If you want to be spiritual, ask uncomfortable questions,’ Goddess News, Spiritual Blog, Divine Feminine,
Dr Joanna Kujawa
The last few months have been very intense for me and it
seems they have been equally intense for many other people. Old tendencies have
been burning away so we can clear out the old stuff, whether karmic, encoded in
our DNA or simply aspects of our own ignorance about ourselves and our place in
the world – and even the nature of the world. In Sanskrit, this process is
known as tapasya – the intense burning away of what does not serve us
anymore. Often the process is painful – and always intense.
When we go through this burning away, we are asked to leave
many things behind, usually those things we are attached to because of our
fears or misunderstandings. We burn away our old ideas and old programming that
we did not even know was our programming, as we all identify with some ideas of
ourselves that we have created on our journeys in life. Some of these ideas have
served us well but are not needed any more. Others, usually our false beliefs about
who we are, were never great to start with.
As I was lining up the writing of a number of blogs, articles and book chapters, my mind suddenly shut down. Now when this happens I usually pay attention because, as you have probably noticed, I have a busy mind that always keeps entertained in a search for lost truths and delights. Yet, any time (and this does not happen often) my mind temporarily goes into rest mode, this is usually a sign for me that something super weird (e.g. call it spiritual, call it ‘greater’) is going on.
Something wants me to look in a different direction than my mind is dictating. You have to understand, this is totally unacceptable for me as a modus operandi! Since I am a meditator, I meditated, I kept journaling and wondering what would happen next. And as I was sitting down to write this blog, a thought came to my mind: ‘Why don’t your write from your heart this time.’ I have no idea what this means but here it is – my personal reflection on the evolution of belief.
As you well know, my Goddess News blog is devoted to the search for, the uncovering and bringing back of, the feminine aspects of the Divine. I am trying to enhance our reality and experience, to empower us (both women and men) and, more importantly, to recover what has been hidden from us for millennia. As I have been doing research and writing about the lost goddesses I have begun dropping my old beliefs and I have started to ask myself the question: but what now?
The process of dropping old beliefs is healthy and here is why: they are built on the wrong premise and are intended to disempower us. After nearly 50 blogs and years of study (all of my academic education has also been based around philosophy and belief) I have come to the conclusion that something – be it an external, institutionalised agency or internal in the form of what is closest to us – has caused our own minds to highjack great spiritual wisdom, which is our greatest birthright. I am not going to go into any depth here as to who and what, as there are many theories and possibilities, but I can’t escape the conclusion that what was originally intended to empower us – great spiritual truths – have instead been used to disempower us and to bring us, literally, to our knees as slaves. These traditions, which come under many names, tell us that we are sinners and that we are not worthy.
I remember how, until my early 30s, I would be kneeling in some of the most beautiful churches in the world while repeating prayers that I had been taught in my childhood: ‘Father/Lord, I am not worthy … ‘ Although the prayers would bring me consolation, their opening premise, as always, was about being an unworthy sinner in need of some external agency, usually sanctioned by some institution or a privileged group which was deemed to be ‘closer to God’. This realisation in my 30s began the new and more conscious spiritual journey which I still travel today.
This, by the way, reminds me of the story of a Hindu aspirant at this same stage (Muktananda), who once at the banks of the Ganga River met a Hindu ‘saint’. The ‘saint’ told him, ‘Repeat after me, I am a sinner.’ According to the story the aspirant then hit the ‘saint’ with a stick, saying, ‘I’m no sinner, I carry the Divine within me!’
Another powerful image comes to mind, from Songlines, a book by Bruce Chatwin, where Chatwin imagines the first human being arriving at an awareness of her/his inner greatness and exclaiming somewhere in the African savanna, ‘I am!’ We can also say, ‘I am the embodiment of Great Possibilities!’ or ‘I am the link between spirit and matter!’ or ‘I carry the Divine within me!’ You choose. I believe this realisation is the ultimate Gnosis, the ultimate Enlightenment, the ultimate Wisdom and Grace.
