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Namaste Insights Brought to you by Namaste Publishing

Fall 2012 The Imperative of Unleashing

The DIVINE FEMININE In this issue:

Joan Chittister Matthew  Fox Marianne  Williamson John  Shelby  Spong Starhawk Mare  Cromwell Mary  Sharratt Mary  Lou  Kownacki Sarah  McLean Shefali  Tsabary

In this issue ! !

There’s Something about Mary, All Right! Constance Kellough, Publisher, Namaste Publishing

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Joan Chittister, OSB, Comments on Matthew Fox’s New Book Hildegard of Bingen—A Saint for Our Times

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Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, Reviews Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen

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Hildegard of Bingen: a Dialogue Matthew Fox and Mary Sharratt


The Hidden Spirituality of Men Matthew Fox


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The Terror of the Tender David Robert Ord, Editorial Director, Namaste Publishing


Exclusive Interviews with:


Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong




Marianne Williamson

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The Romantic Mysteries Marianne’s Blog

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Modern Mystics Walk Among Us Sarah McLean


Movies to Grow By: The Duchess


How to Raise Boys and Girls to Be EQUALS Shefali Tsabary, PhD


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A Message from Earth Mother to Her Daughters Mare Cromwell Women’s Congress for Future Generations September 27-30; Moab, Utah

Constance Kellough

There’s Something about Mary, All Right!

President and Publisher Namaste Publishing

This issue  of  Namaste  Insights  is  devoted  to   the  imperative  of  restoring  the  Divine  Feminine  to   its  rightful  stature,  the  result  of  which  will  be  the   restoration  of  the  Sacred  Masculine.   What  is  the  Divine  Feminine  but  the  express-­‐ ion  of  women  when  they  own  and  honor  their   complete  nature?  What  is  the  sacred  Masculine   but  the  same?  How  can  we  embrace  each  other  in   oneness  unless  we  Cirst  honor  and  love  every   aspect  of  our  own  nature?  Men  and  women,   although  different  in  form,  no  longer  feeling   separate  from  one  another  in  value,  in  divine   essence,  is  a  prerequisite  to  healing  humanity’s   felt  separation  from  God. I  want  to  draw  on  two  movies  that  address   the  suppression  of  both  the  Divine  Feminine  and   the  Sacred  Masculine.  They  are  There’s  Something   About  Mary  and  The  Da  Vinci  Code.  (You’ll  also   Cind  another  article  in  this  issue  that  draws   lessons  from  The  Da  Vinci  Code.) In  There’s  Something  About  Mary,  a  hysterical   movie  by  the  Farrelly  Brothers,  on  the  one  hand   men  use  women  as  sex  objects,  yet  on  the  other,   they  idolize  them  as  the  sweet  “mother”  who  is   anything  but  sexual.  Psychologists  have  popularly   spoken  of  this  as  the  Madonna-­‐Whore  split.  It’s  a   fractured  state,  devoid  of  wholeness—and  it’s  at  

the root  of  and  sustains  the  patriarchy  that’s  so   damaging  in  its  effects  on  our  world. Patriarchy  has  had  a  grip  on  human  civili-­‐ zation  for  thousands  of  years,  causing  untold   inequities  and  atrocities.  Yet  humans  resist  the  

restoration of  wholeness  in  terms  of  the  Divine   Feminine  and  the  Sacred  Masculine.  This   resistance  is  so  deeply  entrenched  in  the  psyche   of  both  males  and  females  that  it’s  hard  to  shake. But  I  see  hope.  That  hope  is  that,  paradox-­‐ ically,  we  actually  yearn  for  the  healing  of  this   split  in  our   psyche—a   harbinger  of   a  different   world  that  I   suggest  these   two  movies   point  to.        It’s  this   yearning  for   the  revival  of   the  Divine   Feminine   that’s  behind   why  people   have  long   sought  the   Holy  Grail,   which   according   Professor   Langdon  in   The  Da  Vinci   Code  rep-­‐ resents  the  goddess.  “Legends  of  chivalric  quests   for  the  lost  Grail  were  in  fact  stories  of  forbidden   quests  to  Cind  the  lost  sacred  feminine,”  he   explains.  “Knights  who  claimed  to  be  ‘searching   for  the  chalice’  were  speaking  in  code  as  a  way  to   protect  themselves  from  a  Church  that  had   subjugated  women,  banished  the  Goddess,   burned  non-­‐believers,  and  forbidden  the  pagan   reverence  for  the  sacred  feminine.” Claims  The  Da  Vinci  Code,  Mary  Magdalene   embodies  the  Grail.  How  fascinating  that  today   more  people  than  ever  are  captivated  by  this   legend  that  has  survived  almost  two  millennia— that  Mary  Magdalene  was  the  wife  of  Jesus,  and   that  they  had  children. I  sense  that  the  popularity  of  this  legend  has   little  to  do  with  whether  it’s  historically  factual,  

