The feminine in religion

In the West the main religion is Christianity, which is a heavily male dominated religion. The Trinity is predominantly male – Father and Son are both masculine and Holy Spirit tends to be thought of as masculine or neuter. The Catholic church has introduced the feminine, to some extent, with Mary, but not so for Protestant churches.

A lot has been written about reintroducing the feminine into religion, for example Dan Brown’s Da Vinci code is principally about restiring the feminine. There is also a resurgence of feminine oriented religions, including Wicca.

Before the current form of Christianity became dominant in the West there was far more emphasis on male and female gods – Gods and Goddesses. Christianity also began with more of a feminine slant, particulalry the gnostic branch, which was declared heretic in the first couple of centuries. In the gnostic literature Jesus and Mary Magdalene were effectively Priest and Priestess, representing masculine and feminine principles.

In the last two millenia the feminine in Western religion has been buried quite deep, however it has continued behind the scenes. Alchemy (which speaks of transorming metals as a metaphoe for spiritual transformation) incorporates the feminine, for example with the concept of the alchymical wedding – a marriage of the feminine and masculine components of the individual. Carl Jung investigated alchemy in detail and wrote a book exploring the parallels between psychology and alchemy.

The net result of this is that those of us who have been brought up in the Christian church have lacked the feminine principle in our spiritual lives. The feminine is what should bring the excitement, ecstasy, emotion, etc. into religious experience cotrasted with the male aspects – more rational, devotional, disciplined, structured, etc. We are therefore driven to seek the (inner) feminine in other places.

 

 

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