The Sacred Feminine

The Sacred Feminine

“The divinity revealed her hidden face. Now the great World-Mother stood up in her.” Sri Aurobindo [1]

I feel that for some years now a delicate undercurrent has been making itself felt in people’s consciousness, at first rather timidly as a fine vibration, recently more and more clearly, powerfully and hopefully. In this article I would like to refer to this vibration, this spiritual force, as the Sacred Feminine.

What this Sacred Feminine is in its deepest essence, how it works, how it appears – all this needs to be explored more deeply. I have a hunch that the power of the Sacred Feminine will be of utmost importance in this time of transformation and can be a preparation for human awakening.

For some time now I have made it a good habit to sit down at the piano in the morning and play and sing sacred songs from various spiritual cultures, e.g. from Sufism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Hebrew, the Rosycross. I notice that a very fine vibration moves through my etheric body, which opens the heart and triggers the feeling of being intimately connected with the great fabric of the HOLY.

Other important impulses for me to trace the sacred feminine were two books: First, the world bestseller by the cultural philosopher Charles Eisenstein (It is possible to know the more beautiful world that our hearts know,[2]) published in 2013, and later also the novel by American botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braided Sweetgrass, [3]) published in Germany in 2021.

Both books point out that our occidental culture is characterised by a separating consciousness, which essentially gave rise to the current world crisis (cf. the wisdom of the KOGI native people from the Colombian highlands,[4]).

The consciousness attitude of separation and detachment can be outlined as follows: The human being conceives of himself as an independent individual among other independent individuals in a universe from which he is independent. He feels separated from matter, from spirit, from all other souls. In his necessary self-assertion, he is in competition with all the other individuals, and therefore wants to exercise as much control as possible and pursue his self-interest to the greatest possible extent. Whoever wants to overcome this more or less ruthless “biological program” strives “for higher things”. He or she chooses the path of renunciation and discipline and wants to ascend to spiritual spheres. such a person considerst hat the soul is separate from the body. The sacred is not part of this world.

Eisenstein and Kimmerer countered the “paradigm of separation” that had prevailed until then with a completely different perspective on creation and life, the “paradigm of mutual interconnectedness”. They conceive of the earth and the universe as a living organism, as a “great fabric” in which all its creatures (stones and minerals; plants; animals; human beings; the elements fire, earth, water and air as well as their elemental spirits; the planets and solar systems; spiritual hierarchies) communicate and interact with each other reciprocally and are thus intimately interconnected. They speak of a sacred fabric in which everything is interconnected, where every action is thus significant and has an impact on the whole.

Meaning, consciousness and intelligence are intrinsic properties of matter and the universe. (Eisenstein,[5]).

So, the sacred is thus in the midst of the world, it is in the innermost of every creature, in the innermost of the earth, in the innermost of the sun (cf. also: Teilhard de Chardin,[6]).

The books by Eisenstein and Kimmerer make it clear that the ecological crisis (like all our crises) is a spiritual crisis. How could it come to this?

The Judeo-Christian culture of the West is characterised by a “male” image of God. In Judaism, it is a punishing God who drove humans out of paradise. In Christianity, this wrathful God of the Old Testament was replaced by a God of mildness and love. In the figure of Christ, this Christian God incarnated on earth, but then ascended again from the cross to his heavenly Father. Deep in the subconscious, we more or less still carry within us the image of a distant, angry God.

Under the rule of a “male” God, we have developed the sciences and acquired the ability to control our environment in some matters. In the process, however, we have isolated ourselves from the sacred interdependence of all created things, and in our daily lives we have lost our relationship to the divine in all its forms. (Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee,[7])

The view of interconnectedness described by Eisenstein and Kimmerer, on the other hand, opens our eyes to the sacred feminine in creation. The wholeness of life in its sacredness belongs to the feminine side of the divine.

In contrast to His awesome transcendence, She embodies the loving caring divine presence. (Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee,[8])

How do these words combine with the Christ’s saying, “My kingdom is not of this world”? And with the fact that after his resurrection he showed himself in a completely different body, an ethereal, immortal body with which he was able to ascend to heaven? This “corporeality” can be seen as truly sacred.

A question mark is also placed on the sacred feminine in creation in Mozart’s Magic Flute. Here, the cosmic unholy feminine is impressively revealed in the form of the Queen of the Night. She is the dark mother who wants to keep her children imprisoned in her sphere.

And: let us take a look at our world. Do we not know, apart from all the charm, the compulsion that the sexes exert on each other – the powerful forces of the dark mother? In the Egyptian mysteries she is called Nephtys. Her sister Isis symbolises the higher, divine order of nature, the sacred feminine.

It is not easy to describe the sacred feminine. It cannot be clearly defined. The feminine divinity is unwillingly trapped in a single term. Sometimes she is called the “Goddess”, sometimes the “Anima Mundi”, sometimes “Sophia” or “Isis”, or the “Divine Mother” or “World Mother”.

