributes of God. “Let the Deaconess be honored by you in the place of the Holy Spirit.” [II:4:26]
In the Gospel of Philip, written in the late 2nd or early 3rd century, it is also quite evident that the Holy Spirit was understood by the earliest Christians to be the Divine Feminine. In lines 24 and 25 we read: “Some said, ‘Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit.’ They are in error. They do not know what they are saying. When did a woman ever conceive by a woman?” The author of Philip was making an important clarification. The Scriptures say that Mary, the earthly mother of Messiah, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit – not that the Holy Spirit impregnated her16.

God Became

In some Hebrew traditions, God is referred to as Ain Sof – which means “without end”. God is infinite, ultimate, and immeasurable – beyond our capability to fully understand. Although we cannot fully comprehend God, the Scriptures do contain a wealth of knowledge about the Divine that we can understand.
The Scriptures are emphatic that there is one God – one Elohim. The Shema declares: “Listen, O Israel, Yahweh your Elohim is One.” [Deuteronomy 6:4] Though there is unmistakable unity in God, the Scriptures simultaneously reveal a plurality. “The Father, and…the Son, and…the Holy Ghost17 …are one God. [Mormon 7:7 (3:29); Alma 11:44 (8:102-104)] The Spirit Eloah is part of the Divine – one facet. This is just like the Father and Son existing as distinct elements within the majestic plurality that is Elohim. The ‘trinity’ is Father, Mother [Holy Spirit], and Son.
The words Elohim and Yahweh may each be classified as collective nouns. Collective nouns include words such as family, flock, herd, forest, jury, staff and team. The plurality of Elohim [or of Yahweh] can be understood in the collective sense of family. Paul wrote that “the whole family in Heaven” receives its name from Elohim. [Ephesians 3:15]
The ancient American prophet, Abinadi revealed the astonishing truth that God [Elohim] became the Father and the Son. [Mosiah 15:3 (8:30)] This is an essential teaching. Abinadi stated that Elohim divided, as it were, to become the various roles and persons of God. This is likened to the Apostle’s inspired statement that “the Word became flesh. [John 1:14] Elohim became the Father and the Mother and the Son.
In about 200 CE, Clement of Alexandria wrote similarly: “God…out of love to us became feminine. In his ineffable essence He is Father; in His compassion to us He became Mother, …by loving, became feminine. [The Rich Man’s Salvation, XXXVII, in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2] Methodius, a bishop of the third century, wrote: “Adam [was] the type and resemblance of God the Father…whilst Eve, who proceeded from Adam, signified the person and procession of the Holy Spirit.” [Ante Nicene Fathers. Fragments from the Homily on the Cross and Passion of Christ]
Adam, the first human, was created in Elohim’s image. At first, Adam, like Elohim, was simultaneously male and female. [Genesis 1:27] Then, Elohim divided Adam, separating the feminine from the masculine into two individuals, with distinct male and female gender. [Genesis 2:21-23]
Synesius, Bishop of Libya in the early 5th century, in his 2nd Hymn, wrote of the Divine as both masculine and feminine. ‘Thou art Father, thou art Mother; Thou art male, and thou art female.’ [lines 63-64]
The Aramaic word, abwoon, is gender-inclusive. It means ‘ancestor’, and includes both male and female. In the Aramaic version of the “the Lord’s prayer”, abwoon is the first word. It was translated into ‘father’ in Greek, instead of ancestor. Consequently, the Lord’s Prayer in the English, Greek or Latin New Testament begins with “Our Father in Heaven”, whereas in Aramaic it begins by addressing “Our Parents in Heaven”.
There is a principle of opposites of all things. [2nd Nephi 2:11 (2:81-84)] Among other things, this means that there can be no happiness without sadness, no good without bad, no sacred without profane, and so forth. There can also be no maleness without femaleness. There is no Father unless there is Mother. There is no Bridegroom unless there is a Bride. There is no Savior without they who are the Lost. There are no children unless there are parents.
Elohim became the Father, the Son, the Spirit, and the whole Divine Family. The presence of family necessitates the existence of gender. Similarly, the fact that Messiah is the Bridegroom necessitates that there must be a Bride18. Not only did Elohim become the masculine Father and the masculine Messiah, Elohim also became the feminine Holy Spirit / Eloah / Wisdom, and the Bride [the Elect]. There is a perfect male-female balance within the Divine.
Because of the unity of the Father, the Spirit, and the Son, when an individual believes in one, she believes in the other aspects of Elohim as well. Messiah said, “Whoso believeth in Me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of Me, for He will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. And thus will the Father bear record of Me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and Me; for the Father and I and the Holy Ghost are one.” [3rd Nephi 11:35-36 (5:36-38)]

Wisdom

Wisdom is another name for the Goddess. ‘Wisdom’ is translated from the feminine Hebrew word Hochmah. [Strong’s 2451, 2452 and 2454] Hochmah has the –ah feminine suffix. The equivalent name in Greek is Sophia. [4678]
Although the word ‘wisdom’ definitely is equated with good judgment and astuteness, in several Scripture passages, Wisdom is also unmistakably a Divine Personage. Wisdom is feminine, and consistently referred to by feminine pronouns. “Say to Wisdom, You are my sister.” [Proverbs 7:4]
The Messiah also referred to Wisdom as a person. He said: “Wisdom is proven by Her children.” [Luke 7:35] He also quoted19 a declaration made by Her. “The Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles…’” [Luke 11:49]
“How blind and impenetrable are the understandings of the children of men; for they will not seek Wisdom, neither do they desire that She should rule over them.” [Mosiah 8:20 (5:85)]
In a number of passages of scripture, Wisdom is described and adored by writers, and also speaks on Her own behalf. This is particularly true of the 8th chapter of Proverbs, the 24th chapter of Ecclesiasticus, and the 7th chapter of the Wisdom of Solomon20.
Wisdom announced that She was brought forth before the creation21. She also assisted in the creative process, alongside Yahweh. “Yahweh created Me, first-fruits of His fashioning, before the oldest of His works. From everlasting I was firmly set – from the beginning, before the earth came into being. The deep was not when I was born, nor were the springs with their abounding waters. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I came to birth; before He had made the earth, the countryside, and the first elements of the world. When He fixed the heavens firm, I was there; when He drew a circle on the surfaces of the deep, when He thickened the clouds above, when the sources of the deep began to swell, when He assigned the sea its boundaries (and the waters will not encroach on the shore), when He traced the foundations of the earth. I was beside22 the Master Craftsman, delighting Him day after day, ever at play in His presence, to play everywhere on His earth, delighting to be with the children of men. ¬[Proverbs 8:22-31]
Within the apocryphal books of Ecclesiasticus [also known as Ben Sirach], and the Wisdom of Solomon [sometimes known simply as Wisdom], the Feminine Deity is quite evident. It is apparent that the following passages refer to much more than mere personifications of the attribute of wisdom, but actually represent statements by and about Eloah. {The surviving originals of these manuscripts exist only in Greek. However, based upon translation in the Septuagint, we can extrapolate the original Hebrew equivalent of certain words.}
“Wisdom [Sophia] speaks Her own praises in the midst of Her people She glories in Herself. She opens Her mouth in the assembly of the Most High {El Elyon}; She glories Herself in the presence of the Mighty One {Abi’ir}: I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and I covered the earth like mist. I had My tabernacle in the heights, and My throne was a pillar of cloud. Alone I have made the circuit of the heavens, and walked through the depths of the abyss. Over the waves of the sea and over the whole earth, and over every people and nation I have held sway. Among all these I searched for rest, and looked to see in whose territory I might pitch camp. Then the Creator of all things instructed Me, and He who created Me fixed a place for My tent. He said, ‘Pitch your tent in Jacob; make Israel Your inheritance.’ From eternity, in the beginning, He created Me, and for eternity I shall remain. In the holy tabernacle I ministered before Him, and thus became established in Zion. [Ecclesiasticus 24:1-10]
“And so I prayed…I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I esteemed Her more than scepters and thrones; compared with Her, I held riches as nothing. I reckoned no precious stone to be Her equal, for compared with Her all gold is a pinch of sand, and beside Her silver ranks as mud. I loved Her more than health or beauty; preferred Her to the light since Her radiance never sleeps. In Her company all good things came to me, and at Her hands incalculable wealth. All these delighted me, because Wisdom brings them, though I did not then realize that She was their Mother…” [Wisdom of Solomon 7:7-12]
“And now I understand everything, hidden or visible, for Wisdom, the designer of all things, has instructed me. For within Her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, incisive, unsullied, lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, shrewd, irresistible, beneficent, friendly to human beings, steadfast, dependable, unperturbed, almighty, all-surveying, penetrating, all-intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits. For Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; She is so pure, She pervades and permeates all things. She is a breath {ruach} of the power of God {Elohim}, pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty {Shaddai}; so nothing impure can find its way into Her. For she is a reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God’s active power, and image of His goodness.” [Wisdom of Solomon 7:21-26]
“Although She is alone [only one power, but] She can do everything. Herself unchanging, She renews the world, and, generation after generation, passing into holy souls, she makes them into God’s friends and prophets; for God loves only those who dwell with Wisdom. She is indeed more splendid than the sun; She outshines all the constellations. Compared with light, she takes first place; for light must yield to night, but against Wisdom, evil cannot prevail. Strongly She reaches from one end of the world to the other and She governs the whole world for its good.” [Wisdom of Solomon 7:27-30]
Solomon prayed to Yahweh regarding Wisdom. “With You is Wisdom; She Who knows your works, She Who was present when You made the world. She understands what is pleasing in Your eyes, and what agrees with Your commandments. Dispatch Her from the holy heavens, send Her forth from Your throne of glory to help me and toil with me, and teach me what is pleasing to You. Because She knows and understands everything, She will guide me prudently in my actions, and will protect me with Her glory.” [Wisdom 9:9-11]

Mother in Heaven

Eloah is the Heavenly Mother23. She is the Father’s partner and spouse, the true Queen of the Universe. In language similar that used by Job, the Heavenly Mother is mentioned in Ecclesiasticus 40:1. “A hard lot has been created for human beings…from the day they come out of their [earthly] mother’s womb, they day they return to the Mother of them all.”
In the gnostic book of Sophia, we read, “The great Sophia is [the Father’s] spouse…[She is the] Begetress Sophia, Mother of the Universe…” [3:104] The word used in some Greek texts in reference to Goddess is koinonos, which means [equal] partner. In common use, it meant ‘spouse’, or ‘consort’, particularly in the sense of the wife of the king, or the husband of the queen. This is not precisely the same as human marriage, but mortal marriage is a reflection of the hierosgamos – or sacred cosmic union of El sand Eloah.
Yahweh commanded Moses to have sculptures of two cherubim placed atop the Ark of the Covenant. When Solomon built the Temple, images of cherubim were embossed upon the walls, carved in relief into doors and panels, and were incorporated into tapestries and other furnishings. According to a few historical accounts, the two cherubim were male and female, representing the Divine Male and the Divine Female – El and Eloah.
Several first or second-century Christian documents discovered at Nag Hammadi, Egypt, plainly identify the Holy Spirit as feminine – as the Mother figure within the Godhead. In the Apocryphon of John, Elohim appeared to John and said, “I am the Father, I am the Mother, I am the Son. I am the undefiled and uncorruptible One.” In the Gospel According to the Hebrews we read the phrase “my Mother the Holy Spirit”. Regarding this phrase, Jerome commented around 400 AD, “No one should be offended by this, because ‘spirit’ in Hebrew is feminine, while in our language [Latin] it is masculine, and in Greek it is neuter. [Commentary on Isaiah 11]
In the Acts of Thomas, written around 200 CE, an invocation includes: “Come, compassionate Mother; come She that revealeth the hidden mysteries.” [2:27] Another prayer, referring to the Holy Spirit as the “Holy Dove”, invites “Come, hidden Mother.” [5:50] “We glorify and praise thee [Messiah], and thine invisible Father, and thine Holy Spirit, the Mother of all creation.” [3:39]
The Holy Spirit gives new birth to the Elect. The believers are ‘born again’ of the Heavenly Mother. The sons and daughters of God/dess are the assembly of believers. The New Testament epistles often speak of the fellowship of believers as ‘brethren’. The covenant members of the church or synagogue are spiritual brothers and sisters, born of the same spiritual Mother. The Greek word for ‘brethren’, adelphos, literally means “of the same womb” [delphos meaning ‘womb’].

Not the Goddesses of the Gentiles

The apostle Paul wrote that people give honor to many different gods and goddesses. [1 Corinthians 8:5-6] We acknowledge the same to be true today – adherents to a variety of religions worship many gods and goddesses. Although people worship “many gods and many lords”, for the People of the Covenant, there is only one true God – Elohim. Those whom the Scriptures call Gentiles24 generally worshipped other gods or goddesses. This means that they worship gods or goddesses that have been invented within their own imagination, or are misinterpretations of the true El and Eloah. Instead of worshiping the true Elohim, they worship gods and goddesses that were created within human minds. [Romans 1:25] Elohim consistently and plainly banned worship of Gentile gods and goddesses.
Contrary to modern pluralistic thinking, this means that there is a difference between Elohim and the gods and goddesses of other nations. Plainly said, Baal is not the same as Yahweh, just as Ashtoreth is not the same as Eloah25. Inanna, Isis and Lilith are not Eloah called by other names – they are truly “other gods”.
Throughout the history of Israel, the nation waxed and waned through cycles of the worship of “other gods”. The Heavenly Father’s condemnation of their practices focused on whom Israel was worshipping, and how they were worshipping. Yahweh did not condemn reverence for Eloah – the Feminine Deity of Israel. Worship of the star goddess Ashtoroth [also spelled Ashtoreth] was denounced, however. Five times in the book of Jeremiah, a goddess of the Gentiles is referred to by the title “Queen of Heaven”. In other cultures the star goddess was known as Astarte, Ishtar, and Ostara. An example of censuring the worship of other gods is found in Deuteronomy 32:17. The wicked people were condemned for sacrificing “to demons that are not Eloah. These were new gods who came from nearby – gods your ancestors never worshipped.”
Asherah is another name for the Gentile goddess. In the King James translation of the Bible, asherah is translated as “grove” or “groves”, but the contextual meaning is usually “a place to worship [the goddess Asherah]”, or “idols [of Asherah]”. Asherah was the companion of Baal. “And the children of Israel did evil…and forgot Yahweh their Elohim, and served Baals and Asherahs.” [Judges 3:7] “And the king commanded Hilkiah the High Priest…to bring out of the temple of Yahweh all the vessels that were made for Baal and for Asherah…and he burned them.” [2nd Kings 23:4]
Another goddess is mentioned in Isaiah 34:14, in a purely negative way. She is Lilith, a winged goddess or demoness of the ancient Sumerians26. The Semitic root lil means ‘wind’ or ‘spirit’. In the King James translation, Lilith is called “screech owl”. Other translations of lil’ith are “night terror”, “night hag”, “night demon”, “goddess of the night”, or “maiden of desolation”.
Roman Catholic tradition gradually elevated Mary, the human mother of the incarnate Messiah, to the position of goddess. This was not based upon Scripture, but purely upon human invention. Popes have declared that she is the Queen of Heaven, and that salvation is dependent upon her mediation along with the intercession of the Messiah. This doctrine, which encourages Catholics to pray to Mary, is not scripturally founded, but is a manufactured falsehood devised by Catholic theologians in recent centuries. Mary is not Eloah – she is not the Goddess incarnate.

Relating to Eloah

Is it blasphemy to teach that there is a Heavenly Mother? Certainly not! The Scriptures, in their original language, proclaim it to be true.
Having become aware of this previously hidden mystery of Eloah, many will wonder about their own personal relationship to Her. The Scriptures naturally provide guidance in this regard.
It is appropriate to pray to Eloah. For example, Job wrote: “My desire is that Shaddai would answer me.” [Job 31:35] “Oh that I might have my request, and that Eloah would grant me the thing that I long for!” [Job 6:8] “He will pray to Eloah who has restored him to favor.” [Job 33:26] “I shall say to Eloah, ‘Do not condemn me; tell me what Your case is against me.” [Job 10:2] My friends scorn me, and my eyes pour out tears unto Eloah. [Job 16:20] “I want to speak to Shaddai; I wish to argue my case in front of El.” [Job 13:3] “Seek El, and plead with Shaddai.” [Job 8:5] “[The Wicked say] ‘What is the point of serving Shaddai? What shall we gain from praying to Her?’” [Job 21:15] “Then Shaddai will be all your delight, and you shall lift your face to Eloah. You will pray and She will hear.” [Job 22:26-27] “I am one who calls on Eloah and expects an answer.” [Job 12:4]
Attributes of the Goddess are signified through Her titles. She is El Shaddai, having many comforting, nourishing spiritual breasts. All who desire can come to Her and suckle and find security and sustenance, just as children, regardless of gender, find comfort at their mother’s breasts. "The Divine power, though exalted far above our nature and inaccessible to all approach, like a tender Mother who joins in the inarticulate utterances of Her babe, gives to our human nature what it is capable of receiving; and thus in the various manifestations of God to humanity, God both adapts to humanity and speaks in human language." [Gregory of Nyssa, late 4th century]
The Ruach ha Kodesh [Holy Spirit] trait of Goddess is associated with the breath. The word ruach means ‘breath’ or ‘wind’. We can deliberately increase our breath when we like, or stifle it at will. In a like manner, we can willfully influence the degree to which we fellowship with the Ruach ha Kodesh, or Holy Spirit – and we can also suppress the degree of communion with Her. As breath or wind is normally only noticed when it is in motion, it is common for people to only notice the Holy Spirit when She is moving. When She is still, She cannot be perceived.

The Spirit of Elohim

Elohim, as the Holy One, acted to create the world, and now sustains the universe. Elohim hears and answers prayers, blesses the Righteous, and punishes the Wicked. Elohim is the source of Life and Light. Elohim, as One God, is worthy of praise and worship, as well as the Father, Son, and Eloah individually. Each One within Elohim is referred to as ‘the Rock’.
Within Elohim, there is a hierarchy – an organized order – a division of responsibility within the Godhead. Each member has a role to play. We remember that Elohim became the Father and the Son and the Spirit – each with particular characters and tasks.
The Father is the Source of the power within the Godhead – distributing it through the Spirit and the Son and the Elect. The Father is the One who covenants with individuals and nations. The specific ‘work of the Father’ is focused on making and fulfilling the terms of the Covenant [including the gathering and restoration of Israel]. The Father directs the Son and the Spirit, and is, in that sense, supreme.
The Messiah is our Kinsman-Redeemer, and the Firstborn. He is the Bridegroom of the Church [Bride]. He is God in the flesh. He broke the bonds of death, making the resurrection possible for all people. Messiah was the ultimate sacrificial Lamb, paying the penalty of sin for all those who will have faith in Him, as well as those who are ignorant of the Plan of Redemption. The Messiah is our Shepherd, our High Priest, and Chief Judge, the Captain of our Salvation, and our Brother. He is the Atonement for our sins.
Eloah is the Holy Spirit; She unites mankind with Elohim. She is the medium through which spiritual gifts are manifested. The Spirit of Wisdom gives instruction, as well as interpretation and understanding. She is the Comforter. She convinces and convicts. Through the Spirit of Eloah comes revelation and inspiration. The power of Elohim is manifested through the Spirit. Eloah resides within the hearts of the Righteous.
El Shaddai is more delicate that the Father or the Son. She can be insulted, so is safeguarded. The sin against the Holy Spirit is unpardonable. [Matthew 12:32; Alma 39:6 (19:8-9)] Unlike the Father [Yahweh] and Son [Yahshua], Her personal name is never revealed [perhaps to prevent it from being blasphemed]. Eloah, the Holy Spirit, has never been incarnate – She has ever existed only in the spiritual realm.


There is, unquestionably, a feminine aspect within Elohim, the God of the Hebrews. The Divine Feminine is known as Eloah, El Shaddai, Wisdom [also Hochmah or Sophia], and the Holy Spirit. She is the Goddess ‘concealed’ within the Scriptures. She is part of the One True God [Who is beyond our ability to fully comprehend]. Spiritual Israel has justifiable reason to worship, praise and give honor to Eloah, the Holy Spirit, Who, with the Father and Son, are One God. The People of the Covenant are not permitted to honor other goddesses, such as Ashtoreth or Asherah, but should give praise and worship to El Shaddai – the Goddess of the Scriptures - the Feminine within Elohim.
 

This idea of the Goddess or maternal womb is embedded in history. It was and is symbolized by the ceremonial bowl. When used in the Egyptian temples as the temple basin it was called the shi. In Biblical times it became the brass sea in Solomon's temple (1 Kings 7:23-26). Such bowls or vassals were used for illustrations, baptisms and various purification ceremonies. Although the Christians often fail to disclose that the holy water fount still symbolizes the womb. This symbolically is true since the water is to bestow blessings or grace upon the one which it is sprinkled upon, or who sprinkles it upon himself, and this grace supposedly comes from Jesus Christ who came from the womb of Mary.

Although, in the ancient maternal temples this womb-vessel was very much respected for its inherent fertile power. Its holy waters were revered as they were considered spiritual representing the birth-giving energy of the Goddess.

Throughout the history of Goddess worship, witchcraft, and currently in Neo-pagan witchcraft the cauldon has been a feminine symbol associated with the womb of the Mother Goddess.

