Follow me J.Z. Amennun aka “^SEHU?!.” the Unapologetic Goddess Worshipper as I go round the cycles of the Moon and back…. only on these online links of preference:
THE MOON MANDALA VOL. I
This is the philosophy of ASoP: A String of Pearls, the teachings of the Lunar Cosmology with the Creation Stories of the Moon Mandala. It is a Goddess-Centered spiritual system that provide the rituals of Feminine Divinity and the sacred instructions outlining the Art and Science of Sexual Alchemy. This text describes the method and the means of obtaining the true Pearl of Great Price. It is the blue print or paradigm of the Doctrine of Living the Lunar Life which based on the principles of Natural Law according to its 7 Core Practices.
Class C Document
Copyright 2012 © by Jawanza Z. Amennun aka “^SEHU?!.”
HOW AND WHY I CAME TO WRITE A STRING OF PEARLS: A CIRCUMESPECTIVE
“‘Learn now the secret of the web that is woven between the light and the darkness; whose warp is life evolving in time and space, and whose weft is spun among the lives of men.
“Behold we arise with the dawn of time from the grey and misty sea, and with the dusk we sink in the western ocean, and the lives of a man are strung like pearls on the thread of his spirit; and never in all his journey goes he alone, for that which is solitary is barren.’
“The voice ceased and there was silence; and in the silence I could hear the sound of the sea murmuring among the rocks and knew that the windows stood open to the night.
“Then the voice spoke again, and it gathered a strength that dominated the room:
“‘Learn now the mystery of the ebbing and flowing tides,… That which is dynamic in the outer is latent in the inner, for that which is above is as that which is below, but after another manner.’”
– Dion Fortune, THE SEA PRIESTESS, p. 219 (all emphasis added) –
This is book, in many respects, is as much my life story as it is my life’s work and the learning process that accompanied it. This work should therefore be understood as being as much my personal autobiography or a kind of resume as it is a presentation of this specialized education and work history of mine. It has been based upon my recollections of a series of travels made by me into a smaller invisible universe which is a microcosm in my mind. Yet it was also based on what I could ascertain from the observation of an outer and much larger universe, the macrocosm which was the outer environment that I could see made up of the things that are and always were all around me. In other words, it is a kind of book of memoirs whose contents in part consist of a journey that completely took me into my own inner world while it is also an observation of the natural world around me. I cannot deny that I have in some places written directly as if speaking personally to you the reader and in other places I have written obliquely and indirectly but with authority. As much as I have endeavored at times to be scientific in my approach, I cannot deny that it is primarily a view taken specifically from an artist’s and a as such a spiritualist’s eye. Thus it is a very different perspective from which I am beginning the writing of this preface to the original manuscript of A String of Pearls, Volume I.
Let me first explain what I mean when I say that this place from which I write is different from what another writer might have done had they embarked upon this same task for there are other artists I am sure who write from a spiritual perspective. What is usually expected to be expressed by author in this place is a specific beginning professionally in his or her particular discipline. While it is true that a person from another discipline that might seem closer to some of the discussions put forth here in this text might very well have written on this subject matter in a manner much differently me, I mean that my way has been different in another sense. I could have talked about my degree in Art/Psychology to attempt to give my perspective weight and validity but more of my total life experience as a whole means more to me in this books purpose and design. But I have elected instead to share a more holistic and view of life from the perspective of my living of it. Life is about change and transformation and we are told that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It is because of this simple fact that while the most essential things that I have dealt with my original premise for this book have basically remained the same; there are admittedly, certain aspects of my perspective that have changed over time. These changes are significant with regards to how and when over the period time it has been written. Thirteen years it has been, if you only count my intention to write about this. Overall though, throughout my experiences life has been for me a wonderful adventure into the realms of my own self-focused discipline that has at times been taken on like a kind of scientific study. It is not to say that there have not been rough spots. The discipline that must be maintained to write a book, much less engaging truly in the study many books and practices has its ups and downs. As I have said I have attempted in some of this to be scientific in this book but rather than to just have it be composed only of a description of experiments and dry statistical data however as is what most scientific studies strictly use, A String of Pearls is instead an experiential rather than an experimental review. It is a kind of journal or diary, an account keeping record of what the impact of these experiments and experiences have been for me, still are and will probably in some way continue to be. Though again I insist when I say that my perspective on the facts may at some future time may change. My inner experiences that have been journaled during my process of gleaning the information contained in this work have become for me as important to me as the information that I have gathered in and of its own self. They will be repeated again and again for it is true that practice, i.e., repetition is the mother of learning.
This book is a testament to the idea and the observation of how transformation actually takes place simultaneously in the arenas of the spiritual, the emotional, the mental and the physical realms of our experiences all at one time. Thus, this is why I can say it is not really a retrospective that I believe that I am writing of here in this preface. My reason for writing this work has thus really become a combination of retrospection (looking back at significant past life events) and introspection (looking to and from within) towards future projections. It is with these two things that feel I was able to encircle the significance of such things yet still be able to grow continually towards my understanding of them. They have been for me a set of learning experiences that professionally as an independent student/scholar and personally as a human being who seeks to serve all other sentient beings to be a kind course in continuing education about the meaning of life. Let me also say that I deem that true education in its original sense is not just the accumulation of information and facts but is the evolving of ideas and concepts that are although based on facts are then developed into a new synthesis of thought and practical use.
My subject matter in this book, thus like me and thus like most people who have ever lived, has several layers in it. These are what I will call call the silver threads of experience, running through it singly and collectively all at one and the same time. The Moon itself is like a pearl and its phases are a group of pearls that are the measure of these variations of experience. In many ways they are quite simple individually and yet they are quite complex when they are woven together in a kind of fabric with each part giving structure and form to what it is. Just like life itself these threads can make up a web of experiences or they may be seen as I have chosen to view them in the image of a string of pearls. I could have very well called this book something else as suggested by the research literature I encountered. There were other names that I could have chosen like a Rosary of Moons or a Circle of Caverns and such. This selected title is of course my own personal preference which although not uniquely my own it in certain respects does have a universal message that others who are interested in this kind of multi-disciplinary study can readily avail their selves of if they but take the time and effort to look.
A full explanation of the reason for my title is contained in the introduction that follows this preface. The style and the way that this approach has been articulated in those pages have naturally had to undergo several changes just like the creation of a pearl. This study in itself for me has been as much a creation process as it has been a study of the process of creation itself. Suffice it here to say that although unknowingly, my process of this work was birthed with me in 1968 where my parents raised me on the east coast in Brooklyn on a street called Gates Avenue for the first seven years of my life. Now this works distills some 45 years later to find me on the west coast, on the cusp of a California dream, living on a street called Circle City Drive in the city of Corona. The significance of these two facts will be much clearer to some much later on when you see what this philosophical construct that I am writing about entails. I do not believe in coincidences. I am convinced however that there is a language that expresses itself from the inner side of the human being and that there are synchronicities that exist between where we stand geographically in any given moment in time and what is we might be doing or thinking at that particular time. In this present place that I stand although I write what might be considered my Magnum Opus, I understand that it is but a summation of my thoughts at this present time. My life and my life’s work has become a full circle now and there have been many gates of entry and many other circles of completion leading up to this one in which each phase of the first of them began for me by passing through a gate of experience. The places of Circle City Drive and Gates Avenue hold certain significance for me. Initially, it was not some idea to idea to write a book that I first conceived around this work, but rather it was simply a personal interest of mine, a quest that I feel that I have been on for forever in my mind. Many are the people who have a calling that makes its presence felt early in their lives, few answer the call because they do not hear it or have been talked out of it by outside influences. The calling never leaves the mind though, whether you choose to follow it or not follow it. There is always if nothing else the returning question of “what if,” that lingers in our minds. These are but some the thoughts concerning what I have deemed as the logical conclusions about the nature of life’s cycles but they are also my still open ended intuitive notions which are not yet all resolved. In the light of such darkness as concerns our ability to know, I have taken particular note of the words of one the most, if not the most celebrated scientist of our time in the twentieth century. I am speaking here of Albert Einstein when he says plainly:
“Don’t think about why you question, simply don’t stop questioning. Don’t worry about what you can’t answer, and don’t try to explain what you can’t know. Curiosity is its own reason. Aren’t you in awe when you contemplate the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure behind reality? And this is the miracle of the human mind-to use its constructions, concepts and formulas as tools to explain what man feels and touches. Try to comprehend a little more each day. Have holy curiosity.”
