Of all the religious traditions, with the exception of those of the first peoples, they were the only ones not to split body from spirit, thinking from feeling, so losing touch with the soul. They never became lost in the mazes of the intellect and its rigid metaphysical constructions but, through patience and devotion, were able to realize the difficult alchemy of bringing their nature into harmony with the deeper harmony of life. They did not lose sight of the One. looking back over the past at the evolution of human consciousness, it seems to fall into three main stages. During the first stage, broadly defined as the paleolithic and neolithic eras, humanity lived instinctively as the child of the Great Mother, in magical harmony with her body - creation - and knew life and death as two modes of her divine reality. Then this primordial experience began to fade as we gradually developed the capacity for self-awareness and reflective thought and with this, the power to develop technology and control of the environment.
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Now they embody wisdom, truth, compassion and justice. They reflect the divine harmony, order and beauty of plan life. Inanna, isis, cybele, demeter were the focus of mystery religions which gave access in the cultures over which they presided to a deeper perception of life than that which prevailed in the popular religions of the day. The magnificent lunar myth of Inanna's descent to and return from the underworld may be the foundation of the later image of the Shekhinah that emerges in the mystical tradition of the hebrew religion. Through the celebration of the great festival in honor of Demeter, the. Thesmophoria, and the rites of her temple at Eleusis, women and men were given a vision of eternal life and the mysteries of the soul., the legacy of the divine feminine in Western culture lies in the great mythological themes of the quest which direct. further to the east, in India, while the vedic sages expressed with extraordinary clarity their vision of the divine ground in the sublime poetic imagery of the vedas and the Upanishads, the ecstatic poets whose traditions belonged to a culture which existed long before. Still further to the east, the wise masters of the taoist tradition never lost foundation the shamanic understanding that relationship with Nature was the key to staying in touch with the source of life. They never followed the ascetic pratices of other religions which sacrificed the body for the sake of spiritual advancement. They were never in a hurry to reach the goal of union with the divine or to renounce the world for the sake of enlightenment.
The voice of the divine feminine comes alive, speaks to us, reflected in the words addressed to the goddess which are inscribed in hieroglyphs on the walls of Egyptian temples or on the sun-baked clay tablets of Sumer. These reveal a rich mythology of the divine feminine which may already be essay millennia old. It is in the Bronze age that the feeling for the sacredness of life is clearly expressed in words - a feeling that is transmitted through the hymns and prayers to the goddess or where she herself speaks in the great aretalogies that have come. In these she announces herself to be the source, ground or matrix of all forms of life; the fertile womb which eternally regenerates plants, animals, human beings; the life-force which attracts the male to the female; the power which creates, destroys and transforms all forms. The goddess speaks as the source and embodiment of all instinctive processes. She is the life force which is nurturing, compassionate beneficent and also the terrifying and implacable force of destruction which can nevertheless regenerate what it has destroyed., with the Iron Age, which begins about 1200. C., and the development of patriarchal religion, the story of the goddess becomes more difficult to follow as the god takes her place as the supreme ruler of sky, earth and underworld, yet in the west, the great goddesses of the Bronze age are still.
It is hard for our modern consciousness to imagine how life in that time was lived in the dimension of the mother, in participation with the rhythms of her being, or how these images of her kept people in touch with their instincts, and were. In relation to human consciousness at that time, the image of the Great Mother was numinous and all-powerful. The discoveries in the territory of Old Europe and at Çatal hüyük in Anatolia and the Indus Valley show cultures as early as 7000. With a deep sense of relationship with the mother goddess, where women were engaged in all kinds of creative work that was focused on her worship, where shrines and temples to her abounded, filled with the beautiful pottery, cloth hangings and sculptures and the baked. It was in the neolithic that mountains, hills and groves became sacred and that springs and wells became places of healing. There are still places all over the world where pilgrimages are made to these sacred sites. Deep in the psyche we carry ancient memories of the sacredness of the earth, and of the earth as Mother. This neolithic vision was transmitted to the poetry and traditions of the first peoples who are helping us now to recover our lost sense of the sacredness of the earth., the paleolithic and neolithic eras give us the earliest images of the Great Mother but. It is only in the Bronze age that we begin to hear the human voice; for the first time we can listen to the hymns addressed to the great goddesses of Sumer and Egypt.
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In these earliest Paleolithic cultures of which those of the registered first peoples today are the descendents, she was nature, she was the earth and she was the unseen dimension of soul or spirit. People were connected through her to nature as to a great being and to the great vault of the starry sky as part of this being, imagined as a great web of life. She was the invisible patterning or formations of energy whose intricate and interdependent system of relationships were respected even though they were not understood. She was experienced as a law, a profound patterning which the whole of life reflected and obeyed in the way it functioned, from the circumpolar movement of the stars to the tiniest insect. The image of the Great Mother reflected something deeply felt - that the creative source cares for the life it has brought into being in the way that an animal or a human mother instinctively cares for the life of her cub or her child. The images of the Great Mother as a profoundly experienced life process of birth, death and regeneration develop and proliferate around many different images of the goddess. Sky, earth, and underworld were unified in her being.
As bird-goddess she was the sky and her life-bestowing waters fell as the rain from her breasts, the clouds; she was the earth and from her body were born the crops that nourished the life she supported. As serpent-goddess she was the darkness beneath the earth - the mysterious underworld - which concealed the hidden sources of the water which became the rivers, springs and lakes and which was also the home of the ancestral dead. She was the sea on which the fragile boats of the neolithic explorers ventured into the unknown. She was the life of the animals, trees, plants and fruits on which all her children depended for survival. Whether we look at the goddess figures of Old Europe or those of Çatal huyuk in Anatolia, or further East, to mesopotamia and the Indus valley civilization, the basic forms are the same.
