We all have heard the term ‘Goddess’. Common inferences of this include – feminine divinity – images of Mother Earth, Mother Mary, Laxmi Mata who gives infinitely, graceful Angelic females, beautiful Witches, or smiling weaponed Warriors, come to mind instantly. While it is necessary to honour and respect innate femininty and celebrate the same, it is necessary for us to debunk certain myths that have been controlling the female spirit and our planet through generations.
- Generosity and Kindness versus Exploitation: The myth that being a divine feminine embodiment is all about giving endlessly without thinking is promoted all over the world, and women could be disempowered as slaves of the patriarchial society using this myth. Take for instance the system of ‘dowry’ to exploit women of India who are called ‘ghar ki Laxmi’ or the house goddess of ‘prosperity’ through whom husbands expect to inherit a small fortune by way of marriage. Even if the evil of dowry is abolished, women are still expected to be overly generous and kind to their household, giving more than enough time, energy, working 24×7 at times both indoors and outdoors, looking after children singlehandedly, performing unpaid household jobs and also bringing money into the family through professional work or businesses. Similarly earth is also exploited for her treasures, whether coal, gold, petroleum, land, water, wood or agriculture…all parts of earth that are being usurped by humankind, leaving our planet feeling depleted and in severe crisis. The only way out is to release ourselves from the prison of human expectations and to allow mother earth and the female spirit to be free from greedy and senseless exploitation. We need to give energy to our planet and not merely take from it.
- Sexual Servitude versus true Sexual Power: The western concept of Goddess is very different from the aforementioned Asian stereotype. In the west, the term Goddess is used to often refer to a sexual heroine, much like Aphrodite, Venus or Ashtoreth connected with fertility. The pictures associated with goddesses are depictions of feminine love, beauty, sexuality, a gorgeous figure, excellent makeup, and charismatic sensuality that enchants others instantly. Sometimes this can be a tall order to live up to, with women feeling pressurised to look ‘pretty’, to always dress beautifully, to have great skin or vital statistics, to smell beautiful all the time, to have amazing silky and long hair, and so on. These demands are imposed on women by the way of social conditioning intent at seeing a female figure as primarily a ‘sexual one’ thereby commodifying them. It is not uncommon for men to expect sexual servitude from a woman whom they believe to be their personal ‘goddess’, and they brainwash women to think they need men to complete them with the token of ‘divine masculinity’ which although underprized is also catching up as a trend. Individuality and the power to say ‘no’ to over-sexualisation or beautification is in-fact the genuine trait of the Goddess who does not need validation from others, especially not from the male gaze. Similarly we need to respect the wild side of earth and not customize it to our selfish needs through artificial landscaping, agriculture and beautification that destroys the natural flora and fauna in entireity.
- Anger versus Personal Power: Some images or fantasy of Goddesses focus on the ‘angry’ and violent forms of feminine, that are portrayed with a plethora of weapons. From Diana an Artemis who are huntresses, to Kali who is adorned with human skulls and bones, Durga with many weapons in her many arm or Hecate who represents occult powers….there are many versions of the dark goddess. While this would appeal to a traditional feminist, the issue is when this connotation is applied to assist in harming or in giving power to evil acts. For example it is not uncommon in some tantric rituals to very wrongly use the name of Kali for sacrificing innocent animals, which is not in alignment with divine nature at all. The use of dark goddess archetypes to further negative or harmful spells or to support malpractices in witchcraft are also prevalent in some parts of the world, whether in Africa, Western countries such as Britian, or India. Debunking the myths that witchcraft or magic is evil or used for controlling or harming is much required, so is the need to understand that goddesses are not necessarily angry or terrifying without reason. Similarly whether it be natural calamities, diseases, plagues, disasters or climate catastrophes on earth, they are quite possibly a result of human action and not due to any kind of unjustified anger from mother nature towards humans.
- Material versus Spiritual Power: A big myth regarding Goddesses is that they only represent the observable reality, material world, or the physical universe, with the ‘higher power’ of designing the world being bestowed upon the heavenly father. The word mother being linked to ‘matter’ or maternity and father to ‘paternity’ or the designer of the universal pattern is an indication of how feminine is imagined as the creation, and masculine as the creator. This widely held point of view grossly subjugates the female authority while elevating the masuline power to one that is ‘higher up’ compared to the feminine and therefore the ‘one true God’ to be worshipped instead of the illusory ‘maya’ of the world. Instead of subscribing to the stereotype of female energy being material and male energy being the superior one, it is necessary to view the higher self as gender neutral and the lower self as a spectrum of genders from masculine to feminine to hybrid gender forms being present in physical and mental reality. The Higher Self is unity consciousness or truth which is universal and not gender-specific in nature thereby allowing equal respect to all gender based personifications of deity. In simpler terms matter and energy are interchangeable and hence God or Goddess, what term you use in prayer, does not ideally matter as gender differences are observable only in the lower realms of the multiverse and that line too is being blurred.
- Angel Goddess versus Down to Earth Feminine: A great myth prevalent in the world has been one of an ‘angelic’ superiority. Long robes, white light, smiling face and kind eyes can easily be used to hide our inner wounds, our humble human self, and our distinct personality that is changeable. The fact that we all are divine, yet we fumble and learn our lessons in human form is something worthy of appreciation so that we remain grounded instead of being in an illusion of being ‘holier than thou’. Sometimes women feel then need to appear more benovelent and graceful than we should be due to the stress on being of an ‘angelic disposition’ leaving us wearing a mask that hides our true authentic self. To be able to be free of these stereotypes and to reveal our genuine and honest selves is an achievement that is sometimes underprized in society. Sometimes through meditation, people get zoned out and tranquilized to agree to everything, and be overly nice to everyone, even to the point that they are not able to speak up or take a moral stand against evil. Through the more down-to-earth spirituality of practical action, we can manifest our angelic goddess into reality of a happier planet for all creatures instead of merely focusing on personal healing through mindfulness or ‘self help’ for ourselves and human souls.
- Mother Goddess versus Self Realization: In society when it comes to the image of feminine, or ‘goddess’ the role of the female as mother is overhyped. Throughout the ages and across culture, it is believed that because we are born of the female womb, motherhood is the primary role of a woman who is an embodiment of the creator. An image of the ‘sacred cows’ of India comes to the forefront, those worshipped as mother but at the same time inhumanly enslaved to repetetively perform reproduction in order to enable stealing of their breastmilk meant for their infants. The over-emphasis of fertility of earth and of the woman, in a primarily reproductive role also has led to over-population and an exploitation of the womb to an extent that women are shunned if unable to perform the ‘reproductive duty’ assigned to them by the social matrix. The important part is to understand that motherhood is not necessarily a virtue, it is by far, looking after our planet that is a true embodiment our divine higher self. However for this, we need to look after our own higher good too. We cannot be an unconditionally loving mother towards others, and deprive ourselves of our own higher calling of earth healing and ascension. Clearly producing and looking after more people is no longer meant to be for the highest good of our planet.