Therefore, I feel that while my work in this field of study is far from over and that in fact that it has only just begun and that it has the capacity in this lifetime, to begin and begin again. I first entered life just like everyone else, through the gates of experiences beginning at the beginning and ending at new one in the bending road of life. It involved my desire to simply discover something more about Nature. I have always wondered incessantly about the influences of magnetic attraction in relationship to the Moon.
The time of my finally deciding to write about all of this was around the season of the Winter Solstice of 1999. But I can honestly say now that I have always throughout my life, been in some way been preparing for what this work now is and was to inevitably become. This is often the case with many writers, but it is often not viewed in the way that I was inclined to see it. It is usually from a straight line of seemingly highlighted events in one’s career more than just the totality of the author’s thoughts in this regard that are considered to be relevant. Recognizing and realizing the limitedness in this, I have aspired to do something a little different. For me, the preface of this book it is a not just a look back into time at the why and how I came to explore such ideas that have lead me to the writing of this book but also the continual growth and revision of these ideas that I believe that has led me to certain conclusions and that will ultimately lead me on to newer and more enlightening ones.
It should be noted that after much self-study and inner deliberation, that I found that my original interest is now placed centrally like the hub of a wheel in the middle of other wheels. It is the wheels that turn constantly and return over and over to their respective starting places only to begin again. This study has thus expanded and grown out by spiraling into various other related areas of my interest and this is the nature of what I now see as being an integral part of this circumspective view. Although originally I had no such name to call it in the beginning, I was aware that I was learning something else very different from what I was being taught was acceptable by larger society. It was something ancient and yet something totally new in other important respects and aspects when viewed. I knew that it enabled me to be a creative personality type. It was the circumspection of the dreamer and the artist. It is this view that I was later to call Lunar Awareness. I now also attribute it to what I consider to be the spiritual consciousness of Feminine Divinity. The philosophy of A String of Pearls or ASoP is the result of my stringing together what I believe to be key experiences and invaluable lessons that mark the significant factors that are in part the keys that can lead to the discovery of the meaning of the unfolding process of life. It is in fact a circumspective or circular view that makes up how some of my past experiences have influenced my thinking but also how this circle may affect my future anticipated ones. I will discuss further the story behind the name of this work in the introduction. Feminine Divinity has become an integral part of my studies in what we call the Lunar Sciences because although there are many forms of female divinities, it is the cults of the Moon that are most prominent and make the most sense as such.
From early on the Moon had become an active fascination for me. No one had to tell me to use the soft pronoun “she” nor the possessive term “her” with regards to that shining light. Like a passionately stricken, love sick crooner, I found myself each night searching for her in the night sky wherever she could be found. Every time I had the chance to, I would stare at and wonder about her too. Sometimes I could see her only partially, at other times she gleamed so fully before my eyes and yet at other times she was not to be seen at all. I wondered why she would shrink and disappear at times only to reappear again over time. I remember hearing periods of time referred to as Moons but I didn’t quite make the connection to that being a month, much less a Lunar Month then. I was never taught or told anything in my childhood about the menstrual cycle that women had when I was growing up, even when my sister probably began her own period. I lived in a household where sex was not an openly spoken of topic. The menstrual taboo was so taboo that I have no recollection of it, until as a teenager, I found out about it on my own. I do however remember several of the old wives tales I heard as a boy about the Moon and the Man in the Moon when I was still a child. Stories about those who knew how to make use of the Moon’s phases were often shrouded around the awe of mystery and these were often clouded with people’s fear of the unknown. There was talk of witchcraft and whispers of visits from evil spirits and such. These admittedly made me pay attention to the fact that the increase and decrease of dream activity, nightmares and weird nocturnal experiences. For instance, especially during the periods between the New Moon and Full Moon such night dreams began to visit me as I grew closer and closer to puberty. Not until I was an adult did I even find a hint about women’s use of menstrual blood or even its connection to the Moon Cycle until I was about twenty-one. There was an impending fear at work here. But the Moon only seemed more and more beautifully alluring and mysterious to me, even beneath these misgivings and superstitions that had been implanted in the mind of me. As such, I began to sense an older world in a much newer form coming up right around the corners of my bending awareness.
There were terrifyingly frightful and beautiful things that made me I feel like I was supposed to know something that I had always known and that I was supposed to somehow figure out how to further the knowledge of in a useful and impactful way. I have begun to realize these ideas more and more within me each day. I can say confidently that I have dreamed of many and experience well before they actually happened in my life. So often, things like this and other experiences during the waking hours would feel to me like déjà vu at those times. Mentally and emotionally I could feel myself inside of them and it seemed like I had lived them many of them or their equivalents long before they were happening in a moment before my eyes. It felt like I knew something more that I recalled past life memories and visions of some of my future life events that have since then come true. I was only six years of age when I saw them in recurring dreams that didn’t make sense. In the past I saw myself in a very different, more ancient place and time, a more rustic but still civilized place. People kept time and planned their life events according to the Moons. I remembered watching the night sky closely at different times from a large open window cut within thick rock walls. My at that time future vision, placed me in desert camouflage utilities, which I don’t think even existed then. I had never seen the likes of them until I was deployed to Saudi Arabia for the first Gulf War. You can only imagine my feelings when I found myself in the same desert terrain and very strange looking uniform that I had seen myself in, standing beneath a Full Moon, a little over twenty years beforehand in a dream. Yet there was this sense of continuity, a sense of having always been buried deep within what my thoughts or words could not at that time seem to find a way to say.
As a boy, one of those moments when something that someone said about the Moon that had a lasting impact on me involved my hearing some of Bruce Lee’s simple but now considered to me to be a bit of iconic advice. Not unlike most boys my age at that time, this little man affected a persona that was really much bigger than life. But it was not just his heroic screen presence, nor his martial skills, nor just his charisma that captured my attention. It was these words that were a part of a dialogue written in the script of his biggest most successful motion picture ever, the now classic martial arts movie, Enter The Dragon. It was from a now very famous scene where he says to his young student, “Don’t think! Feel! It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory!” Those words echoed with intense resonance in my thoughts although then they riddled me and I didn’t know why. They sat inside my mind for several decades waiting to come alive in a more elucidating way. They were like the contents of a time capsule later to be released within me but in that moment they were keeping the cryptic aspect of their significance in a kind of opaquely transparent awareness. I although proverbially like one seeing through a glass darkly, tried desperately to hold onto just what these mysterious words were actually providing me. It was just enough to see what my life’s work would be, long before I could divine just what they would later mean to me. I felt like I was right there in the grasp of the hands of the master as his finger pointed to all that heavenly glory that he so loftily spoke of. I wondered if there were other fingers pointing at the Moon. Were other people looking? All I knew was that I only had more questions and I longed to meet someone else who knew what I was looking for.
Why were there these changes of the Moon’s appearance? I wondered and pondered at such things. Later of course in science class and from books and such, I was given what was a more rational explanation that made me aware of the Moon’s rotation around the Earth as it in turn rotated around the Sun that I was simply described as its eight phases. But these descriptions were given without an adequate explanation of why these things were called what they were. The closest thing I think I got to any such significance of them at this time were the treatment of the Eight Phases of the Moon, by the Farmer’s Almanac and even this for me was not enough. The answers that were given to me, although factual, did not fully satisfy my curiosity about what I felt when I viewed the Moon but they did help. I noticed that not only did the Moon’s appearance change, but that it’s positioning in the sky was also changing as well. What is more, I began to see that the phases and positioning of the Moon were recurrent, i.e. they repeated themselves although I did not know the full extent of what that pattern was at first yet I sensed something in myself that revolved around these changes.
I encountered silent indicators that were pointing to that unfamiliar place that I undoubtedly begun heading immediately towards. Sometimes I have questioned whether I followed them intuitively or just out of sheer curiosity but I was definitely attracted to see these things that like the lights of a city in the distance intrigued me. It was a land of artfully imaginative things and I was an artist at heart who did not even know then that he was an artist yet. Artistry in and of itself, as I was told, was frivolous in my old world but this was not so in my new one. I learned to later measure the circumference of my experiences and found that everything had lived had significance when related to four major or cardinal points. Some have referred to these four points metaphorically from the ancient teachings as the four elements of fire, water, air and earth or astrologically as the four cardinal signs of the zodiac. Some others also relate them to the four seasons of the year. I have determined to completely see into the significant indicators or connections between what these four things have held for me in my life purposefully and what their relationship to each other truly is. These four cardinal points to me are like gates in space and time. Also these gates may be viewed like throughways or crossroads which anyone may enter into and exit out of. We have the ability to come out or go into different sides of the same reality and repeat the same experience at what only seem different times in our lives but it is really one experience simply repeating itself. I believe that this very shamanic view of reality has taught me to look carefully at the old adages that say, “What goes around comes around” and “life is a circle. There are thus things, life lessons, karma some call it, that in particularly may seem to us later to be completely different from when we first experienced them but that have themes that essentially remain the same. I discovered that there are quite a few Laws that uphold the fabric of the Universe. For me, there are four fundamental ones that deal with how we can experience the world in a way that brings understanding and knowledge without stagnation because it is fluid. The idea of these life lessons and four universal laws I have found are true for the individual person as well as groups of people.