All Christian sects have not thought of God as just masculine. This is especially true of the Gnostics. It is in the Apocryphon of John one sees the apostle John grieving after the crucifixion. John was in a "great grief" during which he experienced a mystical vision of the Trinity:

the [heavens were opened and the whole] creation [which
is] under heaven shone and [the world] trembled. [And I
was afraid, and I] saw in the light...a likeness with multiple
forms...and the likeness had three forms.

To John's question of the vision came this answer: "He said to me, 'John, Jo[h]n, why do you doubt, and why are you afraid?...I am the one who [is with you] always. I [am the Father]; I am the Mother; I am the Son.'"

To many this description of the Trinity is shocking, but it need not be. What so many forget, or do not realized is that the New Testament was written in Greek; whereas, the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. The Hebrew word meaning spirit is ruah having a feminine gender, but the Greek word for spirit is pneuma having a neuter gender. Thus the Greek language, or to be more specific a change in language when writing the New Testament, virtually made the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, asexual. It also, when accepted by the orthodox Christian Church, eliminated any femininity concept of God. Also Mary is held to have remained a virgin by Catholics and some Christians because Matthew in his gospel used the Greek word parthenos, meaning "virgin," instead of almah when referring to the virgin birth of Jesus. (See: Immanuel).
 

But, the Gnostics did not adhere to the orthodox teaching. Possibly one reason was that many of the Gnostic leaders, particularly Simon Magus, were of Greek or Samaritan heritage, and within these heritages polytheism and feminine deities were known and accepted, also they knew Hebrew. Therefore they kept the feminine meaning of the Holy Spirit which remained in their sacred writings and interpretations.

In The Sacred Book one reads:

...(She is)...the image of the invisible, virginal, perfect spirit... She became
the Mother of everything, for she existed before them all, the mother-father [matropater]...

In the Gospel to the Hebrews, Jesus speaks of "my Mother, the Spirit." Again, in the Gospel of Thomas "Jesus contrasts his earthly parents, Mary and Joseph, with his divine Father--the Father of Truth--and his divine Mother, the Holy Spirit." And, in the Gospel of Philip, "whoever becomes a Christian gains 'both father and mother' for the Spirit (rurah) is 'Mother of many.'"

In a writing attributed to Simon Magus it states:

Grant Paradise to be the womb; for Scripture teaches us that this is
a true assumption when it says, "I am He that formed thee in thy mother's
womb" (Isaiah 44:2)...Moses...using the allegory had declared Paradise to
be the womb...and Eden, the placenta...

"The river that flows forth from Eden symbolizes the navel, which nourishes the fetus. Simon claims that the Exodus consequently, signifies the passage out of the womb and the 'the crossing of the Red Sea refers to the blood.'" Sethian gnostics explain that:

heaven and earth have a shape similar to the womb ...and if...anyone wants
to investigate this, let him carefully examine the pregnant womb of any living
creature, and he will discover an image of the heavens and the earth.

In scriptural writings we find standing at the foot of the cross at the time of the crucifixion three Marys: the Virgin Mary, the dearly beloved Mary Magdalene, and a more shadowy or mysterious Mary. "The Coptic 'Gospel of Mary' said they were all one. Even as late as the Renaissance, a trinitarian Mary appeared in the Speculum beatae Mariae as Queen of Heaven (Virgin), Queen of Earth (mother), and Queen of Hell (Crone)."

Within modern culture these roles of Goddess and Mother are seen to be reemerging. While the psychanalyst Sigmund Freud down played the emergence devotion to the Goddess as infantile desires to be reunited with the mother, his theory was challenged by C.J. Jung who described this emergence devotion as "a potent force of the unconscious."

Jung theorized that "the feminine principle as a universal archetype, a primordial, instinctual pattern of behavior deeply imprinted on the human psyche, brought the Goddess once more into popular imagination."

The basis of Jung's theory rested on religious symbolism extending from prehistoric to current times. His archetypical concept is that it is not "an inherited idea, but an inherited mode of psychic functioning, corresponding to that inborn 'way' according to which the chick emerges from the egg; the bird builds its nest;...and eels find their way to the Bermudas."

The biological evidence of Jung's archetypical concept indicates the psychological meaning. Although the psychological meaning cannot always be as objectively demonstrated as the biological one, it often is as important or even more important than the biological one. It lies deep within the levels of personalities, and can elicit responses not possible by mere abstract thinking. These responses energize and deeply effect persons. "Jung believed all religions rest on archetypical foundations."

This does not necessarily mean that all or every religion originated from an archetype, but rather the archetype on which most, if not all, religions were and are based is the deep felt (italics are the author's) need within the people for their particular religion. This need is what brought forth the religion. There are various views on the causes this need arouse, but "Jungians have espoused the Mother Goddess as an archetype, a loadstone in the collective consciousness of both men and women to be minded of psychological wholeness."

Many men have expressed the need to return to the Goddess, indicating that this is not only a woman's search or desire. "English therapist John Rowan believes that every man in Western culture also needs this vital connection to the vital female principle in nature and urges men to turn to the Goddess. In this way men will be able to relate to human women on more equal terms, not fearful of resentful of female power. Perhaps this is how it was in prehistoric times when men and women coexisted peacefully under the hegemony of the Goddess."

 

 

 

Logos is the derivation of the religious term 'The Word', which
is the interpretation given it by the theologians that deciphered
the original Greek texts that comprise much of the Old
Testament.  "The Word" refers to 'words' which represent our mental
conceptualizations 'informing' us of natural order.  Logos
interprets literally as 'word', 'reason', 'ordering principle',
and 'God'.....'Worshipping Logos' means to know and revere natural
order.  Logos is an amazing Greek concept, meaning both ordering
principle and human comprehension of this order, it encompasses the
entire interaction of environment with mind.  'Logos' is the
word 'logic' is derived from, and the origin of the suffix '-logy'
which we attach to most any field of inquiry and explanation, (ex.
psycho-logy, anthropo-logy, geo-logy, techno-logy, ect.).
The agreement of human action with the law of nature, of the human
will with natural order (logos), or life according to nature, is
Virtue, the chief 'good' and highest end in life.
 

 

I have been studying the various Goddess stories and traditions for a while now independently. The more that I studied the more that I learned to appreciate the understanding of the Goddess in all religions comes to strength which leads to grace and intellegence which leads to Wisdom through Understanding. We, as Her material representatives, have been given the enormous task to bare and feed children. I wanted to do something that would reflect well on the Goddess. I am trying to spend time consciously looking at tasks that I perform in my Goddess work - the work for the Family that is not otherwise compensated and I feel gives glory to the Great Mother of the Universe, Herself - and treating it like a prayer.As I am into joyful prayer, sometimes I dance while clean the kitchen. Sometimes when I find out that my kid hasn't done his homework for the last two weeks, I breath a little deeper and say "What would She do if She, Mother Divine, were presented with this situation" and offer up my frustration to Her and ask Her to teach me the Way. I have been trying to praise the Goddess through trying to offer the three sorts of love that we are taught that the Goddess brings to Her Creation - that of a lover to a man, that of a mother to my children and that of protector to her environment. Persephone, Demeter and Hecate are the names for these faces in Greek. Each religion names Her differently. I am trying to develop an individual way of worshipping the Goddess. I wondered what others did in their lives.

 

During the early centuries scholars and believers already understood
Mary, the mother of Yesu, to be a saint of very special character. As
a woman and human being in first century Palestine, to be chosen and
called by God to be the one woman on earth fit to bring the Saviour
into the world - to give birth to this boy, to suckle him and dry his
bottom, to care for him physically and care after his education, to
sit with him nights and tell him stories and impart motherly wisdom

Well, I do all kinds of things to honor Her.  I have a garden that is crescent
moon shaped that I filled with white marble stones and mostly white plants.
Also a lot of butterfly attracting plants.  In the center there is a bird bath
with a stone resting against it with the Japanese character for PEACE.  Bunnies
and all kinds of wild-life enjoy this garden, and when I see the little animals
nestled up in the chamomile I think of the Great Mother snuggling them in her
soft arms.  I also have a meditation and herb garden.  In the front I have a red
rose that I planted when my daughter was born and it has a celtc cross standing
under it---It's an homage to Mary Magdelene and Yeshua.  Anyway, I had to
mention all the gardens----04 got me thinking about them!  Sometimes when I am
meditating or praying/doing ritual, I feel the need to give to Her...yesterday I
poured a libation of pomegranite juice in my meditation garden.  Some times I
pour milk under a tree, or I leave little treats for Her animals around the
yard.  I also write music concerning The Goddess and play them regularly on my
piano/guitar/drums.  I keep Goddess items around my house so that when I pass
them i am reminded to keep Her in reverence.  I have a lot of circles of braches
hanging around the house that are a reminder of her cycles.  I have a Kwan Yin
bird bath in the front of my house.  I have a hand-made broom resting in a large
wicker basket next to my fire-place.  I keep a Mother Mary and Jesus novena
candle on my altar.  I am an active feminist constatnly working toward the
equality of the sexes.  I keep my Goddess Oracle, Tarot cards and books laying
around the house so if someone picks them up and asks me a question about Her,
it can open up some great dialogue.  I remind my children to pray to Her as well
as the Father.  Anywayz....all kinds of things, as you can see.----wilk

to him - is an honour befitting only the most blessed of women in
history. God entrusted to Mary the care and nurture of the Son who
was to change the face of the world, and who would forever break the
power of sin over humankind by showing us the way to live free from
its (sin's) tyranny over us. We remember Mary the Mother of Yesu as a
Saint and divinely inspired sister who shared the closest moments
with the great spirit of Yesu Christ.

Church of the East however never did agree with the Western notion to
understand Mary as the God-bearer, the mother of God. We are not
apologetic in stating that we find this doctrine to be the most
disturbing and erroneous notion ever to have come from the West.

Yesu was born of very humble stock. Three of the five women mentioned
in Yesu' genealogy were women of ill repute - Rahab, Tamar and
Bath-sheba. Mary was chosen as a very young girl (perhaps about 13
years old) for her divine task. And if Scripture is to be believed,
as we do, she was raised in ascetic spirituality and was prepared for
this divine calling by a commune of devout Nazarites ('Nazore' in
Persia) who awaited the coming of the Messiah, in the same
expectation as the Persian, Indian and Arabian "wise men" also
awaited Yesu' incoming.

Mary the child prostitute, the girl from Maghdala in India, was by
any means Yesu's closest disciple, friend and companion. The healing
cult of The Magdalenes started with Church of the East and still
thrives in its inner sanctum.  The Magdalene was Yesu's first
disciple, first witness to proclaim him as Lord, the Church's first
bishop in Africa and by any means the most influential women in the
history of all the different Christianities.

Considering only the extent of the Palestinian ministry of Yesu,
scholars seem to agree that the entire entourage must have numbered
about 200 most of the time.  Yesu needed money, provisions and
facilities for this movement that followed him, crowded him, and
demanded looking after.  Had it not been for the large group of
women, mostly social outcasts, that constituted The Magdalenes, the
Way (as the early Yesu movement was called) would not have existed.
These women earned and acquired the necessary funds to make the large
scale evangelical ministry a success.

Furthermore, illuminating the very important role of women in the
life and mission of Yesu and in the early church, as is frequently
attested to in the Gospels, Epistles, and Eastern Bible, changes the
face of our spirituality. Church of the East, unlike some other forms
of spirituality who are reluctant to acknowledge to women a full
place in the life of the church, understands that women were good
enough to be chosen by God to raise the Son of humanity, and were
accepted by Yesu and St. Thomas and St. Paul (before he got cold
feet) as missionaries, students, ordinands, and disciples--then
anyone who decides to be different will be in error, if not in sin.


--
 

 

 

 

Proverbs says that Wisdom "shall build her house on seven pillars" which
> later became the the seven Liberal Arts. 

Virgin / Whore
The Catholic Church and women - can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em
by GREG BURK

(Illustrations by Patrick Martinez)

Heard the one about the liberated Catholic girl?
Still pregnant, still barefoot, but she gets to
wear snowshoes on Sunday. In the USA, where many
consider Hillary Clinton and Condi Rice credible
presidential candidates, it may look like the
battle for women's rights has been won. Well, the
mission ain't accomplished. Women didn't even get
the vote here until 1920, they still get paid
less, and their right to govern their own bodies
stands under growing threat. Over most of the
planet, women remain virtual slaves. And the
Catholic Church, though it can look like Germaine
Greer Estates compared to clitoris-hacking
Islamic backwaters, has been a steady
manufacturer of the shackles.

Pity the pope? It's tempting - you never saw a
garbage man with arms as trash-encumbered as
Benedict XVI's. Catholic Church membership: down
heavily in Western Europe and the Americas.
Clergy: dwindling to less than a skeleton crew.
Mood: sour. Pope John XXIII's Vatican II
Ecumenical Council of the 1960s, hyped at the
time as a window on revitalization, looks like a
fake-out now that successive pontiffs have
retreated behind ancient bulwarks of dogma and
mysticism. Most of the faithful worldwide,
grappling against real-world pitchforks of
overpopulation, tribalism, political chaos and
economic collapse, are giving the big finger to
Rome's medieval pronouncements on birth control.
And you might've heard a word or two about
priests and boys - kind of a pain in the ass, not
to mention the wallet. The Holy Father's even
under legal assault for molester shielding. Pity
the pope.

Or, what the hell, piss on the pope. Especially
if you're a woman. The Catholic Church, the
world's largest non-governmental property owner,
is also the world's most entrenched patriarchy.
Among the articles of faith set down in its
800-page catechism lie the much-contested tenets
that a woman may not be ordained as a priest, and
that couples may not practice any form of
mechanical or chemical contraception. Not only do
women get left holding the baby, but it's the
church's official position that use of condoms is
forbidden even when a husband is HIV-positive.
And the person most visibly responsible for
holding the line during the last 24 years, as
Pope John Paul II's chief monitor of dogma and as
the chairman of the aforementioned catechism's
compiling committee, is Joseph Ratzinger, a
Bavarian priest we now call Benedict.

Gender issues are hardly the only gripe that's
caused millions worldwide to flee screaming from
Roman Catholicism; lots of people just aren't
locating much God of Love in it. But women,
who've always (always) been the primary keepers
of the religious flame, have led the stampede. In
Los Angeles, many come from immigrant
communities; you'll hear from some of them in the
accompanying interviews ("Women Talk About Why
They Left"). And in another sidebar, Weekly music
editor Kate Sullivan remembers her time in a
Catholic girls' school during an era of
feminist-inspired upheaval.

Why is the Catholic Church nailed to the image of
women as separate and unequal? When Ratzinger
took the steering wheel, I started thinking about
that. And I came to believe the church is a
prisoner of its own history, of its own
traditions, and even of the unacknowledged myths
from which it sprang.

It's not like there hasn't been progress. When I
was a pimply altar boy in the early '60s, I
scraped my fingers raw in preparation for Palm
Sunday, cutting up the palm fronds that would be
displayed and distributed to commemorate Christ's
triumphal donkey ride into Jerusalem. I helped
Father Willenborg haul the stiff, dry foliage
over to the ugly modern church, where an old
woman was reverently depositing flower
arrangements by the altar rail. Why, I asked the
pastor, didn't she just put the posies up by the
tabernacle, where they belonged? Well, he said,
women weren't allowed on the altar. (That's
changed; there have even been female Mass servers
since 1994.) He never quite got around to
explaining.

I remember kneeling for daily Mass in seventh
grade at St. Leo's School. I would jockey into
the row behind lovely Sue Bortoluzzi and meditate
on the downy back of her neck below her bobbed
hair, which was surmounted by a mysterious white
doily. The doily was a relic of the days when
women, as brides of Christ, had to wear veils in
church. Boys and men, as always, could bare their
Brylcreemed locks to God. Today, American women
can go either way.

Covering heads is an outward sign for placing
women at a comfortable distance - which makes
sense if you want to reinforce a male hierarchy
whose priests have taken a vow of chastity.
Funny: When it comes to sexual and marital
conduct, the celibate clergy are the ones stuck
with the job of expounding the church's rules.
And the head cleric, Joseph Ratzinger, is a
special case - chosen, perversely it seems, for
his lack of such qualifications.

Astarte: Brazen hussy

Ratzinger was born on Holy Saturday, the weighty
day of prayer and renewal that sets the stage for
Easter, Christianity's defining feast. His
parents happened to be named Mary and Joseph -
the one a woman considered too frail to be
consulted about a family household move ("We did
not want to make her needlessly anxious"), the
other . . . a cop. Small, unathletic and
unhealthy, young Joe Jr. was first drawn to the
things of Catholic ritual - the icons, the
vestments and especially the books. Having
determined early to be a priest, he progressed
rapidly in his studies and writing, barely
slowing for his mandatory stint in Hitler's armed
forces, where his job was to help shoot down the
Allied aircraft that were closing in on the
German homeland at the end of World War II. His
peculiar scholarly talent was analyzing and
synthesizing the arcana of church theologians,
especially the monumental thinker St. Augustine,
and he ripped through the world of academia,
landing position after position at Germany's best
universities; Paul VI named him both archbishop
of Munich and cardinal in 1977, when he was just
50.

As a dogma enforcer, Ratzinger bent an attentive
ear to revisionists, to anti-authoritarians, to
liberation theologians who wanted to fuse the
ideals of Christ with those of Che. Then he
quietly told them to shut up or ship out. Some
chose the latter. Though he had been a booster of
and participant in Vatican II, and rendered the
council favorable lip service through the years,
he came to view liberalization as a menace to the
church's identity. He even said that the
hemorrhaging of Catholic membership was largely
Vatican II's fault. Attitudes like that won him
friends in Rome - particularly a certain
charismatic Polish gentleman who longed for the
days of abundant saints and frequent miracles.

Books and boardrooms have been Ratzinger's
universe. Aside from a year as an assistant
pastor immediately after his ordination, he has
never sniffed the daily sweat of the masses. What
he knows about women is pretty much what he knows
about his mother and his sister.
About other things, however, Ratzinger knows a
lot. I ate up his Salt of the Earth, the '90s
apologia published in response to widespread
growling over his intractability as doctrinal
hellhound. The format is key: Interviewer Peter
Seewald plays devil's advocate as a kind of
inquisitorial Randy Johnson, serving up a steady
succession of blazing fastballs, never curves or
knucklers. ("The Cross - a ghastly symbol?") And
Ratzinger not only gets his bat on the ball most
of the time, he hits quite a few line drives.

Having been out of the papist loop for a few
decades, I was refreshed by the realization that
Catholicism is not entirely an exercise in
willful absurdity and magickal unrealism.
Ratzinger's knack for theology, obviously, is
boggling - not only does he know his Jerome and
Aquinas, but he's hot to cross-reference them in
the secular realm with Heidegger and Marx.
Through his meetings with regional bishops, he's
gleaned solid clues about why Catholics all over
the world, from fundamentalist Africans to
self-indulgent Americans, are going nuts. He
confesses to the reality that the church is a
stodgy bureaucracy and a rotten communicator.

Though his quiet dogmatism can come off as
arrogance, Ratzinger is a likable uncle (if not
papa) who describes himself as "God's donkey" -
not the creator of doctrine, but the animal who
carries it around. His obsession with history
gives him a perspective on the church as an
institution built by the careful ponderings of
smart people over two millennia. If its clockwork
seems rusty to us, it may be only because we're
too wrapped up in our present tensions and can't
discern the slow hand of God's revelation at
work. Ratzinger's beliefs have a lot to do with
the partnership of deity and humanity; his faith
is founded on more than simple bolts from the
sky. Regardless of whether you agree with him,
you can't say he's a dumb-ass.

But when the subject is women, Ratzinger flops
around like a beached shark. Saving the worst for
nearly last, Salt of the Earth gets extremely
dodgy on gender questions; Ratzinger's logical
acrobatics are a marvel to observe. He assumes
that the demand for women's ordination is a grab
for some kind of illusory "power" rather than a
simple request for equality. He quotes the
Catholic feminist Elisabeth Schussler-Fiorenza as
ultimately rejecting the idea because,
"Ordination is subordination, and that's exactly
what we don't want."

Should contraception be permitted to lighten the
burden of caring for children you can't support?
As with his stance on prolonging the lives of the
moribund, he thinks people underappreciate the
value of suffering, which can be, as parenthood
always is in his view, a divine gift. Can be. But
I started to wonder if I should abstain from
SPF-40 so I might offer up my sunburn for the
glory of God. Unfortunately, unlike one's nth
starving and diseased child, the sunburn itself
can't suffer along.

Does Ratzinger himself struggle to believe some
of this? You get the sense that maybe he does.
But he feels it's his duty to believe it. And
yours.

With popes making the ultimate decisions, popes
being elected by cardinals from among their own
number, and cardinals being appointed by
conservative popes, the Roman viewpoint is not
likely to change much prior to the refrigeration
of Hades. Ratzinger sees Catholic belief as bound
up in the history of the church. And history
doesn't change. To think that rigidly, though,
you have to embrace a pretty selective view of
history - a viewpoint that, for instance, marks
time from Christ's birth. The funny thing is that
history itself has changed the church. Changed it
a lot.

