Most modern people don’t think that myth plays a very big part in our lives. But there’s a myth that we’ve been living with for thousands of years that has played a very big part—an especially large part in defining relationships between men and women as well as between women and the Divine.
And that is the Judeo-Christian myth of Adam and Eve.
In this story, the human male is created in the image of God, also a male, and the human female is created from the man’s rib. In this myth, woman is denied a direct link with the Divine. She is NOT in God’s image. She is rather in the image of the man—and not even the whole man; just a rib. (Generally people seem to have forgotten about “male and female He created them”)
So the early Christian fathers were able to teach that woman should seek God through her husband, but that he should seek direct contact…since he was made in God’s image. Woman does not have direct access to God because she is not made in His image.
Further, in this myth, woman is the source of all man’s problems. Eve ate the apple and seduced Adam into joining in her sin. Woman is the source of evil. Not too many years ago, I saw an ad in Biblical Archeology Review that purported to reveal the deep, dark secret that Satan is actually female!
The psychological and political result of living with this myth has been vast for women. Not only have men been taught that women were inferior, women themselves have been taught the same. Not only in day to day life, but in spiritual life as well.
Many decisions have been made throughout history because of what kind of a face we human beings put on God. For instance, women cannot be Catholic priests because God is male, Jesus was male, the disciples were male and women are not…therefore they cannot represent the Divine to the congregation.
If we would not see women made secondary or diminished, or psychologically punished, we need myths in which women and the Divine as female are not secondary or diminished or punishing. We need Goddess as an image to provide a Divine mirror in which women can see themselves—directly.
But that’s just the practical and political end of things.
But there’s a bigger issue. And that’s the issue of Divine truth. If Divinity is the All, then It must contain both Female and Male aspects—because male and female exist. Without Goddess, God is incomplete. Without God, Goddess is incomplete. We need to be able to see the Divine in One Whose face is female as readily as One Whose face is male…or we need to consistently be gender neutral—if we wish to reflect what is true.
But most of us aren’t there. It’s easier for us to anthropomorphize. Therefore we NEED to see Goddess as well as God.
I apologize for any of my past-lives as a
crazy male hierophant who suppressed the Goddess 😦
Goddess is all things & all things are the Goddess 🙂
I left you this comment a while ago
about a variation of the “Opening of the Ways”.
It’s just 1 question, could you check it out 🙂
Thank you soo much in advance.
Ok, hold onto your hat!
I just saw that you are coming out with a revised version of “Isis Magic”!!! Woo Hooo!!!
I left you some “please add this to the book” here:
Hold onto your hat, it’s a lot of requests 🙂
Mostly GD in nature 😉
Isidora, I agree with the conclusion of your post that “we need to see Goddess as well as God.” I also do not believe that you are too far off in your statements about the Adam and Eve myth. Adam was created first in the second chapter of Genesis, however I would say that many of us have not forgotten the first chapter of Genesis in which it is stated that humankind was “created in the image of God male and female created he them.”
However I really have to disagree with most of what you have said about the role of woman in relationship to God in Christian doctrine. Yes Saint Augustine. Tertullian, etc and some of the pseudo-Pauline biblical texts say some outrageous stuff about women, but Christianity has never taught that woman do not have a direct relationship with God. After all stories exist all though the biblical text about women praying to God and God responding positively to them. Further more women were the primary supporters of early Christianity it would be strange in deed if they could not even commune with God within the religion. Jesus certainly seems to have had fairly good relations with women as did Paul. Yes the Church as it developed gradually eliminated women from most positions of Church authority. It must be noted though deaconesses were appointed within the Eastern Orthodox Church for the first thousand years. However one should not characterize the situation within the Christian community in a worse manner than it was.
Point taken, Glenn.
And I believe it WAS Paul who said the thing about “man being the glory of God and woman being the glory of the man”…which does “once remove” woman from God.
Yes, some of the early Christian sects, especially the gnostics, had a good record of putting women in positions of authority. It wasn’t ALL one way; nothing ever is. And today there are many liberal Christian sects who do authorize women and interpret their doctrine in more egalitarian terms.