but everything  to  do  with  the  way  legends  speak   to  psychological  realities.  Indeed,  when  author   Dan  Brown  was  asked  in  an  ABC  primetime   special,  “Why  do  you  think  your  book  has  touched   such  a  nerve?”  he  responded,  “These  are  topics   that  resonate  at  a  deep,  deep  spiritual  level,  really   the  core  of  the  human  psyche.” I  see  the  Magdalene  as  an  archetype.  As  wife   and  mother,  she  represents  female  acceptance   and  fulCillment  of  her  complete  nature,  her  full   self.  This  explains  why  there  was  such  a  system-­‐ atic  discrediting  of  her  in  the  Church’s  history.   Though  she  started  out  as  preeminent  witness  to   the  resurrection,  by  the  Cifth  century  she  had  been   so  objectiCied  that  the  pope  declared  her  a  whore! What  you  suppress  ultimately  comes  back  to   bite  you  in  the  butt.  So  the  Magdalene  in  our  era   rocketed  to  stardom  on  bookstore  shelves,  as  well   as  on  21st  century  network  television  talk  shows,   followed  by  her  debut  on  the  silver  screen!  Re-­‐ pressed  people  despise  her,  yet  they  can’t  shake   her  because  she’s  an  archetype  of  a  disowned   aspect  of  ourselves. I  wonder  whether  you  are  aware  of  the   amazing  reappearance  in  our  era  of  Mary  as  both   sexual  and  nurturing?  Let  me  brieCly  trace  what’s   been  happening  in  the  Roman  CatholicChurch,   which  claims  some  1.2  billion  adherents. If  Mary  Magdalene  has  come  to  symbolize  the   woman  men  lust  after  in  Hooters,  the  Virgin  Mary   at  the  core  of  the  Christian  tradition  depicts  the   opposite  polarity—woman  as  Untouchable  

Mother. Two  thousand  years  after  her  debut,  this   Mary  also  refuses  to  go  away.

she was  assumed  bodily  into  the  afterlife,  where   she  reigns  as  Queen  of  Heaven.

In 1854,  Pope  Pius  IX  pronounced  Mary   “exempt  from  all  stain  of  original  sin.”  Although   the  wording  of  the  deCinition  of  the  Immaculate   Conception  is  stingy,  in  that  Mary  scrapes  into   this  privileged  place  because  of  who  Jesus   was,  the  framers  of  this  doctrine  unwittingly   triggered  a  liberation  of  women.

It’s the  female  body  that  has  for  centuries   given  men  so  much  trouble,  but  woman  @inally   won  the  right  to  think  of  her  body  as  holy!

There’s something  more  about  Mary.  In  1950,   in  a  remarkable  move,  Pope  Pius  XII  declared  that  

In his  justiCication  of  the  Assumption,  the   Pope  quoted  St  Bernardine  of  Siena,  who   examined  everything  medieval  theologians  had   said  about  Mary.  Pius  XII  saw  in  the  Mother  of   God  and  the  Divine  Son  a  parallel  nobility  of  soul   and  body.

Mary isn’t  secondary  to  Jesus.  The  heavenly   Queen  shares  an  equal  glory  with  the  heavenly   King.  In  approving  this  exaltation  almost   unanimously,  the  world’s  bishops  were  being   moved  by  forces  in  the  human  psyche  to   instinctively  revive  the  Divine  Feminine. Is  it  not  curious  that  so  many  Catholics   respond  to  Mary  as  Mother  of  God  in  a  way  they   don’t  to  God  or  Jesus?  I’m  thinking  of  her  various   purported  apparitions.  It’s  not  Jesus  who’s  said  to   be  appearing,  but  his  mother.  People  Clock  to   anything  to  do  with  Mary’s  appearing. There’s  something  more  about  Mary  all  right.   She’s  an  archetype  of  the  suppressed  feminine.   We  are  instinctively  drawn  by  the  feminine  we   deny—so  much  so  that  Mary  has  been  increasing   in  status. If  Mary  as  Mother  is  inching  her  way  into  her   own,  her  body  at  last  accepted,  Mary  Magdalene   still  waits  in  the  wings.  It  will  take  the  integration   of  both  Marys  to  end  patriarchy  and  restore  the   balance  of  yin  and  yang. The  reappearance  of  Mary  as  mother  in  the   church,  and  Mary  Magdalene  in  the  secular  media,   points  up  our  deep  longing  to  reconnect  both   polarities.  I  Cind  it  particularly  signiCicant  that  the   Magdalene  is  resurrected  from  the  annals  of   ecclesiology  at  the  very  time  we’re  raping  the   Great  Mother,  planet  Earth. What  hope  is  there  for  a  reconnection  of  the   Divine  Feminine  and  the  Sacred  Masculine? I  see  hopeful  signs  even  in  the  bastion  of   patriarchy  itself,  the  Vatican.  It’s  evident  in  the   making  of  Hildegard  of  Bingen  both  a  saint  and  a   Doctor  of  the  Church  on  October  7,  2012—only   the  fourth  woman  in  history  to  be  so  honored.   After  being  largely  ignored  for  almost  nine  long   centuries,  she’s  reappearing  in  one  of  the  most   patriarchal  papacies  in  a  long  time.  What  irony!   Even  the  papal  patriarchal  psyche  can’t  lock  out   the  Divine  Feminine.  It  all  goes  to  show  that  you   can’t  keep  a  good  woman  down. I  am  thrilled  that  Namaste  Publishing  has  just   released  a  groundbreaking  book  by  acclaimed   author  and  spiritual  teacher  Matthew  Fox.   Entitled  Hildegard  of  Bingen—A  Saint  for  Our  