Artemis of Ephesus:
Pam Anderson got nothin'
on this goddess

I don't know exactly why I needed to visit
Ephesus a few years ago, but history had
something to do with it. My wife, our kid and I
were going on vacation to Turkey; obviously we
had to hit Istanbul (Constantinople,
Christianity's first earthly throne), and we had
time for one more stop. I'm a sucker for ruins,
of which Ephesus possessed great gleaming piles,
Roman and Greek. I was jazzed.

But I wasn't prepared for the Artemis of Ephesus.

I got up early and took a cab from the dingy
beach town of Kusadasi into the little
municipality of Selçuk, which, compared to the
ruins I'd seen the previous day at adjacent Efes,
came off as something like, say, Indio. I wanted
to visit the archaeological museum; my family
wanted to sleep. The driver dropped me off and
said he'd wash his car while he waited for me. In
this land of little water, he washed it twice
daily.

Inside the cool marbled halls, I was the only
patron. There was a whole room dedicated to
gladiators, including skeletons that showed
exactly what stabbings and smashings had killed
them. There was a frieze of Odysseus gouging out
Polyphemus' eye. There were images of the jolly
god Bes, with his everlasting boner.

My favorite, though, was the Goddess in her
multifarious forms - this was the Giver of Life.
Little clay pregnant figures called back to an
age 8,000 years ago when humans first sought a
transcendence they could touch. A representation
of the Phrygian goddess Cybele (known elsewhere
as Ishtar, Isis, Astarte, Anat, Inanna) displayed
above her head the horns of the crescent moon,
which were also the horns of the Cretan Minotaur,
the horns of the bull that raped Europa, the
horns that Christians made into the horns of
Satan on one hand and the pedestal of the Virgin
of Guadalupe on the other. This moon goddess,
ruler of the menstrual cycle, "mother of the
gods," drove her lover mad; he castrated himself
and died, but arose from the earth again each
spring. At Cybele's feasts, which were
consecrated with ritual prostitution, frenzied
young gallants would unman themselves with sacred
swords. Too much myth for a mind to contain.

But then I walked around a corner, and the
Artemis of Ephesus appeared. Her largest and
newest statue, dating from the Roman period of
around A.D. 150 but untypical of Western art, was
half again as tall as a woman of flesh. A
necklace represented the crescent moon. A
pillared temple crowned her head. Her dress was
adorned with all the earth's animals, of which,
as hunter, she was mistress. Most mysterious was
her chest, which sprouted three rows of . . .
breasts? eggs? moons? mushrooms? bull testicles?
In any case, the fertility symbolism was
unmistakable.

She was the Greco-Roman Artemis, and she was the
Ionian Cybele. She was the moon and the womb, the
virgin and the whore. The Lydians, the Persians,
the Greeks and the Romans came and went, but the
Mother Goddess, in one form or another, always
stuck around.

Isis: The original Madonna

Now, Ephesus has a significant history. As a
mosquito-ridden seaport at the mouth of the river
Cayster, it was a mixing bowl for cultures from
all over the Mediterranean and points east -
something like Los Angeles. Every modern tourist
sees the engraved sign that once guided sailors
to the local brothel, located near both the
Temple of Artemis and the library. Ephesus
competed early in the philosophy sweepstakes of
the fifth century B.C. via its own pre-Socratic
heavy hitter, Heraclitus, the flux champ who said
you can't step into the same river twice. (The
Cayster ended up mocking him by silting up into
swampland; you could step into its motionless
waters repeatedly, no problem.) St. Paul,
recognizing the city's particular challenges, had
his work cut out for him there; he wrangled for
two years with the local goddess cults and
eventually got tossed in the slammer.

Ephesus also owns an especially wonderful
Christian legend, which holds that the apostle
John brought Mary, Jesus' mother, to live there
after the Crucifixion. Busloads of pious tourists
(who have included Popes John Paul I and II)
still visit Mary's house daily. Think about it:
Mary, another virgin (Artemis) and "mother of
God" (Cybele), the main target of Protestant
complaints about Catholic idolatry, was installed
as a pagan-friendly icon in the most literal way,
at the capital of goddess worship. She became
nothing more than the latest mask of Cybele.
The Goddess Mary has long been hiding in plain
sight. Martin Luther recognized her, but many
today still don't. In the bust-out 2003
bestseller The Da Vinci Code, for instance,
novelist Dan Brown's characters endlessly
analyzed the Catholic Church's suppression of the
primeval "sacred feminine," airing every crackpot
conspiracy theory about the "hidden" role of Mary
Magdalene. Meanwhile, Brown completely ignored
that other Mary, the Mom o' God. The truth is
that the Church didn't suppress the sacred
feminine, it embraced the Goddess, along with the
patriarchal system that sanctified and
objectified her. Brown was right about one thing,
though: Real women got the shaft - or the blade,
if you will. Goddesses are so much easier to deal
with.

Typical: Christianity has always taken the world
as it is. Jesus told the Pharisees to pay their
taxes ("Render unto Caesar . . ."), and Paul
exhorted Christians to obey authorities, who are
"appointed by God." There's no percentage, as the
slaughtered and dispersed Jews learned, in
fighting the power.

Accommodation, though, can run you into some
dark, dark alleys. And along the way, women as a
gender have gotten raped. There's always been
extreme tension between the church's veneration
of the fair sex as saints and martyrs (virgins)
and its suspicion of them as unruly agents of the
Tempter (whores).

It all starts with Eve, of course. For moderns,
it's hard to believe that this primordial myth of
snake and tree, already inconceivably old when it
was incorporated into the Hebrew tradition some
three millennia ago, has been taken as literal
justification whenever men thought the bitches
needed a whippin'.

Periodically, women have indeed gotten uppity. In
the biblical Deborah, Jael and Judith, we hear
echoes of women who could act as judges,
commanders, prophets and killers in service to
their God and tribe - roles that receded into the
background once Judea's lawmakers closed ranks
after the Babylonian exile and centered religious
identity on the custom of circumcision. (Women
were often the source of undesirable racial
admixture, anyway. At least they can be thankful
that the bris is one religious rite they weren't
privileged to enjoy.) From earliest Christian
times, Jesus' inner circle contained females; he
even communed with prostitutes. The fact that all
his apostles were male looks less like
discrimination than like a recognition of which
gender, in those heavily patriarchal times, would
be accepted as a gospel authority. A number of
St. Paul's auxiliaries were women; in the century
or so before a firm church hierarchy was
established, some women led services and acted in
much the same capacities as men.

Then women got sucked into the propellers of
Christianity's success. Success, in this case,
actually meant the young religion was devoured
and digested by the mammoth Roman Empire. After
the Roman-instigated martyrdoms of early
Christian women such as Perpetua and Blandina, it
was another woman, Helena, the mother of the
Emperor Constantine, who brought empire and
Messiah together.

The process involved a little compromise. Before
converting to Helena's religion, and before
winning his crucial battle over Maxentius to
become emperor under the sign of the cross in
A.D. 312, Constantine was a devotee of Mithraism,
an Eastern monotheistic sun religion. Its main
symbol was an astrological circle segmented by a
cross; the birth of its deity was celebrated on
December 25. Well established among the military,
Mithraism excluded women. Its primary ritual,
like Cybele's, involved the slaying of a bull. It
wasn't much of a stretch for Constantine to adopt
Christianity, and his mother reinforced the cross
as a symbol by searching out and "recovering" the
original lumber in Jerusalem.

Christianity could have gone a lot of different
ways after Constantine made it the state
religion. But the way it went after the emperor
(not the bishops) convened the Council of Nicaea
in A.D. 325 was toward ancient patriarchy, toward
a stratification like that of the Roman legions,
toward the burning of Christian writings that
contradicted the new Creed, and toward the
slaughter of thousands of freshly delineated
heretics.

Every tribe and religion marks its boundaries,
determining the signs and beliefs that separate
it from its neighbors - who are not generally
perceived as people to love as thyself. In
primitive times, that process was a path to
survival. The question in the case of
Christianity is: What exactly was it that
survived?

Goddess of Crete: Woman
got a thing for snakes

To mark the turnings in the road that affected
women, you couldn't do better than to consult
Elaine Pagels' Adam, Eve and the Serpent, where
the pronouncements of influential early Christian
thinkers speak for themselves. The church father
Tertullian asked of his "sisters in Christ,"
shortly after A.D. 200: "Do you not know that
every one of you is an Eve? The sentence of God
on your sex lives on in this age." Toward the
close of the Roman Empire, St. Augustine, a sex
addict in his youth, excused his obsession by
inventing the amazing doctrine of original sin,
which postulates that the transgression of Adam
and Eve - imaginatively transformed by the great
African bishop into a sexual offense - has
infected us all with an irresistible penchant for
wrongdoing, especially lust, that no man can
conquer without the grace of God.

Some women, in fact, were glad to go along with
the idea of divorcing themselves from sex;
chastity was attractive to wives and slaves whose
previous condition closely resembled whoredom.
Authorities at the time of Constantine, though,
felt they might be dealing with an undesirable
mass movement. It was all right for men to obey
Christ's dictum to leave everything and follow
him, but women . . . ? What would happen to
existing families? Where would future Christian
babies come from? Wouldn't the whole fabric of
(Roman) society be at risk? From Constantine to
Hitler, Christianity has found ways to tolerate
(if not necessarily encourage) tyranny,
imperialism, slavery and prostitution. Female
emancipation was not high on the agenda.

According to St. Paul (not Jesus, whom Paul never
met), woman was made from man's rib for man's use
(1 Corinthians 11:9). And Nicaea's power elite
felt strongly enough about this natural order of
things that they reinforced it by putting further
words in Paul's mouth, incorporating into the
sacrosanct Word of God a spurious epistle that
had been circulating for more than 100 years
(significantly addressed to the goddess-loving
Ephesians) that opined, "Wives should be
submissive to their husbands as if to the Lord"
(5:22).

Even more dubious inclusions in the New Testament
canon were "Paul's" Epistles to "Timothy," who in
real life was Paul's main delegate to - you
guessed it - dread Ephesus. One passage (1
Timothy 2:11-15) reads so little like Paul (or
Jesus) and so much like Andrew Dice Clay that
it's worth quoting in full:

"A woman must listen in silence and be completely
submissive. I do not permit a woman to act as a
teacher, or in any way to have authority over a
man; she must be quiet. For Adam was created
first, Eve afterward; moreover, it was not Adam
who was deceived but the woman. It was she who
was led astray and fell into sin. She will be
saved by childbearing, provided she continues in
faith and love and holiness - her chastity being
taken for granted."

Christianity had already done a lot of
assimilating by the time Constantine came around;
Nicaea just codified the strains of power that
were most conducive to what would become,
forevermore and truly, Roman Catholicism, though
Rome was now ruled from Constantinople. That
meant the church would be keeper of the ancient
world's superstitions about women - as childlike,
capricious creatures who nevertheless represented
the underworld and the night, who possessed
fearful seductive powers, and whose menses, used
properly, could either cure or kill. (In
Byzantine Christianity, menstruating women were
excluded from the Eucharist.)
The die was cast. History was made, and it would
be maintained. The Roman Empire fell, but the
church carried on, providing a bridge over which
Ostrogoths and Franks could march to gain faint
union with the far more advanced civilization
they supplanted. Popes fought heresies, fought
schism, fought kings (or joined them), fought
corruption, fought reform. Women - sorry, Joan -
stayed where they were.

With Vatican II, the door creaked open a crack.
In response to feminist pressure and the
revolution brought on by the Pill, the council
ordered the formation of the Papal Birth Control
Commission, whose deliberations concluded in
1966. Up to that point, the only form of
contraception the church considered acceptable
was the remarkably unspontaneous and unnatural
rhythm method (intercourse when the woman isn't
ovulating). After hearing an avalanche of
testimony from frustrated congregants and
physicians, the commission voted 52-4 to
recommend that artificial contraception be
permitted.

That's when the thumbscrews started turning. The
church's strong remnant of conservative cardinals
got Paul VI in the backroom, leaned on him and
broke him. Far from ratifying the findings of the
commission he'd appointed, in 1968 the pope
lashed out with Humanae Vitae, an encyclical that
slammed the gate on birth-control reform.
Thenceforward the rule would be, as Monty Python
so eloquently sang, "Every sperm is sacred/Every
sperm is great/If a sperm is wasted/God gets
quite irate."
In the mid-'90s, a lengthy attempt to bring
inclusive language into the church's liturgy -
substituting "people" for "man," for example -
met with general approval among English-speaking
bishops. Then Cardinal Ratzinger appointed his
own 11-member supervising commission, which
featured no scriptural scholars and two parties
whose native language was not English. Most of
the more significant changes were quashed.

Worst: In 1995, John Paul II issued the apostolic
letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which he made
it crystal clear that the church could not ordain
women as priests, end of discussion. One admirer
liked the message so much that, though the letter
wasn't intended as an infallible papal
pronouncement on a matter of faith and morals, he
tried to get it designated as such - essentially
unchallengeable for all time. The eager advocate:
Joe Ratzinger.

Ratzinger likes to take the long view from behind
the dark, inquisitorial eyes he inherited from
his dad, the constable. He's comfortable with the
idea of "the truth" - the one truth, actually -
and feels he's got it pretty well sewed up. No
ego thing, it's just that
Christians/Catholicshave been after the truth for
a couple of millennia, aided by God's small but
bright flashlight. And if they haven't found it .
. . well, you can't allow suspicions like that to
loiter in your brain.

So: Women have their place and should stay there;
this whole feminism thing may be just a bump in
the road. Sex is for procreation - don't have too
much fun, okay? And you're not here to be happy,
you're here to serve God. So quit whining. See
you in heaven.
And reason? Well, that has its place, too. If the
subject is evolution, it's all right to admit, as
John Paul II did, that the creation account in
Genesis might not be a literal blow-by-blow. On
the other hand, women's subservient position as
suggested in Genesis - pure dogma. If that seems
like a contradiction, it's only because, as a
single feeble human being, you can't understand
how God reveals truth. It's a mystery. Ask
Ratzinger, and he'll tell you that centuries of
scriptural interpretation actually carry more
weight than the scripture itself. And the
ever-heavier burden requires a succession of
good, strong donkeys.
Keep in mind one other thing about women that may
be in the back of Ratzinger's mind. The priestly
sex scandals bring new perspective to the idea of
ordaining women. Though some male priests'
misdeeds have ultimately come to light, and the
damage has been considerable, we always figured
that a lot of them fooled around - and not just
with boys. If celibate women were in the pulpit,
and no contraception were permitted, the priests'
little secret would fly straight out the
stained-glass window. The swelling physical
results of sin, no matter how loose the cassock,
would be there for everyone to see.

My family went to Rome last year. I couldn't help
it, I guess - old stuff called. This was where
they threw the Christians to the lions. This was
where Peter and Paul are supposed to have been
martyred. And this was the seat of some 500 popes.

We stood in Vatican City inside St. Peter's
Basilica, built atop the foundations of
Constantine's original edifice - the first big
church Christianity could afford. Behold: If
God's magnificence can be expressed in gold, then
St. Peter's shows Him to be a glorious Deity
indeed. Every pillar, arch, altar railing and
picture frame drips with gold foliage. The
paintings and statues, of course, from Raphael's
to Bernini's, represent the best the Renaissance
could offer. Michelangelo's Pietà, the sculpture
that depicts so movingly the resigned anguish of
a woman mourning over her dead son, sits quiet in
its niche before a stream of pilgrims, who this
day included the queen of Belgium.

The decorum of my wife, named Deborah after the
Old Testament judge, suffered somewhat in
comparison to the queen's. She'd sneaked past the
monitors, really, in shorts, bare-shouldered and
bare-headed, her tangle of hair sticking out
every which way. Of Jewish descent, an attorney
for non-mainstream religions and a mace-wielding
atheist, she was the kind of person who, 500
years ago, would have been dragged off to the
dungeon and clapped in irons. My knobby knees
were sticking out from under tourist shorts, too,
but I had a gender dispensation.

An elderly nun, draped in an impressive all-black
habit, justifiable fury stamped on what we could
see of her face, approached Deborah and hissed
disapproval at the exposed body parts. For the
rest of our visit, as we observed Alexander VII's
sculpture of Death, the chapel of St. Petronilla
(according to legend, the first pope had a
daughter) and the rows of pontiffs encoffined in
the vault below, Deborah wore a Mao hat on her
head and a sweatshirt around her legs, while
clamping a baseball cap on each shoulder. She was
not happy. But happiness is for the life beyond.
As we wandered, strange noises periodically
reverberated against the majestic silence. The
painful screeches, changing slowly in pitch, were
like the cries of a dying pterodactyl. I kept
looking around to pinpoint their source and
finally spotted a couple of men in white coats,
ministering to the gigantic pipe organ ensconced
at the heart of the basilica. They kept working
on it, but their adjustments were far from
complete - the great instrument of the church was
screamingly, deafeningly out of tune.

--
Loretta Kemsley  President                 .     *
Women Artists and Writers International      * 
Publisher of MOONDANCE: Celebrating Creative Women  *  . 
Our vision, our wisdom, our strength      *    *  *     
http://www.moondance.org        *  .   *    *    .

For information about WAWI: mailto:wawi@moondance.org

My personal pages: http://lore.moondance.org/

 

 

 

Biblical Lady Wisdom - who is She?
>
> In entering the field of feminist bible study, we
> shall be guided by the method suggested by
> Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza (1984) who created
> the idea of the "hermeneutics of suspicion and of
> celebration": that is, interpretation by means of
> suspecting all the male centred and created texts
> of androcentrism, of seeking the female, and of
> celebrating her. In applying this to Wisdom, we
> find a large amount of material, which needs
> careful sorting out.
>
> Much of the Hebrew bible contains what is called
> Wisdom literature. However, do not start by
> reading all this in one go! We shall be
> concentrating in this unit on picking out one
> strand of the mass of material - the strand that
> is unbroken and that shows Wisdom, always in the
> feminine gender, as divine. We go further than
> saying that She is (merely) an attribute of God-
> which is the conventional approach.
>
> "Wisdom is not just an idea, a mere abstraction,
> or only the underlying substance of an attitude
> to God. She is rather a spiritual being, that
> exists independently, next to God". (H.
> Leisegang, Der Heilige Geist, 1919, p. 73). This
> is one point of view from a conventional scholar.
> Others have pointed to texts which show that she
> is eternal, teacher of humankind, and
> particularly is concerned with the creation,
> understanding and sustenance of the world.
>
> Here is an account of Her written more recently:
> all the descriptions are to be found in the Bible
> or the Apocrypha. (Wisdom Literature is generally
> held to include the Books of Proverbs, Job,
> Ecclesiastes, and a number of Psalms. To these
> must be added from the Apocrypha the Book of
> Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sirach), The Book of Baruch,
> and the Book of Enoch.)
>
> "Everything to do with her is mysterious and
> paradoxical. In the Bible she is always female...
> She is continually being sought and found, lost
> and found; she ascends and descends; she finds
> her place in Israel, she can find no place in
> Israel. She is the divine female companion of
> God, eternal with Him before creation, and is
> herself involved in the cosmos as creator,
> nurturer, teacher and artificer. She acts as
> intermediary between God and humans and is
> willing to share herself with them and with the
> world. She may be married to God or to selected
> men, and she may be the mother of the created
> world. Human beings must follow her rules if they
> are to succeed in this life and also possibly
> partake in an afterlife with God. It was she who
> helped God create the universe and she knows all
> its secrets. She moves through it and orders it
> well". (A. P. Long. in: Pirani. A. (ed.) The
> Absent Mother (1991:46))
>
> Gradually, Wisdom, who starts as a cosmic law,
> moves to becoming a repository of all information
> about the created world. She teaches that humans
> must look to nature for understanding and must
> praise and treat it with respect. Gradually a
> picture emerges of Wisdom as artificer of the
> world, responsible and knowledgeable about its
> workings.
>
> >From there, the picture becomes confused, changing her divine
> function to that of a woman whom men must possess
> in order to further their own interests, although
> at this stage there is still a spiritual context.
> In the Book of Proverbs, (9:13-18) Lady Wisdom is
> compared with Dame Folly who has every appearance
> of a prostitute, but also of an ancient Canaanite
> goddess. "Good Wisdom" is compared with "Bad
> Folly", (both female), but this androcentric bias
> is contradicted by other indications that Wisdom
> shares many characteristics with sister
> divinities of the ancient world (discussed in
> Unit 2). In Herself she provides a bridge between
> the creator and the created; she can be a role
> model for women to follow; she is the repository
> of all knowledge and is the active agent in the
> ordering of the world. She is identified with
> Nature whose ways humans would do well to follow.
>
> In looking at the particular texts outlined
> below) we will see that all sorts of questions
> can be raised. They can be to do with textual
> criticism, but, more closely for us, they can
> also be to do with the effect on our own lives of
> discovering this female Divine being in the Bible.
>
> Try and get hold of as many bible versions as
> possible. When looking up texts try to use at
> least two, and preferably more versions and
> compare results. Wisdom texts we shall be using
> include: Proverbs 8:22-31; Proverbs 9:1-6;
> Proverbs 3:19-20; Job 38:28-29;Job 28:27-28 Book
> of Wisdom of Solomon [BWS] (Apoc.) 7:7-12;
> 7:17-8:1; 8:2-18.
>
> Read:
>
> Long A.P. In A chariot Drawn by Lions (which will
> be, from now, referred to as Chariot) chapters
> 1,2 & 3.
>
> Pirani A. The Absent Mother pp 48-53
>
> Conzelmann H. The Mother of Wisdom. in: Robinson
> J.M. (ed.)The Future of our Religious Past.
>
> Suggested assignments and essays:
>
> Who is the biblical Lady Wisdom? Did she have a
> role in the Church? What was her pre-Christian
> role?
>
> What happened to Lady Wisdom, and how does her story affect us as
women today?
>
> In Prov.8: 1-12, 9:1-6; 9:13-18 and 2:16-19
> descriptions are given of Lady Wisdom and Dame
> Folly. Compare the two figures; what can we
> deduce from the way they are described and what
> messages are we given about the differences
> between them?
>
> In Prov. 31: 10-31 we find a description of a
> "good woman". Does she bear any relation to
> Wisdom? What can we learn about the position and
> duties of women of biblical times from this?
>
> What do you think makes a "good woman"? Write your own description
of her.
>
> Wisdom is called the Tree of Life (Prov. 3:18).
> What do you think is meant by the Tree of Life?
> If you wish, include examples from other sources
> as well as the bible.
>
> Write your own Tree of Life story.
>
> ~~from "Female Aspects of Deity -- Searching For
> Lady Wisdom" Copyright 1995 by Asphodel P. Long
>
> *
>
> [This *used* to be on-line here:]
>
> http://www.asphodel-long.com/html/lady_wisdom.html
>
> [[i have yet to ascertain whether *any* of
> Asphodel's excellent website is still on-line. i
> *hope* it's only temporarily down -- or that the
> URL's have been changed -- wynn]]
>
> The material below [[above -- wynn]] was a course
> outline provided for students taking the
> Certificate in Feminist Theology awarded by the
> Britain and Ireland School of Feminist Theology
> in association with Saint David's University
> College, Lampeter during the years 1995- 1996
>
> FEMALE ASPECTS OF DEITY: SEARCHING FOR LADY WISDOM.
>
> Course Outline © Asphodel P. Long 1995
>
>
> --
> Loretta Kemsley  President                 .     *
> Women Artists and Writers International      *
> Publisher of MOONDANCE: Celebrating Creative Women  *  .
> Our vision, our wisdom, our strength      *    *  *
> http://www.moondance.org        *  .   *    *    .
>
> For information about WAWI: mailto:wawi@m...
>
> My personal pages: http://lore.moondance.org/
>
 

Wynn Manners poste this to the Yeshuamiriya group:

"Sophia Today"

by Arthur Versluis


What are the significances of Sophia now? Above all, the Wisdom
tradition is more suited than perhaps any other aspect of the
Christian tradition to our post-traditional era, in which doctrine or
dogma alone neither convinces nor is adequate for many people. For by
contrast, the Wisdom tradition affirms not only doctrine, but rather
teachings founded in direct experience. In a time when many people
are searching for ways to connect their own longing for direct
spiritual experience with their inherited spiritual traditions,
Sophianic spirituality offers a unique opportunity.

