Finding the Goddess

Finding the Goddess 

Somewhere in Asia at this moment, a woman is opening her palms to the statue of a naked dancing goddess, her throat ringed with skulls.

Somewhere in Africa at this moment, a man is sounding a deep drum pulse, calling the village to offer morning prayers to the goddess of earth.

Somewhere in America at this moment, women in a circle are closing their eyes, gripping each others’ hands, and humming quietly.

Somewhere in the town where you live, a woman today will enact a ritual that honors the goddess. Perhaps she will do so unconsciously: decorating a tablecloth with an ethnic design showing the plant goddess surrounded by her heraldic animals, or baking a special holiday pancake that keeps the winter goddess at bay. Or perhaps she does so consciously, meditating as she watches a candle flicker, calling out the name of the goddess whose power she wishes to bring forth. Hera, she sings, or Aphrodite, or Artemis, or Brigid – names spoken like sighs or promises.

Somewhere in the town where you live, a man today will honor the goddess. He will do it, perhaps, unconsciously: cutting the hedges as his grandfather taught him, with respect for the plant’s life, or caressing his lover’s cheek with tender care. Or he will do it consciously, calling out to the feminine force in the universe and within himself. Oshun, he sings, or Kuan-Yin, or Isis, or Kali. Familiar names, unfamiliar ones, ringing through his heart’s chambers.

Perhaps that woman is you. Perhaps that man is you.

Or perhaps it could be.

Across Europe and America today, on television programs and in book clubs and during weekend workshops, women and men talk about finding the goddess. Yet, in truth, she has never been lost. She has never died; she is still vividly alive. Across the world, many religions still honor her in ritual and prayer. And even in religions that seem to exclude her, the goddess has found ways to survive, as saint or bodhisattva or revered leader. She lives too in dreams and in art, illuminating our lives with her multiple meanings, leading us into deeper connection with ourselves and with the earth we inhabit.

The goddess has never been lost. It is just that some of us have forgotten how to find her.

But the path to her is there. In many lands, it remains a vital thoroughfare, traveled by ordinary people as they make their way through life. But in much of the western world, the goddess path has become virtually invisible, overgrown through centuries of neglect of the rituals that restore and refresh her. That path is being cleared today by scholars and artists, ritualists and powers, dancers and drummers. Men and women alike are seeking and finding ways back to the realm of the Great Goddess who is life and death, love and growth, dance and nature’s cycle.

There is no way to follow the goddess path. There is no one true church of the goddess, no pope of the goddess movement. There is no one ritual that unites all believers. There are no dogmas, no doctrines, no creeds. There is no university that can give you credentials to honor the goddess, in your heart or in public. There is no Bible that tells you everything you need to know and that limits what you can do.

There is only you.

You, and others like you, who have joined to create a religion that honors the feminine force in nature and in ourselves. Some say that this is an old religion, come back like a fruitful tree that has been too heavily pruned but which nonetheless survives. Yet even if the roots are old, this is new growth, new flowering, new fruit.

You, and others like you, walk the goddess path. How many are you? It is impossible to say, for this journey is so individual that no statistics can capture it. There are those for whom the goddess is a private intellectual search, who read about her and speculate on her meaning in culture and in myth. There are those for whom she is an emotional construct, a way of understanding the varying voices of the emerging self. There are those for whom she is a part of everyday ritual, honored in meditation and in prayer.

There are those who seek out others to join in invoking her, and those who honor her privately. There are those who find themselves creating altars of stones and feathers on tabletops, who do not even have a name for what they do. There are those who pause in the garden on an overcast day and remember – but who cannot find words to explain what they remember.

All are on the goddess path.

The goddess path is within you. To walk it, you must develop your inner resources and strengths. Information and insights will come to you from others. Evaluate them in light of the truths of your own heart. For that is where she lives, even when you forget to look for her. She is always there, providing the love and strength and power you need. Look for her there, and you will always find her.

Taken from “The Goddess Path” by Patricia Monaghan

~ by TerraRubrae on June 22, 2012.

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