Times, it’s  all  about  the  real  signiCicance  of   Hildegard.  You’ll  Cind  much  about  this  book  in  this   ezine.  The  message  is  that  the  Divine  Feminine   will  out—and  in  its  wake  will  come  the   awakening  of  the  Sacred  Masculine.  For  when  we   no  longer  buy  into  what  psychologists  call  the   Madonna-­‐Whore  syndrome,  an  integration  of   maleness  and  femaleness  that  can  save  us  as  a   planet  will  become  possible. Mary  the  Mother  of  Jesus  understood  the   importance  of  the  restoration  of  women’s  deeply   buried,  culturally  obscured  feminine  essence.  She   recognized  that  when  women  come  into  their   own  there  will  then  be  an  end  to  the  patriarchy   that  has  blighted  Earth.  In  her  song  The   MagniCicat,  she  imagines,  as  a  result  of  her   exaltation,  the  corrupt  powerful  removed  from   their  thrones,  the  hungry  and  oppressed  Cilled   with  good  things,  the  rich  patriarchy  sent  empty   away. This  vision  of  a  world  healed  of  the  Madonna-­‐ Whore  split  of  patriarchy  is  echoed  in  the  words   of  a  song:  “The  rising  of  the  women  is  the  rising  of   the  race.” I’m  sorry  the  task  falls  to  women.  It’s  just  the   way  it  is.  As  the  Divine  Feminine  rises  up,  it  will   concurrently  bring  men  into  their  sacred   wholeness  as  well.  We  are  not  separate  but   deeply  connected.  Heal  one  aspect  of  the  divine   expression,  and  you  heal  the  other.  In  celebrating   our  diversity  in  our  oneness,  relishing  the   mirroring  of  our  whole  selves  in  the  opposite  sex,   we  will  have  taken  a  giant  leap  to  realizing  the   One  Divine  Son—and  indeed  Daughter—of  God.   Books by Constance Kellough...

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Hildegard of  Bingen For  the  almost  1.2  billion  Catholics  around  the   world,  310  million  of  them  in  the  United  States   alone,  October  7,  2012  will  mark  the  historic   canonization  and  declaration  as  Doctor  of  the   Church  of  12th  century  Benedictine  nun   Hildegard  of  Bingen  by  Pope  Benedict  XVI.  She  will  be  only  the  fourth  woman  in  history  to   have  this  honor  bestowed  on  her. In  an  era  when  women  were  marginalized,  Hildegard  was  an  outspoken,  controversial   Cigure  who  exempliCied  the  divine  feminine,  sought  justice  for  the  poor,  and  demonstrated   a  passion  for  the  earth  and  its  creatures,  emphasizing  the  oneness  of  reality.  Yet  so   visionary  was  her  insight,  she  was  sought  out  by  kings,  popes,  abbots,  and  bishops  for   advice. Today,  along  with  being  honored  and  celebrated  through  many  websites  and  Hildegard   groups  for  her  teachings,  philosophy,  art,  and  music,  Hildegard  is  being  recognized  for  her   immense  contribution  to  our  understanding  of  our  spiritual  relationship  to  nature—a   contribution  that  touches  head-­‐on  key  issues  faced  by  our  planet  in  the  21st  century,   particularly  with  regard  to  the  environment  and  ecology. In  his  landmark  book  Hildegard  of  Bingen:  A  Saint  for  Our  Times,  internationally  acclaimed   author  Matthew  Fox  explores  the  power  and  richness  of  Hildegard  as  writer,  composer,   philosopher,  Christian  mystic,  Benedictine  abbess,  healer,  artist,  and  student  of  science,   and  visits  the  basic  concepts  that  inCluenced  her  teachings  and  visions  and  that  ultimately   earned  her  sainthood,  admiration,  and  loyalty. In  describing  this  book,  Fox  states,  “It’s  meant  for  ordinary  people,  busy  people,  people  on   the  go  who  seek  some  timeless  wisdom  from  a  past  that  yearns  to  speak  to  us  today  in  the   midst  of  our  personal,  cultural,  and  planetary  turbulence—turbulence  that  gives   perspective  to  our  existence.”

Joan Chittester Comments  on

Matthew Fox’s  New  Book Joan Chittister, OSB

Somewhere there  hangs  a  poster  that  reads,  “Those  who  have  lived  well  for  their  own  time  have  lived   well  for  all  times.”  At  one  stage  of  human  development,  this  can  be  a  difCicult  concept  to  understand.  After   all,  there  is  one  thing  of  which  we  are  unequivocally  certain:  we  live  once.  Only  once.  We  live  in  our  own   times,  shaped  by  our  own  times,  and  constrained  by  our  own  times.  Beyond  that,  most  of  us  have  little  or   no  aspirations.  After  all,  it  is  enough  to  have  done  that  well,  isn’t  it?  For  what  else  can  we  possibly  hope? But  then  comes  the  stage  of  life  when  we  Cinally  begin  to  realize  how  short  life  really  is.  Then,  too  often   surely,  the  question  becomes  what,  in  the  long  view  of  life,  so  small  a  moment  in  time  can  possibly  mean?   After  all,  we  know  that  the  scope  of  the  average  human  being  is  limited  and  that  the  very  thought  of   producing  something  that  might  live  on  beyond  us  has  the  ring  of  absurdity  to  it.  Few  monuments  of  the   past  still  stand.  Few  of  anyone’s  words  live  on.  Few  of  the  world’s  ancient  accomplishments  serve  us  still.   The  aqueducts  are  gone,  the  walls  are  down,  the  books  are  out  of  print,  the  spears  have  dulled  with  rust. Echoes  of  those  questions  haunt  us,  pursue  us  through  time,  shape  our  sense  of  purpose,  confront  the   very  soul  of  us. Shelley’s  sonnet  “Ozymandias”  appeared  in  England  in  the  early  19th  century,  at  the  beginning  of  the   industrial  age  when  newness  was  becoming  an  addiction.  The  monarchies  are  falling  then,  the  steamships   are  on  the  water,  the  light  bulb  has  been  lit.  The  unheard  of  seems  possible.  Everything  old  is  being   scorned  now,  and  even  the  best  things  the  age  had  produced—the  ornate  carriages,  the  awesome  

dynasties, the  cavalries,  the  oil  lamps—were  fast   becoming  relics.  and  in  the  center  of  it  all,  the  poet   Shelley  sounds  a  warning  for  all  to  hear.  He  writes   of  the  broke  and  toppled  statue  of  a  great  pharaoh   found  in  the  Egyptian  desert  and  says: On  the  pedestal  these  words  appear “My  name  is  Ozymandias,  king  of  kings: Look  on  my  works,  ye  mighty,  and  despair!” Nothing  beside  remains.  Round  the  decay Of  that  colossal  wreck,  boundless  and  bare The  lone  and  level  sands  stretch  far  away.