My destination was a land of signs and symbols in and of itself and I was a symbolist and meant to be a scientist of such things. However I was also someone who did not know that he was a scientist, much less a scientist of symbols and signs. Nonetheless, I was a boy full of wonder, who later became a man who thought that he had in his youth but dreamed of being such silly things. I had been given such a limited view of myself and the world I lived in. But these different things bore such a familiarity to me that it was as if I had already been where I was going. I sensed that I was just perhaps picking up where I had left off back when I was on this journey many lifetimes before. Intuitively, I realized very that I had been a priest of secret things in another life and another time where things were seen from a markedly different perspective. I felt things that I knew but could not seem explain in plain words to anyone else.
Art although contained by our popular treatment of it has been banished to the realm of entertainment. Artistic environments whether in the realms of the performing arts or fine arts in exhibition genres and mediums like music, literature and dance are really incubation chambers where the voice of our ideals about social political issues, spiritual and other such human experiences are distilled and then brought into their final forms as the exposure of our world view. Originally in the infancy of my understanding of it I could only identify artistic environments as safe spaces wherein good feelings and so called bad feelings became places of internal refuge and security where in the freedom of expression made me conclude that there might possibly be able to somewhere where I could openly and honestly simply be me. Yet the outer world of my environment where the supposedly open road of reality imposed itself seemed antagonistic and completely closed to everything I intuitively felt and thought. That was until I began to study certain aspects of comparative religion and found surprisingly, that there was not much difference between other people’s stories and allegories and views. They were simply variations on a theme. Now I even see within it a working system of spiritual-ecological and moral-social philosophy that has the ability to transform this outer environment into a more holistically experienced place. “Life itself is your teacher and you are in a constant state of learning” is but another wise axiom of Master Lee that I was to discover the truth of more lately in my life.
I am a student of life. I am a creator in this respect that is not separate from my creation. So, just as I have had to observe and make these changes, so too have I had to undergo several transformations to reach this place. I have taken great care so that I could better understand the significance of such things and submit my thinking to the truth of them in such a way that could be first assimilated as fully possible by me within myself. This kind of recurring transformation or change about my ideas has happened to me several times, very gradually and almost seemingly without warning but never without some awareness that it was happening. Each transformation was either a spontaneous eureka-like moment or a slow burning flame. Although I could not always immediately see exactly when or how that view was reshaping itself, I always knew it was there. It is not easy to judge the position of a moving object, much less explain it to someone else. Still, I wanted to express and get my ideas across more clearly to my readers who are new to this type of information.
It has been a gradual process of unfolding insights that I can say have waxed and waned all throughout my life. Some of these things were very personal to my heart, but others were driven by facts intellectual thoughts and things that were happening in my surrounding environment. I experimented using certain practices on myself and I am still learning and assimilating the significance of some of these things and other newly discovered ones right up until this very point in my own development. I wanted to find a way to measure all of my results by the scientific method of empirical evidence, but I found that I had to also find other ways to discover what I needed to know. This was done in the face of things that were not verifiable in any other way than what experience itself could resolve. In this process I began to see practice as a way of learning, however, that is not solely the intellectual practice of traditional observation of external events but of very experiential, inner and deeply spiritual events. It is these inner studies that served me most. Thus some of what I have learned has had no traditional types of documentation per se to prove all of it in an empirical sense. Some is based on folklore existing from surviving oral traditions and also the interpretation of symbols found in forgotten or ignored ancient artifacts. Some of it is implicit in the stories told in ancient dances and rituals. Involvement in many of the concepts in an experiential way proved valuable to me. This way of learning has only increased for me in intensity over this period of time. Without realizing it, I had been learning things all along that have been consistently contributing to the evolution of this book since well before I first started to actually sit down and attempt to write it.
It is a very subtle underlying principle that I am writing about here. It is based on the premise that there are unseen but very real forces, composed of powers of such magnitude that they has the ability to effect change on this planet and shape our very way of being. Our awareness of these powers used to be greater than it is now but with the advance of modern science in another direction the bulk of this knowledge fell into ill-repute and inevitably into lack of use. We see the effect of their influence on concrete things in nature and we even feel their changes take place from within ourselves and yet still we seem oblivious to the reality it for most if not all of our lives.
Most of the things that I was originally taught growing up and through life did not really seem to serve me at the time. They left me feeling either empty or filled with fear and confusion. Everything enjoyable seemed to have punitive repercussions. I was given a belief system that like to enjoy oneself too much was somehow evil and there were consequences for even expecting that there could be happiness doing the things that you loved. I was later to discover that they were things that either led down what I at least at some point thought of as dead end paths or maybe which required many changes of direction and selective focus of thought to be of use to my plight. Though looking back now I see that while some seemingly insignificant things that I can remember in reality were not so insignificant. From as early as my infancy, throughout my childhood and on to my young adult I realize that these experiences were actually learning periods and key contributors to my entire process of learning and so bore no real faults in and of themselves. I realized much later, however that even these detours in thought from various people and ideas ultimately taught me to think in a particular way. As far as I could see, this particular way of seeing and thinking that I possessed was very different from what most of those around me could see. I felt intuitively like I knew where I was going because it seemed that some part of me knew and on some level understood at least somewhat where it was my spirit actually wanted to go.
Nevertheless, I could feel it! Like the legendary reggae singer Bob Marley once wisely said, “Them that know it feel it,” and I was definitely feeling something happening inside of me through the agency of my life experiences. I didn’t quite know then what it was nor did I know, nor how or what it is that now these things have come to mean to me. But I did know that I was very affected by certain things that were said to me or shown to me. Sometimes an image or a word, an object or a phrase could become a story. Sometimes a song in my mind would become the soundtrack to some grand drama filled with epic characters that felt as futuristic as they seemed to at the same time be from many, many ages ago. For instance, I remember that when I was young that it always seemed so right that my mother affectionately call me her Little Moon Child and this she did undoubtedly because I was born at time when the Sun was in the astrological sign of Cancer. It was a common thing to speak even if lightly of people’s signs in the late sixties, seventies and early eighties. But I always felt like there was something more than just this common social game at play. It made me not think about the Moon as much as I remember feeling it. I felt very much a part of it and deeply affected by its shine in through the panes of my bedroom window. I remember my own infatuation with the Moon and my finding myself at different times staring up into the night sky looking at her shine.
RELIGION AND DOGMA VERSUS SPIRITUALITY AND SCIENCE
“All people are seafarers, but only the proud will not accept help and directions from those along the way who know the maps and can navigate the pathways. There is such pride that it is believed that merely answering impossible questions gives enlightenment. It is seeing the moon in the sky and claiming that you are already there. A long road exists between the observer and the moon, and ignoring it does not make it go away.”
-J. Denosky, THE VAJRA DAKINI: DAKINI LANGUAGE –
I chose the above quote to segue into this part of the preface because in many ways is the perfect analogy for what the way has been for me in the process of writing of this book. I am just a humble guide on a spiritual path, one who is but trying to share some of his experiences in the restless sea of what some of us have called the New Aeon and what some others have dubbed the information age. In some other ways it is actually more appropriate for me to use another analogy, a different metaphor of a vehicle of transportation that the modern reader (most of whom do not possess any knowledge of nautical terms and such) can better relate to and understand. So I will ask the reader to please forgive me for introducing a ship metaphor and then diverting to this automobile metaphor that I am about to use instead. I have preferred its use because it seems more fitting to adapt the language of such a book of anciently based wisdom as this to the needs of our more modern times and our more common way of travel. Nonetheless, the underlying principles seem to me to be the same. I am referring here to navigation and movement. Whether you travel on a ship or you are driving in a car the principles remain the same. If you are trying to reach a particular destination you will need a sort of guide, a blue print or a map.