But it is of great importance to understand that the Sacred Feminine is in no way in opposition or contradiction to the masculine. The Sacred Feminine goes hand in hand with the Sacred Masculine. The Divine Mother is one with the Divine Father. She gives him, the impulse-giver, the face, his all-encompassing cosmic form. He sees himself in her. The two are one, as Yin and Yang are. The divine is beyond all division.

So, the Sacred Feminine has nothing to do with gender, nothing to do with gender classification. The Sacred Feminine is the Divine that gives form to the formless, enables it to reveal its richness. And this happens through the creation that the two bring forth in an intertwining, in perpetual divine acts of procreation.

So, we can say that there is a first creation, a sacred, unassailable world: the Spirit-Soul world. Our world, in which the qualities have separated from each other, is an outflow of it.

For our western, rational-linear consciousness, the divine in its interplay of “male” (=impulsive, formless, unrevealed) and “female” (=receiving, giving birth, revealing) is difficult to understand. Again and again in the course of history – mainly due to the influence of the Church – there has been a lack of understanding, even a devaluation of the feminine. The feminine was characterised as “dangerous”, as “earthbound and earth-binding”, even as a factor on the spiritual path that had to be overcome.

It was not recognised that the masculine in our world can be earth-bound and earth-binding in the same way. Both aspects point to their hidden higher dimension in which they are one. This oneness must be striven for again. Our world is the training school for this.

In his Divine Comedy, Dante describes the ascent to the sacred feminine, to Mary Queen of Heaven. Dante can only enter this sphere with the help of Beatrice. The cosmic sacred feminine only allows those to enter its sphere who have attained the sacred feminine within themselves. Beatrice can be understood as a symbol for the resurrection body that Dante attains in the course of the Divine Comedy.

In the Eastern tradition, especially in Indian spirituality, we find an intimate veneration of the Divine Mother in all her aspects: The Birth Mother (Ambe), The Divine Mother (Jagadambe), The Sacred Mother (Mata Bhavani), The Nurturing Mother (Durga Tinashini), The Dark Cosmic Mother (Kali), The Lovely Soft Mother (Uma), The Divine Queen (Sita) and The Elemental Mother (Radha Rukha Mane). (cf. Hagara Feinbier,[9]).

The wonderful Indian myth of Shiva and Shakti also venerates the power of the Sacred Feminine and describes how the divine couple Shiva – Shakti needs a long and painful process to bring together the extreme poles of asceticism and ecstasy, of independence and symbiotic merging, of world aversion and devoted “world care” in a mature consciousness.

Many myths and fairy tales from the Orient and the Occident tell us of seven or twelve brothers enchanted into ravens, who must be redeemed by a sister.

Is this redeeming sister perhaps a symbol of the sacred feminine? Does she want to give us hints for our spiritual practice, for our everyday life?

In what ways can the Sacred Feminine inspire us for the challenges of the new age? Let us look at the sacred plane that permeates our world and of which Goethe says in his Faust: “The eternal feminine draws us towards it.” It calls us “to order”, to the higher order of being human.

The Sacred Feminine does not exclude, but envelops and integrates.

The Sacred Feminine can make us see how the different parts of life are connected. It can show us the patterns of relationships and the interconnections that nurture life. The Sacred Feminine provides spaces for development. It protects, envelops and shows devotion and care. It “lovingly spreads its mantle” (cf. the depictions of Mary). It can help us to see consciously what we grasp intuitively: Everything is part of a living, organic whole in which the whole of creation communicates with each other and each created cell expresses the whole in a unique way.

The path of soul development is not a straight, linear path where everything that is “disturbing” can be left aside. It is a dynamic path that calls for transcendence, for sanctification. The Sacred Feminine can teach us that every experience that is honestly evaluated and reflected upon is of great significance. The path of the soul proceeds in serpentine lines, it also leads to dead ends and needs turnarounds again and again.

Soul growth does not happen through asceticism or exclusion, but through attentive watching and evaluating, through intuitive recognition of the sacred, which shimmers through all living things and (in its own way) continuously “speaks” to us.

The sacred feminine gives birth to the rhythm of the sacred.

This rhythm is called: inhale and exhale. The Sacred Feminine knows that being is more important than doing. Far too quickly we think that our own conflicts and the problems of the world can only be solved through continued “activity” and “doing”. But it is precisely this focus on “restless activity” that has brought us into critical situations. In silence lies the greatest power. In it we can sense the divine rhythm and try to attune ourselves to it.

The sacred feminine gives a space to the bodily presence.

We are creatures of the divine and are meant to be so in our corporeality as well as in our soul and spiritual structure. Our bodily existence, our bodily presence and our “being present together” are of elementary importance ([12]). Our sexuality can also become an expression of the sacred, a reflection of the “divine sexuality” that is creatively realised in a hermaphroditic structure. The path to this is pictured in the Song of Solomon in a touching way.