English Poet Shelley

The message  is  ominously  clear:  everything  passes   away,  nothing  is  permanent,  no  power  is  absolute,   no  reign  lasts,  nothing  we  do  really  matters.

At Cirst  glance,  the  words  seem  wise,  seem   weighted  with  truth.  but  at  another  stage  of  life,   the  words  take  on  an  aura  of  the  simplistic.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  we  come  to  know  that  it  isn’t  true  that   nothing  lasts.  On  the  contrary,  everything  lasts.  Everything  matters.  Everything  we  do  counts.  Everything   is  prelude,  stepping  stone,  and  promise.  The  only  thing  any  age  needs  to  become  the  next  one  is  someone   with  the  courage  to  challenge  the  past,  to  embody  the  future,  to  announce  its  reality,  and  to  cope  with  the   demand  that  transition  brings. If  ever  we  need  to  be  reminded  of  the  effect  of  one  age  on  another,  of  the  impact  of  even  one  Cigure  on  the   world,  this  clear,  creative,  insightful  book  is  certainly  proof  of  it. Hildegard  of  Bingen  was  born  almost  1,000  years  ago!  But  in  this  book  she  lives  again  in  our  time.  In  this   book,  it’s  easy  to  see  how  she  proclaimed  our  coming  simply  by  refusing  to  accept  in  her  time  what  we   are  still  trying  to  achieve  in  ours.  She  gave  us  both  the  permission  to  trust  our  own  insights  and  the  call  to   require  them  for  the  women  who  will  come  after  us.  What  she  knew  then,  our  best  thinkers  are  calling  us   to  now. This  book  doesn’t  look  at  Hildegard  of  Bingen  as  an  icon  of  an  age  long  gone  by.  This  book  looks  at   Hildegard  as  harbinger,  prophet,  template  of  our  own.  This  book  doesn’t  sink  us  into  the  past;  it  requires   us  to  analyze  our  own  role  in  the  present  with  all  of  her  gifts  in  mind.  It  links  the  acts  and  insights  of  the   past  to  the  ongoing  agendas  of  our  own  age. The  theological  insights  Hildegard  brought  to  the  11th  century  stretched  the  spiritual  viewpoint  of  the   church  beyond  the  legal  to  the  moral. The  ethical  concerns  Hildegard  raised  in  both  church  and  state  still  underlie  the  hopes  in  this  age  for  a   church  that  demonstrates  more  compassion  for  those  who  suffer  than  for  the  canonical  niceties  that   condemn  them. The  intellectual  gifts  she  gave  to  the  world  totally  unbidden  conCirm  the  desires  of  the  women  of  our  own   time  to  be  contributing  thinkers  to  our  own  world,  bidden  or  not,  welcome  or  not.  The  vision  of  “the  web  

of life”  that  Hildegard  gave  her  time  challenges  our  own  sense  of  planetary  citizenship.  The  regard,   respect,  and  religious  repute  she  brought  to  the  place  of  science  in  the  spiritual  life  brought  religion   beyond  the  magical  to  the  mystical. The  Cigure  of  Hildegard  herself  as  woman—bright,  bold,  fearless,  and  conCident  of  her  place  in  god’s   creation,  of  woman’s  place  in  the  image  of  god—gives  heart  to  women  still  beaten,  rebuffed,  sold,   enslaved,  and  ignored  in  our  own. This  is  Hildegard  of  Bingen,  Doctor  of  the  Church,  a  woman  for  all  women  to  Cind  in  themselves,  to  follow   and  to  proclaim  as  sign  and  model  of  what  they  themselves  must  be  permitted  to  be. What  Hildegard  did  counted  then  and  counts  still.  And  so  must  we. Read  this  book  with  these  words  ringing  in  your  soul:  “The  purpose  of  life,”  the  essayist  Rosten  writes,  “is   not  to  be  happy.  The  purpose  of  life  is  to  matter;  to  have  it  make  a  difference  that  you  lived  at  all.” This  book  gives  strong,  sterling,  and  unvarnished  evidence  that  everything—everything—we  ourselves   become  will  affect  what  women  after  us  may  also  become.  For  their  sakes,  take  heart  from  this  great   woman,  learn  from  her,  be  strengthened  by  her,  and  live  life  in  such  a  way  yourself  that  makes  a   difference  for  those  who  will  come  after  you. This  is  a  truly  marvelous,  useful,  profound,  and  creative  book.

About Joan  Chittister,  OSB A  Benedictine  Sister  of  Erie,  Joan  Chittister  is  a  bestselling  author  and  well-­‐known  international  lecturer   on  topics  of  justice,  peace,  human  rights,  women's  issues,  and  contemporary  spirituality  in  the  Church   and  in  society.  She  presently  serves  as  the  co-­‐chair  of  the  Global  Peace  Initiative  of  Women,  a  partner   organization  of  the  United  Nations,  facilitating  a  worldwide  network  of  women  peace  builders,  especially   in  the  Middle  East.  She  is  founder  and  executive  director  of  Benetvision,  a  resource  for  contemporary   spirituality.  Sister  Joan  is  author  of  many  books.

