Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Sacred Union

The religious texts which have been passed down to us through history have the distinction of being patriarchal in their outlook. In the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Koran, and other sacred writings, we inherit a male perspective, voice, and presence. Many of the symbols, images, and metaphors for the Divine coming from the Old Testament and Book of Mormon involve warfare, the struggle for hierarchy and power, or images of conquering and subduing the land. Salvation through sacraments and by proper authority is stressed. I often wonder what a uniquely feminine mystical theology would look like.

I believe that female mysticism has much to do with relationships. In the Garden of Eden pageant portrayed in the Temple, it is instructive to view the individual encounters of Adam and Eve with the Satan figure. When Satan introduces himself to the man, he comes bearing the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and suggests that Adam partake of this fruit. Adam refuses unequivocally. Next, Satan presents himself to the woman with the same offer.

Eve's reaction to Satan is quite different than Adam's. She first wants to know who Satan is. What is his relationship to her? He tells her that he is her brother. She then wonders why a brother would ask her to go against a command of the Father. She is trying to make sense of the relationships involved first, before she will consider the offer.

Interestingly, many of my spiritual strivings involve an imaging of the Divine Feminine and the primordial Sacred Union. I picture "Elohim"--a plural form of the word "God"--to be a sacred union of the male and female Deity. Thus Elohim created male and female in "his" own image. (In many languages, the pronoun "his" expresses both sexes.) I enjoy pondering this relationship as well as the relationship they maintain with their children, humanity.

Reconnection with the divine feminine is essential to our spiritual evolution. However, this must not be done in opposition to the patriarchal father aspect of God. The image of the Sacred Union topples both the notion of extreme female bias in the form of radical feminism, and male dominance with its patriarchal and hierarchical idealogical systems.

In order to reach a more complete knowledge of the Father/Mother God, there must be more freedom allowed to a female imaging of the Divine Feminine. For example, healing is a mystical rite which involves both feminine and masculine. Perhaps the masculine priesthood power provides strength and battles against the infectious elements. The feminine priestesshood is manifest through touch, empathy, discernment, binding. When we eliminate the feminine from our rituals of healing, we lose much. We see a reluctance to touch the body parts involved, and we gradually lose this in our healing, blessing, and temple rituals.

I am interested in hearing modern Mormon reactions to feminine mysticism. Can you see female influences in the symbolism and ritual of the Church? Are you afraid of feminine mysticism? Can you see ways in which the Divine Masculine and Feminine work together in Sacred Union?


Johnny said...

I liked this post a lot, and think that many could benefit from "female mysticism." I do have a question though...

However, this must not be done in opposition to the patriarchal father aspect of God.

Isn't the "patriarchal" aspect of God itself domineering. The word "arche" means to rule, and thus it is rule by the Father. It seems to me that a mysticism devoted to the divine feminine would necessarily be in opposition to the "arche" of the "father."

Bored in Vernal said...

Good point, Johnny--I think what I meant here was that in recognizing the feminine, there shouldn't be an opposition to or a subjugation of the masculine. "Patriarchal" is certainly a loaded word. The two aspects of Deity should act in union.

Bob Rees said...

bored in vernal:

I am putting together a panel on war and peace in SLC in August and am wondering if you would be willing to be a participant.

Bored in Vernal said...

bob, this sounds like something I'd really be interested in. Please let me know more about it. clbruno at hotmail