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TOPIC: The Divine Feminine 
Balance and the Sacred Feminine (by Regina Coeli McKnight) 


Our theme for today is the Divine Feminine.  There appears to be great and growing interest feminine spirituality.  This manifests in the movements to integrate the feminine spirit within the major western religious traditions (including movements toward women's participation in the priesthoods...)  It also appears in renewed interest in the ancient Goddess traditions. 

Psychology has shown us the difficulties caused when the masculine and feminine (animus and anima) are out of balance in the psyche.  It may be that we are now learning the importance of balancing the feminine/masculine in the area of spirituality.  The patriarchal religions with their emphasis on male images of the Divine, are looking for renewal in our time from the feminine side. 

This emphasis is coming not only from women.  Women have been trying to find their strength in participating in spiritual matters as well as in business, politics....  Women have also been trying to find a place for their femininity in their spirituality.  But also, this emphasis is coming from men want to contact and develop the feminine side of their natures as well. 

As you may know, students in the Sufi Order have been exploring feminine spirituality.  Pir Vilayat has sanctioned the addition of a candle for the Divine Feminine in the Universal Worship Service.  Today, and often now, we have such a candle on our altar. 
"It seems important to maintain consistency with Murshid's form in which each candle represents a distinct religion.  To align the new candle appropriately within this form, we feel that it should represent the Great Goddess tradition, the religion that prevailed in a vast geographic region encompassing Anatolia, Palestine, and Old Europe during the Neolithic period from roughly 10,000 to 5,000 BC.  Although the symbology of this religion has only recently been unearthed and interpreted, it is widely recognized for its power to evoke the childhood of our cultures, and to resacralize humanity's relationship to the Feminine and to the Earth." 
Crysalis Connection, l991 

Today's service will focus on the divine feminine and on exploring how it can bring balance into our spiritual journeying.  It is meant to be a celebration.  It may also be an opportunity for healing. 
(source for some of readings is Crysalis Connection:the Feminine council of the Sufi Order) 

Prayer to Gaia 

Beloved Gaia, Mother Earth, I bow to your mystery.  You who have conceived and created all life, I drink your cool water and eat your nourishing plants as communion.  You who destroy and stand by the dying, I accept your pruning with thankfulness.  Gaia, teach me your compassion, patience, and forgiveness.  Clothe me in your bright beauty, sprinkle sun and moonshine in my eyes.  Infuse me with your power so I can work with you.  Show me harmonious ways.  Teach me to live fully each season in turn, diving into the bounty and the dearth.  Remind me to turn deep within the wilderness for your guidance.  Let each moment of work, play, rest, loving, creating, dying, be in remembrance to you. 

(Dance to Robbie Glass' tape "We All Come from the Goddess" 
Motions:  bend, bend, step forward on left foot, 
               bend, bend, step back on right foot, 
               bend, bend, step to right, together,  etc). 

Prayer of Sri Shankaracharya 
(Illustrates the role of the feminine aspect of the Godhead in Hinduism) 

Alas, I do not know either Thy Mantra or Yantra (mystical word-symbol or diagram), or songs of praise to Thee, or how to welcome Thee or meditate upon Thee; neither do I know words of praise to Thee, nor Thy Mudra (mystical hand gesture), nor how to inform Thee of my distress; but this much I know, O Mother, that to take refuge in Thee is to destroy all my miseries. 

Pashupati, the Lord of creatures who is besmeared with the ashes of the funeral pyre, . . . . . is dubbed the Lord of the universe, because of His marriage with Thee, O Mother Bhavani. 

O Mother of the universe, there is nothing to be wondered at if Thou shouldst be full of compassion for me, for a mother does not forsake her son even if he has innumerable faults. 

from the Sutta-Nipata (A collection of dialogues with the Buddha, said to be among the oldest parts of the Buddhist canon.) 

Even as a mother at the risk of her life 
would watch over her own, her only child, 
So let us with boundless mind and goodwill 
survey the whole world. 

(Practice:  do the Walk of Quan Yin:  Participants hold arms as if they were carrying an infant, imagine looking into the eyes of the infant.  As walk, move hand from heart outward, as if bestowing blessings of the heart on earth) 

from the Gathas of Zarasthustra 

(Note:  The Avesta identifies three aspects in the human being, each having a heavenly counterpart who is a feminine angel.  There is celestial Thought, who is called Spenta Armaiti.  She gives birth to a Word, Asi Vanuhi, and to a second daughter named Daena who is identified as a realized Action.  Spenta Armaiti is the Angel of the Earth, who has special kinship with the human soul.  She is the soul-power that gives birth through human choice to the whole spectrum of the physical plane.) 

O Ahura Mazda, Thine has been Armaiti, 
Thine has been the Life-creating wisdom. 
In us thou didst Life within the flesh encage, 
And didst grant us Words to guide, and Strength to act, 
So that we freely choose the path we tread. 
So each one, whether enlightened or unenlightened, 
     whether truly or falsely, 
     lifts up his voice to speak. 
But to the heart and to the head of each, 
Directly through the spirit, Armaiti comes. 
She stands by to counsel with us whenever we are in doubt. 
(Danceof the Archangels: 
 Armaiti, Anahita, Attar, Vayu) 

Lao Tsu 

All things under heaven had a common beginning, and that beginning could be considered the Mother of all things. 
When you know the Mother, you will also know the children. 
Know the children, yet hold fast to the Mother, and to the end of your days you will be free from danger. 

Proverbs 3 :13-18 

Happy is the one that findeth wisdom 
For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. 
She is more precious than rubies:  and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. 
Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. 
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is everyone that retaineth her. 

LUKE 1:35-47 

Then said Mary unto the angel, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" 
And the angel answered and said unto Mary, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee;  therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age;  and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 
For with God nothing shall be impossible." 

And Mary said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord;  be it unto me according to thy word."  And the angel departed from her. 

(Read:  "Annunciation" by Denise Levertov, as a meditation) 

The Sayings of Muhammad 

Heaven lieth at the feet of Mothers. 
A man came before the Rasul with a carpet and said, "O Rasul!  I passed through a wood, and heard the voice of the young of birds;  and I took and put them into my carpet;  and their mother came fluttering round my head, and I uncovered the young, and the mother fell down upon them.  Then I wrapped them up in my carpet;  and here are the young which I have." 

Then the Rasul said, "Put them down."  And when he did so, their mother joined them, and Muhammad said, "Do you wonder at the affection of the mother towards her young?  I swear by Him who hath sent me, verily God is more loving to His creatures than the mother to these young birds.  Return them to the place from which ye took them, and let their mother be with them." 

FROM THE GAYAN of Hazrat Inayat Khan 

Love is the Divine Mother's arms;  and when those arms are outspread, every soul falls into them. 

(Repeat 3 times, with gestures) 
(make a circlet with arms, open outward,  fold hands to heart and bow)