New from  Joan  Chittister “Everything  we  do  in  life,  the  scripture  reminds  us,  goes  into   the  treasury  of  the  heart.” So  says  Sr.  Joan  in  this  in-­‐depth  and  powerful  look  at  what   our  hearts  can  attain.  She  says  that  the  ideas  that  Cill  our   hearts  determine  the  way  we  live  our  lives.  Those  are  the   things  we  draw  on  in  those  moments  when  we  need  to  reach   down  deep  inside  ourselves  for  character,  courage,   endurance,  and  hope.

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In this  lovely  book,  Sr.  Joan  looks  at  50  “aspects,”  all  of  which   in  some  way  can  Cill  our  hearts  and  our  lives.  She  talks  about   a  prayerful  heart,  a  peaceful  heart,  a  risking  heart,  a  wise   heart,  a  cosmic  heart,  a  compassionate  heart.  Each  brief   chapter  offers  abundant  food  for  reClection  and  prayer,  and   each  offers  an  opportunity  to  become  persons  who  “produce   good  from  the  treasure  of  the  heart”  (Luke  6:45).

Book Review by  Mary  Lou  Kownacki,  OSB Mary  Sharratt  sent  me  an  advanced  reading  copy  of  her  book  Illuminations:  a  novel  of  Hildegard   von  Bingen,  which  is  being  released  to  coincide  with  Hildegard’s  upcoming  (October  2012)   elevation  to  Doctor  of  the  Church. The  Cirst  chapter  begins  with  seventy-­‐nine-­‐year-­‐old  Hildegard,  abbess  of  Rupertsberg,  Germany,   and  her  community  in  the  monastery  cemetery  chiseling  off  every  inscription  on  the  tombstones.   Why  are  they  doing  this?  Because  under  her  leadership  the  community  had  dared  to  give  a   Christian  burial  to  a  young  man  church  ofCicials  had  declared  an  apostate.  A  delegation  of  prelates   was  arriving  soon  to  dig  up  the  boy’s  body  and  dump  it  in  unhallowed  ground,  so  the  nuns  razed   the  cemetery,  making  identiCication  impossible  and  preserving  the  boy’s  burial.  For  this  action   the  community  would  be  placed  under  interdict—denied  the  liturgy,  the  sacraments,  including   Eucharist  and  the  recitation  of  the  Divine  OfCice. What  I  found  most  poignant  in  the  Cirst  chapter  was  how  Sharratt  imagined  the  turmoil  in   Hildegard  as  she  pondered  her  decision.  These  are  Hildegard’s  thoughts:  “The  men  I’d  railed   against  gathered  like  carrion  crows  to  wreak  their  revenge  on  me  and  put  me  in  my  place  once   and  for  all.  It  was  not  my  own  fate  that  worried  me,  for  I  have  endured  much  in  my  life.  This  year   or  next,  I  would  join  the  departed  in  the  cold  sod  and  await  judgment  like  any  other  soul.  But   what  would  become  of  my  daughters?  How  could  I  die  and  leave  them  to  this  turmoil—what  if   this  very  abbey  was  dissolved,  these  women  left  homeless?  A  stabbing  pain  Cilled  me  to  see  them   so  lost,  their  faces  stark  with  fear.  Our  world  was  about  to  turn  upside  down.  How  could  I  save   these  women  who  had  placed  their  trust  in  me?” This  happened  870+  years  ago.  Do  you  know  how  many   prioresses  and  superiors—because  of  the  Vatican’s  recent   mandate  to  the  Leadership  Conference  of  Women  Religious— are  wrestling  with  these  same  questions  right  now?  “How  long,   O  God,  how  long….” P.S.  In  addition  to  this  novel,  which  I  thoroughly  enjoyed,  I  know   of  two  other  Hildegard  books  soon  to  be  released—one  by  Avis   Clenendon  and  the  other  by  Matthew  Fox.  Sister  Joan  Chittister   has  written  the  introduction  to  both  books.

Read more of Sister Mary Lou:

"Sharratt’s well-timed and wellwritten portrait, both admiring and humanizing, should please readers looking for an accessible way to learn more about the life of this fascinating medieval woman." Mara Bandy, Library Journal

Read the novel by Mary Sharratt to learn more about Hildegard. Then read Hildegard’s challenge to us today in Matthew Fox’s new book

Hildegard of Bingen—A Saint for Our Times

Skillfully interweaving  historical  fact  with  psychological  insight  and   vivid  imagination,  Mary  Sharratt’s  redemptive  novel,  Illuminations,  brings   to  life  one  of  the  most  extraordinary  women  of  the  Middle  Ages:  Hildegard   von  Bingen,  Benedictine  abbess,  visionary  and  polymath.  

Offered to  the  Church  at  the  age  of  eight,   Hildegard  was  entombed  in  a  small  room   where  she  was  expected  to  live  out  her   days  in  silent  submission  as  the   handmaiden  of  a  renowned  but   disturbed  young  nun,  Jutta  von   Sponheim. Instead,  Hildegard  rejected  Jutta’s   masochistic  piety  and  found  comfort  and   grace  in  studying  books,  growing  herbs,   and  rejoicing  in  her  own  secret  visions  of   the  divine. When  Jutta  died  some  thirty  years  later,   Hildegard  broke  out  of  her  prison  with   the  heavenly  calling  to  speak  and  write   about  her  visions  and  to  liberate  her   sisters  and  herself  from  the  soul-­‐ destroying  anchorage. Riveting  and  utterly  unforgettable,  Illuminations  is  a  deeply  moving   portrayal  of  a  woman  willing  to  risk  everything  for  what  she  believed.