All too often, the Christian tradition has been depicted as simply a
social phenomenon, as hypocritical and cut off from authentic
spirituality. The sense of many that Christianity is spiritually
bankrupt -- a charge echoing from Nietzsche to the present -- helps
account for the growing popularity of Asian religions and the 'new
religions'. There seems an historical inevitability to such events,
but the Christian tradition is far vaster and deeper than such a
depiction might suggest. Recent years have seen the publication of
countless mystical works from antiquity unto the present and the
works included here reveal that there is still much more beneath the
surface.

One can understand why traditionalists -- and I use the word here in
the broadest possible sense -- want to preserve religious forms, and
additionally, why some of them would feel threatened by the advent of
religious hybrids like Christians who practice Buddhist meditation,
or syntheses of Christianity and Native American or other indigenous
traditions. But despite their dangers, such syntheses are undoubtedly
going to mark the post-traditional world, and what is more, may well
be seen as manifestations of the need for renewal in what would
otherwise become moribund traditions. Indeed, it makes more sense to
recognize tradition as a current than cling to a fixed image of it,
more sense to recognize that at the center of one's tradition is
divine Wisdom, and that the important thing is to reverence this
Wisdom of which the changing panoply of symbols or forms are
manifestations.

We have already entered into an era in which whether we like it or
not, the forms and structures of the past are being discarded and in
which we are challenged to live a direct relation to the divine. The
artist Cecil Collins wrote in his wonderful book "The Vision of the
Fool" that

"If I may make use of a simile, the Trinity, I believe the age of the
Father is over. The age of the Son is over. This is the age of Holy
Spirit, this is the age of the universal principle -- the open,
flexible field of consciousness, the understanding of the unity of
life in the multiplicity of human experience, so that we find in our
culture again that hidden unity which transcends the fate of
multiplicity and nemesis."

In this new era, all doors are open, the doors to hell, and the doors
to paradise. Indeed, even this language is too constrained to express
the full import of our situation; perhaps we could say that we are
each faced with the _nihil_ and the _pleroma_, with destruction and
the transcendent fulfillment. A post-traditional world reveals
choices of unprecedented gravity, whose outcome can be either
dissolution, fragmentation, nihilism, and destruction, or a
miraculous ascent across the abyss on a mysterious bridge that
appears only to those who have faith. There are only a few who have
already dared to step across, among them artists like Rilke and
Collins.

In this new and unprecedented situation, we need guides, and in it we
will have to draw upon aspects of traditions that previously have
remained largely unknown to the general public, and even to most
theologians. Among these the Sophianic tradition is of special, and
perhaps even paramount importance within the European inheritance.
For although the Sophianic tradition incorporates the many threads of
European esotericism, including Hermetic, alchemical, and gnostic
elements -- and might well be termed the _summa_ of these streams --
its primary significance is in its continuity as a living
manifestation of direct gnostic experiential praxis. Our challenge
these days is to enter into this living immediate relationship to
divine Wisdom.

For the truth is, from one perspective, everywhere we look in
contemporary society we see a crying need for Wisdom; everywhere we
see her lack. Certainly in politics we find little sign of her
guiding hand; neither in economics, in the relentless pursuit of
money and power and consumerism; nor in education is Wisdom often
evident; and for all its technical prowess, science is not gifted
with a surfeit of Wisdom. Indeed, in every sphere of life it would
seem that the ancient prophecies of a coming dark age, an era of
cultural disintegration and spiritual eclipse, are coming to pass
around us in awful clarity, like a vivid nightmare from which one
cannot awaken.

But from another perspective, of course, one can awaken. Indeed, the
Sophianic tradition is precisely _about_ awakening; it is
experiential rather than intellectual, the vision of the heart's eye,
not just reason's measure. Awakening here means integration of the
whole being, illuminated by the supernal light of the holy spirit, a
becoming-complete, what in German is called _Menschwerdung_
(becoming- human), a term which applies to Christ's incarnation and
to our becoming truly human, which is to say, realizing Christ, an
archetype of realized, illuminated humanity.

The Sophianic tradition insists that Sophia gives birth to Christ in
us, that only through Sophia, divine Wisdom, can Christ be born in
and through us, for incarnation is not simply something that happened
once in the past; in the Sophianic tradition, we are all born to
incarnate the divine, to follow Christ in the most profound sense of
the words, and one may even say, to embody Christ. If the incarnation
is to have a more than historical meaning, this meaning can only come
to be in each of us, time and again and not just once, millennia ago.

I believe, like Leopold Ziegler in the mid-twentieth century, that
the meeting of the world religious traditions that we are
experiencing is the single most important historical event of the
present era, and that central to this meeting will be not only the
encounter between Buddhism and Judeo-Christianity, but even more
specifically, the encounters and, yes, even the syntheses of Asian
and European esotericism or experiential spirituality. Of particular
import will be this Sophianic tradition, perhaps most because it is
the syncretic, multitraditional Wisdom tradition of the Occident and
represents the conjoining of all the major esoteric traditions of the
West. Further, is it not significant that Prajnaparamita
(Transcendent Wisdom) is the Mother of Buddhas, and that Sophia is
the Mother of Christs?

For we are discussing here the future, and what can be born anew --
not the past, nor its forms, but rather what has informed the past
and can inform the future. Who can deny that in our era, however much
we admire or cling to the forms of the past, it is ever more
difficult to hold on to them? There is a principle of dissolution at
work in the world, whether we want to see it as good or as evil, and
perhaps in some respects it is neither, but simply necessary so that
people go beyond ritualism for its own sake and confront their real
task: to realize that which the rituals bespeak and signify.

In our present era, confronted by the apparent dissolution,
dispersion, and synthesis of historical forms, we will increasingly
find ourselves returning to the primordial, to the origins of
traditional forms, for only this can revivify those from which life
has been withdrawn, and create new ones. In either of these cases --
revivification of creation -- Wisdom will be central, for through
Wisdom do all things in the cosmos come into being, and only through
Wisdom can life flow forth and manifest. Since humanity has fallen
from Wisdom, the return must be through her. Could there be any other
way?

The Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh tells of a
hero's journey to discover the meaning of life
and to try and obtain immortality. He finds the
Paradise Garden (which in many ways appears to be
similar to the later biblical Garden of Eden). In
this Garden, to which he is admitted only because
of his divine blood inherited through his mother,
he finds the Goddess of Life and Wisdom,
Siduri-Sabatu. She is seated "by the throne of
the sea" underneath a vine. The garden is of
"dazzling beauty" and she is called "Keeper of
the Fruit of Life". Scholars hostile to the idea
of goddesses have made much of her association
with the vine, to the extent of calling her a
"barmaid" or "alewife", although the significance
of the vine as a symbol of God's creation in the
bible is universally acknowledged - (see e.g. Jn
15:1.) However such an inimical attitude to
female divinities was quite usual until recently.

All sorts of echoes with biblical Eden can be
traced in this story; important for us is to
remember that this Goddess is associated with the
"Fruit of Life"; remembering too that she is
Goddess of Wisdom, we can make connections with
the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge which was to
be denied to Eve and Adam. This is a path of
enquiry that indeed can be "fruitful".

Another Babylonian document of great interest to
us is the Enuma Elish - the Epic of Creation.
Here, again, we will find links with the Garden
of Eden story, this time particularly with the
snake. Creation in this epic, starts with Tiamat,
called chaos, formless Goddess of the bitter salt
sea holding within herself all the elements of
creation; and with her partner Apsu, god of the
fresh waters. Tiamat also holds the Tablets of
Destiny of the universe. She is depicted as a
great snake or dragon, who is killed by her male
descendant Marduk and his friends because they
want to control creation, and obtain the Tablets.
This they succeed in doing in a horrific way.
Tiamat is dismembered and the various parts of
her body go to make up the universe under the
control of Marduk and his friends.

As a dragon, Tiamat symbolises the whole: she
lives in the sea, can walk on land, can breathe
air and fire. The sea, her home, is the element
that contains all life. Her name is very similar
to the biblical Hebrew word Tehom which is
translated as "the deep" and there are several
references in the bible to God overcoming the
dragon and various sea monsters. Above all, we
have the negative reference to the snake in the
Eden story. Again we may draw conclusions about
the motives of the writers of these texts in
relation to the Goddess figures in their
background.

Other Wisdom goddesses of ancient Mesopotamia
(which includes Babylonia, today modern Iraq),
can be seen in texts concerning Nisaba (sometimes
written Nidaba) who was goddess of the reeds; and
Gula the Great Physician. From the reeds, people
made pipes and flutes to create music, pens to
write poetry, and work out mathematical and
astronomical problems, to draw plans for
buildings, and create formulae for medicines.
Thus she became a Wisdom goddess and an example
of how a Nature goddess is also able to be
closely linked with the arts and sciences.

Gula is called "The Great Physician". She is
known for her temples, which are laid out and
functioned as hospitals. She was chief of the
healing deities; one of her symbols is the
Ningizzida, a staff round which are entwined two
serpents. This symbol was later associated with
Mercury and even today is used by physicians to
signify their profession.

These are a few only of the many wisdom goddesses
in this tradition. You may wish to look further
at their texts, and also to become acquainted
with the great goddesses, Inanna/Ishtar/Astarte
who wielded enormous influence in the ancient
Near East for something like three millennia. It
is also important to look at the (1500 BCE)
material from Ras Shamra in Northern Syria, which
tells us the stories of the Lady Asherah and the
Lady Anat and their divine consorts and male
relations. All the texts are easily available
(see reading list below). Wisdom goddesses were
believed to create, sustain and enhance the
universe and human life.



The discussion of Lord Yeshua and Lady Mary, and the "love-play" that
transpired between them caught my attention; specifically, the
meaning of hieros gamos, the sacred marriage. In Dan Brown's
fictional work he seems to focus on an idea of sex as a form of
ritual worship, and on the idea of literal children and a literal
bloodline; and this is the context in which he speaks of "hieros
gamos." Quite naturally, for many hearing this who are new to forms
of Christian Mysticism or Christian Gnosticism that honor the Divine
and Sacred Feminine, this directs their attention towards a more
material rather than spiritual view of hieros gamos. Yet, the meaning
of the hieros gamos is not viewed in such a literal and material way
by most Gnostic Christians, but rather its meaning is deeply
spiritual.

That said, "What might be important about Yeshua and Mary having an
actual physical relationship?" Essentially, it would represent the
reintegration of the whole human being into the Divine Light; hence,
the integration of the mental, vital and physical being into Christ
Consciousness: an *Integral Self-realization*. If we were speaking of
the "redemption of humanity," then the inclusion of our sexuality and
our physicality would make that "redemption" complete; hence, a
holistic view of spirituality that includes all dimensions of the
human being, and that integrates all aspects of human life.

Of course, our physicality and sexuality is only one dimension, and
in terms of our being-consciousness it is really only the "tip of the
iceberg"; the greater part of our being-consciousness extends far
beyond the physical and body consciousness, into the vital and mental
dimensions, and into spiritual and supernal dimensions: we are
meta-dimensional beings. Thus, a fixation only upon the potential
physicality of the hieros gamos, or potential sensual/sexual aspect,
would be rather limiting from a Sophian Gnostic point of view, and
would actually represent a distinct imbalance - but then so also does
the denial of various levels or aspects of our being-consciousness
and life.

Within and behind teachings on the hieros gamos there is something a
bit more profound in Sophian Gnosticism - a different view of
"Christos." Generally speaking, exoteric Christianity has conditioned
individuals to think of Christ as male, and to view the Christ as
exclusive or isolate to Yeshua. Even among those of us who honor the
Divine and Sacred Feminine this imprint plays our in our thought,
speech and writing; thus we will often speak of "Christ" and
"Sophia," implying Christ as male. Yet, the mystery of hieros gamos
in Christian Gnosticism, at least in our Sophian lineage, points to
the Christos as male and female: the Christos has twin aspects,
*Christ the Logos* and *Christ the Sophia*, which are viewed in their
essence and nature as inseparable from one another - the Christos.

In some way, on a spiritual level, we are seeking the union of the
masculine and feminine aspects of our soul-being, the union of Logos
and Sophia; and this union of Logos and Sophia bring about the dawn
of Christ Consciousness: hence, the mystery of hieros gamos, or what
is often called the "bridal chamber."

This plays out in the Gnostic celebration of the holy eucharist,
which is viewed as a mystery rite and initiation: the bread is Logos,
the wine Sophia, and they are joined in us as we partake - thus, the
eucharist is called the "wedding feast," and we become the bridal
chamber. (These terms may be used different ways in the Sophian
tradition, but this is a very common usage among our initiates.)

The bridal chamber holds an even more subtle and sublime ideal,
however, for not only does it imply the union of Logos and Sophia,
which represents the fullness of the Christos in us, but it implies a
higher state of consciousness in which we may experience conscious
unification with the Divine ("God and Godhead"). In other words, it
points to an actual state of Self-realization in Christ Consciousness
(Supernal or Supramental Consciousness); hence, the enlightenment and
liberation of our mind or soul-stream. This is the meaning of
"Christos" to Sophian Gnostics in our lineage.

In this interpretation of Christos, whether we are speaking of Mary
Magdalene or Yeshua it is the same - an embodiment of Christos
(Christ Consciousness); and in speaking about one, the other is
always implied, for in our view they are inseparable, so we can't
speak of one without the other. Yeshua personifies Christ the Logos
and Mary personifies Christ the Sophia; yet, Sophia-Logos is embodied
in both, according to the Sophian view. At times, however, we might
speak more of one or the other for the sake of an exploration of
metaphysical mysteries and insights into different aspects of
consciousness. We would not be inclined to worship the man named
"Yeshua" or the woman names "Mary" (Mirya or Miriam) per se, but
rather we "worship" the Divine within and beyond, we worship the
principles of the Christos they represent to us - principles we seek
to actualize and realize in ourselves, and to embody in our own lives
to whatever extent that we can.

The principles of the Divine and Sacred Masculine, and the Divine and
Sacred Feminine, are in a state of extreme imbalance among us - only
in recent times has there been a resurgence of the Divine and Sacred
Feminine in our Western society and culture, and as yet we have not
attained a true and dynamic balance between the feminine and
masculine. While I do not know that going to the opposite extreme is
the solution, it is clear that there needs to be an emphasis upon the
Divine and Sacred Feminine to facilitate a shift towards wholeness
and balance, and to bring about a restoration of the Divine and
Sacred Feminine in our spirituality.

In terms of the mystery of hieros gamos as an evolution to a New and
Higher Consciousness, specifically a Supramental Consciousness, in my
experience the Divine and Sacred Feminine is integral to the
development - in fact, I'd be inclined to propose that the emergence
of a New and Higher Consciousness in humanity runs directly parallel
to the resurgence of the Divine and Sacred Feminine in our
spirituality.
 

In the oral tradition of our Sophian/Magdalene
lineage there is a more radical view of the
Sophian Gnostic taught, which speaks of the
co-equality of the Divine Masculine and Divine
Feminine in creation, but places the Divine
Feminine (as Sophia) primary and central to
creation and salvation story. It open the way to
the vision of Sophia as the Savioress Goddess, of
which the Magdalene becomes the living avatar in
our Gnostic tradition of the Holy Bride. It
enters into the subject of the many faces or
aspects of Sophia, so I thought perhaps I'd share
a basic sketch of this Sophian cosmology, going
beyond what has been published of our oral
tradition.

In the Kabbalah the first act at the outset of
creation is he Divine withdrawing into the
Divine, creating the space for creation – and of
this we may say, God creates God's womb. Then,
into this infinite space of the Primordial Womb,
God emanates Godself – the True Light restricting
Itself, setting a measure upon Itself, one
gradation to another, one dimension to another,
in the generation of the Pleroma of Light.

At the outset there is the One, Divine Being, the
True Light – the Infinite (Ain Sof), within which
is infinite Divine Potential, the potential of
all Divine Principles, all
Being-Consciousness-Force. "Father," "Mother,"
"Son," "Daughter," and all emanation, creation,
formation and making in the Great Unmanifest.
When the Divine generates the Divine Womb of
creation and generates the Light-emanations, then
Father, Mother, Son and Daughter appear – God,
Goddess, Logos and Sophia, all as Thought in the
Divine Mind of the One, and so also all of
creation, all in Sacred Unity.

The First Emanation is Divine Being, inseparable
from the Light of the Infinite (Or Ain Sof), and
in Divine Being, the Divine Mind, is the Mother
(Imma-Elohim) and Father (Abba-Yahweh), and in
the Mother and Father are the Daughter and Son –
Sophia and Logos. Yet, before the First Emanation
comes into being, the Primordial Womb is present,
the space of creation, Primordial Sophia; and in
her all is conceived in her self-generation and
self-begetting: in her Divine Being (Eheieh), the
Bornless One self-arises, and the Father-Mother,
Son-Daughter, all of the Light-emanations, and
all that follows.

Primordial Mother Sophia, the First Cause, who in
truth is the Causeless; for she is the Infinite
and Light of the Infinite, and she is the
Infinite Space in which the Light shines and all
of the play of Light and Shadow transpires – the
very essence and nature of the Divine Mind, the
very essence and nature of all that is. Though
all appears with, in and through her, yet like
the mirror in which objects are reflected, in
herself, in her essence and nature, she never
changes, but is ever the same – the Great Virgin
Mother.

Eheieh, Yahweh, Elohim – these are all principles
in her, all emanations of her; she is in them and
they are in her; she is they and they are her;
she is within them, yet ever beyond them, and all
are contained by her, but nothing contains her,
the Infinite and Eternal Sophia.

Mind, Thought, Intelligence, the Logos and
Sophia, are these not all the radiant display of
Primordial Sophia, the bornless nature of Pure
Being?

Though we may speak of the Divine "creating" the
Womb of the Divine, which is Primordial Sophia;
yet all the while, if such may be said of
timeless eternity, this Infinite Spaciousness was
in the Divine, and is the very nature of the
Divine: Spacious Radiant Awareness, the nature of
Divine Mind. Primordial Sophia, in truth, is not
created, but is revealed – she is Uncreated
Sophia, bornless Divine Being, revealed through
emanation, creation, formation and making.

