I want to talk about the Divine Feminine.
Today, after a really nice lunch out on the town, I drove home and listened to NPR. There was a story on Here and Now focused neuroscientists studying the effects of abuse and neglect on the childhood brain. Basically? Abuse and neglect, even in the short term, causes drastic and dramatic effects on the brain, so much so that the scientists were calling it a public health issue and a neuro-toxin.
I hate to sound sarcastic about it, but if you look at any mammal that is taken from parents and then malnourished, abused, neglected, you see signs of real issues. They bite, or try to get affection and then hiss. They hide. They have neuroses like being afraid of a particular gender or a sound. Some of those take years to shift and change, and some patterns don’t get reset.
Look at any story or study on kids in orphanages, overbooked with kids who don’t get touched, and you’ll see extreme behavioral issues which take extreme therapy (and time) to heal.
In the story, a mother and father discussed raising an adopted child who had been abused and neglected. He showed signs of this deprivation and it took a great deal of time and effort, love in action, to help him, help him relearn. The words from the parents were validated by the science, which again, I’m happy about, but it seemed intuitive to me. Why wasn’t this known before?
While I’m glad that science proves this (because MAYBE we’ll start to get a grip on really practicing love, compassion, empathy, touch, gentleness and protecting children who then will grow into adults who can do the same for their children), I’m angered that it takes science to create “proof” when the signs are visible and have been for centuries.
It’s not surprising, I suppose. We live in a culture that still holds fast to spare the rod/spoil the child. Really, the rod is what causes the spoiling. It damages the brain, in some cases irreparably.
I’m a Texan, and many Texans talk a lot about Christianity. I think about the small children at our Texas border who have already gone through hell (enough that their mothers and fathers sent them away in the hopes of something better), and now are languishing in detention centers while being faced with armed guards, refusing to let these children come unto us, whole towns voting on keeping them out. Not just here, we have children all over the world facing war and abject cruelty, which only creates cycles which will be extremely difficult to heal from.
I was raised Christian and have struggled with the very idea of faith-just search spirituality in my blog and you’ll see what I mean. I react poorly to what I see as an entirely masculine form of religion. God as a father, cruel and punitive. God as a source of phallic power, women as help-meets. God as a gate-keeper of love, only some receive it. Purity culture, run rampant. It’s left women in the position of servant, vessel, chattel, symbol upon which to project all manner of toxicity and abuse.
The Divine Feminine has been tamped down, enslaved, silenced, kept in the background, and treated generally like dirt while wars are waged in the name of Christ, children are cast out instead of taken in, and women are taught that they are only worthwhile as a supplementary to men, our very body and sexual self considered sinful.
The goddess needs to rise.
Last night, I had this weird half-dream about such a creature, a giant mother-figure populating war torn areas with therapists and healers per person, swaddling people, holding them for as long as it took to heal, settling down nations with a calming force of peace-allowing the tears and rage and fear and frustration, but holding it, not directing outward into more rage but just letting it dissipate and replacing it, over time, with trust.
Maybe it will take a new kind of feminine power/not-power to shift things.
This kind of force could protect the earth, which is traumatized, could protect children who grow into cruelty learned from parents who were taught it by theirs, to hold instead of harm, could allow for sexuality and pleasure and gentleness rather than repression, consumption, and greed. It would teach sharing not dominance.
I don’t suppose that’s actually a theology, or maybe it is, but it felt, in the half-asleep state I was in, to be the answer. Holding, not harming. Stopping, just stopping and holding.
I have not been to seminary. I have not studied a wide variety of texts or books on queer and feminist theology. I just know that there has to be something different, either something very old or very new, and it has to involve a balance bringing women and the pillars of real compassion, the hard work of peace, and the idea of plenty, not scarcity, into consciousness.
There is so much holding to do and we need strong arms, of all genders, to be willing to reach out and take in, breathing peace in and out. A bosom of endless nourishment each to each other, caressing all with milky-sweet breath and gentled touch.