In her book Mary Magdalene Revealed, Meggan Watterson talks about the “Christianity we haven’t tried yet.” And ponders the ways the divine feminine has been set aside by patriarchal and institutional religion.
The feminine way of understanding the Divine (what I call the Divine Feminine), while glanced in popular western traditions, has not been given room to grow and flourish in the same way male interpretations, ideas, thinkers, and theologies have.
And even worse, often, it has been men who actively shut her down.
One of the scary aspects of the Divine Feminine, especially in conservative circles, is that she is often about finding the Divine in yourself. Mainly through the life, death, and resurrection cycles women experience in their own bodies.
This pattern is often mirrored in ancient goddess traditions but is not alien to Christianity.
In fact, it is found in mystic and esoteric traditions, whose writing will sometimes philosophically reference these goddesses and parallel them to Christ. However, these theologies were often only discussed in Christian fraternities and monasteries, where women were not welcome.
In the meantime, women were practicing understandings of life, death, and resurrection in their own ways. Seeing their bodies, their natural cycles, and traditional medicines as similarly intertwined with the divine. They did not study these ideas in an institution, however. It was their own personal spiritual experiences that revealed it.
While the men in monasteries and fraternities were celebrated as theological geniuses for making this connection, women were called witches and burned at the stake.
As a result, Wisdom practices like Tarot were co-oped into male-only spaces, and women’s intuitive practices were forgotten. (for more information on this, see Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom)
The reading of the stars was accepted into the Vatican, but when women connect to the moon’s cycles, they were declared devil worshipers.
While our grandmothers, mothers, and sisters were being cast as dangerous women for daring to explore the divine inside themselves, Men were recycling their grandmother’s spirituality and enjoying the applause from the institution.
The message was that it was acceptable for men to honor their inner divinity, but women needed to lean on men and follow their priest/husband/father.
Later during the enlightenment, when society was supposedly breaking free from religion’s oppression, men looked at their grandmother’s spiritual practices and repeated the same pattern as before. Instead of burning them at the stake, they mocked their spiritual knowing as myth and encouraged their daughters to forget these traditions.
For example, laws in France and England required women to seek their husbands’ or fathers’ approvals before joining spiritual communities.
In the late 1800s, there was a movement in France to keep women out of convents. Women who wanted to take vowels against their father’s wishes were taken from the convent and forced into marriages by their fathers. The state-backed up these forced marriages. This was done in the name of progress, enlightenment, and saving women from “oppression.”
Despite their new progressive knowing, men, who for years had the freedom to explore their faith, however they wanted, were still not willing to let women explore their own.
Women’s spirituality went from being witchcraft to folly; men’s spirituality or lack thereof became respectable knowledge.
The women prophets’ practices, the Holy Spirit’s voices in the early church, were quickly silenced by institutional rules, and their traditions never logged.
And the feminine voices who have been recorded, like Mary Magdalene, St. Teresa, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Julian of Norwich, and the biblical and historical reality of Sophia Wisdom, to name a few, are discussed in the corners of theology schools but rarely brought behind the pulpit unless cleaned up first.
Plus, the ways formerly enslaved and indigenous women have come to know the Divine. Particularly after colonization and the slave trade worked to destroy their women leaders, goddesses, and Orishas and forced converted these groups to Christianity.
After hundreds of years, many of these communities have intertwined their ancestor’s religion with Christianity. Still, like many other women, their faith is seen, at best, as superstition, and worse, heresy.
The raw divine feminine truth is too much!
Yet, we who undertake spiritual paths often find the knowledge of self and a journey toward our inner divine that calls out to us. The feminine spiritual ways of knowing have not died out. They have remained present in our consciousness despite attempts to snuff it out.
The Divine Feminine is unknown territory. Her ideas have yet to receive the stamp of approval from an institution or religion. And her limited moments with the microphone are rarely highlighted.
Like a silhouette, we can make out her rhythms and imagine her image, but she has yet to be allowed fully in the light.
But for those of us who have felt her call, we know she is real, we know she is near, and we are eager to dance in her presence.
Let’s meet her together!
Do you want to explore the Divine Feminine in a sacred community of women? The Erotic Convent is open for registration. Click here to learn more! Not ready to join, have more questions? Click here to set up a time to talk.