The principle of restriction is Cosmic Ignorance,
which gives rise to dualism and the Divine Play
of Light and Shadow in creation; and as every
mother knows and understands, giving birth is a
tumultuous, rending and shattering experience –
one body of Sacred Unity breaking to become the
Two, and all of the generations that follow when
there is the appearance of Two, female and male,
and all of the polarities contained in them.
Thus, when the Father and Mother, arise from
Bornless Being, Yahweh Elohim emerging from
Eheieh, by the Divine Power that is in her, the
Mother conceives creation from the Light Seed of
the Father – Pure Thought that becomes
Understanding, the Divine Consciousness-Force (or
Energy-Intelligence) self-arises as the radiant
display of Divine Being. Yet, in this conception
there is the most subtle and sublime restriction
of the One becoming Two and Many; the most subtle
and sublime dualism of Cosmic Ignorance; from
Primordial Sophia, Cosmic Sophia arises – the
Great Goddess, and she gives birth to the
Entirety, including the Divine Powers, as well as
the demiurgos and archons, and even the dark and
hostile forces, the demons. All is in her and she
is in all – she, the all in all: Mother Sophia.

If you inquire into the Living Father we shall
say this: "The Face of the Living Father is
revealed by our Divine Mother – he is known with,
in and through her, for he is she and she is he,
Yahweh Elohim, Father-Mother God (or
God-Goddess)."

If you inquire into El Elyon, God Most High, the
True Light, we shall say this: "That is the Holy
One of Being, the Infinite and Eternal; beyond
all dualism of male or female, the essence and
nature of which is Primordial Sophia – Pure
Radiant Being.

God the Mother, she is transcendent and she is
immanent; she is within and all around, yet ever
beyond all that appears – the Great Goddess. In
her True Essence she is inseparable from
Primordial Sophia, yet as the Cosmic Sophia she
is the Created Sophia, or more truly the Sophia
of Creation. She is the Great Matrix, the Pleroma
of Light and the Entirety all together; she is
Maiden, Mother and Crone – beginning, middle and
end of the Great Aeon, and all of the Aeons, and
of all that appears in the Great Aeon and the
Aeons that are within it; she is Light and
Darkness, and is the entire spectrum of Rainbow
Glory – Cosmic Sophia, the radiant display of
Primordial Sophia.

Of Primordial Sophia we shall say: "She is
nameless and unknowable, and yet she is the very
essence and nature of all that appears." Of
Cosmic Sophia we shall say, "She is the All and
she has many names and many faces, the Great and
Supreme Mystery, the Great Enigma – the Great
Goddess, whom we call Sophia."

Primordial Sophia is called the Eternal Virgin,
but Cosmic Sophia is called Virgin and Whore; for
in her essence and nature she is changeless, yet
she is ever changing, and though she is Pure
Divinity, yet she is in one and all alike –
divine, admixed and demonic. She is transcendent,
yet ever near – she withholds herself from no
one, not even the darkest of demons. She is
manifest as Sophia Stellarum, and she is manifest
as Sophia Nigrans – Bright Mother and Dark Mother.

Of her Daughter, the Holy Bride, we may say this:
"She is the image of her Divine Mother; Sophia
Stellarum and Sophia Nigrans – Eve and Lilith."

In giving birth Divine Sparks fly forth – there
is a great tumult, rending and shattering, and
Cosmic Ignorance comes into play. All manner of
beings-forces are created, formed and made. As
every mother knows and understands, a child
begins in the Ignorance, having emerged from the
unconscious unity, and must individuate in order
to mature and become self-aware, and to enter
into the conscious unification that is the
Perfection of Love. The sorrow and suffering of
giving birth passes with the joy of new life
received; and, likewise, the sorrow and suffering
of separation is as a passing shadow – all for
the sake of the Eternal Delight of Conscious
Union.

The Great Mother orchestrates the perfect
conditions necessary for her children to grow and
mature, and to develop and evolve into their
divine destiny – the Supernal and Divine Being
that is their True Nature; the Divine I Am
(Eheieh).

The key for the recognition and realization of
Divine Being is experience, and the Divine Mother
is the realm of all experience, whether the
Pleroma of Light or Entirety, space-time or the
eternal realm; the key for Coming Into Being is
individuation and freedom to choose, which
necessitates the entire range of possibilities,
from Light to Darkness, good and evil, and all
that lies in between. Yet, as every dear mother
knows and understands, young children are not
left unattended or without the necessary
assistance in their education; thus, the Great
Mother is present with us all along the Way, and
she ensures that we have assistance – this we
call Divine Grace, the Mother's Force.

The Virgin of Light and the Whore of Babylon in
the Apocalypse, is this not Mother-Daughter
Sophia becoming what she must to teach and
initiate her children – and so with the entire
array of her Bright and Dark Faces? Save through
life-experience (Sophia Zoe) how shall her
children grow and mature and acquire their
education, to be and become all that they are as
her image and likeness – the image and likeness
the Father-Mother, Yahweh Elohim?

It is akin to the Gnostic view of Sophia becoming
the Serpent in the Garden, teaching and
initiating Eve, so that she might teach and
initiate Adam; Sophia joining herself to souls in
creation and invoking her consort, Christ the
Logos, for the fulfillment of all creation –
hence, the realization of the Pleroma of Light in
the Perfect Human Being.

Mother Sophia gives birth to the Living Logos –
emanating the Logos, and the Logos is actualized
and realized through Daughter Sophia; Daughter
Sophia (Christ the Sophia) in us receives Christ
the Logos, and through him she is united with
Mother Sophia, for in union with her consort she
become the Holy Mother giving birth to the
Perfection of Creation, the Perfect Human One –
Supernal and Divine Humanity.

This is the interplay of the Upper and Lower
Shekinah, or of Pistis Sophia above and Pistis
Sophia below – she who remains ever beyond, yet
she who is within, having descended: because the
Fiery Intelligence of Sophia is involved in
creation, the evolution of creation to its
fruition becomes possible – all in the Great
Mother, Sophia. Ave Sophia!

May we be blessed to acquire the Gnosis of Mother
Sophia in all of her forms and to realize the
supreme truth of Primordial Sophia – the Great
Goddess of the Grail King; Amen.
 

  Penance might be a better term to describe
the continence required after a divorce, because
if a man breaks faith with his wife and divorces
her, he has forfeited his right to domestic
dominion. Jesus is not teaching that celibacy is
the better way; it is the punishment imposed upon
the servant who is unfaithful in his marital
relationship. "For the kingdom of heaven's sake"
does not mean the eunuch has a higher calling.
Rather, the imposition of celibacy after the
divorce is a sanction designed to prevent
dishonor to the institution of marriage in God's
kingdom. This seems to be an interpretation more
consistent with the generally favorable view of
marriage which Jesus displays elsewhere.

    The next argument in favor of Jesus'
celibacy, second only to the one cited above, is
found in Luke 20:34-36, where Jesus teaches that
"the sons of the resurrection" are "equal to the
angels and are sons of God", for which the
institution of marriage no longer exists. This is
interpreted to imply that Jesus, since He was the
Son of God, would be like the angels and not be
married either. The angels are sexless, so was
Jesus, and so should we.

    Phipps reminds us that angels are not
incarnate beings. Jesus was an incarnate being.
To think that anyone would denigrate sex and
marriage because the angels do not participate in
it demonstrates the same logical deficiency as
those who think that they can jump off of cliffs
and defy other laws of nature. Phipps cites
Clement's challenge of the ascetics to stop
eating and drinking, since the angels don't. (p.
94)

    We must remember that the context of this
passage was the attempt by the Sadduccees to
refute the doctrine of the resurrection. Their
hope was to befuddle Jesus with the relational
tangles of a woman widowed seven times. Whose
wife will she be in the resurrection? Jesus did
not bite the bait. As St. Paul declares, death
ends the marriage covenant. The resurrection is a
new beginning and the community of heaven will be
different then just as it will be on earth. It is
not our place to sort these things out. They are
left to the wisdom of our Father in heaven. We
have the assurance that we will not be separated
in heaven from those that we love (1 Corinthians
13:12).

 

Chapter Five: Paul and Sexual Relations

    Phipps proceeds in chapter five with a review
of St. Paul's sexual ethics - the supposed
champion of celibacy - as it pertains to the
notion of a married Jesus. We have already noted
1 Corinthians 9:4-5 in which Paul acknowledges
that the apostles and the brothers of the Lord
were married. He defends his own right to be
married. Phipps clarifies the meaning of this
passage by reminding us that the Greek term -
guné - can be translated as either "woman" or
"wife". Obviously, since the subject matter is
about marriage, the context suggests that it
should be translated as "wife" or "married woman".

    Phipps follows other commentators in this
translation in other New Testament passages. He
joins Erasmus and Calvin in reading gunaikes in
Acts 1:14 - the women disciples who resided in
the upper room until the day of Pentecost - as
"wives". Clement explains that the apostles took
their wives along on their missionary journeys
"that they might be their fellow-ministers in
dealing with housewives. It was through them that
the Lord's teaching penetrated also the women's
quarters without any scandal being aroused." (p.
102) Phipps mentions other "husband-wife" teams
in the New Testament, such as Priscilla and
Aquila in the book of Acts and Andronicus and
Julia in Romans 16:7.

    What bearing does this practice have on the
question of a married Jesus? Once again, Phipps
points out the incongruity of a celibate Jesus -
who is supposed to be the "Head" and "chief
cornerstone" of the Church - setting an example
which none of His disciples have followed. Even
Paul, who some suppose to have been more
spiritual than the other apostles, is generally
believed to have been married at one time because
he could not have been affiliated with the
Sanhedrin otherwise. And some, including Clement
and Origen, believed that Paul eventually married
again himself, this time to Lydia of Philippi, of
whom he refers to as his "yoke-partner" in
Philippians 4:3 (p. 107).

    The circumstantial evidence cries out for a
married Jesus. But do we find any direct evidence
in the New Testament? Phipps helps us by
referring to Luke 8:2-3 which tells us that "many
women or wives (gune)" intenerated with Jesus and
the Twelve and "provided for them" (p. 101). It
seems unlikely that Jewish society would have
tolerated a large band of unmarried men and women
roaming over the countryside:

If Jesus married as hypothesized, then his wife,
if still alive during his public ministry, may
also have accompanied the group. Mary, called
Magdalene, is the first named woman (gune) in
Luke 8:2 and she may have been his wife (also
gune).

    While proof of Jesus' marriage to Mary
Magdalene cannot rest on this reference in Luke
alone, it should certainly be considered
supportive evidence.

    Phipps offers a number of other observations
on Paul's sexual ethic. But perhaps the final
word would be 1 Timothy 4:1-5 in which Paul
counsels his successor, Timothy, to reject those
"who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from
foods" as demonically inspired deceivers.

 

The Remaining Chapters

    The issues raised by Phipps in the remaining
chapters of his book deal with the descent of
later Christians into various compromises with
pagan philosophies which were hostile to women,
sex, and marriage. They do not have a direct
bearing on the question of a married Jesus,
except to demonstrate that the doctrine of a
celibate Christ arose, not from any apostolic
doctrine, but rather from the conclusions of a
Christianity which was no longer Biblical. The
Greco-Roman dualism between "flesh" and "spirit"
captured the imagination of the early apologists,
such as Justin. Gentile Christianity, which was
cut-off from its roots in the Jerusalem Church,
was particularly vulnerable to this deception of
man's dichotomy. Of course, it was popular among
the Gnostics, which, even though the Church
rejected its various forms, it was still
influenced through a dialectic process.

    It was a slide which took generations to
complete. The early leaders were married men.
Even many of the first popes were married. But
the doctrine of celibacy prevailed eventually.

    Phipps does refer to the Gospel of Philip and
the texts cited in an earlier chapter of this
book, which allude to Jesus' romantic
relationship with Mary Magdalene (p. 136-137). He
believes that the Gospel was a product of the
Valentinian movement (circa, 130-150 AD), which
was later dubbed as a Gnostic cult, but which
appears to have been more Ebionite and did teach
a married Jesus. "The holy man is altogether
holy, even his body" was a doctrine which fits
more with the Jewish view of creation rather than
the cosmic dualism arising from the Gnostic
movement. The Gospel of Philip does not glorify
virginity, and for that reason, the 2nd Century
Church lost interest in its message. It cannot be
known whether the accusations of the later
Fathers against the Valentinians were accurate,
but lacking corroborating evidence, the value of
the recent discovery of the Gospel of Philip
certainly casts serious doubt.

    Clement of Alexandria stands out as a beacon
in that demented era. Phipps quotes his
commentary on the goodness of creation (p. 146):

It is not the sex organs, or marital coitus,
which is obscene . . . The sexual parts of man's
body deserve not to be treated with prudery but
with privacy. It is only the immoral use of sex
which is obscene.

    Phipps digresses to inform us that an unholy
prudery among the Victorian editors of the
Ante-Nicene Fathers led them to leave
untranslated this text and the entire "Book
Three" of Clement's major work, Miscellanies
which provides guidance on sexual matters.

He quotes him again:

Those who from a hatred for the flesh
ungratefully long to have nothing to do with the
marriage union and the eating of reasonable food,
are both blockheads and atheists, and exercise an
irrational chastity like other heathen. (p. 147)

    Contrast Clement's attitude with Augustine,
"everyone who is born of sexual intercourse is in
fact sinful flesh" (p. 171). "Augustine regarded
the involuntary penis erections, spontaneous
ejaculations, and the intensity of venereal
pleasures as proof that human nature had fallen."
(Phipps, p. 172). Augustine in league with Jerome
founded the Roman Catholic attitude toward sex
which has pervaded all of Christianity. To this
very day, Christians are horrified at candor
about sexual matters. It causes one to wonder if
the pagans of Roman times were justified in
calling these people "the enemies of humanity".

    Phipps has been a courageous pioneer in this
field of inquiry. His work is carefully
documented which aids further research. However,
his low view of the Virgin Birth is a doctrinal
deficiency which weakens his argument, rather
than strengthening it. As will be demonstrated in
a later chapter, the Virgin Birth is essential to
the case of a married Messiah and the doctrine of
hierogamy.

 

The Mormons

    It would not be possible to do justice to
this subject and not consider the contribution
which various Mormon leaders have made to the
question of a married Jesus. While it may not be
of the caliber of William Phipp's disciplined
study, they ought to be commended for questioning
the docetic views of traditional Christians and
suggesting a more realistic perspective. My
primary source comes from Ogden Kraut's book
entitled Jesus Was Married first published in
1969 by Pioneer Press. I am using the 1995
edition.

    Some caution ought to be employed when
considering his presentation, however. The Mormon
polemic for a married Jesus arose during the 19th
Century and was all entangled with the Mormon
justification for polygamy. For this reason,
Kraut, who supports polygamy, is naturally
interested in presenting a polygamous Jesus. That
bias should not dissuade us from a balanced
evaluation of the legitimate evidence which
points to a married Jesus.

    It should be mentioned, also, that the Mormon
doctrine of "celestial marriage" has influenced
that movement's view of Jesus' marital status.
"Celestial marriage" teaches that one's salvation
or certainly one's status in the after-life is
affected by whether one has entered into marriage
in this life. According to this doctrine,
Christ's own status would be in question had He
not been married.

    Our evaluation of the Mormon contribution
ought to be tempered, also, because of their
deference to the "prophetic authority" of their
leaders. Religious debate is often clouded by the
fear of being labeled an "unbeliever" or
"heretic" within one's religious group.
Christians are fond of ascribing sinister motives
to "unbelievers" simply because they are not
persuaded by their evangelism. They never stop to
consider that their dogma might represent sloppy
scholarship or irrational thought.

    Returning to Phipps' work briefly, he refers
to Orson Hyde, an early leader of the Mormon
church as teaching that Jesus married Martha and
more than one Mary (p. 9). In the words of Phipps,

He wrested biblical support that Jesus married
and had children from the suffering servant
passage of Isaiah. In Isaiah 53:10 it is
prophesied: "He shall see his offspring." These
words were interpreted as a literal description
of Jesus, who would be born centuries later.

    He cites a "confession" by one of Brigham
Young's wives which indicates that the founder of
the Mormon colony in Utah agreed with Hyde:

Brigham Young, in one of his sermons . . .
declared that "Jesus Christ was a practical
polygamist; Mary and Martha, the sisters of
Lazarus, were his plural wives, and Mary
Magdalene was another. Also, the bridal feast at
Cana of Galilee, where Jesus turned the water
into wine, was on the occasion of one of his own
marriages. (p. 10)

    Phipps handles these speculations in a
balanced manner. While he acknowledges that
polygamy was an Old Testament custom which
carried over into the period in which Jesus
lived, monogamy was the norm.[1] "Even if the New
Testament stated that Jesus was married, it would
be unwarranted to assume that this meant that he
had more than one wife."

    Ogden Kraut also uses the argument that the
marriage of Cana was Jesus' own wedding. There do
seem to be anomalies in the account found in John
2. For instance, why would Jesus, an honorary
guest at the wedding, bear any responsibility for
the beverages? Apparently, that was the
responsibility of the bridegroom, for the "ruler
of the feast" commends the bridegroom for saving
the best for last (v.9-10). Why was Jesus
performing the duties of the bridegroom, if He
was not the bridegroom?

    And why did His mother assume responsibility
for the success of the festivities? Why was she
even there? Why were the disciples there? Why did
she think that Jesus was responsible for doing
something about the problem? And where did she
obtain the authority to order the servants around?

    While these are tantalizing questions, they
do not help us to answer the question of whether
Jesus was married or not. These anomalies can be
answered by the possibility that the wedding was
for a close relative, perhaps a sister or younger
brother; in which case, Jesus would have been
simply solving a family crisis.

    Of course, even if this incident proved that
Jesus was married, it would not prove that He was
a polygamist. It is important for the reader not
to dismiss evidence of a married Jesus, simply
because it is presented by an advocate of
polygamy.

    The Mormon contribution to this question is
largely speculative and peculiar to their
sectarian doctrine. For instance, Kraut cites a
"revelation" received by the Prophet Joseph Smith
that the "stem of Jesse" in Isaiah 11:1 is Christ:

Since Christ was identified as the "Stem", it is
interesting to note that the "Stem" was to have
posterity; according to Isaiah - "there shall
come forth a Rod out of the Stem of Jesse and a
Branch shall grow out of his roots. (p. 92)

    Like Orson Hyde's attempt to literalize
Isaiah 53:10, Kraut fails to provide exegetical
evidence as to why Smith's interpretation would
be correct or why we should literalize these
texts. While a literal interpretation of these
texts would certainly support - although it would
not prove - a doctrine of a married Jesus, these
men fail to explain why we should discard nearly
two thousand years of exegetical interpretation.

    Kraut turns to archaeology. Citing an
interesting discovery in 1875 near the ancient
village of Bethany in which certain sarcophagi
bore the inscriptions of Salome, Lazarus, Martha,
Simeon (identified as the "son of Jesus"), and
Salomzion, the daughter of Simeon, he thinks we
find proof that Jesus had a son and a
granddaughter. He thinks that the only reason why
this discovery was not hailed by the Christian
world is because of its prejudice in favor of a
celibate Jesus. (p. 90-91)

    That all might be true. But at most, it is
suggestive evidence. There are too many other
possibilities. There were many men in ancient
Judea named "Jesus" (Joshua). Perhaps these empty
tombs once contained the remains of the Bethany
family. Even if they did, it is just as likely
that another person named "Jesus" - perhaps named
in honor of the Lord - was the father of this
Simeon.

    Kraut says, "it is only logical that Jesus
and His Apostles would honor all the laws of
marriage in order to set the proper example for
their followers." I agree wholeheartedly, but
that does not prove Jesus was married.

    Most of what Kraut offers has been addressed
already in our review of the book by William
Phipps. The single greatest contribution he makes
to this discussion is his presentation on Psalm
45, as he quotes Orson Pratt (p. 63-65):

    Indeed, the Psalmist, David, prophesies in
particular concerning the wives of the Son of
God. We quote from the English version of the
Bible, translated about three hundred and fifty
years ago: "All thy garments smell of myrrh, and
aloes, and cassia; when thou comest out of the
ivory palaces, where they have made thee glad,
King's daughters were among thine honorable
WIVES; upon thy right hand did stand the Queen in
a vesture of gold Ophir." (Psalm 45:8,9) That
this passage has express reference to the Son of
God and His wives, will be seen by reading the
sixth and seventh verses which are as follows:
"Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; the
sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou
lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness;
therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with
the oil of gladness above thy fellows." This
Being, whom the Psalmist here calls God, is
represented in the next verses as having
"honorable wives".

It should be recalled that Hebrews 1:8-9 treats
Psalm 45 as a Messianic prophecy, as Pratt
continues:

Paul applies the words of the Prophet David to
the Son of God, to the anointed Messiah, who is
called God, and whose "throne is forever and
ever." Let it be remembered then, that the Son of
God is expressly represented as having
"honourable wives". King James' translators were
not willing that this passage should have a
literal translation, according to the former
English rendering, lest it should give
countenance to polygamy; therefore, they altered
the translation to honorable women instead of
wives; but any person acquainted with the
original can see that the first translators have
given the true rendering of that passage.

    Kraut provides support for Pratt's assertion
by producing facsimile copies of Psalm 45 from
The Geneva Bible (the Bible of Calvin and many of
the Reformers) and from an Anglican Bible used
before the King James Version. Each of them do
render v. 9 as "honorable wives", rather than
"honorable women".