The ability to think, to reason, to reflect, to analyse, to store information and be able to retrieve it through memory, is itself a development of the older brain systems, and is interdependent with them, but our conscious awareness is focused in the most recently. And what are those roots? Does our consciousness originate in the greater consciousness of the cosmos? Is our brain a vehicle, just as all planetary life is a vehicle, of that cosmic consciousness? Is the cosmos the ultimate source of our thoughts, our feelings, our fertile imagination, our creative ideas, our musical genius? These are questions to which science as yet gives no answer but older traditions from ancient civilizations, do offer answers.
As consciousness evolved, the sacred image was like an umbilical cord connecting us to the deep ground of life. From about 25,000., perhaps far longer, the image of the goddess as the Great Mother was worshipped as the fertile womb which gave birth to everything, the great cave of being from which she brought forth the living and into which she took the. To this day, the cave is still, in dream and mystical experience, the place of revelation and communion with the unseen ground of being. The earliest images of the Great Mother known to us are the figures of the goddess carved from stone and bone and ivory some 22,000 years ago. The Great Mother was imagined to carry within her being the three dimensions of sky, earth and underworld. She was the great pulse of life reflected in the rhythm of the moon, the sun, the stars, the plants, trees, animals and human beings. All these were her children and she was the numinous presence within her manifest forms, continually regenerating them in a cyclical process that was without beginning and without end., this primordial experience of the Great Mother is the foundation of later cultures all over the. She is like an immense tree, whose roots lie beyond the reach of our consciousness, whose branches are all the forms of life we know, and whose flowering is a potential within us, a potential that only a tiny handful of the human race has.
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For countless millennia, the potential for human consciousness was hidden within nature, like a seed buried in the earth. Then, very slowly, it began to differentiate itself from nature. Deep in our retrolisthesis memory is the whole experience of life on this planet: life that has evolved over the four and a half billion years since its formation; life as hydrogen, oxygen and carbon; life as the most minute particles of matter; life as water. Finally the point was reached where planetary life evolved a brain which enabled us to speak, to formulate thoughts, to communicate with each other through language, to endow sounds with meaning, and invent writing as a way of transmitting thoughts. Over these billions of years life on this planet has evolved from undifferentiated awareness to the self-awareness of our species. All this can be described as an instinctive process, each phase blending imperceptibly into the next. Self-awareness and reflective consciousness as we know it now is a very recent development, yet consciousness as genetic patterning present in plant and animal and human life, consciousness as awareness or instinctive reflex is carried within us as part of the reptilian and mammalian brain. From these have come the highly differentiated consciousness of the neo-cortex that we call rational mind.
the ground of our own nature, is difficult and even dangerous because it asks that we relinquish the certainty of deeply held beliefs, both religious and. It means opening ourselves to discovery., the Grail of the feminine is urging us to open our minds to a new vision of reality, a revelation of all cosmic life as a divine unity. For those awakened to this vision, to be born a human being is not to be born into a fallen, flawed world of sin and illusion, cut off from the divine; it is to be born into a world lit by an invisible radiance, ensouled. Our book is a celebration of this vision. Anne baring and Andrew Harvey - review of The divine feminine, the editors. The mystic Vision bring us this beautifully illustrated overview of the way the feminine aspect of God - the "unseen dimension of soul to which we are connected through our instincts, our feelings and the longing imagination of our heart" - has been worshiped around. From the magazine wisdom chapter One, the great mother, mother and Child, robin Baring. Human consciousness has developed infinitely slowly out of nature. Before we knew ourselves as human, we were animal and plant, stone and water.
It is something both inconceivable and immeasurable to which we belong, in which we live - an intermediate dimension between our physical world and the deep unknowable ground of being., for many hundreds of years, in the fascination with the development of mind and the. Now, to balance this one-sided emphasis, the image of the divine feminine, together with the mythological tradition yoga that belongs to it, is returning to consciousness. It is reconnecting us to the dimension of the instinctual soul that has been shut away, like the Sleeping beauty, behind a hedge of thorns. The power and numinosity of the divine feminine are needed to arouse the will and energy to act on behalf of life and to restore wholeness and balance to our image of God and so to ourselves. It is awakening us to a new ethic of responsibility, focused beyond tribal and national concerns toward the needs of the planet., the divine mother is asking us to trust and protect life, to work with her in all we do, opening our understanding. The unknown dimension of soul is our conduit to the divine. Cut off from soul, the mind becomes impoverished, rigid, dogmatic, and inflated.
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The divine feminine, the always Eternal Feminine is our guide. Goethe, this book is a celebration of the sacred Feminine, the feminine face of God as it has been expressed in different cultures all over the world. The divine feminine is initiating a crucial new phase in our evolution: urging us to discover a new ethic of responsibility toward the planet; bringing us a new vision of the sacredness and unity of life. Wisdom, justice, beauty, harmony, and compassion are the qualities that have traditionally been identified with the divine feminine, yet it is also the irresistible power that destroys old forms and brings new ones into being, the inspiration of the love-in-action that is so needed. The divine feminine is this unseen dimension of soul to which we are connected through our instincts, our feelings, and the longing imagination of our heart. Soul is not limited to our own psychic life. Soul is invisible nature, the immense web of relationships that is concealed beneath the veil of matter.