Selected by

Book of the Month Club One Spirit Book Club Available wherever books and eBooks are sold

Emeryville, CA October  5,  2012  (Friday) Barnes  and  Noble 7  PM  Book  Discussion  &  Signing Hildegard  of  Bingen—A  Saint  for  our  Times   Unleashing  Her  Power  in  the  21st  Century 510.547.0905   http://store-­‐ Corte  Madera,  CA October  8,  2012  (Monday)  Book  Passage 7  PM  Book  Discussion  &  Book  Signing: Hildegard  of  Bingen—A  Saint  for  our  Times   Unleashing  Her  Power  in  the  21st  Century 415.927.0960 Tiburon,  CA October  13-­‐14,  2012  (Saturday-­‐Sunday)  Community  Congregational  Church  of  Tiburon Saturday  9  AM  –  12:30  PM  Workshop  &  Book  Signing Topic:  Mystics—Pioneers  of  Consciousness Sunday  7:30  AM  Worship  Service,  Q&A,  Book  Signing Sunday  10  AM  Worship  Service,  Q&Q,  Book  Signing  415.435.9108 Louisville,  KY November  9,  2012  (Friday) Cultivating  Connections 7:00  PM  Lecture,  Q&A,  and  Book  Signing Topic:  Hildegard  of  Bingen:  The  Return  of  the  Divine  Feminine  and  a  Challenge  to  Patriarchy  Everywhere Louisville,  KY November  10,  2012  (Friday-­‐Sunday) 2012  Call  To  Action  Conference Saturday  10:45  AM  Keynote  Lecture: The  Future  of  Religion,  The  Future  of  Christianity Notes  for  and  from  the  Occupy  Generation 12  Noon-­‐  1  PM  –  Book  Signing https://www.cta-­‐ November  11,  2012  (Sunday) Unity  of  Louisville 11  AM  Worship  Service  &  Book  Signing November  12-­‐13,  2012  (Monday-­‐Tuesday)  Pikeville,  KY University  of  Pikeville Monday  7  PM  Lecture,  Q&A,  &  Book  Signing   Topic:  Creation  Spirituality Tuesday  11  AM  Chapel  Service Topic:  Creativity/vocation  (30  minutes) November  28,  2012  (Wednesday)  Mountain  View,  CA East  West  Bookstore 7:30  PM  Book  Discussion  &  Book  Signing Hildegard  of  Bingen:  A  Saint  for  our  Times Unleashing  Her  Power  in  the  21st  Century 650.988.9800

Hear and   Meet MATTHEW   FOX in  Person Other locations being added—check Matthew’s author page at Namaste Publishing

Matthew Fox

Mary: Your  1985  book  The  Illuminations  of  Hildegard  made  Hildegard’s  life  and  work  accessible  to  a  wide   popular  readership.  How  did  you  discover  Hildegard? Matthew:  It  was  while  I  was  working  on  Meister  Eckhart.  As  I  read  him,  I  felt  more  and  more  that  there   was  a  feminine  voice  inside  his  work.  I  learned  that  he  worked  with  the  Beguines,  but  I  still  thought  there   was  something  more  there.  So  it  was  Eckhart  who  brought  me  to  Hildegard.


Authors in

Mary Sharratt It was  when  I  actually  started  working  on  the  Illuminations  book  that  I  met  Thomas  Berry,  who  was  a   great  scholar.  I  shared  with  him  that  I  was  working  on  Hildegard,  and  he  was  extremely  familiar  with  her   life.  He  was  the  Cirst  living  human  being  I  ever  came  across  who  really  knew  Hildegard. Mary:  Before  your  book,  Hildegard  was  considered  rather  difCicult  to  understand,  even  obscure.  For   instance,  her  music  was  rarely  recorded. Matthew:  That’s  indeed  true.  The  National  Catholic  Reporter,  which  is  a  more  progressive  Catholic   journal,  called  her  “crazy.”  For  centuries  she  was  considered  really  far  out.  For  instance,  she  even   invented  her  own  language.  People  simply  didn’t  understand  her.  I  think  it  has  taken  a  post-­‐modern   consciousness  to  appreciate  her.  The  modern  consciousness  didn’t  get  it. You  have  a  novel  coming  out.  Tell  me  about  your  book.