Notwithstanding the Queen is numbered among the
"honorable wives" of the Son of God, yet she is
called upon to worship Him as her Lord. If her
husband were a mere man, she would not be
exhorted to worship him. . . (Orson Pratt, The
Seer, p. 159-160)

    Psalm 45 appears to be the most significant
argument of a married Jesus which has been
offered thusfar; yet it presents, seemingly, not
just a married Jesus, but a polygamous Jesus, as
well. This idea is troubling to the modern mind.
It was troubling to the minds of the later Church
Fathers. That was why they interpreted these
texts allegorically. They acknowledged that
Christ was a polygamist, but only in a symbolic
sense. They saw these Old Testament wives as
figures of the Church and not as real women who
would be married to the Messiah. Neither Pratt
nor Kraut have provided any hermeneutical rule as
to why we should literalize these texts. Paul
allegorizes Messianic prophecies(Galatians
4:22-26). Why should they not be so here? These
Mormon commentators have failed to explain how we
are to know what prophecies are to be taken
literally and what ones are allegorical. It is
because their heresy does not provide a
consistent rule of hermeneutics, which is why
they must bounce from one revelation to another
as it fits the fancies of their leaders.

    While Psalm 45 will be explored more
thoroughly later in our discussion on hierogamy,
it might be helpful to provide the reader with a
preview of what is to come. The doctrine of
hierogamy recognizes that Jesus, as the titular
head of the house of David, was the heir to the
royal harem. This harem - also known in the
Scriptures as "Zion" or "the daughter of Zion" -
was passed down from generation-to-generation
among the principal heirs to the Davidic throne,
even during the years of captivity. Not all women
of the royal harem were available to the heir.
Some of them were mothers, sisters, and other
female dependents who were forbidden according to
the Law of Moses. It was from the royal harem
that spouses were provided for the heir's
brethren, servants, and other worthy recipients
of the Davidic Covenant. In this sense, the Crown
Prince was the family matchmaker, and Jesus, as
the Messianic Prince, would have been so, as
well. At this juncture, we know of only one
person with whom Jesus had any intimacies, and
that was Mary Magdalene. Even though Jesus was
responsible for the care of this harem - which
was later called the Church - we have no evidence
to suggest that Jesus was anything other than
monogamous.

 

Magdalene: the Daughter of Zion

    If we explore the question of a married Jesus
from the perspective of Mary Magdalene's story,
we gather more valuable information. Herein we
find a meaningful contribution from Margaret
Starbird's books as well as others, such as Susan
Haskins' monumental work: Mary Magdalene in Myth
and Metaphor.[2] While lacking certain vital
information which will be provided in the next
chapter, these books have been effective in
dispelling a number of myths about her.

    One such myth is that she was a common
prostitute. There is no direct evidence that she
was such a person. This view originated with the
later Fathers, and one is tempted to see in their
descriptions a desire to diminish her stature in
the New Testament Church.

    The Talmudists confused her with Mary, the
mother of Jesus; for in their frequent derogatory
remarks about the Virgin Mary, they claim that
she was either raped or was a whore, and that
Jesus was a bastard child. In their descriptions
of this Mary, they call her "a perfumer" or
"hairdresser", which, as we shall see, is more
applicable to Mary Magdalene.

    The usual assumption about Mary Magdalene is
that she was from a village in Galilee called
"Magdala" which was notorious for licentiousness.
Margaret Starbird disputes that traditional view,
arguing that,

    The actual Greek letters for the epithet "the
Magdalene,". . . are very distinctive. The -ene
(hnh) ending is not a correct or typical one for
designating a person from a particular town or
region; to denote a person from a particular
region or town, the ending should be -ios. If
Mary were from a town called "Magdala," the
correct Greek spelling of her epithet would be .
. . "Magdalaios." [3]

    Starbird says that there are no maps or
records in the 1st Century which identify the
existence of a fishing village called "Magdala".
The site which was later called Magdala was
called "Taricheae" during the time of Jesus.
Thus, it seems that the epithet, "Magdalene",
must have other significance.

    Adam Clarke's Commentaries (Matthew 27:56)
cites Lightfoot among those who likewise do not
believe that the term Magdalene signifies her
place of origin. "A plaiter of hair" is offered
as another possibility since "migdala" means in
Hebrew "spice, perfume" (Briggs, p. 955 Strong's
#4026 a tower of flowers) and "dallah" (#1803
"something dangling, i.e. a loose thread or
hair"). Vine's associates "dallah" with poverty,
disheveled hair and social lowliness (2 Kings
24:14). Song of Solomon 7:5 also uses the word to
denote something that "hangs down", as in
dishevelled hair. Lightfoot gets his information
from the Talmud, for he states:

. . . there is mention made in the Talmudic
authors of "Maria Magdila" the daughter of Maria,
"a plaiter of women's hair", who they say was the
wife of "Papus" Ben Juda, but an adulteress. They
make this "Papus" contemporary with Rabban
Gamaliel (of Jafneh) and R. Joshua, and with R.
Akibah: who all lived both before and after the
destruction of Jerusalem; so that the times did
not very much disagree. And probable it is, that
the Gemarists retained some memory of our Mary
Magdalene, in the word "Magdil" (A Commentary on
the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica,
John Lightfoot, 1602-1675)

    But "mag" may refer to "magi" (Briggs, p. 550
- soothsayer - Greek #3095 and Hebrew #7248 and
#4018) from which we get "magician" and the
"wise" men of the Christmas story who brought
frankincense and myrrh. Mary may have been a
sorceress, a fact which would explain why Jesus
had to cast seven demons out of her. The use of
ointments, perfumes, herbs and spices were all a
part of ancient sorcery, as was disheveled hair
for pagan prophetesses. All of these factors may
combine to explain why Mary was a footwasher, had
expensive ointments, and let her hair down to dry
the Lord's feet. It was her vocation which was
sained in the service of Jesus. She would have
known of the hieros gamos tradition in pagan
religions and may have participated in such
rituals. But as we explained earlier, she would
not have considered performing such a ritual upon
Jesus as one of His faithful disciples.

    More pertinent to our inquiry, Starbird sees
"Magdalene" in Old Testament prophecy (Woman with
the Alabaster Jar, p. 50):

    As for you, O [Magdal-eder], watchtower of
the flock, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion!
the former dominion will be restored to you;
kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem.
Why do you now cry aloud - have you no king? Has
your counselor perished, that pain seizes you
like that of a woman in labor? Writhe in agony, O
Daughter of Zion, like a woman in labor, for now
you must leave the city and camp in the open
field.

- Micah 4:8-10

    Since no vowels occur in the ancient Hebrew,
"Magdal" and "Migdal" (#4029) are
indistinguishable in the text. Although obscured
in the Septuagint, no reader of the Hebrewwould
have missed this association. Since this passage
is woven in the middle of two important Messianic
prophecies which were, no doubt, frequently read
by the New Testament Church - vss. 1-7 which
speak of the Messianic kingdom and then 5:2 which
foretells the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem -
it seems likely that "Magdalene" was added as a
special epithet to the Lord's companion. Other
more tenuous Messianic associations were made by
the New Testament authors and by the early
Fathers.[4] John the Baptist was the expected
Elijah based upon one passage in Malachi 4:5. Is
it unreasonable to suppose that the Messianic
prophecies also expected a human representation
of Zion?

    We might better find the answer if we
consider the naming rituals of ancient times.
Males were usually named at their circumcision,
but they also acquired nicknames, epithets, and
titles later in life to distinguish them from
others and to identify them as special. One's
place of origin was just one way of identifying
people. One's father was another.

    Sometimes, these namings occurred at
significant events in the life of the individual.
An easy example would be when a man acquired a
title when assuming a public office. David the
shepherd son of Jesse became David the King. At
Jesus' baptism, John named Him "the Lamb of God".
Of course, Jesus had many epithets.

    Jesus did his share of giving people
nicknames. Simon, of course, became Peter (which
means "rock") at his confession in Matthew 16.
James and John became "the sons of thunder".

    So what about Mary Magdalene? Rather than
acquiring an entirely new name, her name may have
been simply altered to reflect her new status in
the Christian community. Remember, Abram was
changed to Abraham and Sarai was changed to Sarah.

    Mary may have begun as Miriam Magdala (the
anointer and footwasher) and then became Miriam
Migdala (the tower and stronghold of Zion). This
name change may have occurred at the anointing in
Bethany. Mary is always listed first among the
women disciples. Jesus commanded that her loving
deed be recorded as a memorial to her. She became
"God's tower" by being "God's footwasher". All of
this would have been lost to Gentile Christians
in the 2nd Century.

    Starbird also points out that the use of
spikenard occurs only one other place in the
Bible: in the Song of Solomon. 1:12 reads:

While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard
sendeth forth the smell thereof.

Compare with the Bethany anointing:

There they made him supper . . . then took Mary a
pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and
anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet
with her hair: and the house was filled with the
odour of the ointment (John 12:2-3).

How could anyone at that dinner table not have known what she was doing?

Returning to the Song, the very next verse declares:

A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he
shall lie all night betwixt by breasts.

    Is it reasonable to believe that this
prophecy was consummated that night between Jesus
and Mary as the Bridegroom and Bride, the Messiah
and the Daughter of Zion? There will be much more
to say about this in later chapters. [5]

 

Miscellaneous Evidence

    The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail -
Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln - provide most of
whatever else is available on the market right
now to prove Jesus was married. Most of their
material focuses on the legends and mysteries of
European origin, in which it is claimed that Mary
Magdalene fled Jerusalem after the crucifixion
with her child (or children) to protect them from
dangerous inquisitions. The traditions are almost
universal in saying that she hid in southern
France. None of this proves that Jesus was
married. It only proves that there were legends
that He was married to Mary.

    Any other evidence they offer is largely
speculative. For example, they speculate on the
name of Barabbas, who was released by Pilate
while Jesus was sentenced to death. It so happens
that there are some extra-biblical sources which
name Barabbas as Jesus-Barabbas. Bar, meaning
"son", and "abbas", meaning "father" is suggested
to mean: "the son of Jesus" (p.350). This kind of
evidence is interesting, but does not help much.

    There is one useful discussion that seems
solid: the events surrounding the resurrection of
Lazarus in John 11. The authors believe that they
find evidence of a special relationship between
Jesus and Mary which is contrasted by how He
relates with Martha. Apparently, there is a
sacred mourning custom among the Jews called
Shiva: in which a woman is expected to mourn
until her husband calls her. We see evidence of
this custom in this account. When Mary and Martha
learn of the Lord's arrival, it is Martha who
arises to meet Him unbidden. Mary remains behind
in the house and continues to mourn, until word
comes that Jesus has called for her (p. 336).

    This same kind of unusual behavior is
displayed at the Resurrection tomb. Mary is
pleading with Jesus - who in the early morning
shadows she mistakes for the caretaker - to tell
her where His body is, "so that I might take him
away." Here she is assuming the rights of a widow
to dispose of her husband's body. Were she not
the widow, she would not have had standing to
have made such a request.

    We will explore more of this kind of evidence in the next chapter.

 

 

[1] Actually, the opposite is true. At the time
of the Exodus, polygamy was a universal custom
among the Israelites. The average Israelite
household had 27 sons, not counting daughters
(compare Numbers 3:40-43 with Numbers 1:46 and do
the math).

[2] Mary Magdalene in Myth and Metaphor by Susan
Haskins (Riverhead Books, New York, 1993)

[3] Magdalene's Legacy, p. 128

[4] "Out of Egypt have I called my son" in
Matthew 2:15 is a good example. The Old Testament
reference has nothing to do with the Messiah. It
is a reference to the nation of Israel.

 Hippolytus and Origen are both
early Christian leaders who interpreted Mary
Magdalene as the Shulamite in the Song of Solomon
and a figure of the Church

It will be demonstrated later that the
opposite is true: the historic church is a symbol
of a symbol. Mary Magdalene was the true Bride of
Christ, the mother of the faithful, and the
daughter of Zion.

 

The Myth of Sophia
The are many versions of the Christian Sophia myth, but the essence is the story of her fall from her Father's house into the world, where she loses her way, looks for love in all the wrong places, becomes abused by many false lovers, and eventually falls into prostitution. Eventually she repents and calls out for help, whereupon her Father sends down her lover-brother Christ to rescue her. Sophia represents the soul of each initiate and the myth is an allegory for the fall of the soul into incarnation in a human body, where it becomes lost in the world, until its eventual spiritual liberation through contacting the Christ within, representing the Consciousness of God at the heart of all beings.

The Christians often picture Sophia as having two aspect. The higher Sophia is symbolised by a virgin mother and represent the pristine purity of the soul, from which our bodily self materialises. The fallen Sophia is symbolised by a prostitute who is redeemed, representing the soul fallen into incarnation, lost in the world and in need of spiritual enlightenment.

The myth of the Christian Godman Jesus can only be properly understood alongside the myth of the Christian Goddess Sophia. In the myth of Sophia, the Goddess is the central figure, whilst her brother-lover is an incidental character. In the Jesus myth it is the opposite. The Godman is the central character. Yet the myth of the lost Goddess forms an important subtext to the Jesus story, which would have been obvious to Christian initiates familiar with both allegories. In the gospels the two Marys represent the higher Sophia and the fallen Sophia. They are both called by the same name to emphasise the fact that they are mythologically aspects of the same figure. As in the Sophia myth, the first Mary is a virgin mother, like Sophia with the Father, and the second is a prostitute lover who is redeemed by Jesus, like Sophia lost in the world.

Like her son/brother/lover Jesus, the Christian Goddess is a syncretic figure created from both Pagan and Jewish sources. The Gnostic Christians themselves trace the sources of their Sophia myth back to Jewish texts, such as Genesis, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Proverbs, and various Pagan myths. For example, essentially the same story of the fallen and redeemed Goddess, often pictured in two aspects as virgin lover and prostitute lover, can be found in the Pagan myths of Aphrodite, Helen, Eros and Psyche and, most famously, Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis, all of which, Pagan writers tell us, are allegories for the descent of the soul into incarnation and its eventual redemption.

The figures of Demeter and Persephone were developed by the Greeks from ancient Egyptian mythology. The Pagan philosopher Porphyry tells us that the Egyptian Goddess Isis is equivalent to both the Greek Goddesses Demeter and Persephone. Just as the Egyptian myth of the dying and resurrecting Godman Osiris is the earliest source of the myth of Jesus, so the myths of Isis is the earliest sources of the Christian myth of Sophia the lost and redeemed Goddess.

Sophia, whose name means ‘Wisdom’, had been the Goddess of the Pagan philosophers for centuries. Indeed, the name ‘philosopher’, first used by Pythagoras, means ‘lover of Sophia’. Although often pictured today as dry academics, these brilliant intellectuals were actually mystics and devotees of the Goddess. Sophia was also an important mythical figure for Jewish Gnostic philosophers, such as Philo the Pythagorean.

Few Christians today have even heard of. The story of Jesus’ lover. The lost and redeemed Daughter of the Goddess.

The original Christians venerated the divine not only as God the Father, but also as Sophia, the Wise Goddess. Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Corinthians that ‘Among the initiates we speak of Sophia’, for it is ‘the secret of Sophia’ that is ‘taught in our Mysteries’. When initiates of the inner mysteries of Christianity partook of Holy Communion it was Sophia’s passion and suffering they remembered. Amongst the original Christians, priests and priestesses would offer initiates wine as a symbol of ‘her blood'. The prayer would be offered ‘May Sophia fill your inner being and increase in you her Gnosis’. It was her they petitioned

Come hidden Mother; come, you who are made manifest in your works, and give joy and rest to those who are bound to you. Come and partake in this Eucharist which we perform in your name, and in the love feast for which we have assembled at your invitation.’
In the secret inner mysteries of the original Christians the Jesus story was put in its rightful context at the end of a cycle of Christian myths which begin with the ineffable Mystery manifesting itself as a primordial Father and Mother, and which culminates in the mystical marriage of Jesus and Sophia. All of these myths were then revealed to be allegories of spiritual initiation - symbolic stories which encode a profound philosophy, with the power to transform an initiate from a Christian into a Christ.
 

Although later rejected by mainstream Jews, there had always been a Jewish Goddess tradition. At one time Israelites had worshipped the Goddess Asherah, as the consort of the Jewish God Jehovah. In the 5th century BCE she was known as Anat Jahu. In texts written between the 4th and 1st centuries BCE, such as Proverbs, The Sophia of Solomon, and The Sophia of Jesus the Son of Sirach, she becomes God’s companion and co-creator Sophia. The Jewish Sophia is the lover and inspiration of the good and the wise. She is ‘an initiate in the Mysteries of God’s Gnosis’, who teaches her followers to become ‘friends of God’ - the ubiquitous name used by Pagan, Jewish, and Christian Gnostics. The Sophia of Solomon assures us

‘Sophia shines brightly and never fades. She is readily discerned by those who love her, and by those who seek her she is found. She is quick to make herself known to all who desire her Gnosis.’
The Jewish Sophia literature talks of a mythical ‘Good Man’ - no one in particular - who is the Goddess’ envoy on earth. Moses was pictured as such an envoy. According to the Exodus myth, when he passes on his authority to Joshua (Gk: Jesus) he also receives ‘the Spirit of Sophia’. For the Christian Gnostics, their mythical hero Joshua/Jesus is likewise Sophia’s envoy who comes to reveal her Wisdom which leads to Gnosis. Hence ‘the secret’ that Paul proclaims in his Letter to the Colossians is ‘Christ in whom is hid the treasures of Sophia and Gnosis.’

In the Jewish Sophia literature the Good Man is persecuted by his own people for preaching Sophia’s wisdom and condemned to a ‘shameful death’. But he is vindicated afterwards and confronts his persecutors as their judge in heaven, where he is one of the ‘Sons of God’. In the hands of Christian Gnostics this figure of the Good Man is transformed into Jesus the ‘Son of God’, who comes they say ‘so that Sophia might be proclaimed', is murdered by his misguided kinsmen, but is vindicated by his resurrection to heaven where he becomes the divine judge.

Christianity was originally a synthesis of pre-existing Jewish and Pagan spiritual philosophy and allegorical mythology, and that central to that tradition was the myth of the Goddess Sophia. The eradication of the Christian Goddess by the patriarchal Roman Church has left us all motherless children. Women have been denied a sympathetic rapport with the Divine Feminine. Men have been denied a love-affair with a female face of Deity. Spirituality has become part of the battleground which separates the sexes, when it should be the sanctuary of eternal fellowship. The original Christians, however, practiced ‘partnership spirituality’. They were noted for valuing men and women equally, as expressions of God and Goddess. They saw the division of the sexes as a correlate of that primal polarity which is the basis of life. A duality which when made One, as in the act of love, brings the bliss of mystical union that they called ‘Gnosis’.

 

Mary Magdalene was said to have traveled throughout the Mediterranean preaching the Gospel of Jesus in the years that followed his crucifixion and resurrection. She was, it is said of royal lineage and was received at all the best palaces on the social circuit at the time. One such visit was to Tiberius Caesar's home in Rome  Mary was said to have told with great animation the story of Jesus' appearance to her upon his resurrection.  Mary employed an egg to illustrate the concept of being born to a new life. Tiberius Caesar evidently skeptical of her story is said to have said that the likelihood that Jesus rose from the dead was about the same likelihood that the white egg she held in her hand would turn red. At that moment as she held out her hand the egg turned  red. This is supposed to be the origin of the centuries old custom of exchanging red eggs at Easter in the Byzantine East.

" Shekinah is the Supreme Spirit
devoted to the good of all people . . .
She shines bright in the bloom of ignorance;
She is unfading;
She is easily seen by those who love Her;
easily found by those who look for Her,
And quickly does She come to those who seek Her help. 
One who rises early, intent on finding Her,
will not grow weary of the quest--
For one day he will find Her seated in his own heart. 
To set all one's thoughts on Her is true wisdom,
And to be ever aware of Her is the sure way to perfect peace.
For Shekinah Herself goes about in search of those
who are worthy of Her. 
With every step She comes to guide them;
in every thought She comes to meet them . . . 
The true beginning of spiritual life is the desire to know Shekinah.
A desire to know Her brings one to love Her.
Loving Her enables one to follow her will.
Following Her will is the sure path of immortality.
And immortality is oneness with God. 
So the desire to know Shekinah leads to God
and His Kingdom - - a never-fading Kingdom.
With all your thrones and scepters you may rule the world for a while,
But take hold of Shekinah and you will rule the world forever. " --- The Wisdom
of Solomon (50 BCE)
 The translation above was written by an unknown Jewish sage living in
Alexandria, Egypt. (This could have been --and probably was--a transcription (of
an earlier scroll), copied to preserve it for the future's sake. By custom,
however, the original is ascribed to King Solomon (10th century BCE).
 