As human beings, although we must travel seemingly apart from one another we are yet in a position to gain from the effect of our learning experiences and benefit from them collectively as well as individually. Some of us will dogmatically say that there is a blue print that has been given to us by way of the words of a teacher, a sage, a prophet or philosopher or perhaps a mystical or religious book or sets of books. Others will emphatically say that there is no blue print, no map, no guide, no manual and that no compass exists for but these eyes. I was once in conflict about this but I believe now that some aspects of both are actually correct. In life, as we travel through our shared experiences we may individually discover things that others do not know because although they may have shared a similar experience they may not have necessarily had the same vantage point shaping the perspective that may have lead them to take a different point of view. We make our way through highways and byways of what we live as we feel through the experiences of it all. Sometimes we remember some seemingly significant and insignificant things and some things we either not remember at all or not without some strain to recall. Apparently throughout our lives, we are the parentally preached at and resentfully preached to. So it should come as no surprise instinctively that in the light of this we may either reject these stifling limitations of our freedoms or we in turn begin to preach at and preach to others too. We seem to know a lot about what others are supposed to and not supposed to be or be doing. Yet, within our own lives, we seem to be just as unclear about what the next steps ahead of us should be. Although this very true of all of us many would never admit it. This is based more on the acceptance of tradition and narrow beliefs than it is of what is truth. We make such assessments according to our larger societies’ collectively agreed upon sets of ideas and ideals. But there is apparently an order at work in Nature her, that whether you want to believe it emerged spontaneously that only appears as randomly as an accident. Perhaps instead you might prefer believe that it was a deliberately pre-ordained and planned event to be just as it is. Whatever our varied beliefs we cannot deny that there is something going on here that seems to have been patterned on certain principles, rules and laws.
Personally, as I have said, I believe things to be somewhere more in the middle when it comes to the Universe and what we see. I do not think that set of experiences that we call life is as chaotic and random as many of the elitist thinkers would like us to conceive it to be a shell of shells devoid of soul. I say this because it is illogical to assume that a blind force would be the origins of this order and balance. I subscribe instead to not just the possibility but the probability that order can indeed emerge and organize itself out of a sea of unordered and infinite possibility. I do not believe in a manifest destiny etched in stone, pre-ordained and immovable however, for there is no end to the possibilities that one can choose in life, for there is always in existence the factor of free will. Contrary to popular consensus, the contents of our desires and the direction of our will are not incompatible. After all isn’t that how we create new ideas sometimes? A desire to do a thing is conceived but we cannot always in that moment see “the how” that will lead to the doing of it. Somewhere out of the blue the blue print comes that which was originally ignored by our awareness. From somewhere in the midst of a blank stare, a state of uncertainty, a seemingly empty and vacuous space a place to create and a way to create becomes glaringly apparent. It is a place that we could very easily have called nowhere. Then and there that moment, at the juncture of seemingly disconnected events, a set of possibilities may become open and bring with them other possibilities. We may begin to see and seek possibilities would have never considered before. Inspiration seems to fill our minds. I believe that it is from a pre-existing state of lack of order that order indeed comes from. I have discovered over time that we are actually the map and the legend. We are the blueprint and the building, one and the same at one and the same time. The guide to living a natural life actually resides within the very construct of our bodies and all of the bodies heavenly and earthly are a part of the knowledge that we seek to properly effect in life.
But in the very beginning it was all intuitive. There were no teachers readily around like the ones I needed to help me in the non-conventional sense in the earlier part of my life. No one who could directly guide me on this path although I realized that the people and ideas that have crossed my path, even in brief encounters were all really teachers in some way. I was apparently on my own and alone and yet I felt I was being gradually affected mentally and emotionally by something not necessarily unknown but new to me. I realized that I was being guided by something else or someone else so deeply spiritual, something that lived just below the surface levels of the things including me.
My silently held ideas violently challenged what I was being charged my parents and teachers to learn about the nature of my life. I had to remain outwardly passive yet inwardly belligerent. It was my only way to defend against what had been drilled into me at a very early age. It was made from the limited and linear perspective that was meant to breed behaviors in ways that had everything to do with the lies that agreed upon historically yet that had nothing to do with me in the now. True they had given me a sort of blueprint or guide map, a set of traditions that were the product the same things that they were given by their parents and predecessors whose assessments of the dimensions of the terrain were a set of linear divisions fell short of the expanding topography of a more circumspective view. Theirs was a history and a set of facts not to be considered, but without question obeyed. Theirs was a tried and true method, real map of living one’s life based on the faith of biblical and historic figures, philosophy and lore. I did not yet fully understand that they did these things because it was tradition or did not do that other thing because it was forbidden. This was logical from a certain kind of viewpoint. It was in some ways very logical believe what they said was true. There were exhortations spoken from a place of an authoritative tone. Surely those who had walked before me would’ve and should’ve known better than me. Yet most of it never really totally made sense to me. There were beliefs and ideas that they had accepted without question or with little if any deliberation in thought. Some of it fit and some of it did not fit for me. So when I first saw the contradictions in the things that were being presented my first response was to just accept them like everyone else. Yet, there was still a part of me that scrutinized those things that I could not deep down fully bring myself to accept. Some of the things that I was taught and later rejected had a snap back much later down the road. After I came back around full circle it was my experiences that showed me that concerning some of these things they indeed were actually were correct if only from a particular perspective or that the things that they told me were actually true but from just from a different level of meaning. But there were some things that were essentially and fundamentally the same for me. I discovered that there is an exoteric or outer meaning of things and an esoteric or hidden one. Life was like a book of proverbs and the nature of its sayings were like the living legend of a map that one actually had to live to see the real meaning of and thus truly navigate. This experience of life for me has been and at times still continues to be very humbling. I am less inclined now to speak of things in terms of right and wrong and more inclined to speak more of what just is by nature and what should be seems to me to take care of it if one indeed can let it be. There is an order and a sort of set of limits in the nature of things and yet many possibilities. Nonetheless, we as humans in all our dealings unlike the rest of creation seem to lean towards excess exceeding certain limits that although are permissible have consequences that render their ugly head just when we think we are free from punitive correction.
It was a strange and different world that I was inevitably headed to, a world very different from what I was told it would be. Several times I thought that I had reached my final destination to only find that I was just passing through. My head was filled with these strange thoughts and new ideas that had a destination that is as different from where I was told that I should go as day was from night and yet in many ways I came to realize that it was just the same. The directions I had been given from my elders had the potential to get me there, but the way they were explained required a certain kind of discernment to make it through. There were pit stops and pot holes and manner of distractions that made at times for a very bumpy ride. They said that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line but there were hills and valleys that I had not been forewarned about and so had not anticipated traveling through. Things just around the corner would spontaneously pop inside of my head as if they had spontaneously appeared up ahead of me on the long stretch of that lonely highway that I have come to think I knew the way to. Like signposts or street signs that led to detours from the norm and an alternate route to the regular routine I began to see the possibilities of finding another way. Freedom, true freedom, is a road seldom travelled by the multitudes. For most of us, the most impacting things that we as human beings have been influenced by from the days of our youth are the systems of spirituality and articles of faith that we have been raised to embrace. What we believe, however, is not always what we be living. I was no different in this regard.
Continuing with my preferred metaphor it has felt at times to me like I was aimlessly traveling in a car, traveling with a sense of urgency, moving at the speed of life along a curved road but with no clear end to the stretch of highway in sight. Sometimes there were other drivers on the road. Sometimes I had a passenger and other times I was the passenger traveling in directions that I would not have chosen on my own. It felt as if it was more times often than not that there was not anyone there to help me find my way on this journey. But in the beginning, I can admit that I was not completely sure. Quite honestly, sometimes I did feel like I was lost, wandering and feeling my way around the curves in the darkness with no headlights. Yet even out of that darkness I at times was beginning to see a bright light ahead of me in the distance. I felt as if it was beckoning me, calling me and pulling me magnetically from an invisible source. Its power was continuously emerging and yet growing ever so slowly inside of me but with increasingly greater and greater intensity as I got closer to it. It would begin at the bend of that dark and seemingly distant curve of road and then again start to wane and fade and even disappear. This was frustrating but I learned to adjust. It was the highway of the many experiences that I have had that I was just beginning to make my deliberately intended travel upon. I was searching for a place that had answers to all my questions and a mind state of awareness to know fully what they meant. This yearning of course to understand my place in the world and where I was to go to actually be there did not present itself to me immediately.
