Something inside so strong
The voice of the Feminine; the promise of Inclusion, the power of Love
All around the globe, despite of all the despair of war, poverty, cruelty and pollution, amidst all chaos, there are significant signs in our families, communities, neighbourhoods and countries that we are on the brink of radical, positive change. At the root of this change there are women. Women who speak out. No more. Women who act, spreading their feminine values around the world, like receptivity, interconnection, listening, compassion and reconnection. These women are not invisible anymore. What started off in the sixties and seventies, as the second feminine wave, is now a more inclusive movement with diverse stories:
• They march through the streets of Washington to protest against patriarchal domination and violation, embodied by president Trump • They come together in Gaza and Jerusalem for the march of Peace, the Palestinian and Israeli women, who want to stop the aggression • They raise their voice in Kenya to stop the circumcision of Masai girls • They raise their voice in Nigeria in the ‘bring back our girls campaign’ • They raise their voice in silence in Iran by taking of the headscarves to stop the repression of women by the regime • They are a global social media voice in #MeToo to stop the rape, violation and sexual abuse of women • They come together in women circles all around the globe to support each other, to be a real sisterhood, like the Red Tent temple movement • They are the change in their communities, by their positive initiatives and projects for everyone in their community to benefit from, not only for themselves. • And so on, and so on…..
The women of whom I speak are the female activists of today’s world. It is not the activism that separates us, but it is the activism, which is based on an earth-spirituality, which includes everyone, sisters and brothers. They are the ‘Artemis Effect’, as #JeanShinodaBolen stated so strikingly in her book Artemis, the indomitable spirit in every women’. Artemis is the ancient Greek goddess with a strong sense of sisterhood. With her bow and arrow, Artemis was a protector of women and young girls. She was usually in the company of the forest nymphs and a guardian of animals and the wilderness, a real environmentalist. And very important, she had a good relationship, based on gender equality, with her twin brother Apollo.
This rise of the voice of women we see today, supported by men as we can also see in the HeForShe-campaign, is not a mere coincidence. It is also not something that will pass on and be forgotten soon. It will stand. This is not merely my own wishful thinking. This rise of the feminine voice in today’s society is deeply rooted. It is the result of the work of women of the generation of my mother, my grandmother, women from all nations. Their sacred feminism made it possible for ‘the Goddess, and therefore the feminine principle’ to return into our consciousness, with a huge effect on both women and men. It is also deeply rooted because of the special era we live in; not an Era of Change, but a Change of Era; from the Pisces Era to the Aquarius Era. This is also coming to the surface, as a movement of inclusion and hope, comprised of people who have participated in the major social movements of the past fifty years, like the environmental-, human rights-, social justice-, civil rights-, feminism-, disarmament movements. etc. These people committed themselves to personal and spiritual development, without being dogmatically religious or politically dogmatic. They supported economical and technological progress, but not at the expense of the community and the environment. They broke with the mainstream Western way of thinking by following their inner voice. These were individuals searching, without being aware that together they formed ‘the #Aquarius Conspiracy’, as #MarilynFerguson described in her famous book. Together, these individuals, all around our Globe, made personal and social transformation possible, by shifting the consciousness on Earth.
These women and men could do so because of the introduction and sharing of spiritual traditions, which came from the East and from the Indigenous people. They brought with them a different kind of wisdom and spiritual practices like yoga, mindfulness, meditation, chanting, drumming and dancing. This wisdom and practices, with a soul-oriented, inward dimension, and awareness of the body, brought with them feminine qualities and a holistic consciousness. They facilitate a way of ‘being’ instead of only ‘doing’ that gives us the access to a way of living more in harmony with our soul. These developments are an opening, a window of opportunity for radical change on our planet Earth.
Another important factor of the rise of the feminine voice is the recent movement in our (Western) society which represents the return of the Goddess in our consciousness.Thorough historical, psychological, archaeological, religious and mystic research shows that a long time ago, the unknown, our Source was seen by the cultures on Earth as He and She. God & Goddess where one and the same, equal to each other, and representing different aspects of an inclusive human being. Their research shows that 10.000 of years ago, the Goddess was worshipped and embodied as the divine feminine in the rhythms of the moon, the symbols of the uterus, in caves, waters and springs, in circles of stones and in the tree, as a symbol of the connection between heaven and earth, death and resurrection in an eternal cycle of life. About 30.000 years before Christ, these forms of nature were replaced by more feminine shapes like the Venus of Willendorf, the Venus of Malta and the Venus of Hohle Fels. About 8000 years before Christ, the Goddess was embodied by ‘The Great Mother’. She was honoured and worshipped in a universal religious cult all around Earth. The Great Mother is the mother with the thousands of names; Isis, Sophia, Innana, Ishtar, Hathor, Anahita, Brigid, Lilith, Artemis, IXchel, White Calf Buffalo Woman, Aphrodite, Nepthus, Hestia, Quan Yin. She is worshipped in her three aspects (the triple goddess) of Maiden, Mother and Crown. In these old days, there were civilizations where women in the name of the Goddess were priestess, prophetess and healers. They were scholars, also exercising law. They had a power and influence, which is beyond belief in todays patriarchal society. The proof of the existence of these civilizations were found in Kreta, Malta, Egypt, Lesbos, North Africa, Central Azia, India and Tibet among other places.
The worship of the Goddess and her embodiment in women vanished about 500 years after Christ, with the first Council of Nicea. Her story was kept alive ‘underground’, until the Middle Ages. The witchtrials, which were in fact an epidemic rage against women as the source of evil and heresy, made an end of the worship of the Goddess. With Her being forgotten, we also forgot the feminine principle, the source of creation in all of our lives. More and more, a one-sided, rational and head-oriented male principle took over our lives. Another story started to spread its domination of exploiting people, animals, nature, Earth itself, by power and greed. By cutting off our world from this source of creation, we cut off ourselves from the same source that gave birth to each of us. It is this source that is needed to give meaning to our life, to nourish and educate us, and return us to a relationship with the wholeness of life.This situation started to shift when another story started with a ‘come-back’ at the beginning of the sixties on to the eighties. It is the story of the return of the Goddess. She started to lift her veil, by the (inner) work of brave women of the generation before me. In the Netherlands this story was a discour, although not very publicly, in the spiritual emancipation movement. This spiritual feminism arose in addition to the socially oriented women's movement. It is by their work, their research, their visits to sacred goddess places, their past life’s experiences, their rituals to celebrate the Goddess, that we now can remember, recognise and restore the gifts of the feminine principle in our world.
Nearly fifty years later, the Goddess as a metaphor and archetype for rising women’s consciousness is manifesting rapidly throughout the world. It is as Marianne Williamson put it in beautiful words: ‘The Goddess doesn't enter us from outside; she emerges from deep within. She is not held back by what happened in the past. She is conceived in consciousness, born in love, and nurtured by higher thinking. She is integrity and value, created and sustained by the hard work of personal growth and the discipline of a life lived actively in hope.’
It is through inner work and by life experiences that we can grow spiritually and personally. This is what I would call the inner side (sacred side) of emancipation. It helps women to bring compassion, empathy, softness and connection into our world and it helps them to endure to what I would call the outer side (activist side) of emancipation. This activist side is a tough, hard, serious struggle, which can be enlightened and lifted by this sacred side of emancipation. This inner work of women has already led towards a more conscious, free life, on a personal and also societal level, although this freedom could not be gained without a struggle of women; the struggle of transforming the pain and anger that came to the surface, after more than 2000-years of a Father-God figure in all our main religions.
Nowadays, we see the return of the Goddess also in popular books and movies, like the Mists of Avalon, The Da Vinci Code, the Disneymovie Moana, The Hunger Games, or Wonderwoman. She returns in women circles world wide (The Red Tent) in our music and festivals. The result of this return in the modern appearance of the Goddess is the empowered women we see on the streets, in our home towns; the grassroots womensmovement. She is an important archetype, an animating impulse and a source of wisdom, love, compassion and power for all women. With the return of the Goddess, everything that represents the feminine is lifted from the abyss of oppression and oblivion and is in its fullness revealed.
Maybe you all know already the story of the return of the Goddess in our consciousness. You might even think ‘can She really help, for the suffering of Earth got even worse. I asked myself the question ‘what is the meaning of her come-back’ amidst all chaos and polarization on Earth? I strongly believe that her ‘come-back’ is absolutely, utterly necessary to bring back balance on all live on Earth. I will put it even more strongly: without the return of the goddess and therefore the feminine principle in our hearts, minds, hands and feet, no restoration of our Planet Earth is by far possible. She is planet Earth. Without her help we will be continuing this vicious itself repeating circle, very busy with doing, and helping, but not really transforming. In this time of great transformation, She is the motor behind the transformation of our Earth. It is not a coincidence that She returns when we are in desperate need of help. The restoration and repair of Earth’s damaged Ecosystems is only possible by restoration and repair of the feminine principle in our lives; the lives of both women and men, because they are intertwined, connected to the bone, as we knew a long, long time ago and are remembering now.
I wrote this paper in august 2018, as a contribution to the Parliament of World Religions, november 2018. It was never published. Due to recent climate catastrophes all around Earth in the summer of 2019, I am sharing this.