In ancient times, the Ark of the Covenant, housed in the first temple of Solomon, was protected by two immense images of the Divine made of olive wood and covered in gold leaf. They represented Yahweh and Hokmah/Wisdom, his consort.
After the destruction of that temple, these images were interpreted as male and female aspects of Yahweh alone. With the building of the second temple their significance was changed further to mean the union of Yahweh and his new bride, the people of Israel. Over centuries the Goddess was deposed, made secular and excluded from Divinity.
Remaining pockets of those faithful to the Goddess were systematically persecuted. Hilltops to which the Goddess had effectively been exiled were defiled with bones and ashes. Even groves of trees within a certain distance of Jerusalem were cut down to prevent Her taking refuge there.(Exod 34 13-14).
Later still, the bible itself was purged of any book relating to the power of women.The Apocrypha, those books that managed to escape the flames, all have something in common. They are feminine. They are either about women, the books of Esther and Judith, about the Goddess Herself, (the book of Ben Sirach), or, as in the Song of Solomon, the unashamed delight of man in the Queen of Heaven, Wisdom. The Apocrypha is what remains of those works that celebrate Yahweh’s consort.
At one time it was included in the Bible, at the back. Then it was published separately, though it was freely available. When I researched it myself I had to order it from an inter library loan because there was no copy on the shelves and when it arrived after two weeks it had a stamp on the fly leaf saying, ‘last copy in the county’. The Goddess is in the final throes of banishment.
What will happen to us all if She disappears altogether? Both the extremist factions of the Islamic and Christian camps have this in common, a deeply ingrained contempt for the feminine that then brings out the worst in men. Solomon’s Wisdom is degraded to being a mere attribute of the man himself. Such inflation must end in disaster. ‘Inflation’, say the Alchemists, ‘beckons the raven’s claw’.
When the male psyche is sufficient to itself and devalues the feminine he loses his anchor in Nature. He becomes so puffed up he feels he can do no wrong and dispenses with his conscience. He ceases to care about what kind of legacy he leaves for his children and is overcome by the kind of ennui that only adrenaline and the cry of battle can momentarily relieve.
I have had all kinds of people with all kinds of problems come through my doors over the years. I have noticed something consistently throughout. When a person develops a sense of the Divine Feminine or simply feels the void in themselves for want of it, their issues are more readily resolved. To have a living relationship with the Great Mother makes all kinds of suffering tolerable and brings balm to many a wound.
Perhaps psychotherapy itself only becomes a necessity in cultures with belief systems that uphold the disrespect of other faiths as a virtue. We have to love our neighbours not for their sake but for our own. For as long as we demonise others our own devils will get the better of us. When our successes are at the expense of others we can never really enjoy them or be fullfilled. If we are to live well, it has to be on the basis of equality with others. And it is not enough to agree in principle. We have to root out the extremism in ourselves that says our religion, our way of life, is better than the next.
God, after all is, not a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim. When we can celebrate the wonderous diversity of the Divine and honour the variety of all religions that are nothing less than the many faces of God then there will be peace in the world and fellowship between nations. My mosaic project ‘Abraham’s Children’ (above, and http://farm7.clik.com/AndyWhiteMosaics/ ) which contains elements of all the world’s religions, symbolizes this equality and represents my own fervent hope for atonement between his estranged offspring.