Later after I had put some miles behind me, it seemed at times that it was as if I were looking back in a rear view mirror while also looking and moving forward. I could also see in selectively focused reflections that there were people, persons, places, things ideas and events that contributed to this process. I began eventually to see them from the memories in my distant and not too distant past. I began to see that everything that I had lived had contributed to this ever emerging view of new things and ideas. Even then I still had some unanswered questions and had in the process picked up passengers in the form of more new questions. Some passengers rode with me for a while and at certain points in the journey they either left me or I left them because it was time to part ways. In all these questions, some answered and some not, I began to develop a view and outlook on life that was based on my trial and error in each experience.
Contradictions abound in the realm of belief as it relates to reality. Passionate about spirituality from a very young age, I was always dreaming about some rapturous kind of experience. I was a very vivid and lucid dreamer, a psychic sensitive in every sense of the word. I used to have out of body experiences before I knew what to call them or what they were. Prophecy and the visions of the prophets and the stories of the Bible felt so familiar to me. Things such as the healing touch of Jesus, as well as others and the like made me feel I felt like I was right there in the midst of the wilderness with Moses and the children of Israel. I felt like I was in the midst of Ezekiel’s “wheel in the middle of the wheel.” I felt like I was right there on the waves of the sea that were moved by the four winds of Daniel’s four great beasts. Interestingly, I immediately recognized that these same four fabulous beasts as being a single mythical being. It was as if they were a compilation of them as one in the image of the prophetic Great Beast mentioned in the Book of the Revelation of Saint John. I was also very impressed by the descriptions of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. In truth, that and many of the writings of the Bible seemed to hold keys for me towards another level of understanding that were not being overtly taught. Many were symbolic images and numerical keys that I knew were meant to open the locks to something inside that my soul was searching for. These were things that I found that my preachers and teachers either could not or would not teach me about. I was flatly told that I shouldn’t even a read a book whose title was called a revelation because it was destined to remain a mystery until its seven seals were opened. What an enigma! What a dichotomy! Only when this happened I was told that was to occur on some future unknown date that every eye be opened and apparently all the graves of the deceased would also be. This idea of the rapture, or that time when “the dead in Christ would first rise,” also captured my attention greatly. The whooping of the ministers that was initially exciting at first later was found to really boring and even resembled tomfoolery to me. The less charismatic pastors with dryer less colorful sermons, although more of a serious and scholarly and authoritative teaching tone still seemed to lack substance for me. As I was a young church musician, once my fear factor was slowly being resolved there was really nothing else of interest for me at one time but to perform. Most of what the people inside of my early religious experience taught me to believe was contradicted in the way they would lead. They did one thing and lived another. All human beings with their lack of infallibility are destined to do this in some regard but I was given the erroneous idea that the devil, the “scapegoat” was to blame for man’s sins. I was also taught that they who claimed to be saved from their sins by the death of Christ in their violation of their own strict codes and the rights of others were covered by his blood sacrifice for sins. As a young person who was made to attend regularly, the idea of heaven seemed to me to be like nothing more than to be sentenced to remain in a church full of hypocrisy always watching and wondering and waiting for what time one would be able to leave. The future projected punishment of the wicked with its hell fire and brimstone though, both terrified and excited me simultaneously. I had to ask myself, am I wicked? So for a time I went back to sleep, ignoring what I thought I saw along with all the rest congregation of sheep just to keep the peace.
So let me at this point also add that I was raised in the Pentecostal Holiness Church. I am the son of a minister, grandson of a minister, nephew and cousin to a long line of preachers and deacons and such. I was undoubtedly expected to follow suit and for a while it seemed I did. Over time I also began to have other experiences that reignited not only my initial question but also sparked a new interest in other spiritual orientations and also about scientific theories like evolution and the possibility of other forms of life that also opened my eyes to many other things. Regardless of what my religious upbringing dictated, I became very aware of what I now consider to be the most obvious choice for me in my world view concerning such things. I did not feel like I had to reconcile my faith in divinity against what were obviously very true scientific facts or at least probable reality of these other realities not yet plumbed. Fortunately, when I was young I was exposed to great thinking minds like that of Carl Sagan who until his dying day also challenged scientists (who were like a different kind of clergy) to not be so closed not only in their thinking but also in their tendency to keep lay people (their sheep-like converts) at bay with the way science was presented educationally and practiced professionally. But I was a fan of science fiction fantasy such as was seen in the likes of the writings of Isaac Asimov and George Lucas. The worthily noted physicist Max Planck reportedly said of scientist that they “must have a vivid intuitive imagination.” Science and art and spirituality have never been at war inside me. No! Neither in my brain nor in my soul did this ever exist. Evolution in many ways seemed to explain the Creation in a way that was clearer than what the preacher said. Until I became fully awake to certain things outside of the narrow view of the Church, I like many in the various congregations of religion had a tendency to outwardly follow the tenets of the closed doctrine, seemingly like the rest of the herd. But secretly, I was always swallowing some new fact and digesting its contents internally.
One of the greatest of these facts revolves around the understanding that the primordial state of pre-creation was feminine or as science calls it homeostasis is the original state of all existence, i.e., “the earth was without form and void,” which really says to me that a primordial womb is the original birthplace of everything. Furthermore, that the oldest know human fossil type has now been discovered as being a woman, a black woman Australopithecus afarensis from sub-Saharan Africa, was not completely a shocker to me but it was that little bit of information that I learned much later as an adult that confirmed some things for me. This was the so-called African Eve or Lucy the Hominid at AL 288, Ethiopia. This totally changed my view of what I was led to believe about not only the characters of the Bible but also the true value that their stories actually hold. It was here that my eyes began to open up and I think that it was then in that moment that I became an independent thinker and scholar both of scientific ideas and spiritual lore. This is what I had always been but not in a consciously active sense. It was not apparent to me until that moment when I actually began to with purpose and conviction really explore the origins and nature of humankind. As a male feminist-spiritualist, I became aware of the fact that we are all connected in some way and that the main way we are connected is that we are all the product of a womb. But I also assessed the value of what I have come to call the Black Pearl and I became a devotee of the idea that black women’s femininity was essential to understanding the complete power of Feminine Divinity, not only for all women, but all men as well. No man is free when the women in his society are oppressed in any degree. In this way I feel I became the embodiment of this.
THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN PATRIARCHAL RELIGION AND SOCIETY
I am very much the son of my mother, whom I mentioned earlier used to call me her Moonchild. To make a reference like this of course would be seen as being just as blasphemous as my private thoughts were, so she never called me this in the company of other church folk. She was my very first real Sunday school teacher, my very first life teacher in fact. I had dreams of being a jazz musician, like for so many contemporary musicians who found their gifts amidst a congregation that such dreams were just another no-no to the church. So being the rebel she was despite this, she encouraged me to play and bought me my first musical instruments and introduced me to all kinds of music. These even included contemporary inspirational artists, although such music was still frowned upon. She was a brilliant, but oppressed woman who seemed to me to bring alive the scriptures with more meaning to me in her delivery of their stories morals than any of the other people inside the church did. She read a broad range of books and had invited me to explore our family’s library of books and music from a very young age. Because of her, as a pre-teen, I learned how to draw the human anatomy using photos of paintings from the murals in the Sistine Chapel that were in our family Bible although they were mostly nudes. She, like so many other women who made up the larger part of the congregation of the churches across the world, had her talents, her skills, her abilities, her generous giving of monies, her very interests and even the devotion of her time and energy all be absorbed by an organization that played down her truly powerful and beautiful significance. A woman who was too attractive or too smart and outgoing could very be easily labeled a “Jezebel.” They have violently tried to silence a woman’s sense of self progressiveness and made it a sin.
In such religions, as Christianity, no matter what the main stream denomination is, we see that masculine divinity forms are the only ones and they are exclusively called “He.” There is a god-the-Father and a Beloved Son “in whom he is well pleased,” with little more between the two of them than a passing over of a specter at different times in the text that they called a “Holy Ghost” or “Spirit.”