My point is that that particular myth, which is so deeply, deeply, deeply ingrained in our culture, has been the excuse for a lot of harm to women over the years…including now. I feel certain that one of the reasons the Adam and Eve myth (the rib one…which is the one that has become ingrained) is able to cause such harm is that it implicitly teaches that man is prior/superior to woman because woman comes from man. The line of descent is God-man-woman. If you follow that to it’s conclusion, woman is further from the Divine origin because she is made second…and from the substance of the man.
All that, of course, is not what’s true. What’s true is that we ALL have a direct connection to the Divine. Imaging the Divine as feminine (as well as masculine) just confirms that to women…as well as to men. And I think we still need to make that confirmation; we still need Goddess AND God.
Under Her Wings,
2 Snaps 😉
Isidora, I do feel that the story of Adam and Eve is very problematic for women. However I will stick with what I said in regard to women in relationship with God in Christianity. Paul also said that “in Christ there is neither Greek and Jew, free nor slave, male nor female.” Many of the women Paul communicated with in his letters were women of authority within the Church. One Juno was an apostle. Paul’s discussion of women within 1Corinthians in which he suggests that women are of lower status than men was made within the context of a debate regarding whether woman as within the Jewish traditions had to have head coverings or veil in public occasions of prayer. Paul argues in opposition to the beliefs of some Corinthian women that Greek practice in which women prophets prayed with their hair uncovered was wrong. Paul within this controversy clearly takes the more conservative Jewish line and makes an argument which seems to suggest that women in some way reflect only indirectly the glory of God while men reflect that glory more directly. Clearly the Bible and the Christian tradition in common with many other religious traditions such as those of Buddhism and Hinduism does not treat women equally. However there is a substantial difference between this and the statement that within Christianity woman have no direct contact with the divine but have contact only indirectly through men. Certainly men such as Tertullian, Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas did at times make derogatory statements regarding women. However often these same men have also stated things very positive about women which have often been over looked. Furthermore regardless of what such men may have said at times the Church itself has never developed doctrines which suggest that women do not have the same access to God as do men. Again the fact that the Church has recognized women saints such as Theresa of Avila, Catherine of Sienna, and Joan of Arc should be clear evidence of this fact.
Again Isidora I certainly support your main argument about the need for the Goddess. I do not agree with the idea that women within the Christian traditions are barred direct access to the Divine.
Good comments, Glenn.
Another key part of my thoughts on the Adam and Eve myth is specifically about the image of the Divine that is portrayed in the myth.
God is seen as male and creates man in His image. Woman is created from the male; she is created in his image (parts slightly rearranged ;).
Again, this once-removes, even twice-removes, woman from merely the image of the Divine. And even if we go with the “male and female, He created they them” myth, it still leaves woman without an image of the Divine that matches her in the same way that the image of God the Father matches man the human being.
Without God Feminine, woman has no Divine image, no Divine pattern, that fits her in the same way that the image of God Masculine fits man.
Of course, even cultures with Goddess have successfully oppressed women. So having Goddess certainly isn’t the only answer in terms of political status. But it can most certainly help on a soul level, better enabling women to see the Divine in themselves.
sorry i wrote a lenghty response as as i checked spelling and grammar, i hit a button that made it all disappear in a blink of an eye. Good thing that was not the first time such a thing occurred, or it might be more upsetting. Suffice to say, i cannot repeat what i wrote.
But that it was a lovely rant about growing up an oppressed half person because of being born a girl.
There was no such thing as Goddess when i was little. There was no such thing as a female gynecologist, My cramps were in my head. If a womin called the police for help from an abusive husband, or even a boyfriend, they would not interfere. Womyn got dead and men got away with it, because being caught with another man, was apparently justifiable.
We were not capable of learning math, not allowed to have children at home, not allowed to be soldiers, policemen, mailmen, astronauts, firemen.
I am grateful for the courageous wild, angry, nosiy people from my gender (crazy, evil feminatzi’s), for chaining themselves to fences, burning their bras, marching in the streets, pushing the envelope, and even the doors open, to males only clubs, groups, universities, careers, and corridors of life in male based and male biased tradition, based in myth, not fact. Because we knew what they said about us was not true and simply saying, “No, sir.” was not enough to convince them.
I, as were we all, are born on the cusp of the return of the, thank the Goddess for the change i have witnessed in this my lifetime.
well, there you go. My opinion, i’m just saying.
Thank you for the provacative dialogue! I keep forgetting how luck and blessed i am!
I, as we all, were, was born on the cusp of the return of the Goddess.