The great mystics of all traditions have told us the same. Many ancient traditions, repressed by
mainstream religions around the world, have also said the same thing. From
Hindu mantras such as ‘Aham Brahamsi’ (I am the Creator) to ‘Om Shree Maha
Parashaktaye Swaha’ or ‘Om Shree Matre Namaha’ (I bow to the Divine Feminine – in
its different aspects – in me!’ to the Gnostic Gospel of Philip: ‘Don’t be a
Christian, be like Christ’ (Be Universal Consciousness like Christ). Then there
is the ‘heretical’, charismatic teacher from the fourth century, Pelagius, who
did not believe in original sin, and the Desert Fathers of early Christianity
who believed that ‘the ladder’ to the Divine is within us. There are many
This brings me, more specifically, to the hijacked versions
of the Divine Feminine, for lack of a better phrase. Traditionally (only in
some lucky traditions), we have been given pretty much just one version of the
Feminine as God/ddess: the Compassionate Mother with a twist!
We know her under many names, depending on the tradition. She
can be called the Virgin Mother, Mother Mary, Tara, Kuan Yin, etc. If you have
followed Goddess News for a while,
you will know that I have a complex relationship with this archetype. In a
sense, I have nothing against the compassionate Feminine, as we all need this at
times and the world needs this now as well. But the truth is that she (the
archetype of the Compassionate Mother) has been hijacked too. It is not that this
archetype is wrong. It is just that it is not the only archetype of the
Feminine. And not only was it hijacked but it has also been forced on women for
the purpose of their subjugation.
In her book Mary and Early Christian Women Ally Kateusz tries to resurrect the Virgin Mary as a prominent woman in Jesus’ movement. I have my own reservations about Kateusz’s book, which is overly orthodox, but she makes a good opening point about how the archetype of the Virgin was intended as an example of passive submission. For example, traditionally, women where told to ‘be submissive like the Virgin’, regardless of the circumstances.
This, ladies and gentlemen, won’t do.
This is why the archetype of the Compassionate Mother is not
a hot topic among women nowadays.
So what can we do with this archetype?
Firstly, we can remember that it is only one of the possible
archetypes of the Feminine and that we can invoke it when compassion is needed.
Secondly, we can remember that this archetype has been hijacked
too, and thus, we can draw different conclusions from it about the strength and
courage of compassion, rather than concern ourselves with the idiotic
Thirdly, we know that there are other archetypes available
for us, and I, personally, am still fascinated by the archetypes of goddesses
such as Inanna, Isis, Hathor, Sophia, etc. who are aligned with Mary Magdalene.
I will write more about them later.
Finally, I do not believe (and this might upset some
glorious Jungians among us) that archetypes are intended to be static or
divinely or psychologically preordained. They are a part of us. As we evolve,
so do they. It is good to remember that we do not need to be limited by
existing archetypes and that we can create our own. This is our call, as both
women and men, for the manifestation of the Divine in us.
As long as we evolve, so will our version of the Divine – because we are Its expression of the Cosmic Dance of Consciousness, of our Great Adventure, our Great Exploration. We are individual expressions of that Dance connected by the invisible cord to the centre of It All.
Don’t allow anyone to hijack this.
As an exercise, I would like to suggest a structured
- What archetype appeals to you most and why?
Sometimes an archetype can appeal to us but we do not
necessarily want to embody it. So the next meditation could be:
- Which archetype would I like to embody in this life? And why? Each archetype has great potential.
- How would you fulfill your mission/contribution in life through this archetype?
- And, finally: if you wanted to create your archetype what would it be?
Despite my rebellions, now and then, about my own archetypical choices, I always return to the Wisdom archetype: be it Saraswati, be it Sophia. But I do not just submit myself to this (that would be another form of slavery). I play with it, I choose and I add qualities. I like my Wisdom with a spice of Sexiness, Rebellion and Adventure. Now, that is an archetype difficult to subjugate – and I like it that way!
Remember, any archetype, however Divine, Feminine or Masculine, is an aspect of Yourself. It is not meant to be worshipped, it is meant to be embodied in the uniqueness of your own being.
If you would like to read reviews on some basic archetypes
of the Feminine, I encourage you to check my blog https://www.joannakujawa.com/ancient-greek-and-hindu-goddesses-as-archetypes-of-our-lives/
If you would like a quick summary of the modern Masculine archetypes, please check my blog; https://www.joannakujawa.com/the-evolution-of-masculinity-the-spirit-relationships-and-success/
I have a long line of researched blogs lined up for you for next time. But, for now, I rest my mind and dance my archetype by sharing this blog with you.