The place where I was reared however was not supportive of this type of ideology. It was under the direction of a very patriarchal Christian church organization and so definitely not a safe place to ponder such thoughts aloud. Growing up under the watchful eyes of my elders and beside the gaze of my peers these types of ideas were considered blasphemous! They were things that you were not permitted to think about even during the privacy of your internal thoughts. Damnation and hell fire! You see I grew up below the Bible belt inside of South Carolina’s proudest Confederate state when I was watching those Full Moons and starlit skies. It really is a beautiful state! Picturesque it is! Its range of landscapes is unlike any other from mountains to the sea! It is famed as being one of the most aesthetically pleasing looking states in the Union. But traditionally it has also been a place of moral ugliness. It has been a place where not only the suffrage of black slaves, but the denial of civil rights, and also the rights of women were staunchly rejected and refused. This madness lasted for several hundred years in its then but still not so distant historical past. Religious tolerance was not even a question that you could speak of without causing some sort of an uproar. There were of course denominational differences, but the Christians there agreed as many still do that every other spiritual belief that does not involve Biblical context of God and Jesus is therefore demonic. No one that I knew in my hometown of St. Matthews would even be able to begin to try wrapping their minds around an idea like Feminine Divinity. Dogmatic spiritual terrorism was and still in many places is the rule.
There, none of the women of the biblical lore were really talked about too much or at least not positive light. Woman, the earthly expression of Feminine Divinity has had no real place of power in the church throughout its history. I saw that although the heads of the major world religions and professed scholarship are still very obviously all male dominated that anciently these are not the original ideas of divinity. I had this perspective become glaringly apparent to me after taking serious time to both study and practice in other traditions and I saw the same dynamic of the male god or male dominance even in the face of goddesses present in almost every religion. Most of these religious institutions are dominated not only by the supremacy of their gods but also by the presence of men and keeping women out of the higher echelons of their priesthood and seemingly rendering them powerless to a subjugated and lower position. Not that this is not quite obvious, but I think that most people are oblivious to the truth that many of the original conceptions of divinity, were feminine. How many Buddhists, especially of the Tibetan tradition, know that there were five Taras or goddess forms that preceded the male forms of the Buddha having only had their names and symbolic colors co-opted and worn? The supposed first woman Eve was an afterthought in relation to the creation of man. Maybe we might hear about Naomi just a little bit but we definitely heard about Lot’s wife who was reportedly turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back on the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Mind you that her husband Lot is not punished nor called into account for his acts of incest with his two daughters. To add injury to insult we are told that he of course was manipulated by them, because they got him intoxicated and then took advantage of his drunken state by copulating with him. But interestingly enough, it was actually the woman with child and the Sun in her hair and the Moon beneath her feet and especially the Great Whore of Babylon, who rode the Beast that fascinated me even more than all of these. Jezebel and Mary Magdalene maybe are probably the best known although we can say are two of the most infamous women of the Bible. These two women in particularly, who were both negatively labeled as whores, the latter because she wielded political power and the other because she was supposedly sexually autonomous like the Whore of Babylon also had a kind of certain appeal to me.
I realize that to some, my view of spirit as it relates to sex and sexuality may be quite different, seemingly offensive and in some cases downright irreverent and reprehensible. Understand, that I am not downing anyone for their religious beliefs or ideas so long as they do not impede on another individual’s freedom to be. Biblical lore however is nefarious, more than any other written scripture, for its having been used systematically to justify the slavery and oppression of other peoples and this is truer of no other religions than Christianity. Of women, in fact, it can be said that they are the first slaves of the human race. In general, patriarchal religions and the social orders upholding the “good ole boys network,” historically, I have found to have exclusively been espoused to the ideas of such slavery. They have written into man’s law what have been called by some researchers, the “virtues of ovulation.” (Shuttle & Redgrove 1979). These virtues of ovulation would seek to reduce a woman to nothing more than a breeder and a meek as well as lowly obedient housewife. At one time it was in the hands of her father or elder brother if the father was deceased exactly who and when she was to marry. In fact, a woman’s marriage was all arranged by a contract that she didn’t even see or sign and it even often had a bill of sale many times attached to it. This came in the distorted form of the bride price or dowry paid by the groom to her own male relatives. Her mother would also have no say in this often having to defer to their husband’s or son’s decision and having to going along with it. In religion the patriarchs praise the archetype of the Virgin Goddess from the pulpit without ever calling her a goddess of course. It is she who is also represented by the woman with child from the Book of Revelation. These two representations of that archetype have been duly chosen over those of the “virtues of menstruation” that deal with female sexual autonomy, e.g., a woman’s right to the control of her body. They paint a picture of woman as a cursed, over sexed and a poor depraved creature who needs a man to think for her. The patriarch would deny a woman not only her right to think, but to al choose her lover or lovers. They would dictate even whether that she is to not terminate a pregnancy that has not yet come full term. Other than mothers like Mary the Mother of Jesus as well as the description of the virtuous woman of the book of Proverbs women, were told that it is their duty to “keep silence in the church and to learn from their husbands at home.”
Despite the climate of male privilege that was raised in, as far as females were concerned, I always remembered on the contrary a feeling of reverence and sensing a deep sense of spirituality in the company of women. I found as well that there was a very distinct presence of divinity that existed in the midst of their forbidden and frowned upon expression of naturalness of their sensuality. They seemed to me infinitely wiser and older than the men that were around me at that time. Although I was not nurtured in an environment that fostered any such beliefs, for I was subtly taught that women were weak and somehow evil, these secret ideas of mine concerning their worthiness were still persistently living with me inside my thoughts. These thoughts were always present and with me with much more subtlety than I can describe. For me women were very much like a heavenly host living in me the midst of my family’s very dogmatic Christian beliefs. Needless to say, I learned the hard way to keep my mouth shut or else easily get slapped in it.
Interestingly enough, one may wonder as I did as a child myself about a god that is so divorced not only from femininity, but also the fact that He, the male god appears, according to them to be devoid apparently from any kind of sexuality. Later in Islam I was equally as troubled for they say this as well, “Say, He, Allah is one. Neither male nor female,” Yet still they call him He and they exclusively give Him masculine attributes. This sort of contradiction can be troubling for those who questioned things as I did. It becomes a point of contention for those of us who begin not only to question, but to think for ourselves. To think that we have been so deeply scarred by the guilt and the threat of everlasting punishment and torment! The shame that we have been made to feel about our bodies’ even in the face of the beauty of our natural functions that accompany it is reprehensible. It is nothing short of abusive even if the abuser and oppressor thinks that his intentions are for some good connected to “saving souls” from the mark of “original sin.” This is the idea of original sin that Christianity has proposed in its ontology and imposed upon humanity for centuries. Sex has only the purpose of procreation. Unless you see it our way and do it as we say it should be done, you are lost. The sensual is somehow devilish unless it is meant to lead to babies and such foolishness. But the ancients understood that sexuality is a woman’s power! They perceived that desire was not only a natural part of life, but a potent vehicle in the development of spiritual awareness. When we understand this fact, the history of the Church against indigenous peoples and the destruction of goddess-centered cultures become evident and clear. The reasons for the brutal tortures and what have been called some researchers the nine million menstrual murders that happened during the Dark Ages make sense only when we view them through the skew of the would oppressor’s cognitive dissonance. Those who feel guilt about their sexuality are most often inclined to inflict pain on others through their distorted projection of it. These distortions usually end up surfacing in the form extremist dogmas like the ones we have seen in fascist states as well as racist and misogynistic points of view.
Historically, there was not, nor has there ever been any power, real or imagined, that has been attributed to women in the Church, nor is there even the inkling of the idea that such a thing as feminine divinity that exists in their exegesis. Nor is it the practice of such religions to include women in the ranks of the major world religions. The first woman, Eve in the Christian sense, is the cause of the first man’s sin in the Original Fall. His fall from a higher state, closer to God, in the paradisiacal garden was due to her temptation of him. It is said that she convinced him to disobey the male god’s command to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We are told that she was influenced to do so by the serpent who basically seduced her (a very subtly erotic suggestion).
THE HERSTORY OF WOMEN IN MATRIARCHAL RELIGION AND SOCIETY
My openly stated intention as the writer of this work is to affect my mission as a lecturer who offers a masculine voice that respects and honors the virtues Divine Feminine in all her forms. Regardless of race, color, ethnicity or social class, this for me includes what I consider to be the veneration of her animal, plant, mineral and human forms. Every expression of the womb even as I perceive it to be inside of man reflects some aspect of the feminine and should be worshipped, venerated and honored too.
I at that early time in my life did not have any idea what to call it but I felt this deep reverence for the power of womanhood that could not be denied. Although some nearly forty years later, there are more people around the country and around the world even that are beginning to talk about the Goddess now, places like this generally remain the same. There have however been women and men who have not only known about significant certain proofs concerning Feminine Divinity that have written and published works on them. I began to slowly become aware of them and actively seek out such publications later in my life. One such book that had a lasting effect on me was the activist and spiritualist, the Reverend Ishakamusa Barashango in his work AFRIKAN WOMAN THE ORIGINAL GUARDIAN ANGEL. Despite the fact that there are now more and more books and groups and temples that have been published and opened around the world who profess their devotion to a Feminine Divinity, in many ways as well as in practice the idea of a female as divinity is still sore lacking in its being widely accepted or respected as a viable orientation for one’s own spiritual practice. This is true even in places such as our northern states that seem to be more progressive places.
