The Goddess Trap: Sacred Six Deeply Held Myths About the Divine Feminine

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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Seven Ways to Raise the Image of the Divine Feminine

The Divine Feminine has regained its importance in the global arena of spiritual awakening. While western countries are seeing a steady collapse of patriarchal religious systems, women in eastern nations are also fighting against their rampant rape and abuse. What we truly need is to awaken the goddess within ourselves as the divine feminine or creative power in each one of us, regardless of gender or belief. Here are a few ways we can achieve that.

  1. Goddess as Empowered Feminine and not just Idols: Hordes of people in many states of India immerse larger than life goddess idols in water to celebrate Navratri each year after praying to these idols including Saraswati, Laxmi, Kali and the nine forms of Durga, in the hope of wish-fulfillment for career, relationships, protection and so on. It is indeed ironic that India is also a country notorious for rape and domestic abuse as depicted in the awareness campaign through images commissioned by Save the Children and Save the Sisters.  Instead of merely worshiping the goddess as a celestial or heavenly figure of religious belief, we can begin to see the goddess as nature and the power within all of us. When we flood our eco-system with garbage including idols in water-bodies we are not really serving the goddess or pleasing the divine feminine in any manner. Depictions of the goddess too need to transform to those that are self-empowering and not merely based on cultural stereotypes of domesticated feminine. (Img courtesy India Today).goddess_all_660_090613011540
  2. Acceptance of Menstruation and Feminine Physiology: The idea of feminine periodic cycles and reproductive process as something painful or shameful has been promoted in western texts such as the Bible where God is said to have denounced women as ‘unclean’ during periods and cursed Eve with labor pain. However the practice of regarding women as unclean during menstruation has been followed even in temples of India and Thailand. Male and female devotees of lord Ayappa have been vehemently protesting the supreme court verdict allowing females of menstrual age to visit the Sabrimala temple in Kerala, India. Some stories describe how the celibate lord could be ‘distracted’ by menstrual women between 10 to 50 years of age in order to keep menstruating women away, while some people in India believe menstruation to be impure as a basis of the restriction upon female visitors to many temples. There is a temple dedicated to worship of ‘the bleeding goddess’ Kamakhya in Assam, India, where ironically women are not allowed to enter during periods.  Perhaps women should simply reject such systems that condone their menstruation by respecting themselves and nature as divine.kamakhyawomen
  3. Virginity versus Higher Consciousness: The notion that a woman is holiest when she is a virgin is popularized in most patriarchal faiths, especially the Bible that notes that the Son of God was born miraculously of the ‘sinless’ Virgin Mary.  Feminine sexuality and sinfulness might have been equated in such faiths, however virginity is also highly desirable when it comes to sex and marriage with the Koran promising male Muslim faithfuls the pleasures of ravenous mating with several virgins in heaven, and the Bible being replete with references of very young virgins being sought after for marriage. In-fact a woman accused of not being a virgin at the time of marriage could be stoned to death according to Deuteronomy 22:13 by the men of the city if her parents could not produce evidence in front of the elders at the city gates of blood collected from the hymen on a cloth after the first night of intercourse. These archaic notions that prize a woman’s virginity as if she were an object of sexual consumption and treat her as ‘defiled’ if not a virgin need to have no place in society with focus instead on inner awakening and higher consciousness for both men and women as equals.virgin church72-houris
  4. Shiva-Shakti as Consciousness within us: Shiva is traditionally shown as the ultimate super-consciousness and creator yet visualized primarily in masculine form. The feminine as ‘his Shakti’ or power of nature whom Shiva controls like the Ganges in his hair is sometimes seen as the outer universe and not as higher consciousness. In ancient texts such as Vigyan Bhairava Tantra, lord Bhairava gives his gems of superior cosmic knowledge to the goddess Bhairavi to clear her ‘doubts’. Images such as these seem to promote a belief that feminine is usually the unconscious, receptive, passive or submissive self who needs to ‘respect’ the masculine and learn from masculine versions of god. Masculine superiority in the garb of tantra can often lead to sexual exploitation of female disciples in the name of ‘shakti’ while male gurus become the powerful ‘shiva’ figures of today. We need more female gurus as enlightened masters guiding our world into ascension, so that the feminine is not seen only as the phallus worshiping ‘sexual energy’ in tantra but as the super-consciousness within us. We need to be our own Shiva and our own Shakti regardless of the gender we were born in, instead of confirming to divine masculine or feminine stereotypes. lord-shiva-hd-wallpapers-1080p-6
  5. Independent Women and not merely Devoted Wife: In many images Mahalaxmi is depicted as massaging the feet of Mahavishnu as he sleeps and dreams up the universes. Goddesses such as Sita and Sati have burnt in fire to prove their love and purity to their husbands in this complex religious matrix that exonerates the image of ‘sati-savitri’ (virtuous wife) who regard husbands as ‘pati-parmeshwar’ (supreme lord). Religious images seem to confirm the notion of a devoted wife and mother who serves her master or lord with utmost sincerity. Few would depict the goddess as a self-realized master of herself. Independence and free will are not always a virtue of the goddesses who have been used to receiving roles of carers, supporters and consorts. We need to transform the image of the feminine to one of true inner power and personal independence. (Img http://www.hinduwebsite.com)vishnu-01sati-pratha
  6. Female Masters and not just Masculine Gurus: Images of male yogis, masters, sadhus, high-profile gurus, and saints, adorn our timelines with fewer feminine figures in the limelight. Men with beards, turbans and saffron robes are always in the forefront leading thousands of people in ‘satsangas’ and meditation groups. Women while being leaders in every professional front are yet to be seen as ‘gurus’ in major ways, although there are many who might be coming to the forefront slowly, yet most of these have been disciples and devotees of male gurus.nityaDayaMata
  7. Feminine Depictions of Angels and Ascended Masters: We are used to seeing a lot of masculine ascended masters in literature and published works, including names such as Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mahavtar Babaji and the ‘great white brotherhood’ of the new-age including Sananda, Ashtar and Sanat Kumara with the female masters being primarily Mother Mary and a few feminine deities of mythology. Similarly Archangels are usually depicted as male with feminine twin-flames for some of the qualities and traits they resonate with, for example Archangel Michael with Archeia Faith. Instead we need to see Angels and Archangels as gender-free energies of our higher self and the Archeias as their inner qualities that help us awaken to the higher levels of consciousness. We need to recognize ascended masters as our ascended self regardless of gender by seeing them in either masculine or feminine forms instead of as primarily male, for example we can envision Buddha or Christ energy in female form too.