As always, I would love to hear from you in your comments.
Dr Joanna Kujawa
Spiritual Detective for Goddess
Dear Dr. Joanna,
Another wonderful, thought provoking post! I couldn’t agree more that the powers-that-be are ever vigilant in their zeal to distort any pathway to liberation into yet another mode of enslavement and control. I think that the division between “soft” archetypes of compassion and “severe” archetypes of wisdom is part of this scheme. As people like Andrew Harvey and Matthew Fox have asserted, the Mary of the gospels, the speaker of the Magnificat, is a radically prophetic voice, and a figure of immense courage who risks rejection and ostracism to enflesh the divine logos. As you know, the liturgical readings appointed for Marian feast days are culled from the Wisdom literature of the Bible, subtly identifying Mary with the creative force that played and danced with God before the world was made. The veneer of perpetual virginity and meek obedience is foreign to the biblical Mary, I would propose, and is a device employed by the Imperial Church to remind everyone – and especially women – of their lowly place in the scheme of things, and to help us remember to be perpetually ashamed that we are sexual beings. Similarly, there is no division between Wisdom and Compassion in Buddhist symbolism. Even the wrathful deities are expressions of Compassion, while Tara – the embodiment of compassion – is certainly a wisdom goddess like the other Mahavidyas. By presenting feminine compassion as something soft, pliant, meek and domestic, the powers have been trying to separate women – and all of us – from an understanding of the radical transformative power that flows from compassion as the indestructible diamond clarity of wisdom.
Speaking of which, thanks for tirelessly sharing your wisdom with all of us! You continue to inspire me with every post!
Thank you, Tod, for a wonderful and learned comment. You are right on all accounts. Matthew Fox and Andrew Harvey did write gloriously about her. As you know, I myself am more fascinated by Mary Magdalene for some many reasons and one of them being that I could not relate to Virgin Mary as she was presented to us. Only recently and intuitively, I began to see the flaw in my thinking with regards to Mary and have come to the conclusions that I describe I this blog. I might have another blog in the future about Sophia and other goddesses portrayed both as Divine Mothers and lovers – which bring s to mind to what was done to Mary and Mary Magdalene. I love playing with these archetypes and because of my own inclinations I am interested in Mary Magdalene/Sophia/Inanna, we do need the Compassionate Mother and the world today needs it even more. I am looking forward to exploring more of that theme. And you are also right on another account: that the damage was done to Feminine and Masculine archetypes (also a possible blog) as what was done to both Marys was also done in misrepresentations of Jesus. We need to explore and walk boldly and wisely there both women and men. I am still pondering (and yes probably will have a blog on it) whether it is an external agency r our own ignorance and wrong understanding that imprisons us?
Once again, Thank you, for your wonderful feedback. I was mentally exhausted writing it so I am glad that it came out well and spoke to you.
Dr Joanna Kujawa
I came across your work today for the first time. I must say, it’s so refreshing witnessing someone who has found such a nice balance of the divine feminine/divine masculine. As you know, it’s rare. I feel a very strong connection to Inanna. The divine feminine is obviously awakening within each man, woman and child in this realm because she obviously holds the key to wholeness and becoming consciously aware of the unconsciousness mind connecting us all. This realm is a small piece to the larger picture of the whole. Religion has created so much separation and warring over time. The Catholic church alone has disrupted the connection of the divine feminine like no other. They impersonate her so horribly bad.. They are very aware of her power. Heaven help them when she rises fully. Inanna has been revealing herself to me, in very personal ways for some time. I very much look forward to reading more from you. Thank you for your inspiring, passionate work.
Thank you for your wonderful and encouraging comment. I agree on all accounts. The recovery of the Feminine is Her full gory is supremely important especially nowadays to bring to wholeness both men and women – all Beings. For a few millennia we have been living in a terrible imbalance and that balance needs to be restored with the help awakened women and men. I truly believe that it is the time to raise our Consciousness to another level. Inanna might be the key to that movement as it seems many awaken to her presence. Once again, Thank you for your wonderful and insightful comment.
Dr Joanna Kujawa