Unfortunately, because we yet live in a society where masculine divinity, the idea of a male god-head, for the most part still seems to reign supreme even the face of facts that say different. Some erroneously have tried to reduce the reality of the goddess to just being a way of saying that maybe, just maybe, there can be something of a female god. Some traditional scholars and religionists have also attempted to reduce this to a historically unfounded aim at a more or less public relations expanded kind of push towards undeserved curriculum inclusivity. They do not really take it seriously at all, as is their idea of myths and fairy tales. The greater truth of the moral is missed in the face of the apparently fabulous, for they ask really, what thing of import, what good could ever come of anything centered around the design of woman? People, however, who know my spiritual work know me as “^SEHU?” the self-proclaimed Unapologetic Goddess Worshipper. Others who know me for my artistic work also know me as “^SEHU?” the Divine Feminist Symbolist because my work involves the resurrection of her sacred images. I espouse the idea that the very body of woman is the dwelling place of the Divine Intelligence, that it is holy and sacred and above all that she worthy of my adoration, my veneration, my devotion and my worship.
As such, in my overall life’s work, I intend to not only uphold and defend a way of life that I have chosen not simply because it is my own personal belief. In my life’s work I intend to show why the worship of woman, is the oldest and natural religion of man. I have traversed through the writings and practices of the major world’s religions. I found them lacking in the presence of such a voice but not lacking in historical evidence that there needs to be such a voice. To a person like me, the mythical and magickal folklore have their place in the collective unconscious of the human race and indeed the personal individual subconscious of each and every human individual. Thus, for me or say an individual like a Joseph Campbell, mythology is my theology and the mysteries are in word and deed my story. Or one might liken the journey of my life as it is written in this book of what I like to think of as the renewed myth in the words of Alan Watts, that it is “… a great idea or image from which man tries desperately to make sense of himself and the world apparently outside yet inside of him. Of a truth, both sexes contain aspects of the other inside of them, physically emotionally, mentally and spiritually. A man seeking to be wise with regards to the truth of his humanity can therefore no more try to extricate himself nor strip from self his identity with the better half of himself which is the feminine aspect of himself and his divinity. My perspective is simply that ours is a shared story, not in fiction but in fact and that story, that grand allegory is that God is Goddess. Yet most people can only think of God or conceive of worshipping god as “He” with a great emphasis capitalization of that first letter..
I am not saying that there is no validity to the idea of masculine or male god, for in fact there is! He, at least to me however is really a complimentary aspect of the divinity of She. Some of the patriarchal religions of the world definitely seem to suggest this idea of a divine couple in their names for God although denying this openly. So they fall hard on the pronouns and never tell you what the proper names really perhaps mean outside of an exclusively male context. I propose instead, that not only is He not the only one, He is also not the original one. For in truth He is She, and She is His Mother, e.g., phrases like “Holy Mary Mother of God” and the Black Madonna icons that exist and seem to scream this almost everywhere. I have thus discovered by looking closely at this dynamic in my own religious experience that this is indeed the truth. I have seen evidence of this over time at certain junctures of my circumspection even up to this very point in my studies.
Now of course I also discovered that there are Christians and practitioners of other traditional systems of religion, who are non-traditional in their approach to understanding their scriptures and have assimilated this into their way of living. Examples of this may be seen in the Gnostic and Essene expressions of Christianity who are made up of congregations of people who worship the Goddess Sophia as well as the Shekinah glory. Also there are those Sufi mystics of the religion of Islam whose understanding of the feminine aspect of Allah that are commendable. Allat, the Goddess and not the god she was called. I also have also found that the spiritual (meaning not necessarily religious) and esoteric groups and the secret societies or fraternities and such who although very weakly acknowledge the idea of a female god are in many ways no different from their religious counterparts who have not even acknowledged it. When they do make any passing statements about it, they do little more than pay lip service to the idea of feminine divinity. They will call a woman a Goddess or Holy and then in every way treat her like a subordinate, a slave, a lesser being. Now I do not wish to offend anyone. We are all here as one family sharing space on this planet that we call home. However, I cannot see myself as being anything less than unabashed, unafraid, and unapologetic in such matters as involve the truth. We cannot get to the truth, while we are still afraid to ask the pertinent questions that will lead us to honestly effortlessly make an assessment of the location and depths of its roots. Sometimes the roots of truth are covered so deeply beneath the dirt of outright lies and even innocently blind misperception that we think they do not exist and so are not real because they are not readily seen. Many of the people who practice religion are essentially good people but they have no idea how some of the doctrines at the heart of their staunchly held and feverishly imposed beliefs have been a detriment on themselves and others. As involve matters of the truth, since the time I was a small boy, I have always questioned the why of things as they were. I was often punished for this, or simply silenced. But the soil beneath which lie the roots of truth, have grown them strong from that place of darkness and now we see the limbs of the Tree of Life are indeed the limbs of her body. Most people, especially women these days are very accepting of male leadership in matters of religion and in general with life itself. They have no idea that a woman’s greatest gift to humanity besides the gift of life she gives is the very concept of divinity that they have spilled the blood of her children for while arguing for their own supremacy. They are mostly ignorant to the fact that religions or spiritual systems were actually originally conceived by and birthed through them. The first priesthoods were all female!
One cannot help but notice that there appears to be a religion for the masses and another more in line with truth that is for the select few who still seem to misuse this information. The text from the New Testament says that this supposed specter descended upon the Virgin Mary in the form of a dove, which is actually an ancient form of the Goddess Venus or Aphrodite and other forms of the Goddess of Sexual or Erotic Love. This, mind you, is supposed to be the same Holy Spirit that was said to affect the female only conception of parthenogenesis which the church called the famed “miracle” Immaculate Conception. The idea that a female can conceive without the sexual interchange of a male in its species is part of the understanding of what evolution means. It reflects the ability of whatever species to transform and adapt to its needs. Ironically, it is only from this supposedly flaccid union described in the New Testament that we are expected to believe that such conception can take place and that it is the only way that the birth of a “divine child” could come to pass. It is so funny, if not ironic, how the symbol of the Holy Spirit that we are told causes the impregnation of a virgin is actually a dove. The truth is that this was really a neutral or feminine state of beauty and bliss that eternally lives in the internal passiveness that is similar to what precedes that empty state of mind when we are afterward actively inspired to create something new. I found that it can be inspired in physical stillness like we see seated meditation practice or in the flux of a dynamic movement activity like dance. Whether enacted spontaneously or by specially choreographed movements of the body it is the inner experience that occurs from its practice that causes this induction of trance. It is in the aftermath of practices like this that the masculinity oriented mind of controlled activity even comes into view in the act of creation.
What’s more if we truly read the rather than just believe the Biblical account that was given to us , we will easily see that when we are told that in the primal emergence of the universe when it was first “created” was made of a sexless state of desire that this is a lie. There is a stillness of body mind and spirit that precedes the activeness of the spirit, but it would be wrong to consider it devoid of desire. This “Holy Ghost Power” that we have heard of that has in many ways driven certain aspects of Christian religion is filled with instances that I can vividly remember were filled with what on the street would be considered very lewd gyrations of hips and lips that speak of demonic gibberish in unknown tongues. People would lose control of thought and body awareness, dancing and shouting in order to “save their souls” and such are really doing nothing more than functioning in an induced state of trance. Undoubtedly, the movement of such energy is real, for I too can say that I have experienced this phenomenon in church as well as in the temple. I can say that without a doubt that I felt it viscerally moving in my body as a boy like fire and later as a young man as the arousal of Kundalini the mystical serpentine feminine energy that in the Hindu tradition is said to lay dormant and sleeping, wrapped three and one-half times at the base of the spine.
