The divine feminine is an ancient spiritual energy that has existed since the beginning of time and it’s a part of us. Embracing the divinity within ourselves challenges society’s idea of what empowerment should look like, but in reality, no one can be powerful outside themselves without embracing all parts of who they are.
While definitions will vary among spiritualists, the divine feminine is generally thought to represent a part of our consciousness that connects us to qualities like intuition, feeling, nurturing, and interconnectedness. This energy is all around us with unlimited access if desired.
We live in a society where we think more than we feel, act rather than submit to what is happening around us and focus our energies on everyone else but ourselves. Sacred femininity offers an opportunity for rebalancing this status quo by asserting female values such as intuition, receptivity, and introspection by recognizing and inviting these sacred aspects to everyday life.
Marion Woodman in her book Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride beautifully explained the nature of true feminine:
“The true feminine is the receptacle of love. The true masculine is the spirit that goes into the eternal unknown in search of meaning. The great container, the Self, is paradoxically both male and female and contains both. If these are projected onto the outside world, transcendence ceases to exist. The Self—the inner wholeness—is petrified. Without the true masculine spirit and the true feminine love within, no inner life exists…. To be free is to break the stone images and allow life and love to flow.”
Marion Woodman believes that centuries of “patriarchal thinking” have stripped the soul from our inner and outer lives, which has placed the world in grave danger. In her work, she urges us to engage with this unconscious energy by exploring where it continues to erupt beneath the surface of our best intentions – sending us places we may not want to go. Her message is articulated throughout her many books on what might be at risk for all humankind if nothing changes soon: Our very souls!
I first encountered Woodman’s work in my late forties when I came across her book Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride. Intrigued by the title I found myself unable to escape from the messages of the book. That message that can be best understood as ‘it’s easier to work at being better than you are rather than be who you are forced to be’ for the first time created an honest confrontation with aspects of myself which had never before crossed my mind as possible– demanding witches, jealous Heras and helpless Ophelias lurking just below the surface waiting only for someone or something else (or anything) more perfect with whom they can merge. That is how my journey into the depths of my own psyche started.
As consciousness develops, the body will act as a donkey for only so long. Men as much as women need to know that their soul is grounded in their own loving matter. ‘This is who I am. Every cell in my body tells me this is of value to me—not to my persona, to me.’ That is the container whose feeling can be trusted because it is grounded in reality.’ (Woodman, 1981)
One of the most effective ways to change one’s life is through creativity, especially by listening to oneself and respecting what we are feeling. This can be done by actively engaging in dream imagery, dance, and movement. The body will undergo a metabolic shift as you realize that your perceptions can be opened up in order for other levels to make themselves known it’s all about letting go and surrender our own soul and imagination to God or Goddess and from that union with the Divine, ‘comes the Divine Child, the new consciousness’ (Ryly, 1998).
In Woodman’s approach to the divine feminine, she invited Sophia as her personal goddess who bridges the gap between the body and spirit. This connection occurs through the soul which contains memories from past experiences as well as knowledge of current events.
According to Woodman:
“Without the consciousness of Sophia’s wisdom illuminating not only our body but the body of creation, we lack the crucial connection to our own feeling. We judge with our minds and forget we have hearts, lungs, spleens, and bowels. Then we fail to temper our winged spirit with human limitations. Without an embodied soul, the spirit cannot manifest through human feeling. It flies like an angel with no place to land, archetypal energy that merely swoops through, leaving the body a burned-out shell demanding whatever perverted solace it can find.” (Woodman, 177-78)
So how do restore the connection to our feelings, how do we find the connection to the divine feminine within? How do we invite the feminine principle in everyday life?
That will be the subject of my next blog post.
Marion Woodman The Ravaged Bridegroom: Masculinity in Women, Inner City Books, Toronto 1990, 181.
Nancy Ryly, The Forsaken Garden: Four Conversations on the Meaning of Environmental Illness, Quest Books, Wheaton, IL 1998.