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.