What About the Feminine Principle in Christianity?
When I was working on a Masters Degree in Religious Studies, I was enthralled by the various expressions of worship from around the world. This education helped me to discern that all paths lead to the same Light; all come from the same Source. The center for almost all faiths is, in fact, the same Being/Entity in various guises (corporeal or non-corporeal), called by various names (God, Buddha, Great Spirit, etc.). The language, rules of salvation/enlightenment, and the specialists (priests, shamans, monks, etc.) might be divergent, yet the Source of all is common to all. Another universal tenet is that both the masculine and feminine principles are inherent aspects of the cosmic, creative whole.
I find it tragic that the feminine principle has been expressly left out of the concept of GOD in the Christian faith. In Christianity, God is depicted as the Holy Trinity and it’s a masculine force. I understand that father and son are part of a family. Conspicuously absent in the Trinity family is the giver of life, the mother. It follows that the Holy Ghost must, by deduction, comprise the female contingent. Yet the church has shrouded this obvious axiom in mystery.
After Jesus Christ’s death, at the time of the floundering new Christian church, there were many factions with different ideas (e.g. Gnosticism was prominent) as a definitive Christian profile was being formed. Naturally, most sentiments included the divine feminine principle. There was a hint of this feminine sensibility in the Christian original Apostle’s Creed (circa 150 AD), i.e. “I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary . . .” Here, the Virgin Mary was depicted as a sort of marginal divine incubator. Yet the Holy Spirit, as conceiver, i.e. pregnant, was hereby granted a feminine nature. That concept was never touted and even this hint of the Divine Feminine wouldn’t last for long.
Down the road in 325 AD, the first worldwide ecumenical summit, the Nicene Council, was convened in answer to Emperor Constantine’s ordering of 10 bibles (the first rendition) to be created. That was a big boost for business so the church, such that it was, needed to decide what would be in and what would be out of the book. At that time, the church was wrestling with the concept of the Trinity as God. They had created this idea to resolve the debate on the paradox of Jesus Christ being a man in history and Jesus Christ as eternal God. (Indeed, the idea of the Trinity as such is hardly mentioned in the New Testament.) So in the new Nicene Creed (vs. the old Apostle’s Creed) Jesus Christ was “begotten not made . . . and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary. . .“ With this amendment, the Holy Spirit was shed of the feminine principle altogether! It was like any connection to the feminine force would reduce Jesus (the teacher become savior now become God) to a more human status. A major part of God, the creator, the omnipresent, the ultimate light, was hereby if not expunged, exiled into darkness. Furthermore, when it came to compiling the bible, the patriarchal church fathers of the time chose certain letters and writings that were in sync with a misogynistic outlook while other writings (including any reference to the divine feminine) were excluded. The first official bible was then born. Christianity has struggled with half of itself ever since.
In my childhood as a Christian, I still remember being taught that there is God, the Father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Ghost. I wondered, “Who is this Holy Ghost?” The third contingent of the Divine Trinity was always a fathomless enigma to be wondered at. The Father was the boss yet too formidable, and well, Godlike, to approach while Jesus was someone who I could get sort of closer to. The Holy Ghost was tongues of fire (blessings?) or just a messenger entity or something like that. He/it wasn’t something you really got together with at all. I certainly was left with the clear, profound message that God was Male. While the guys in church could imagine a sense of oneness with the Creator by virtue of sharing the same gender, I was left with hoping for, at best, some sort of twisted child/unconsummated mistress connection. A gendered, i.e. male, God kept me at arms length, no matter what.
So I don’t call myself a Christian but I’m not anti-Christian either. I did have to navigate outside the church to find my personal God. Part of this journey took me deep within to a broader sense of knowing, to an awareness that recognized God in all things and all of creation as one. Rather than take sides as I approach any given service, I pull out the thread of what I need for it to work for me because I know that we are all resonating with the same consciousness on some level. So I know the divine feminine must be in there somewhere. You can call me a believer in Christ Consciousness. It’s not just about faith. It’s about making sense. And it’s personal.
Helena Green is a Spirituality & Life Skills Coach, Health Management Instructor, and Writer