of Bingen


Mary: It’s  entitled  Illuminations—A  Novel  of  Hildergard  Von  Bingen.  As  you  can  see,  I  took  my  inspiration   from  your  book  in  terms  of  the  title!  It’s  a  novel  based  on  her  life,  from  when  she  was  a  child  of  the   Anchorage  on  through  her  interdict  (the  collective  excommunication  of  herself  and  her  nuns).  The  novel   ends  shortly  before  her  death.  She  is  such  an  exciting  and  inspiring  woman.  Her  life  was  so  big  and   complex  that  it  wasn’t  easy  to  condense  it  into  a  novel. While  I  was  writing  about  Hildegard,  I  was  also  following  the  news  stories  of  the  Vatican’s  crackdown  on   the  sisters  of  the  Leadership  Council  of  Women  Religious,  and  I  was  struck  by  the  injustice  of  how  women   are  condemned  to  stand  at  the  margins  of  established  religion.  The  previous  pope  called  for  a  moratorium   on  even  the  discussion  of  women  priests. Yet  back  in  the  12th  century,  Hildegard  broke  down  all  kinds  of  gender  barriers.  She  was  ofCicially   recognized  as  a  prophet.  She  went  on  four  preaching  tours.  She  founded  two  monasteries.  She  wrote   three  books  on  visionary  theology.  And  she  celebrated  both  women  and  the  feminine  divine. How  do  you  think  Hildegard  was  able  to  accomplish  this  in  the  12th  century,  when  we  aren’t  even   allowed  to  talk  about  women  priests  today? Matthew:  It  shows  what  a  Cierce  force  she  was!  Someone  asked  me  recently  how  it  was  possible  that  even   the  pope  listened  to  her,  as  well  as  abbots  and  bishops.  I  replied,  “Frankly,  I  think  they  were  afraid  of  her.” I  think  they  were  afraid  of  the  authenticity  of  her  sources.  In  the  premodern  consciousness  in  which  they   were  living  in  the  12th  century,  there  was  more  sensitivity  and  respect  for  the  intuitive  consciousness   than  there  is  in  our  modern  world.  And  of  course,  Hildegard  is  nothing  if  not  intuitive  in  terms  of  her   consciousness. In  my  new  book  Hildegard  of  Bingen—A  Saint  for  Our  Times,  I  go  into  some  detail  about  her  teaching   regarding  the  church.  She  doesn’t  identify  the  church  with  the  hierarchy  or  the  pope.  She  speciCically  says   that  the  head  of  the  church  is  Christ,  not  the  pope.  So  her  theology  is  more  solid  than  that  of  the  present   papacy  or  the  previous  papacy.   In  my  recent  book  The  Pope’s  War,  I  deconstruct  what’s  really  been  going  on  for  42  years  in  the  Vatican.   What  you  are  seeing  now  in  the  public  condemnation  of  the  Catholic  sisters—and  even  the  Girl  Scouts,   can  you  imagine!—is  beyond  belief  in  terms  of  how  the  patriarchal  mindset  has  seized  the  Vatican  at  this   time  in  history.   Hildegard  is  strong  in  her  objections  to  papal  pomposity,  which  is  one  of  the  reason’s  she’s  such  a   powerful  voice  for  today—a  key  theme  of  my  new  book,  which  has  the  subtitle  Unleashing  Her  Power  in   the  21st  Century.   The  title  of  the  last  chapter  of  the  new  book  asks,  “Is  Hildegard  a  Trojan  Horse  Entering  the  Gates  of  the   Vatican?”  She’s  a  Trojan  Horse  not  only  to  patriarchal  religion,  but  to  patriarchy  in  general. The  irony  is  that  this  papacy,  of  all  papacies,  is  not  only  canonizing  her  but  also  declaring  her  a  Doctor  of   the  Church!  They  are  bringing  this  herald  of  the  Divine  Feminine  right  into  the  church’s  bosom  by  calling   her  a  Doctor  of  the  Church.  I  think  it  could  explode  the  whole  thing—and  we  certainly  need  that  kind  of   explosion. Mary:  What  will  happen  once  they  let  the  Trojan  Horse  in  through  the  gates?

Matthew: Exactly.  Stand  by,  it’s  going  to  be  fun. Mary:  Hildegard  is  such  a  complex  and  multifaceted  Cigure  who  lends  herself  to  widely  different   interpretations.  Pope  Benedict’s  Hildegard  is  obviously  very  different  from  your  vision  of  Hildegard.  He  is   recognizing  her  for  her  profound  contributions  as  a  theologian.  So  clearly  his  interpretation  of  Hildegard’s   theology  is  radically  different  from  your  own.  Why  do  you  think  Mr.  Ratzinger,  of  all  people,  has  become   Hildegard’s  champion? Matthew:  Because  he’s  German,  as  she   was!  Of  course,  the  Germans  declared  her   a  saint  on  their  own  centuries  ago,  though   she  has  never  been  formally  canonized.  A   lot  of  it  has  to  do  with  the  interdiction  and   the  way  she  dealt  with  the  archbishop,   telling  him  he  was  going  to  go  to  a  place  in   the  next  life  where  there’s  no  music.  You   know,  telling  an  archbishop  to  “go  to  hell”   doesn’t  exactly  put  you  on  the  fast  track  to   canonization!  It’s  highly  ironic  that  this   papacy  is  declaring  her  both  a  saint  and  a   doctor. Whatever  peculiar  interpretation  is  going   to  be  put  on  Hildegard,  it’s  why  I  wanted   to  get  my  book  out  fast,  so  the  facts  would   be  known—and  I’m  grateful  to  Namaste   Publishing  for  moving  quickly.  You  can’t   erase  what  Hildegard  wrote.  For  example,   when  she  talks  about  the  pope  and  the   curia,  she  says  they  are  cackling  hens  who   stay  up  all  night  and  frighten  themselves.   That’s  the  12th  century  curia.  Well,   nothing’s  changed!  Whatever  the  pope’s   interpretation,  he  can’t  deny  her  own   letters. Mary:  Yes,  her  work  stands  for  itself  and   you  can’t  rewrite  that.  The  12th  century   church  was  riven  with  schisms,  sex   scandals,  and  Cinancial  corruption.   Hildegard  preached  that  the  male   hierarchy  must  either  reform  or  be  cast   out. Later  she  prophesied  that  the  entire   institution  would  crumble,  and  that  a   remnant  of  saints  and  visionaries  would   Click to Order start  a  grassroots  movement  to  bring  the   faith  back  to  the  purity  of  early   Christianity.  But  meanwhile,  21st  century  conservative  Catholic  pundits  talk  about  the  pope’s  reforms   creating  a  smaller  but  purer  church.  So  how  does  this  Cit  together?

