Chaos to Transformation, Wisdom to Madness, and Death to Life. The Mother Archetype holds all cycles. Its core essence is movement, and this pattern is repeated in the Holy Spirit.
In part one of God is a Woman, I explained how the divine feminine and mother archetype are one and the same. The timeless shape of this archetype is uniquely and fully represented through the church’s teaching on the Holy Spirit. I explained how this is seen in the first two arcs of the great mother, Chaos and Transformation. In this second part, I am going to map the Holy Spirit’s representation in the remaining arcs of the great mother: Wisdom, Madness, Death, and Life.
The Rush of Wisdom and Madness in the Breath of the Holy Spirit
For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit.1 Corinthians 12:8 (NIV)
All spoken words have breath. The Hebrew word for “spirit” literally means moving breath. Just as the Holy Spirit carried the first words of creation into existence, she brings wisdom into her children’s hearts. Think of wisdom as the way to truth. It is the scientific method, the eternal how.
Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud.Proverbs 8:1-3 (NIV)
Solomon clearly expresses wisdom in the feminine form in Proverbs. She is how the infinite potential appears to us; as a question. The question invites us to venture into the unknown and create something out of nothing.
But without confusion, you cannot find wisdom. You need a reason to ask the question. You need to see the darkness and feel the heaviness of not knowing the way. This is why God confused humanity at the Tower of Babel. In man’s pride, he said that he knew all there was to know. His mastery of the earth could ascend him into heaven, removing the need for a god and heavenly king. In tender compassion, the breathed Holy Spirit confused their language. She sent them into the corners of the earth, where they learned that the foolishness of man is the wisdom of God.
The darkness of not knowing, not believing, and not seeing God is overwhelming. It sends us into confusion, anger, and depression. In that suspended darkness, the divine feminine invites the divine masculine to believe and receive the light of truth.
How the Divine Masculine Meets the Divine Feminine in the Waters of the Womb and the Grave
The divine masculine is free will. It is what we decide and what we decree. Western culture makes this explicitly visible, which is why I’m not writing an entire article on it. The Father is the source of will, and the Son is the representation of that will.
I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.John 6:38 (NIV)
Even though the Son is male, he is actually the perfect unity of masculine and feminine. He expresses tenderness for the poor and describes his desire to hold his people like a mother hen holds her chicks. Conversely, he commands the waves of the sea and crushes the head of Satan.
Mary is also the perfect unity of masculine and feminine. She gives birth to God and commands the disciples with the authority of the Son. In fact, my next article will reveal how Mary uniquely embodies the divine feminine as queen of humanity.
The ultimate expression of Christ’s masculinity was his descent into the grave. This began in the garden of Gethsemane, a moment when Jesus was given a choice. He saw a painful journey of suffering and darkness. Death stood on the shore, and Jesus, like all us, had the decision to run or move towards her.
This is how God appears to us; death standing on the shore of vast empty darkness. It is the edge of an expanding universe receding infinitely into mathematical 0. The divine masculine can either turn his head away and say yes, this is all there is, or he can say no, there is more. There is infinitely more; there is God. This is the beautiful mystery of the divine:
The reason for God’s existence is God’s existence.
Jesus saw the grave and said no, there is infinitely more. He entered Hades and delivered life for all. The icon of the resurrection very clearly portrays Jesus emerging from the grave like a child leaving his mother’s womb.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.John 3:5-6 (NIV)
Baptism water is the divine grave and womb of the Holy Spirit. We, like Christ, are lowered into this grave and raised into new life. This is the most explicit feminine depiction of the Holy Spirit. It is also a metaphor for faith and all creative acts.
Belief and creativity follow the same pattern of baptism. We are confronted with the waters of not knowing what to create or what to believe. If we say yes to not knowing, that darkness becomes the grave and gives us nothing and death, but if we say no, the dark night becomes a womb that produces art and life.
Why Bother Saying God is a Woman?
Divinity is undoubtedly mysterious and complicated. Many religious leaders responded negatively to Ariana Grande’s music video, saying that God is neither male nor female. God is genderless. Many of these men said, “leave the theology to the theologians. You have sweet ‘beats,’ but you don’t know what you are talking about.”
This condescending reaction is only seen when God is expressed in the feminine. It is never seen when the male pronoun is used for God or when God is depicted as a father. This masculine imagery is always accepted without question.
Saying God is a Woman is important. Especially in this culture. And especially now. We are a culture with little room for the divine feminine. And we are afraid. Our masculine structures are falling apart, and the system of doing things is breaking down. Coronavirus has us looking at death’s door, and we need our mom. We need her healing, we need her wisdom, and we need a new beginning.
This article is the second in a series about the divine feminine. The next two in the list is a deeper dive into Mary’s relationship with the divine feminine and a more direct look into the divine feminine in current events.