The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Goddess in Christianity - The Church

 Good Evening Dear Reader,

Along with spring comes so many new opportunities, adventures and excitements. I hope you've had a chance to walk around a bit outside and see a robin or maybe the first shoots coming out of the ground. My Iris have shot up and are about 3 inches.  People often worry that early growth will be ruined by a late snow, but worry not.  I have consummate faith in Mother Nature and more often than not things turn out just fine.

Tonight let's talk about some ancient concepts.  With Easter right around the corner we'll touch on some topics that abound this time of year.  The teaching I often do, in an introductory course on Pagans, Witches and Wicca  that I teach at our local community college and at Enchantments School, covers much of the history of paganism and inevitably the introduction of Christianity onto the scene and the changes that the clashing of the two concepts caused in our history  


My research has led me to the understanding that the church was first introduced into early Christianity because of the obvious lack of a sacred feminine to be found. The people demanded a Goddess figure in the new religion, especially as they found they had little choice and were required to convert, or else.  This is not just my interpretation, as 'the Bride of Christ or 'bride, the Lamb's wife' is a metaphor used in Ephesians 5:22-33 in the New Testament that directly compares the marriage of husband and wife to the union of Christ and the church

We can also read in Revelation 21:9-10
 "One of the seven angels...came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God"  
 It is believed that the central theme of the  Ephesians letter is reunion of the alienated within the walls of the church. Coming together, a union, between the 'Christ' the male and "The Church' the female. Later writings indicate the 'church' is the congregation as it is generally accepted by Christians today.  

Studies of early church architecture shows a distinct characteristic that became dominant on all churches in the first and second centuries. The arch.  The doors, windows even roof lines all had a distinct arch, in many areas completely separate from the common architecture found in a region.  It is believed that the arch was reminiscent of the female genitalia or vulva, the opening of the womb and as such were incorporated into the original designs for church construction. The arch already existed and was adopted as a design that invoked the feminine, subtly yet nevertheless, it was there. 






  In the  year 431 A.D. the church fathers, responding to rioting in the streets by the common people demanding the goddess be put back in their religion, held a meeting in Ephesus, which is located in modern day Turkey.  The Ephesus meeting was very significant because they officially declared that Mary is "Theotokos", literally, in Greek, the one who gave birth to God.  She became the Mother of God which pacified the common people, but they refused to allow anyone to call Mary a Mother Goddess.

The early Christians had a religious fanaticism about them that demanded conversion from everyone, yet people then are as people today, stubborn to give up what they are familiar with and what they believe. Even though fear and eventually torture and death were the results of opposing the new religion, many times the mass refusal of so many did hold sway with the early church. This is apparent with the absorption of the pagan wheel of the year observations that the early Catholic church adopted and Christianized to basically appease the masses.

This topic reminds me of a story from my teenage years. I've seldom shared this story with anyone, but I will share it with you.  As a rebellious teen, and what witch wasn't .  .  .   I mean really?, I at times skipped school and went into the small country town of Colchester where I lived on a large farm which was situated a few miles away on the outskirts.  Sometimes I would go to the diner for a lunch, not of the school cafeteria type! Other times I would go and hang out in the local Catholic church. Um, yes, I did!

I wasn't Catholic mind you, at least I hadn't been since my parents took the entire family out of the church when I was very little. I was young, maybe five? And the services were still held in Latin, sooooooo I really didn't get the whole gist of the goings on.  So truthfully,  as we left the church before I had any,  even a rudimentary understanding, I've never considered myself Catholic.  So you may well ask, why hang out at the church?  Let me explain.

For starters this particular Roman Catholic church has amazing stained glass windows and a very keen architectural style.  I found when sitting in the pews during the day with the sun shining in through those amazing windows a deep sense of peace and happiness.  There was a picture of the Virgin Mary and a statue of her in a small niche.  Now of course there was also a huge crucifix with a larger than life-sized dying Jesus in graphic detail hanging above the altar, which oddly always upset me? I felt it was a torturous image so I tended to look away and rarely looked directly at it. I preferred the female energy.  I remember that at one time they started to lock the front doors during the day, to protect against disreputable people coming in and vandalizing the place.  The nuns, who I was friendly with, showed me a secret entrance so that I could come in when I wanted to. The feminine energy that surrounded me in that place I can still feel.  The Goddess was there with me. 

It makes perfect sense to me that the church is feminine,  for there is the feminine and male in every aspect, species and spark of life.  Anything, in my opinion, that is all one and exclusive of the other, is unbalanced and lacking. 

Whether you call her the Mother Mary, Mother Goddess, Inanna, Diana, Circe, Hecate, Isis, Aphrodite or by any other name, the energy is of the sacred feminine and has always and always will exist.  I find it a beautiful thing to be aware of this and to absorb and embrace her. 

You might be familiar with the this version of Doreen Valiente's 'Charge of the Goddess' adapted by Starhawk  which begins like this:

" Listen to the words of the Great Mother,  who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names:

Whenever you have need of anything, once a month, and better it be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me Who is Queen of all the Wise" 






I personally feel that all Goddesses are of the same sacred feminine source as I also believe all women have the spark of the Goddess within.  May you feel your spark within, and rejoice in the sacred feminine that is is within you.  I believe even men have this spark. Although some men have a harder time feeling and identifying with this energy, but no worries. If that's the case just find a woman and worship her, adore her and give her all of your love.  That will help balance your energies and make the world a happier place!!! 




Peace and Happiness!



© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

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