It is also said that Kundalini animates the physical body but sparks higher consciousness through the awakening of its spiritual form of this force in meditation. In my experience, it shot up my spine and also passed like electricity throughout my body. I must also say now that I did not quite understand it then but I was aware that it was a very mystical experience. I was much later to discover that we live in a universe of many forms where conception and birth is the norm of creation because it reflects the state of its creator. Life itself is a spontaneous creation! It is an intentional act of will. It is a combustible explosion like the Big Bang, a fiery all-consuming flame and yet it is ecstatic and blissful, sweet and cool like the decrescendo of an orgasmic event. Yes! I am absolutely saying that creation was a sex-filled, orgasmic act of erotic pleasure. I am also saying that each every act of creation since the first one even by mankind herself/ himself, in the realm of ideas is such. Life is a continual orgasm. All is first conceived in born from the primordial waters of conception of our desires. The taking of this aspect of feminine power out of context, is a de-sexualizing of the nature of the spirit itself and rendering it impotent, and without power to create, transform or move. Sexuality which is really the spirit of inspiration has not been so much given over to a misnomer as much as it has been the subject and object of misuse. It has simply been taking of it out of its original context although the original symbolism is still there. The sacredness of sex as spirit has been cast in the shadow of ignorance because the male revisionists of the world religions have not been able to resolve their spiritually and immoral conflict with regards to lust. To lust for something I discovered is but to long for it. It is to simply desire it to come to pass, which despite what some Buddhist and other traditions say, I also discovered is not at odds with the will, but that is one with the will itself. It is only the misuse of it in the excess or the suppression of it to the point of denial of it that in unhealthy or unspiritual.
It is also interesting to note here that the serpent is actually an ancient symbol, an animal totem of the pre-Judeo-Christian-Islamic cultures where the Goddess was revered. I discovered much later on that in esoteric teachings of the Jewish Kabbalah, for instance, that the original woman was not considered to be Eve but another woman called Lilith. Originally, Lilith was a Goddess in the ancient Babylonian Mythology, who lived in tree with her serpent and owl totems. She was considered a virgin and yet sexually autonomous female who lived in the wild and it is said that she submitted to no man. When the Jewish esoteric scholars, who obviously borrowed her name and appearance, but put a spin on her position and her character, they demoted Lilith from the place of being a goddess. They reduced her to station of a lower being, made her a rebellious god-made woman who refused to submit to the first man Adam. As a result of her rebelliousness, she left him and was quickly replaced by a more submissive Eve.
This, however, was not to be the end of Lilith’s story according to the Kabbalah revisionists. Of course, as happens with borrowed myths from one culture to another, creation or otherwise, she was demonized by the very writers who plagiarized and plundered certain aspects of her powers and her name. They say she copulated with the fallen angels and that she became the mother of countless demons, constantly copulating with them out by the Black Sea. Both she and Eve, in these myths, through their very wombs became the sources of evil in the world. This is significant because it was the beginning of the longest running story of hatred of women’s sexuality and religious misogyny. Of course, as we know from the story, the serpent (remember… a goddess totem) was cursed to crawl on his belly and eat dust as well as be the enemy of man. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Of Eve it was also said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Here, poor Eve becomes subjected not only to the ridiculous idea of being made as an afterthought from the rib of a man, rather than the womb of a woman, she is made out to be the cause of human suffering, especially childbirth and by extension the menstruation cycle. Adam is punished for the high crime of following the wayward advice of a woman. This idea of Original Sin thus becomes the reason for their both being ejected from the Garden forbidden to take also from the Tree of Life and destined to die in misery and suffering.
In Islam, I found that although original sin is not a concept, the very apparent suppression of women of ’s sexuality within the culture, still, under the guise of promoting righteous nobility while women are unequal and separate especially during prayer. Women, in addition to being separated from the male population by the erection of a visual barrier between them, were even segregated within the mosque from the rest of the community of women during their monthly cycle. During my walk with my embrace of the Islamic faith, this was also quite problematic for me. I asked my Imam “Why was this the case? Did Muslims agree with Judaism on matters of a woman’s uncleanliness during her cycle? I was given an answer that did not satisfy my curiosity. But the answer was right there beneath my nose. However, I did not realize the why of this until much later when I discovered that the pre-Islamic Arabian Peninsula in its most ancient times had been a matrilineal goddess worshiping culture. The Ka’ba had actually been built by women and not the patriarch Abraham and his son Ishmael. They will tell you that it is called the black stone, which got its color from so many pilgrims in Islam having touched it during their pilgrimage to Mecca. They built the structure in the very place that a meteorite fell from heaven.
The more I dug into the religious, spiritual and esoteric ideas that were at the foundation of these organizations, their literature and their ritual practices, the more I found that their origins, symbols, mythos, fundamental principles of their rites and even more importantly the influence of the original founders of them can all be classified as feminine. Even when it is not gender based in physiological sense, there is a clear indication of the feminine at work. The nature of trance for instance, which is what I experienced and witnessed in church is a feminine and receptive state.
My journey in this work nonetheless, is not just a chronicling of the process of a finished work on why women should be honored in spiritual communities. It is a blue print for the process of the beginning again of a spiritual revolution within our own time in this new and exciting age. It is about not only how divinity is viewed, but who or what it is viewed as and by. Yet it is also science as we will discuss later in the many pages that follow. It has taken me some thirteen years to complete this book and yet I am convinced that its subject matter could never really be finished, for the knowledge and understanding of such wisdom is really inexhaustible. I thus see very easily that will still be writing on it for years to come. It is a life’s work that is for me a continuum that I will no doubt follow through to my dying day if I am permitted to. I hope that in some way it will also be so for others who will see fit to put its contents and philosophy to good use as it fits their own needs and their own understanding of the materials that are here described. Ultimately, I would like to see more people from different walks of life and different professions and different disciplines add more knowledge to the value of it from their own unique perspectives. I would also love to see such a diversity of peoples, perspectives and purposes gathered together under one roof, as a temple-library-museum, a Great House, where the names of the Goddesses of the cultures of the world can be remembered; a place of art and science and culture.
Before I could in good conscience come to the close my prefatory notes and then open the introduction to this the first volume of ASoP, I could not fail to introduce one of my favorite scriptures from the Tantras tradition of India’s goddess-centered yoga discipline. It has carried me for some ten or more years into my discovery of and awakening to the beautiful tenets of Feminine Divinity.
Some religious people will undoubtedly for much more than this quote, accuse me of excluding the masculine principle of divinity. Others will say that I am simply replacing the conception or idea of a different divinity male the female over it in a trading places game that really is no different. They will only say this because they do not understand what it is. They think the divine feminine is something other than ALL-embracing in her ways and they are either unwilling or unable to grasp the fact that the masculine principle is but an evolutionary development that has her as his base and indeed is his very foundation. This embrace includes ALL life whether it be mineral or plant, no matter if it is animal or human and this extends to all of our experience of it from its simplest to most complex forms of things that exist within the known and the so-called unknown Universe. Suffice it to say that this that is work on behalf of the full recognition of feminine divinity or, more simply stated the worship the Goddess. This book is written in honor of the Original Great Mother Goddess, the Dark Mother, the Great Whore and every one of her other Archetypes that we see reflected in every aspect of womanhood. She who comes in and as All-things and includes not only every woman but every man as well since we all come from that one and same source. These are those souls whom we hope to influence again towards the reawakening of the Living Goddess from within to be men-of-good-will-towards-women.
Essentially, I believe no experience and no being is any better or worse than any another, but that in the ALL-in-ALL of such things, in the grand scheme of things, it just is what it is. I teach of no divinity that lives separately from you and me or he and she up in the sky, for even the contents of the sky are but metaphors of who you and I are and we in kind are simply metaphors of them. I preach no doctrine of the ontological scarring of the souls men. Nor do I speak of the fall of men supposedly caused by some spiritual or moral deficiency in woman as the weaker sex. While I am tolerant of the fact that ignorance has as much right to be and exist as knowledge I cannot agree, nor participate in any degree with ignorance. I can only unapologetically and unabashedly say for the benefit of such people who may have not yet seen the dawn, to consider the implications of the following words. “Read on, walk on, live on and see.”
ON THE WORSHIP OF WOMAN
Woman is the creator of the universe, the universe is her form;
she is the true form of the body.
Whatever form she takes, whether in the form of a man or a woman,
is the superior form.
In woman is the form of all things, of all that lives and moves in the world.
There is no jewel rarer than woman, no condition superior to that of a woman.
There is not, nor has been, nor will be, any destiny equal to that of a woman;
there is no kingdom, no wealth to be compared with a woman;
there is not, nor has been, nor will be any holy place like unto a woman.
There is no prayer to equal a woman.
There is not nor has been, nor will be any yoga to compare with a woman ,
no mystical formula or asceticism to match a woman.
There are not, nor have been nor will be any riches more valuable than woman.
(from the Shaktisangama Tantra, author unknown)