This is Messianic Judism in its fullest and richest form   Who/What is
the Ruach HaKadosh? Sermon Delivered 1-1-05
Taught By Rabbi Moshe Yoseph Koniuchowsky From message given by Hezekiyah Haas
Copyright 2002, http://tntrevealed.org
Delivered Live at B’nai Yahshua Synagogue North Miami Beach Florida. Ruach or
Ruacha. Feminine. Ruach HaKadosh rather than Ha Kodesh.
Kodesh is referred to as an object, kadosh is use to refer to a living
entity. We know the name of the Father - Yahuweh.
And of the Son - Yahashua. But what is the name of the Ruach HaKadosh (the Holy
Spirit)?
Her name in the Hebrew is “Chochmah”
(pronounced “KohK-mah”, which in English means, and is translated as,
Wisdom. And as it is written and stated previously by Yeshua, in Luke 7:35
 “Wisdom is justified by all Her children.”
Proverbs 8:1 She/Ruach calls for truth in the assembly and the lives
of believers…
Mishlei (Proverbs) 8:6,7 it states that Wisdom is the instructor of Truth,
 as it is written, 8:6 Listen, for I will speak excellent things, and
from the opening of my lips will come right things,
8:7 for my mouth will speak truth...” And in I Yahchanan (I John) 5:6 we read
that the Ruach (the Spirit)
 is Truth. And in Yahchanan (John) 16:13 that, 16:13 “When She, the Ruach
(Spirit) of Truth has come,
She will lead you into all truth.” And isn’t it most often the mother
who teaches the children the commandments and instruction of her
husband? Yahshua promised that Mamas Torah would internalize the
mitzvoth of the Abba. The Torah of ema is called Wisdom, and she is
the Spirit of Torah bringing comfort to balance the Fathers discipline.
 Mishle 1:8 And in Yochanan (John) 14:26 it says,
14:26 But the helper, the Ruach HaKadosh (Holy
Spirit), whom the Father will send in My Name, She
will teach you all things, and declare to you all
things that I said to you.” So here She is referred to as “the Helper“ or EZER,
even as Havah (Eve) was given as Adam‘s “helper“.
EZER KENGEDO a Helper against or to balance the
overwhelming gevurah/power of the ABBA. The Ruach is the balance
to ABBA just like man and woman balance each other in the natural! Some
translations state comforter rather than helper. Both are correct,
 and comforter still describes a female entity for it is the mother who
 usually comforts the children. She balance the fathers strict discipline
 and rigidity. These things should all be making sense by now. It’s only common
sense
 that if Havah (Eve) was called by Adam the “mother of all living”
that there must also be one who is the mother of all spiritually living;
and that of course, is the one whose image Havah (Eve) was created in;
B‘resheet (Genesis) 1:26,27. Adam was made in Yahshua’s image the Adam
 Kadmon and Chavah was made in the Ruach’s image. Male and female. Now, going
back to B’resheet (Genesis) 1:26,27 where Elohim says,
 “Let ‘Us’ make humans in our image” In Beresheeth (Genesis) 11:7
it says, 11:7 Come let “Us” go down there and confuse their
language that they may not understand one another’s
speech. If the second party in the “Us” statement is the Ruach HaKadosh
(the Holy Spirit), then is it any surprise that the one who caused the
 languages to become confused is the same who caused the languages to
be brought back into unity at Shavuot (Pentecost) in Acts 2:1-12?
And doesn’t even science indicate that it is the female gender that is
 the more gifted in language? Chochmah, like the Ruach HaKadosh (the Holy
Spirit), is feminine, gifted
 in language, a mother of the Sons of Elohim - one through whom we must
 be born. And in Romans 8:2 it is written that the Ruach of
truth is the Spirit “of Life“. And finally, last but not least, in Mattityahu
(Matthew) 29:19 Yeshua says, Go therefore and make disciples of all
nations, immersing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Ruach HaKadosh (the Holy Spirit).”
The Great Commission is in essence in invitation to
join the 2 parent family of YHWH. She was there in the beginning, nurtures and
comforts her children,
 and leads Her children into all truth as she upholds the Torah.
And what a joy and wonderful thing it is to know that we are part
 of a complete, two-parent family.
1:13 In Him is the gospel of your deliverance, in whom also, a
fter having believed, you were sealed with the Ruach haKadosh (Holy Spirit)
 of Promise.” In this verse we see the birth process described once again;
this time to describe the formation of our character, into the character of
 Yahshua, thus completing the picture of us being sealed inside the womb of
 our spiritual mother until the character of Yahshua can be formed in us.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ While praying, listen to the words very carefully.
When your heart is attentive, your entire being
enters your prayer without your having to force it.
 ~ Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
 

Sophia is not a goddess, like Her major aspects as Isis, Hathor, Ila, Shakti, Demeter, Hecate, Kali, Cerridwen and others who have recently been re-entering the consciousness of the 60's crowd. Sophia is the Goddess, not a goddess. She is behind all the goddesses of every age and every religion. Her name means Wisdom. Originally the word "philosophy" meant "lover of wisdom." Then it meant wisdom with a capital W. Now it seems to mean "lover of clever debate," and wisdom is eclipsed by the more dangerous cleverness. The West, for centuries, has hidden the goddess, either by deliberate persecution of Her followers by the patriarchal religions, or by delegating Her to roles as minor as those played by women in the same societies. Goddess nowadays is being revealed in many aspects as the feminine aspects of the human psyche, and psychologists such as Carl Jung, and poets such as Goethe, have been in the forefront of those insisting that the survival of mankind depends on a re-evaluation of the feminine psyche and its aspects of Divinity, particularly Sophia. It is clear that if we keep going down the insane path of continuous competition for diminishing resources, then humanity is doomed. The patriarchal concept of controlling and manipulating Nature has produced pollution of our earth, air, and water, as other articles in these newsletters make clear. The insanity of making things that do not biodegrade is becoming obvious to all. Everything in Nature's cycles is used. There was nothing wasted on Spaceship Earth, until human chemists began making things that are useless to the Earth because they do not decay, and cannot be used even by micro-organisms. That is the way of the patriarchal "control, compete, and use" philosophy that entails only cleverness, no common-sense, no wisdom. Wisdom entails cooperation in the cycles of Nature, of living in a way that goes with the natural flow, using Wisdom to look ahead, as the Native Americans did. Any action would be considered on its merits over seven generations, to ensure that short term benefits did not swamp long term gains. Now our politicians see no further ahead than the next election. Our clever scientists do what can be done, without regard for whether it should be done. Wisdom is denied. The solution to our problems is found in the Wisdom side of life. The cleverness side has been tried for centuries and has failed because every benefit of cleverness is turned into a disadvantage or danger by the clever people who don't know when to stop what they're at, and go beyond all sense. The commonsense of the nurturing feminine is very much needed today, and the goddess energy is popping up all over the place even as the unregulated male energy is leading everyone down the path to destruction. As the Women's Movement developed over the past decades, and technology and contraception began to free women from the slave drudgery of the last century, several great advances were made. scriptures showed that women were of major importance in Early Christianity, and that Jesus was not a celibate monk, but a typical, Jewish, married man, with children. The feminine aspect of Divinity was of major importance to Him and all Jewish mystics, who called it the Shekinah, and located it in the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy of Holies. In Proverbs and the Wisdom literature, some of which was removed from the Bible during the Protestant revolt against Catholicism, she is called Wisdom, and bears the same relationship to God as Shakti does to Shiva. She is the creative power of the god.

The Old Testament is a library that contains 39 unique and different books. These books were written over a period of perhaps a thousand years. They represent a wide variety of types of literature. Some are descriptions of tribal history. Some are filled with liturgical and ethical injunctions; some are interpreters of history; some are wisdom literature; some are poetry; some are the writings of prophets; some are protest literature. There is no doubt that parts of this body of sacred literature are eternal and therefore relevant to us today. Other parts are so clearly time bound as to be totally irrelevant to our world today. The issue is how does one separate the wheat from the chaff.

The first step is not to impose a literal agenda on this literature that comes from a nation of storytellers. The second is to recognize the time span between the event being described and the description. For example, if Abraham actually was a person of history, he lived about 1850 B.C.E. but the stories about Abraham were not written for at least 800 years. Moses lived around 1250 B.C.E. but everything we know about Moses was written some 300 years later. Third, one should expect the attitudes and knowledge of the past to be reflected in ancient records. So it is that in the Bible women are often seen as inferior and women are potrayed as the property of men; However, Using female images from the bible, tradition and women's experiences, offers an approach for contemplating God firmly rooted in the female experience of the Christian tradition. Praying with feminine images of God introduces us into a wonderful variety of new possibilities for prayer that will enrich our spiritual growth and help us to transform all systems that oppress.
 
***




Wisdom sings Her own praises, Before Her own people She proclaims Her glory;
In the assembly of the Most High She opens Her mouth, In the presense of His hosts She declares her worth:

"From the mouth of the Most High I came forth, And mistlike covered the Earth.
In the highest heavens did I dwell, My throne on a pillar of cloud.
The vault of Heaven I compassed alone, Through the deep abyss I wandered.
Over waves of the sea, over all the land, Over every people and nation I held sway.
Among all these I sought a resting place, In whose inheritance should I abide?"

********************************

"Before all ages, in the beginning, He created me, And through all ages I shall not cease to be, In the holy tent I ministered before Him, And in Zion I fixed my abode."


*******************************

"Like cinnamon, or fragrant balm, or precious myrrh, I give forth perfume.
I spread my branches like a terebinth, My branches so light and so graceful.
I bud forth delights like the vine, My blossoms become fruit fair and rich.
Come to me, all you that yearn for me, And be filled with my fruits.
You will remember me as sweeter than honey Better to have than the honeycomb, He who partakes of me will hunger still He who drinks of me will thirst for more.
He who obeys me will not be put to shame He who serves me will never fail."

-Sirach Ch. 24: 1-22 (New American Catholic Bible)



Hymn To Aphrodite

Throned in splendor, immortal Aphrodite! Child of Zeus, Enchantress, I implore thee Slay me not in this distress and anguish, Lady of beauty.

Hither come as once before thou camest, When from afar thou heard'st my voice lamenting, Heard'st and camest, leaving thy glorious father's Palace golden,

Yoking thy chariot. Fair the doves that bore thee; Swift to the darksome earth their course directing, Waving their thick wings from the highest heaven Down through the ether.

Quickly they came. Then thou, O blessed goddess, All in smiling wreathed thy face immortal, Bade me tell thee the cause of all my suffering, Why now I called thee;

What for my maddened heart I most was longing. "Whom," thou criest, "dost wish that sweet Persuasion Now win over and lead to thy love, my Sappho? Who is it wrongs thee?

"For, though now he flies, he soon shall follow, Soon shall be giving gifts who now rejects them. Even though now he love not, soon shall he love thee Even though thou wouldst not."

Come then now, dear goddess, and release me From my anguish. All my heart's desiring Grant thou now. Now too again as aforetime, Be thou my ally.

Sappho

Several female Deities can lay claim to the title Christian Goddess. The Virgin Mary, the earthly Mother of Christ, is usually the first to spring to mind. Catholic-influenced Christian Wiccans more often than not recognize the Virgin Mary as Goddess, as she was the earthly manifestation of the female Deity, much as Jesus is often considered both the Father and the Son, or the male earthly manifestation of the male Deity. Many researchers and scholars also realize that the Holy Spirit, translated from the Greek word pneuma, is a feminine being. The Kabbalahists rationalize the names YHWH, Elohim, and Jehovah as the High Spirit, the female and male principles respectively. There is also the need to recognize the singular feminine name Eloah, Elat, and the Aramaic form Eloi which are derivatives of Elohim. There is the Goddess Sophia; the feminine noun Sophia being the Greek word for "Wisdom" (as opposed to gnosis for knowledge). Proverbs is a book dedicated to Sophia, mostly noted as the Spirit Wisdom, or Lady Wisdom. Wisdom is referred to as "She" throughout Proverbs. Then, there are those who look to the "Goddess in the Gospels," Mary Magdalene. Many believe that the Magdala was the wife of Jesus and co-Messiah or co-redemntrix with Him. Whether she was the wife of Jesus or not, the Gnostic Gospels definitely refer to her as the Companion of Jesus. There is also information that there was possibly a female child, after their unpublicized wedding. "Mary" is a Greek pronunciation of the Hebrew name Miriam or Miriamni. Goddess Christian's believe in the Triune God, in the aspect of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Mother. For the most part in mainstream Christianity, the feminine aspects of the Divine have been hidden and swept neatly under the rug; the Holy Spirit (a feminine gendered name) is never shown or acknowledged as having a gender. Throughout the Bible, history depicts Her as a dove or a golden ray of heavenly light. The Mother-God has been veiled in the Bible, and the books in which She is plainly present, if not dominate but the entire book, has been removed from the canonized Bible and declared heresy, and usually done so at a council of men. The male council members are not the ones who made the Trinity into a Triple Male; this was not a gender-based ploy for the spiritual changing of the guard. Instead, the fact is that the Roman Catholic Church was downplaying the female aspect of God, previously observed by all earth-oriented religions worldwide.

"The honor of the people lies in the moccasin tracks of the woman. Walk the good road.... Be dutiful, respectful, gentle and modest my daughter... Be strong with the warm, strong heart of the earth. No people goes down until their women are weak and dishonored, or dead upon the ground. Be strong and sing the strength of the Great Powers within you, all around you." --Village Wise Man, SIOUX The Elders say the Native American women will lead the healing among the tribes. We need to especially pray for our women, and ask the Creator to bless them and give them strength. Inside them are the powers of love and strength given by the Moon and the Earth. When everyone else gives up, it is the women who sings the songs of strength. She is the backbone of the people. So, to our women we say, sing your songs of strength; pray for your special powers; keep our people strong; be respectful, gentle and modest. Oh, Great One, bless our women. Make them strong today.

Shekinah is the Supreme Spirit devoted to the good of all people . . . She shines bright in the bloom of ignorance; She is unfading; She is easily seen by those who love Her; easily found by those who look for Her, And quickly does She come to those who seek Her help. One who rises early, intent on finding Her, will not grow weary of the quest-- For one day he will find Her seated in his own heart. To set all one's thoughts on Her is true wisdom, And to be ever aware of Her is the sure way to perfect peace. For Shekinah Herself goes about in search of those who are worthy of Her. With every step She comes to guide them; in every thought She comes to meet them . . . The true beginning of spiritual life is the desire to know Shekinah. A desire to know Her brings one to love Her. Loving Her enables one to follow her will. Following Her will is the sure path of immortality. And immortality is oneness with God. So the desire to know Shekinah leads to God and His Kingdom - - a never-fading Kingdom. With all your thrones and scepters you may rule the world for a while, But take hold of Shekinah and you will rule the world forever. The Wisdom of Solomon (50 BCE) was written by an unknown Jewish sage living in Alexandria. By custom, however, it is ascribed to King Solomon (10th century BCE)

Mary Magdalene: Tower of the Flock
Mary Magdalene is a name that is known to hundreds of millions of people. In addition to her presence in the Bible, she is the subject of legends, classical art, popular books, documentaries and movies .
Who was the woman we know as Mary Magdalene? Was she merely a ‘fallen woman’ upon whom the Messiah had compassion? Conventional Christian denominations think so. Was Mary the Messiah’s wife, as some popular books and legends suggest? What can we discover from Scripture about her?

Mary in Prophecy

‘Magdalene’ was not Mary’s last name – it was her title, signifying the role she played in the early Christian assembly. It is a conjunction of two Hebrew words – magdala and eder. ‘Magdala’ is the feminine form of the word for ‘tower’, and ‘eder’ is the Hebrew word for ‘flock’. The name that we know as Magdalene means, literally, ‘the [feminine] tower of the flock’.
The Old Testament prophet Micah wrote of the Magdalene. “To you, Tower of the Flock [magdala eder], the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you the former dominion will restored, the kingdom will return to you.” [Micah 4:8]

In the Gospels

Mary the Magdalene was from Bethany, and was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. [Mark 14:3, John 11:2, John 12:3] She has a conspicuously prominent place within the Gospels – one that stands out far above all the apostles.
Mary Magdalene devoutly loved and served Yahshua [the Hebrew way of saying Jesus]. She was the only person who anointed Him. She traveled with Him, and was with Him at the time of his death. She was the first to visit the tomb, finding it empty. It was to her that Yahshua first showed Himself after the resurrection. [John 20:1; Mark 16:9] She it was who notified the other apostles of the miracle. [John 20:2-10] She was the most beloved of all His followers. In fact, it is possible to conclude that the “disciple…whom He loved” may have been Mary Magdalene. [John 19:25-27] [With James and His other brethren still living, it would have made no sense to have told John to take His mother into his home.]
Her faithfulness to the Messiah is well-documented. But what of her character? Her disposition may be partly revealed in her name. Miriam [Meer-yahm], her name in Hebrew, means ‘rebellious’. [The names of people in the Bible sometimes are a title given them based upon their character or mission, or may be given them by Elohim (God/dess)]. Was this Miriam rebellious and headstrong? Perhaps.
Mary Magdalene was not a flawless individual, and she evidently had an unvirtuous past. In Luke 7:37 she is called “a sinner”. It was said that she had seven ‘devils’ in her, which the Messiah cast out. [Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2] Tradition has it that she was not virginal when she met Yahshua.
The best example of Mary’s especially intimate relationship with Yahshua is found in the writings of Mark and John. They remembered that she anointed Jesus’ feet with an ointment made of spikenard. The only other mention of spikenard in the Scriptures links it directly to physical intimacy and lovemaking. [Song of Solomon 1:12, 4:14] The erotic symbolism of Mary anointing the Messiah’s feet with spikenard would have been quite evident to first century Hebrews. [In Hebrew, the word translated as feet is also sometimes used as a euphemism to designate the genitals. See Isaiah 7:20, Ruth 3:7, Ezekiel 6:25, and Song of Solomon 5:3. Urine or piss, in Hebrew, is literally translated as ‘water of the feet.’] She also uncovered and unfastened her hair in His presence; that was something done only with family or intimate friends. Then she wiped his feet with her hair – an act that was only done with one’s lover. [Mark 14:3ff, Luke 7:38; John 11:2, 12:3]

Apocryphal Writings

The word ‘apocrypha’ means ‘hidden things’. It is commonly used in reference to books that were not included in the common versions of the Bible, but which, nevertheless, were inspired or were narratives based upon real events.
In the Gospel of Philip it was written: “And the companion of the Savior is Mary Magdalene; Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth.”
In the Gospel of Mary, the Magdalene is the central figure. It describes the apostles mourning the loss of the Messiah, and fearing for their own lives. Mary Magdalene encouraged and strengthened the apostles. Then Peter said to her, “’Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than all women. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember – which you know but we do not, nor have we heard them.’” Mary then told them things which Jesus had told her, but which He had not spoken to the apostles. The Magdalene is portrayed as the temporary de facto spiritual leader of the disciples immediately following the Messiah’s death.

The Tower of the Flock

Mary Magdalene related to the Messiah as no one else did. The few New Testament vignettes of her indicate that she was intimate with the Messiah in a way that was typical only between spouses. She was the woman whom He loved more than any other. The Magdalene truly was a ‘tower’ of strength to the disciples after the death of Yahshua. She encouraged them to hold together, and she taught them things that He had revealed to her privately. Mary was the Tower of Flock – the stronghold of the infant church. And prophecy declares that one day she will have a special place of dominion within the restored Kingdom.
Mary Magdalene was a woman with human frailties. Initially rebellious, she may have run from herself and her destiny. But through her relationship with Messiah she became faithful to Elohim, and accepted her role at His side. Her tormented past was converted into a life of grace and good works. Overcoming her fears and self-doubts, she boldly became the apostle to the Apostles. She ministered to the Minister, she anointed the Anointed.
The Messiah’s relationship with Mary the Magdalene is a type of His relationship with believers – who are called ‘the Bride’. When He finds us, we are tarnished with sin, slow to submit, and stubborn to give up our past. His love transforms us, drives the devils from us, and heals us. We try to run away. We try to avoid our destiny at His side. Through Him we become beautiful – we are transformed from someone who is ordinary to a person who is extraordinary and precious.
We are called to become good examples, and towers of strength for others. When we surrender to Him, and become intimate with Him, we become one with Him eternally.
 

http://www.nigeriansinamerica.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2278


A married Messiah?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
As far as the millions of orthodox Jews in the world are concerned their Messiah has not yet come, and the popular Christian portrayal of Jesus seems very different to them from their expectations of what their Christ should be like. One glaring omission in what they would otherwise consider a perfect and exemplary life is the impression that Christ was celibate.

Noted Rabbi, Emil Hirsch touched upon this subject in his book, My Religion:

"Now as the life of Jesus is pictured in the New Testament, there are certain peculiar defects in that life from the Jewish point of view. His teachings are the ideal teachings of Judaism; they are not new teachings, nor new revelations. They are confirmations of Jewish thought and life. But his personal life - I am speaking respectfully; I do not think anyone should think I cast any shadow on the beauty and perfection of that life, but I can take it as it is pictured - you know he was not married, and from the Jewish point of view, that is a defect. The Jewish morality insists that a man who does not assume the social responsibility for the continuation of society, lives a life that is not complete." (p. 43-44,1925 ed.)

Having assumed that Jesus was single many have been led to the conclusion that marriage was considered by him to be less than the holy institution Jews have always held it in regard as, and have supposed perhaps that he even encouraged celibacy by such an example. Yet the writers of the Gospels leave us in no doubt as to Jesus' views on the matter, and record him as having quoted from the first book of Moses, Genesis, on marriage being part of God's plan for man and woman upon the earth: "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:4-6, Mark 9:6-9, see Genesis 2:23-24)

The disciples took the counsel of their beloved prophet and leader seriously, and the New Testament speaks of many of them being married, amongst their number being Peter, John the beloved, Paul and others (Matthew 8:14, 2 John 1,13, 1 Corinthians 9:5). In fact, having a spouse was a requirement for fulfilling the responsible stations of Bishop and Deacon (1 Timothy 3:2,12). Church father, Clement of Alexandria wrote in the second century that all of the apostle were married, and Eusebius includes Paul amongst them in his list. Doubtless early Church leaders were expected to be an example in this matter. Which brings us to the question of why does it seem from a cursory overview of his life that Jesus omitted the first commandment God ever gave, that of marriage and the bringing of children into the world?

