The Sacred Feminine

One of the elements of The DaVinci Code book/movie phenomenon that has caused a lot of controversy is an allusion to “the Sacred Feminine.”

Other religions have gods and goddesses; a few – like some of the Gnostic writings – actually elevate the feminine as superior to the masculine in deity as well as humanity. But Christianity does not, this work tells us; it’s a men-only leadership club that doesn’t recognize the human feminine, let alone the Sacred Feminine.

What is the Sacred Feminine?

Wikipedia describes it as a concept “rooted in the idea that all life flows through those bodies in nature that are feminine:”

Philosophically, following the path of the Sacred Feminine calls on followers to embrace somewhat essentialist views of spiritual femininity. Cooperation is valued over confrontation, nurturing over domination, peace over war, creativity over destruction. And while these concepts are reductionist and essentialist, followers believe that these concepts must be brought into balance with the predominant patriarchal power structure in contemporary culture.

That may sound prejudicial and gender-incorrect, but as a reaction to centuries of what its adherents perceive as male-dominated culture, perhaps it can be understood as having some basis, and a reasonable emphasis on balance.

And while detractors (inside and outside of Christianity) may snort that there is no such thing as the Sacred Feminine, I beg to differ.

The Sacred Feminine is real, just as real a part of scripture as salvation by grace through faith. And though I don’t buy into a conspiracy theory that it’s been suppressed, I do believe it has been neglected.

It’s a real yearning on the part of many women (and a number of men!) who perceive an imbalance in the description offered in scripture of God the Father, Christ the Son and even the Holy Spirit referred to in the masculine by Jesus.

If we’ll look carefully, we’ll find the Sacred Feminine there, too.

It’s not the Gnostics’ Sophia (wisdom) or – forgive me, ZOE Group – Zoe (life) that is the Sacred Feminine.

It’s not childbearing that makes the feminine nature more godlike or closer to God than the masculine … anymore than it’s the tendency to be authoritative and to claim omniscience that makes the male more like God.

It’s more like the old Pogo comic strip punch line, “We have met the enemy – and he is us!” … with a twist.

The Sacred Feminine isn’t the enemy.

But it is us.

It’s God’s people. It’s us. As Israel in the Old Testament, we were the unfaithful bride. (See Jeremiah 3, Hosea 1 and others.)

As the followers of Jesus since his incarnation, we were ransomed and taken back and intimately washed. (Remember that embarrassing bath metaphor in Ephesians 5?)

We’re the bride of Christ. In the Revelation to John, the Visionary sees us coming down from heaven, a bridal city encrusted with jewels and pearls, ready to mee the Bridegroom. Before that, we appeared as a woman in travail giving birth to a man child and fleeing to the wilderness for protection from a destroyer. We’ve been washed, clothed, decorated, and given a garden with the river of life embanked by groves of the tree of life – the one Adam and Eve never got to touch.

We’re “sacred” in the sense of being set apart, sanctified, forgiven, washed – not by our own wit, power or righteousness – but by His. We become immortal, divine, reigning with Him forever and ever.

And that reunion restores the balance that creation has lacked for so long.

Some of Gnosticism’s creation stories posit a far superior Eve created by one goddess or another, breathing life into limp Adam – then being villified and blamed for the fall in the Garden which, for various reasons in each version, wasn’t her fault.

Perhaps you’ve encountered the same kind of idiotic, chauvinistic sermon which probably gave rise to that myth as a reaction, centuries ago. Don’t fall for either stupid extreme.

Eve was created by the Godhead to be from Adam’s side, at Adam’s side. To her credit: when she was tempted, she did not fall prey to the temptation of selfishness. She wanted to share the fruit (misrepresented to her as something wonderfully good and able to level the playing field with the God-parent who loved them) with her husband.

I have to wonder – given masculine-kind’s predelictions – would Adam have shared a purportedly “good thing” if the serpent had pulled him aside to convince him? If he had doubts, at least we can credit him with being willing to share in the responsibility and risk with her.

Just as Christ (the last Adam) was willing not only to share, but to shoulder, all of the risk for his beloved bride.

It isn’t scriptural – and it is blatantly gender-incorrect – but it is also a telling moment in Mark Twain’s The Diary of Adam and Eve when the mother of mankind has passed on and her husband of many centuries mourns in tribute to her that wherever she was, was Eden.

And Christ, the Bridegroom of Heaven, feels exactly the same way about His Sacred Feminine.

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3 thoughts on “The Sacred Feminine

  1. That IS a very interesting and thoughtful piece, Keith. I find a wide array of things to contemplate and consider in reading through it.I like it and understand it. Some of what you are talking about, i.e., the “feminine,” reminds me a lot of the work of a man (back in the mid to late 90s) named Thomas Moore on creativity. In fact, that’s the name of the work – “Thomas Moore on Creativity” – that is only available (as far as I know) on a set of two cassette tapes.I was very taken with them and just ordered another set because I gave mine away and ordered a set, too, for Ray Fleming because of some things he’d been writing about on his blog, “The New Freedom Sanction.” I got them through Amazon (of course, where else) and want to listen to him again because he has so MANY great ideas to ponder. He’s a philosopher, professor, psychotherapist, musician and former monk. He’s written some books, too, that I’ve read. His most popular was “Care of the Soul: A Guide to Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life,” that I highly recommend, too.

  2. God is described in the Old Testament in feminine terms perhaps more often than as Father . . . nurturing, gracious, steadfast, picking up a baby (Israel) dying in a field before God the mother picks up the baby and rescues. Even Jesus sees himself as a hen gathering it chicks under her wing. We should not be afraid of God’s feminine side any more than we should hesitate to be proud to be called the “bride” of Christ. Women were made in the image of God, too.Thank you, Keith, for this piece on the Sacred Feminine. I’d like to see more people interact with it and to take it to Wineskins to add to the discussion on The Da Vinci Code.

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