My dream is that, at some time in the future, violence will be so rare that it would seem strange to write about it in a blog about the sacred feminine in everyday life. Unfortunately, though, for now it is all too much a part of daily life for many women, whether through experiencing the organized violence of war, or crime, or domestic violence, or the emotional violence that is part of too many relationships.
I first began to understand the importance of celebrating the Sacred Feminine as a way to heal the wounds left by many years ago when I heard an older woman speak to women of her community about her life as a survivor of many decades of abuse. After a lifetime of silence she was speaking up. I asked myself what had given this woman – who had always been told to be quiet, to serve, to take whatever violence was forced on her — the courage to speak out. Of course, she was never to blame for the violence against her, but something had changed her perspective of the violence and herself so that she was able to respond in a way that could help prevent other women from experiencing violence. All I could think of was that she had finally fully understood her own divinity. She believed she had a soul, that all women have souls, and that she had to become the protector of her own soul and that of the women in her community. It was then that I realized that the Sacred Feminine isn’t something to just study, to simply practice for my own pleasure and enlightenment, but a way to create peace in our own homes, communities, and world.
Celebrating the sacred feminine certainly does not provide instant healing from violence. It does, however, change one’s way of experiencing the world so as to illuminate truth so that we may see violence for what it is and respond accordingly.
At its most basic, violence is a statement that the person to whom violence is being done is not a sacred being and so it is all right to violate her or him. Celebrating the totality of one’s sacredness requires honoring the sacred feminine within all of us, especially when being a woman is part of what we consider to be our essence. Quite simply, when we grow up in a culture that considers Divinity to be exclusively male, as women, we must readjust our thinking to honor our female selves as being sacred. Once we see ourselves as sacred, we begin to understand that violence is never deserved. This is especially important when a component of so much violence involves convincing victims that they are to blame for violence against them. This is especially true in domestic violence.
When you celebrate the Sacred Feminine, suddenly you are no longer alone in the universe. So often, creating isolation and the feeling of hopelessness is part of the violence. When you recognize the Sacred Feminine, you are embraced by all the women in the world and all they have suffered; your cries of despair are heard by She Who Hears the Cries of the World. You are connected to that which is female in All that Is. Never again will you be truly alone or go unheard and very little is as healing as that.
So often I have heard women say “If only I had done this or that, the violence would not have happened.” One woman who had been raped once asked me if God was mad at her for not fighting her rapist even when her life was threatened. While some images of Goddess also include judgment, to me, the image of Goddess as ”mother” has more acceptance than judgment. Within the Sacred Feminine, survivors are gathered to receive compassion and nurturance and not further violation through judgment by those who could not possibly understand what a woman has experienced.
So, the Sacred Feminine is where survivors of violence can find a space that offers them what they need for healing: a sense that they did not deserve the violence, being listened to, relationship, acceptance.
Of course, men also experience violence. What about them? Are they to suffer simply because they were born with y chromosomes? I believe that the Sacred Feminine is just as essential for male survivors of violence as for women. They, too, need to honor all aspects of themselves as sacred, to be heard, to find relationship to She Who Hears Their Cries, to be accepted and not judged.
The Sacred Feminine also offers a vision of a world where all beings are considered sacred and where violence, therefore, would not ever be acceptable. While violence is considered a legitimate way to respond to a situation, it will always exist and proliferate. As long as it is a strategy rather than an abomination, people will use it for their own ends. Celebrating the Sacred Feminine offers a vision of a world without violence, where all beings, women and men, are sacred and therefore inviolable; where all beings, women and men, are connected through their essential humanness and generation from a Divinity that they also carry within; where all the cries of the world are heard; where judgment is less important than compassion. When we carry this vision in our hearts and minds, we hold the seeds of a world without violence.
I have been fortunate to have few memories of real physical violence against me, but I know that few women or men can say that. So, I invite those who have more experience than I do to comment and share your own thoughts and stories. This entry is just a beginning of a dialogue, just thoughts from my own experience. Perhaps by telling each other our stories and talking about our thoughts about them, we can all find ways to banish the violence that threatens our lives and our very existence.