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The Goddess without Stereotypes

As the world is moving from patriarchal religion based philosophies that exonerate a ‘male God’ towards an acceptance of the divine feminine, we see the word Goddess used ever so often. People typically see this word ‘goddess’ as the ‘outer energy’ of the world, the dancing ‘shakti’ of visible nature, the movements of seasons, cyclical moon-phases, changeable vibrations or flow and ebb. This is the traditional viewpoint of the Goddess, one which is still somewhat patriarchal and based in an indirect or subtle belief in a masculine God viewed as the ultimate creator and the feminine goddess as his Maya or vibration.

In this viewpoint that has been marketed to us through centuries of time, we have seen the Goddess as physicality in the form of a beautiful maiden or glamorous idol with gorgeous clothes, a desirable Aphrodite, Radha, Venus or Voluptas, or as a gentle and docile motherly being embodied as Sita, Kwan Yin or Lakshmi, a giver of love, or if we are feeling somewhat feminist, a warrior goddess such as Durga, Athena, Nike or a dark crone Kali and Hecate. Her traditional role – to give energy or Shakti to the masculine, to be the power of Shiva the God, to dance as the world in the form of Radha who loves the superhero Krishna along with his numerous Gopis and wives, or to be the provider or nature (Prakriti) to the unending needs of man (Purusha). She has been seen through the ages as the Kundalini or serpent-like energy controlled by the supreme Lord who wraps her above his head like river Ganges in his crown chakra. The goddess has been equated with the energetic universe that although vast and infinite, has an ultimate creator above her, visualized predominantly as God the masculine force.

How about if we start seeing the Goddess as the Supreme Creator, with the word ‘Goddess’ containing ‘God’ within, who is manifest as the world or universe, yet also simultaneously beyond it as the Source? How about seeing the ultimate being as a feminine and not just masculine form, as Goddess and not just as God? How about saying ‘Oh my Goddess’ instead of ‘Oh my God’ sometimes in your daily routine? We do not see a lot of people, including new age spiritualists do that very often, and although we might argue that the the word ‘God’ is used by us as a term beyond gender, why not try to see the word Goddess too in such a higher light. How about seeing the earthly manifestation or ‘avatar’ of the Supreme Creator as the female Christ consciousness born of the heavenly mother Goddess and not just as the Son of the heavenly Father.

This shift in consciousness or perception helps us let go of all these stereotypical images of the goddess as not just a sexual, reproductive and fertility based icon of seasonal shifts and earth energy, but also a higher trans-personal being with the masculine and feminine encased within herself. No longer is she merely a gender based ‘ultra feminine’ personification, but also a gender-free consciousness that can express as male, female or transgender, a consciousness that exists within  everyone. After-all gender is a notion that we all can and should rise above!

Enjoy this meditation to help unite the goddesses of the world into the higher Source being for personal ascension and earth-healing through Oneness consciousness and allow the divine feminine in you return to her true awakened self!

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