To begin to answer that question we must first admit that the Gospels are only a partial record of all that Jesus said during his sojourn on earth. John the apostle who faithfully followed Jesus during his earthly ministry and probably knew him as well as any man could, remarked that, "there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." (John 21:25) Because a Jewish man being unmarried at the age of Jesus would have been so unusual during the time in which Jesus lived, and because the New Testament does not explicitly say that he had no wife, some have suggested that this itself may be evidence that he was indeed married, otherwise the scriptures would have mentioned that he wasn't and why. As the Rev. Dr. William Phipps, a professor of theology, argued, "If Jesus had been a bachelor ... the Bible would surely contain some record of his being criticized for it." (Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Spring 1969, see also Newsweek, 24 March 1969)

Beyond the speculation though, what evidence do we have of either the celibate or married Christ? And why can't Jews accept that the Messiah could be excluded from the commandment to wed? To the Jews, their human Saviour, would be an embodiment of the laws of God, he would typify them rather than being exempt from them. Just as Jesus was baptized "to fulfil all righteousness", and said that he had not "come to destroy," the law, "but to fulfil" it (Matt. 3:15, 5:17). They also expected a married Messiah, because the prophets of their Tanach (the Hebrew Bible) predicted his marital state as a feature of his life: In speaking of Israel's expectant deliverer in a passage Paul identifies as referring to Jesus, David wrote, "Kings daughters were among thy honourable women", or wives as the 1599 version of the Geneva Bible, and a 1636 Church of England Bible puts it (Ps. 45:6, see Heb. 1:8) Of him having children, Isaiah predicts, "he shall see his seed", and asks, "Who shall declare his generation?" (Isa. 53:8, see Luke 23:27-28 & Isa 53:10, see Acts 8:33 and Heb. 2:16)

Some Christian readers may be troubled by the implication of David's prophesy of the Messiah having several "honourable wives," as one of the features of pagan Roman religion that remained after its adoption of Christianity was that of monogamy, and the laws restricting one woman to one man. The Old Testament however contains many examples of righteous prophets who lived in such manner, such as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and David. The father of the Protestant movement, Martin Luther, declared that "for a man to have two wives at once" was not "contrary to the divine law" and himself authorised a nobleman (Philip the Landgrave of Hesse) to marry a second wife, and is recorded as stating, "The Gospel hath neither recalled nor forbid what was permitted in the law of Moses with respect to marriage." (Thelyphthora 1:212, Rev. Martin Madan)

Of course other interpretations have been made of references to Jesus in the role of father, husband, and some have supposed the Church was his symbolic bride, and that its members are his `children', as he is the `father' of their salvation. Indeed, the Catholic Church marries it's Nuns to Jesus, representing their lifelong commitment to him. Whilst such concepts have great meaning to those who believe in them, they neither rule out the possibility of Jesus being married nor explain every passage in the Old and New Testaments that seem to suggest he was. In fact, it is the four Gospels themselves that may hold the answers to whether, when, where, and who Jesus married.

Whether Jesus was married: In addition to all the indications already given, it is interesting to note that Jesus was referred to by a title only given to married teachers, that of Rabbi. Even his detractors had no qualms about referring to him as such, and allowed him to preach in the synagogue, a practice also limited to married men (John 1:38,49, 3:2, 6:25, 20:16).

When Jesus was married: John in the second chapter of his book speaks of a wedding at which not only Jesus was present, but also his mother, who would have had to have traveled all the way from Nazareth especially to be there. At this event Jesus was in charge of the wine, a duty usually set aside for the groom, and if this does not make it obvious enough that it was his own wedding he was present at, we have in the sacred record that he was referred to as the bridegroom on this occasion (John 2:1-10).

Who Jesus married: The association Jesus had with certain women would have been wholly inappropriate for a single man, but perfectly normal and accepted for a husband (Matt. 27:55, Mark 15:40-41, Luke 23:27-28). In the Greek language there is little distinction between the word woman and wife, and so therefore any (if not all) of those females who accompanied him quite possibly could have been married to him. Martha called him "Master", a title a wife would use to address her husband, and when Mary her sister was in mourning over the death of their brother, Lazarus, she sat in her home until Jesus called her out, just as was the custom that only a husband could call a woman out of her home at such a time (John 11:28). Not only did Christ fulfill the traditions and duties of a typical Jewish husband, but so did his wives, when they anointed him prior to his burial (Luke 24:1,10).


Ancient historians, apocryphal writings, and archeological finds all confirm the evidence found in the scriptures and understood in light of early Jewish traditions: One of the earliest references to Jesus by a non-Christian was that of Aurelius Cornelius Celsus, a Philosopher and Physician, who lived until AD 38, who recorded that, "The grand reason why the gentiles and philosophers of his school persecuted Jesus Christ was because he had so many wives; there were Elizabeth and Mary and a host of others that followed him."

The Gospel of Philip, a volume from the ancient Nag Hammadi library, reads, "And the consort of Christ is Mary Magdalene. The Lord loved Mary more than all the disciples, and kissed her on her mouth often." (translated by R. McL. Wilson, B.D., Ph.D.) Finally, in 1873 M. Clermont Gannaeu discovered near the village of Bethany early Christian graves, the tombstones of which bore the names of persons mentioned in the Gospels, including Martha (considered to be one of Jesus' wives). Among them was "Simeon, the son of Jesus", who was quite possibly the second Bishop of Jerusalem and President of the Church until his death in 106 AD. (Dr. M. Zvi Udley, Th.M, Ph.D) What more evidence does the world need to accept that Jesus was indeed the married Messiah?

References:

Jesus - the Husband: Fact or Fiction by Rabbi Tovia Singer, Judaism/FAQ, Judaism.org.

A Married Messiah? by N.C. Taylor.

A Married Messiah by Abba Yesai Nasrai


[NOTE: The Order of Nazoreans cannot verify or find within Origin's Contra Celsus the following quote made by Jedidiah Grant in the 1800's in which he said that Celsus wrote: "The grand reason why the gentiles and philosophers of his school persecuted Jesus Christ was because he had so many wives; there were Elizabeth and Mary and a host of others that followed him."]
 


Jesus Established a New Priesthood

Christ made women's ordination possible when he revoked the Old
Testament priesthood of Aaron and brought both men and women into a
new convenant; into a new priesthood through baptism.

"All of you are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All of
you who have been baptized in Christ, have clothed yourselves in
Christ. Thus there is no longer Jew nor Greek, free nor slave, male
nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3,27-28

Christ abolished the priesthood of the Old Testament, removing any
difference between the sacred and the profane. He did away with a
priesthood founded on the holiness of certain days, places, objects
or priestly lineage. No longer was the temple more holy than the
market, or the sabbath the most sacred of days, nor the priest a
manifestation of the divine. Jesus abolished these Old Testament
distinctions. He disagreed with the Pharisees about continuing his
work on the sabbath. Jesus tells us, "The sabbath was made for man,
not man for the sabbath" (Mk 2, 27). When Christ died the Temple
curtain, which hid the Holy of Holies, "was torn in two, from top to
bottom" (Mk 15,38). The early Christian communities understood the
meaning of this. They had no churches or temples. Wherever they
gathered as a community they celebrated the Eucharist. However by the
fourth century the setting aside of special places of prayer had
gradually reappeared .

Likewise, Christ did away with the priesthood as a sacred tradition.
In fact, Old Testament ideas of the priesthood were so foreign to
Christ that he never applied the word priest to his followers or
himself. He would not have wanted his followers to establish a new
sacred group as in Old Testament times. The subsequent growth of a
separate clergy class, with its sacred vestments, special status and
privileges would have troubled him.

The ordination to the priesthood is a fuller participation in
baptism's sacrificial and prophetic gifts. Christ replaced a
priesthood based on the sacred by a priesthood based on grace; a
universal priesthood shared by all the baptized. This priesthood is
given through the sacrament of baptism, and baptism is the same
whether for a man or a woman.

Early Women Priests

Those opposing the ordination of women deny any historical precedent.
However, the presence of women in the priestly ministry of the early
church has been ignored or denied. Giorgio Otranto, director of the
Institute of Classical and Christian Studies, University of Bari,
Italy believes evidence of women priests is found in an epistle of
Pope Gelasius I (late 5th c). His epistle was sent to bishops in
three regions in southern Italy. One of his decrees in this epistle
states,

"Nevertheless we have heard to our annoyance that divine affairs have
come to such a low state that women are encouraged to officiate at
the sacred altars, and to take part in all matters imputed to the
offices of the male sex, to which they do not belong."

This Pope condemns very harshly the conduct of bishops who went
against certain church canons by conferring priestly ordination on
some women. He is probably referring to canons from four councils
which took place within a 100 year span starting in the second half
of the 4th century; the councils of Nicaea, Laodicea, Nimes and the
first council of Orange (441). These church councils prohibited women
from participating in the liturgical service in any way, or from
being members of the clergy.

Professor Otranto thinks these prohibitions prove just the opposite.
"If the church councils banned the ordination of women as priests or
deacons that must imply that they really were ordained." Otherwise,
why ban them? As Otranto says, "A law is only created to prohibit a
practice if that practice is actually taking place - if only in a few
communities."

He points to the presence of women priests (presbyterae) in the area
of Tropea, in Calabria where there is an inscription from a sepulchre
referring to Leta presbytera. It is dated 40 years before Gelasius'
letter, a date and location that indicate she probably was one of the
women to whom Gelasius was referring. In the term 'presbytera' one
should see, Otranto believes, "a true and proper female priest, and
not the wife of a male priest, as other scholars have held on the
impulse of a Catholic historiographic tradition that has never made
any concession to the female priesthood."

Another presbytera is recorded in an inscription on a sarcophagus in
Dalmatia and bears the date of 425. The inscription reads that a plot
in the cemetery of Salona was purchased from the presbytera Flavia
Vitalia. Here a presbytera (female priest) has been invested with an
official duty, which from a certain period on was appropriate to a
presbyter.

So far fifteen archeological inscriptions have been found that
indicate ordained women. Rome maintains these women were ordained by
heretical groups.

However, it is known that all of the geographical regions where these
inscriptions are found were places with only orthodox Christian
communities. None of the heretical groups existed in these areas.

Dorothy Irvin, a theology professor with a doctorate in Old Testament
and ancient Near Eastern archaeology, believes she also has found
evidence that women were priests and bishops in the early
Christianity.

One site she refers to is a mosaic in an ancient church, Santa
Praxedis, where four women are depicted, two saints, Mary and a
fourth woman with the inscription Theodora Episcopa (Bishop
[feminine] Theodora). The pastor of the church says the church was
built by Pope Pascal I who was honoring his mother, who was named
Theodora, with the title Episcopa because she was the mother of a
pope. However, Professor Irvin points out that she is clearly wearing
a coif, indicating that she is not married.
One Tradition Conveniently Forgotten

Rome asserts that from the beginning of Christianity women have never
been ordained as priests. Yet, women were accepted into the diaconate
which is a part of Holy Orders. The letters of Paul speak again and
again of how Christian communities were led by women who were
referred to by the title of diakonos, or, deacon.

* "Phoebe, our sister, who is a servant (diakonos) of the church at
Cenchreae. She has often been a helper both to myself and to many
others" (Romans 16, 1-2) * "Greet Prisca and Aquila my fellow workers
in Christ Jesus" . . . "Greet Mary who has worked so much among you."
In the same way "Tryphaena, Tryphosa and Persis labor in the Lord."
(Romans 16,1-16) * "Evodia and Syntyche who have struggled together
with me in the Gospel with Clement and the rest of my
fellow-workers." (Philippians 4,2)

In the fifth century the church spelled out the distinct roles of
'deaconesses'. Councils laid down conditions for their sacramental
ordination, e.g., the Ecumenical Councils of Chalcedon and Trullo
both speak of the minimum age for the ordination of women deacons as
forty.



"Let the canon of our holy God-bearing Fathers be confirmed in this
particular also; that a presbyter be not ordained before he is thirty
years of age, even if he be a very worthy man, but let him be kept
back. For our Lord Jesus Christ was baptized and began to teach when
he was thirty. In like manner let no deacon be ordained before he is
twenty-five, nor a deaconess before she is forty." (Council of Trullo)

Ordination rituals exist confirming that women were ordained into the
diaconate. Over twenty women deacons are saints of the church. Holy
Orders consists of ordination as a bishop, priest or deacon.
Therefore, if women were validly ordained as deacons, they can,
likewise, be ordained as priests.

Women deacons existed up until the ninth century. As adult baptisms
declined so did the demand for deacons. The important role of women
deacons in the early church was gradually forgotten.


--
Loretta Kemsley  President                 .     *
Women Artists and Writers International      *
Publisher of MOONDANCE: Celebrating Creative Women  *  .
Our vision, our wisdom, our strength      *    *  *
http://www.moondance.org        *  .   *    *    .

For information about WAWI: mailto:wawi@moondance.org

My personal pages: http://lore.moondance.org/


 

 

 



In many ways, Mary Magdalene — a follower of Jesus who was present at his crucifixion and then his empty tomb — has become the iconic example of women throughout history who have been distorted, ignored, appropriated and denied authority. Mary’s story casts light on the way society stigmatizes women’s sexuality and fears women’s intelligence.
For religion scholars poring over ancient manuscripts, art historians examining paintings and sculptures, medievalists and church historians studying sermons and legends, and activists lobbying for women’s ordination and religious reforms, Mary Magdalene has come to stand for women’s agency and vision. The interest in her is part of the women’s movement itself, especially with the development of women’s studies and increased activism in religious and sociopolitical arenas.
It is now known that the popularized, centuries-long characterization of Mary Magdalene as a whore is not historical fact. The discovery in 1947 and earlier of the so-called gnostic Gospels — writings that were not part of the approved canon of the Christian (New) Testament — produced data in which Mary Magdalene is unexpectedly prominent: a leader, prophet and mystic, praised and loved by Jesus and in conflict with his other disciples. Many feel that the church has covered up this Mary, and betrayed its faithful by suppressing feminine metaphors for God and female leadership past and present. Reclaiming Mary fulfills the desire, both popular and scholarly, to rethink the relationship between religion and sexuality.
Bridal Christianity presents an alternative vision of Christianity — one resistant to biblical literalism and fundamentalism, suspicious of religious institutions and promoting healthier views of sex and of relationships between men and women. This appeals to those looking for a spirituality not based in creed or authority, but on knowledge, personal reflection and an embodied life in the world.

Most important are John, chapter 12 (in which another Mary — of Bethany — anoints Jesus); Luke, chapter 7 (which introduces an unnamed “woman of the city, a sinner” with an alabaster jar filled with ointment); and John, chapter 8 (in which another unnamed woman is caught in adultery).
There is evidence to persuade the historian that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were lovers or married. There are erotic elements in the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene in John, chapter 20 (where she makes is embracing him and he says, “Do not cling to me”), and in some apocryphal works (notably the Gospel of Philip), the erotic in these texts is an aspect of mysticism, evocative of the intimacy of sharing spiritual knowledge.
It is likely that, with other women, she was present at his crucifixion and burial, then returned to his tomb and found it empty. In line with Jewish apocalyptic and wisdom beliefs of the time (as expressed in the Old Testament books of Daniel and Proverbs, and in the wisdom of Solomon), she believed him resurrected — a righteous, persecuted one vindicated by God. She and others communicated that belief by speaking of encounters with angels and the risen Jesus. She was a major source of information about the movement and about Jesus’ death, and an originator and prophet of the Christian resurrection faith.
As the contradictions and blurring of her role in the Gospels indicates, her testimony was challenged from the beginning, and diminished by some in the movement. In the Gospels, her presence at the tomb is upstaged by the drama of subsequent narratives, which depict Jesus authorizing and sending men to evangelize. Mary Magdalene is not even mentioned in the list of those said to have seen the risen Jesus in 1 Corinthians, chapter 15, which further contributes to the diminishment of her role. The appearance of the risen Jesus to men became regarded as the foundation of belief in the resurrection, and a powerful source of male authority.
Mary Magdalene and other women caused dissension among the faithful and were marginalized, their memories distorted even in the earliest communities.
If we use Mary’s newfound popularity to look again at the familiar cover-up of women’s agency, we might see that Mary Magdalene’s traumatic grief over the injustice done to Jesus, and her belief in God’s ultimate justice, produced a theological leap: the claim that resurrection had begun to take place.

 

A Different View of Adam and Eve

William Blake, the Gnostic poet of the early nineteenth century, wrote of the differences between his view and the mainstream view of holy writ: 'Both read the Bible day and night; but you read black where I read white." The same words could have been uttered by Gnostic Christians and their orthodox opponents in the first three or four centuries A.D.

The orthodox view then regarded most of the Bible, particularly Genesis, as history with a moral. Adam and Eve were considered to be historical figures, the literal ancestors of our species. From the story of their transgression, orthodox teachers deduced specific moral consequences, chiefly the "fall" of the human race due to original sin. Another consequence was the lowly and morally ambivalent status of women, who were regarded as Eve's co-conspirators in the fateful deed of disobedience in paradise. Tertullian, a sworn enemy of the Gnostics, wrote to the female members of the Christian community thusly:

. . . you are the devil's gateway. . . you are she who persuaded him whom the devil did not dare attack. . . . Do you not know that you are each an Eve? The sentence of God on your sex lives on in this age; the guilt, necessarily, lives on too.

The Gnostic Christians who authored the Nag Hammadi scriptures did not read Genesis as history with a moral, but as a myth with a meaning. To them, Adam and Eve were not actual historical figures, but representatives of two intrapsychic principles within every human being. Adam was the dramatic embodiment of psyche, or soul, while Eve stood for the pneuma, or spirit. Soul, to the Gnostics, meant the embodiment of the emotional and thinking functions of the personality, while spirit represented the human capacity for spiritual consciousness. The former was the lesser self (the ego of depth psychology), the latter the transcendental function, or the "higher self," as it is sometimes known. Obviously, Eve, then, is by nature superior to Adam, rather than his inferior as implied by orthodoxy.

Nowhere is Eve's superiority and numinous power more evident than in her role as Adam's awakener. Adam is in a deep sleep, from which Eve's liberating call arouses him. While the orthodox version has Eve physically emerge from Adam's body, the Gnostic rendering has the spiritual principle known as Eve emerging from the unconscious depths of the somnolent Adam. Before she thus emerges into liberating consciousness, Eve calls forth to the sleeping Adam in the following manner, as stated by the Gnostic Apocryphon of John:

I entered into the midst of the dungeon which is the prison of the body. And I spoke thus: "He who hears, let him arise from the deep sleep." And then he (Adam) wept and shed tears. After he wiped away his bitter tears he spoke, asking: "Who is it that calls my name, and whence has this hope come unto me, while I am in the chains of this prison?" And I spoke thus: "I am the Pronoia of the pure light; I am the thought of the undefiled spirit. . . . Arise and remember . . . and follow your root, which is I . . . and beware of the deep sleep."

In another scripture from the same collection, entitled On the Origin of the World, we find further amplification of this theme. Here Eve whose mystical name is Zoe, meaning life, is shown as the daughter and messenger of the Divine Sophia, the feminine hypostasis of the supreme Godhead:

Sophia sent Zoe, her daughter, who is called "Eve," as an instructor in order that she might raise up Adam, in whom there is no spiritual soul so that those whom he could beget might also become vessels of light. When Eve saw her companion, who was so much like her, in his cast down condition she pitied him, and she exclaimed: "Adam, live! Rise up upon the earth!" Immediately her words produced a result for when Adam rose up, right away he opened his eyes. When he saw her, he said: "You will be called 'mother of the living', because you are the one who gave me life."

In the same scripture, the creator and his companions whisper to each other while Adam sleeps: "Let us teach him in his sleep as though she (Eve) came to be from his rib so that the woman will serve and he will be lord over her." The demeaning tale of Adam's rib is thus revealed as a propagandistic device intended to advance an attitude of male superiority. It goes without saying that such an attitude would have been more difficult among the Gnostics, who held that man was indebted to woman for bringing him to life and to consciousness.

The Western theologian Paul Tillich interpreted this scripture as the Gnostics did, declaring that "the Fall" was a symbol for the human situation, not a story of an event that happened "once upon a time." Tillich said that the Fall represented "a fall from the state of dreaming innocence" in psychological terms, an awakening from potentiality to actuality. Tillich's view was that this "fall" was necessary to the development of humankind.

>>..The demeaning tale of Adam's rib is thus revealed as a propagandistic device intended to advance an attitude of male superiority.<<<

although this has been used as demeaning.. I like to believe that it is really an attempt at a love story.. so that the second creation epic of adam and eve was meant to show that love is as intimate as a persons rib.. and even more so..


I believe in romantic love as part of God+dess' original creation.. a reflection of communion in sacred marriage
 

Study Bible for Women
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