I find mysteries, illusions, and other energies surrounding or within my chosen subjects when I photograph. The petals appear transparent; they overlap in inexplicable ways I did not see but my camera revealed. For me, this is part of the Divine and its mystery, and for you, it may be God.
Hello Friends ~
The morning air has a mild chill to it after an intense heat wave this past weekend, the birds sing their praises, and I am holding freshly brewed Assam tea in my favorite mug with a dollop or two of cream.
I received numerous emails following my essay titled Confessions of an Evangelical. For the most part, these were comprised of questions: Am I an atheist? And I liked this one a lot: Am I a witch? As my essay pointed out, I have been called worse, and I took no offense. However, I do not need to defend my views, but I believe today’s topic, The Womb of God, may answer those questions. And, by the way, people were very respectful in their queries.
Just a quick sidebar, if I may, concerning the questions about being a Witch? I do not practice the Wiccan religion, possibly the oldest on our planet. But I’ve been researching the burning times, when an estimated seven hundred thousand to over one million women were burned in Scotland, England, Europe, and Salem as so-called Witches dating from the 1300s to 1700s. Several factors contributed to this: the fear of a woman’s power to heal and her intuition—that almost-supernatural sixth sense that sees beyond the solely rational left brain. These burned women were midwives, medicine women, and healers in their villages and towns. They gathered herbs and nutrients from tree bark and weeds, making tinctures and salves to heal—potions to drink for driving out infections and fever. But the subjugation of women’s power began when Christianity decimated the Wiccan and Druid traditions. And Christianity is a patriarchal citadel, as are all religions except for Wiccan. Before that, the feminine, or Goddess was revered as the Earth, Sun, Harvest, and Moon: She was of the cosmos and our Mother Earth.
Creation, The Womb, and The Bible
The Womb of God was introduced to me while listening to a formidable scholar, author, lecturer, and Benedictine nun, Joan Chittister. For years before her writing thrust her onto center stage, she was the abbess of the Benedictine Sisters in Erie, PA. She mentioned the Womb of God in several lectures and at a faith conference with the Dalai Lama. She did not go into depth about the Womb of God, but the concept stayed with me. How did human life begin without a womb? Our very makeup demands it.
My issues with the Bible and the doctrines and dogma of all religions are that they are all patriarchal. Every one of them. The Bible was written by men, then translated into Ancient Greek, Hebrew, then Arabic by men. During 300-400 AD or CE, the Nicaean Council of men decided to discard books from the Bible, such as the gospels of Thomas and Mary Magdalene, among others. Add to this that Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute but a wealthy woman who helped finance Jesus’s ministry. More than 50% of Jesus’s followers were women. Martin Luther and John Calvin removed the Apocrypha during the Reformation, which remains in the Catholic and Episcopalian bibles, but no other.
Theologian scholar Marcus Borg’s careful study of scripture reveals many female metaphors for God. Here he shows how God’s Wisdom was invariably presented as a woman:
The most fully developed female biblical image for God is in the wisdom literature of ancient Israel—in Proverbs and in two books of the Apocrypha, namely Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon. “The wisdom of God” is often personified as a woman in these. Scholars now commonly refer to this personification as “Sophia,” the Greek word for Wisdom.
In Proverbs, Sophia speaks of herself: She was with God before creation, and she was the master worker through whom God created. In Ecclesiasticus, she is from eternity and fills all that is.
What Works for Me —What Works for You?
My God is about Divinity: a vast consciousness and energy that is light, love, and compassion. The Divine One is everywhere and inside of us. I love Jesus, and I love the teachings of the Buddha taught six hundred years before Jesus was born. Jesus and the Buddha are the best part of me, with all my spiritual ancestors: Christian mystics, Sufi mystics, the Buddhas that followed the Buddha, Padre Pio, and saints in every religion. I also carry our Native Americans like Chief Dan George of Canada and their cherished beliefs: Honor nature and respect Mother Earth and her animals. * I bow to all my spiritual ancestors.
Most of all, it is Sophia I ask for Wisdom, carrying the idea of her within. I am weary of linear thinking, which brings me back to the concept of the Womb of God. This phrase came from a woman devoted to the rigors of being an abbess and a Catholic nun serving her community. Can we open our minds and allow that feminine sacredness of the womb to be part of the Divine or for those who call the name God? I honor people of true faith, whatever religion or form that may be. I have friends whose Catholicism is deep and reverent, and genuine. I bow to their constancy in what they believe.
Woman was tainted by a talking snake. According to the Judeo-Christian Bible, Woman was created less than Man because she was a mere rib taken from Adam to be his helper, not his equal. And Wisdom as the “feminine” was either minimized or removed from the Bible by patriarchies through the centuries. Yet Woman is Wisdom called Sophia, and she is the womb of Divine Creation. That is merely my view.
*If you talk to the animals, they will talk with you, and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them, you will not know them, and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, British Columbia, Canada