 The Sacred Feminine embodies the lovingly caring divine presence.

The sacred feminine shows us that the spiritual life is not a ruptured life, a life removed to spiritual spheres, but rather, outwardly seen, a completely normal life. Every smallest everyday action is significant – in being together with people, animals, plants. If this togetherness takes place on the basis and in the consciousness of our inner essence, it is sanctified, healed. The sacred feminine works in the completely unspectacular, loving presence in our relationships, in our family, in the neighbourhood, in our surroundings. Here it proves itself. “By their fruits you will know them”. Are they fruits of the higher nature or fruits that belong to the world of opposites? We can sense and stimulate the sacred in the depths of every creature.

The Sacred Feminine teaches us the wisdom of receiving and listening.

The Sacred Feminine shows us how love and yearning can create a space in the heart to connect to the Divine. When our heart is open, everything we need at that moment comes to us.

Just as a mother often intuitively knows how to listen to her children in order to perceive their real needs, the Sacred Feminine teaches us how to listen inwardly and outwardly to life, how to participate in the great mystery.

Listening is an essential quality of receiving. We can learn to listen, to be attentive inwardly and outwardly, and to be attentive to the signs that tell us what life is really about. Life is a direct expression of the divine, an image on the material plane. We can learn to perceive the hidden presence of the Divine in matter, in nature.

The Sacred Feminine develops the creative dialogue.

The sacred feminine has an eye for the whole. She feels the various interrelationships and intuitively knows how they work together. It wants to bring the different perspectives and points of view of the creatures in the great fabric into a constructive process of synergetic togetherness, into a truly creative dialogue.

We can learn not only to speak from what we already know, what we have read, what is part of our philosophy, but to listen to what wants to be said and expressed at this very moment. We can learn to have respect for other perspectives and points of view, even to “interweave” these perspectives with our contribution. The Sacred Feminine always has unity in mind without wanting to anticipate unity.

The Sacred Feminine unfolds service in the “Universal Living Body”.

The Sacred Feminine shows us the big picture, the sacred fabric. As individuals and as a spiritual community we are holons (parts) of the Universal Living Body. Each spiritual group and community has a specific task and vibration within it that determines the nature of its participation in the outer and inner worlds. Some spiritual groups work and serve in the outer world, for example, providing help through healing activities. Other groups work close to the physical world and help to heal the etheric body of the earth. Still other groups work in the astral world and still others deep within, even on the planes of non-being. There is no competition here, no better or higher. Everyone fulfils their place through service. We can learn to fit humbly into this mosaic of service.

The Sacred Feminine heralds a quality of consciousness in which opposites and polarities are fruitfully combined.

In the coming new era, the Sacred Feminine will above all initiate a “key qualification” of human consciousness. Sri Aurobindo ([13]) calls it the effect of “supramental consciousness”, Ken Wilber in his integral philosophy of consciousness calls it the yellow or turquoise stage. It is the ability to release a completely new quality of consciousness in oneself on the basis of the connection to one’s own inner essence, in which all opposites and polarities can be fruitfully connected and merged. Then spirit and matter,

fire and water,
masculine and feminine,
rationality and emotionality,
science and religion,
activity and tranquillity,
ambition and modesty,
humility and courage.
are no longer opposites.

In the words of Sri Aurobindo:

This is the knot that binds the stars together: The two that are one form the secret of all power. The two that are one are also might and right in things. (Sri Aurobindo,*13)

[1]  Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book I, from: Collected Works of Sri Aurobindo, Volumes 33 and 34, p. 21)
[2] Charles Eisenstein: The More Beautiful World Our Heart Knows Is Possible, Munich 2020.
[3] Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braided Sweetgrass, The Wisdom of Plants, Berlin 2021
[4] Lucas Buchholz, The KOGI – How a natural people inspire our modern world, Saarbrücken 2019
[5] Charles Eisenstein: The more beautiful world our heart knows is possible, Munich 2020, p. 28.
[6] Teilhard de Chardin, The Heart of Matter, Zurich 2019.
[7] Llewellyn Vaughan Lee, The Matrix of Life, Freiburg 2011, p. 50
[8] Llewellyn Vaughan Lee, The Matrix of Life, Freiburg 2011, p. 50
[9] Hagara Feinbier, Come Together Songs, Vol. 3, Bad Belzig 2011, p. 127.
[10] LOGON theme issue 7 “Power”, p
[11] Ela Thole, The Divine Shakti, Bielefeld 2015.
[12] Gernot Böhme, Liebe kann man nicht machen, interview in the magazine EVOLVE in the issue 5/2015 as well as 39/2023)
[13] Satprem, Sri Aurobindo or: The Adventure of Consciousness, Gladenbach 2010, p. 244)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Share this article

Article info

Date: May 11, 2024
Author: Burkhard Lewe (Germany)
Photo: Vallenfine auf Pixabay CCO

Featured image: