Maxine Hanks’ Women and Authority (Signature Books) is one marvelous document. At the suggestion of my wife, I took time to review the anthology and found myself very much impressed and inspired by the writing … and the writers.
There are so many bell-ringers in Hank’s collection.
I may have to come out of the closet. I may have to reveal my secret long-time devotion to the Mother of Creation, the Goddess … She Who Is.
Years ago, after encountering the Wisdom of Solomon (most easily found in the Apocrypha) I realized I had found Her … Wisdom … Sophia … Shekinah … Inanna.
All of them so trump Old Wrathful, the Patriarch.
I found Her in the book of Wisdom … and asked why the early Roman Patriarchs placed Wisdom in the Apocrypha – essentially putting an asterisk to the idea of Mother in Heaven … an asterisk that later Protestants would out and out exclude from the Bible.
The early Gnostics knew what the Roman literalists had done … and as the Gospel of Thomas was suppressed for centuries, so was the legitimate understanding of who the Queen of Heaven really is. But the Gnostics knew …
When I read what they had treasured and preserved … I understand how the Wisdom of Solomon was included with the Apocrypha. Not all the early compilers of scripture were strict patriarchals. I had found proof of ancient comrades who confirmed the reality of my own contemporary experience.
If ever I felt a burning of the bosom it was in reading the Book of Wisdom.
… And of course the following account from Gnostic scripture:
“Now when the heavens had consolidated themselves along with their forces and all their administration, the prime parent became insolent. And he was honored by all the army of angels.
And all the gods and their angels gave blessing and honor to him. And for his part, he was delighted and continually boasted, saying to them, “I have no need of anyone.” He said, “It is I who am God, and there is no other one that exists apart from me.” And when he said this, he sinned against all the immortal beings who give answer. And they laid it to his charge.
Then when Pistis saw the impiety of the chief ruler, she was filled with anger. She was invisible. She said, “You are mistaken, Samael,” (that is, “blind god”). “There is an immortal man of light who has been in existence before you, and who will appear among your modelled forms; he will trample you to scorn, just as potter’s clay is pounded. And you will descend to your mother, the abyss, along with those that belong to you. For at the consummation of your (pl.) works, the entire defect that has become visible out of the truth will be abolished, and it will cease to be, and will be like what has never been.” Saying this, Pistis revealed her likeness of her greatness in the waters. And so doing, she withdrew up to her light.”
So I am willing to speak out in a spirit of Mormon testimony bearing.
I have nothing intellectual to say or offer regarding The Goddess. I need no academic research nor intellectual summarizing to reinforce feelings I have had within for years now: the reality of Our Mother.
She is as real to me as is the Father. More real in fact in making her presence felt powerfully.
My experience of Our Mother has nothing to do with any formula or prescription for requisite worthiness. I have never had to ask permission to sense her presence, to feel her touch my heart or any need to worship her in the shallowly respectful and toadying honorific sense regarding The Heavenly Father common to most Christians and specific to performance-based Mormonism.
I liken the scriptures to the reality of my experience of Our Mother more than any other scriptural experience. It is to Her that I offer unconditional devotion.
To the strictly patriarchal Heavenly Father I offer mere recognition of a fictional image that is not real; is more tool of manipulation and is nothing worthy of regard.
It is the real Father, the Eternal Co-Parent with The Mother who is long hidden. He has been muzzled, masked and ignored; replaced by Old Wrathful, the Nitpicking Patriarchal Fraud beloved of authoritarians.
The real and living Mother in Heaven is perceivable, knowable and powerfully willing to reveal her presence. That is one testimony I can and shall bear.
I am the child of a revelatory society that celebrates a prompted knowledge of the mysterious – particularly the greatest mysteries of divinity.
I have not sold my soul or spiritual sense to a pure veneration of logic, to academics or to historical research that in and of itself worships scientific method at the expense of feeling. None of that can truly serve to self-validate one’s personal spiritual sense.
Compassion is not a measurable commodity nor can it be generated through formula, procedure or any application of psychology. Compassion as revealed in The Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan are best experienced emotionally; most certainly not through logic, discourse, analysis or deconstruction.
Those two parables serve well to remind that Life is in the experience and also to read and feel moved by goodness. Such is representative of the Love of Divinity for humanity.
Maxine’s collection of reference to Our Mother seems to have been a triggering vehicle, drawing me out of my self-imposed private closet of personal secrets; bringing out of my heart the reality of divinity for me.
But this is something for me to own and nothing by which I would evangelize anyone else. I certainly am not willing to urge conformity with mine nor anyone else’s magic.
This magic of which I speak is my magic. Your magic is yours to find.
May you not borrow it from anyone else, but be the seeker you ought to be. May you be prompted more than led; inspired more than guided.
If I may then, I will bear what I would call a testimony of my burning experience with Our Mother.
This scripture that follows for me is as true as it gets.
Book of Wisdom, chapter 7 commences with verse 7:
Wherefore I prayed, and understanding was given me: I called upon God, and the Spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I preferred her before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her.
Neither compared I unto her any precious stone, because all gold in respect of her is as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay before her.
I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for the light that cometh from her never goeth out.
All good things together came to me with her, and innumerable riches in her hands.
And I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom goeth before them: and I knew not that she was the mother of them.
I learned diligently, and do communicate her liberally: I do not hide her riches.
For she is a treasure unto men that never faileth: which they that use become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts that come from learning.
God hath granted me to speak as I would, and to conceive as is meet for the things that are given me: because it is he that leadeth unto wisdom, and directeth the wise.
For in his hand are both we and our words; all wisdom also, and knowledge of workmanship.
For he hath given me certain knowledge of the things that are, namely, to know how the world was made, and the operation of the elements:
The beginning, ending, and midst of the times: the alterations of the turning of the sun, and the change of seasons:
The circuits of years, and the positions of stars:
The natures of living creatures, and the furies of wild beasts: the violence of winds, and the reasonings of men: the diversities of plants and the virtues of roots:
And all such things as are either secret or manifest, them I know.
For wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me: for in her is an understanding spirit holy, one only, manifold, subtil, lively, clear, undefiled, plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is good quick, which cannot be letted, ready to do good,
Kind to man, steadfast, sure, free from care, having all power, overseeing all things, and going through all understanding, pure, and most subtil, spirits.
For wisdom is more moving than any motion: she passeth and goeth through all things
by reason of her pureness.
For she is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty: therefore can no defiled thing fall into her.
For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness.
And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself, she maketh all things new: and in all ages entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God, and prophets.
For God loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom.
For she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all the order of stars: being compared with the light, she is found before it.
For after this cometh night: but vice shall not prevail against wisdom.