Matthew: In  The  Pope’s  War,  I  lay  out  the  case  for  how  the  previous  papacy  and  the  current  papacy  are  in   schism.  They  are  in  schism  precisely  because  they  have  turned  their  back  on  the  Second  Vatican  Council.   In  the  Catholic  tradition,  a  council  trumps  the  pope—the  pope  doesn’t  trump  the  council.  What’s  really   going  on  when  the  present  pope  talks  about  how  he  wants  a  smaller  church  is  that  he’s  saying  he  wants  a   church  that’s  completely  obedient  to  Rome  exclusively.   Hildegard  was  actually  called  the  Cirst  Protestant   by  Luther’s  followers  in  Nuremberg,  Germany,  you   know.  But  of  course  she  was  one  of  many  such  as  St   Francis  of  Assisi,  Dominic,  and  others  who  were   trying  to  reform  the  church  in  the  Middle  Ages.  So   there’s  an  ancient  tradition  of  ecclesia  reformanda,   which  acknowledges  that  the  church  always  has  to   be  reformed.  Hildegard  was  certainly  a  great   reformer  in  her  time.  And  this  is  precisely  what  the   Second  Vatican  Council  tried  to  do. Now  there  has  been  this  takeover  by  the  curia,  the   papal  bureaucracy,  involving  the  present  and  late   pope.  So  they  end  up  with  a  smaller  church.  But  the   real  church  is  those  who  are  following  the   principles  both  of  the  gospels  and  of  Vatican  II,  and   who  are  involved  in  issues  of  social  justice,  racial   justice,  gender  justice,  and  so  on.  In  other  words,   people  who  subscribe  to  the  very  principles  that  a   lot  of  these  sisters  have  been  following  and  are   now  being  attacked  for. In  my  book  The  Pope’s  War,  at  the  end  I  list  93   theologians  who  were  beaten  up  on  by  Cardinal   Ratzinger  when  he  was  head  of  the  Doctrine  of  the   Faith.  He  was  beating  up  on  them  instead  of  going   after  pedophile  priests,  which  he  knew  about  and   whose  job  it  was  to  go  after  them.  There  were   letters  on  his  desk  for  years  about  the  abuse.  The   horrors  and  scandals  of  pedophilia  covered  up   under  the  past  two  papacies  won’t  go  away.  The   question  is,  what  would  Hildegard  be  saying  today?   When  you  read  her  letters  of  her  day,  attacking   bishops  and  abbots  and  popes  and  emperors…

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Mary: She  would  be  knocking  heads  together! Matthew:  Exactly.  As  a  sister,  she  wouldn’t  be  wimpy  in  responding  to  the  way  Rome  is  attacking  the   sisters  at  this  time.  This  is  one  of  the  reasons  she  is  relevant  today.  She  helps  sow  courage  in  the  heart  of   any  authentic  Christian. Mary:  Do  you  think  the  present  day  nuns  could  get  away  with  speaking  out  as  dramatically  and  explicitly   as  Hildegard  did?

Matthew: I  wish  they  would  speak  out  in  the   same  way.  I  wish  all  theologians  would.   Frankly,  I  think  a  lot  of  theologians  have  been   cowed,  hiding  in  corners  for  decades  now.   When  they  came  after  theologians  like  myself   and  Leonard  Boff  in  Brazil,  or  Father  Eugene   Druermann  in  Germany,  all  three  of  us  were   very  visible  on  our  continents.  They  Cired  us  all   in  the  very  same  year. This  put  fear  into  the  hearts  of  many   theologians,  which  has  resulted  in  what  I  would   say  is  quite  a  lot  of  cowardly  behavior.  People   have  to  wake  up  and  get  out  of  denial.  And  of   course  the  secular  press  is  terrible  about   reporting  on  the  Vatican,  afraid  to  take  them  on. The  Vatican  isn’t  just  about  religion.  They  are   very  tied  up  with  the  CIA,  Opus  Dei,  and   dictators  in  various  countries  as  I  demonstrate   in  my  book.  So  there  are  a  lot  of  dimensions  to   this  today  that  need  to  be  made  explicit,  and   Hildegard  would  be  out  front  on  all  this  were   she  alive  today. Mary:  Cardinal  Ratzinger,  now  the  present   pope,  expelled  you  from  the  church  after  you   had  served  in  the  Dominican  order  for  34  years.   Do  you  think  your  portrayal  of  Hildegard  was   part  of  what  got  you  in  trouble? Matthew:  He  had  a  list  of  objections  to  my   writing,  the  third  objection  of  which  was  that   I’m  a  “feminist  theologian.”  The  second  objection  was  that  I  call  God  Mother.  So  yes,  Hildegard’s  love  of   the  Divine  Feminine  was  then  and  is  now  part  of  my  lineage. Mary:  So  Julian  of  Norwich  would  also  have  been  in  trouble  for  calling  God  Mother? Matthew:  Absolutely.  Julian  of  Norwich,  and  all  kinds  of  people  such  as  Mechthild  of  Magdeburg. Pretty  much  all  fundamentalists  can  be  deCined  by  their  fear  of  the  feminine—whether  we  are  talking   about  Cardinal  Ratzinger,  Pat  Robertson,  or  the  Taliban.  From  his  writing  about  me,  it’s  this  aspect  of  me   that  most  disturbed  Ratzinger. I  intuited  early  in  reading  Hildegard  that  here  was  a  champion  of  the  Divine  Feminine,  which  was  one  of   the  aspects  that  drew  me  to  her.  And  of  course  she’s  a  champion  of  Mother  Earth  and  the  ecological   movement.  She’s  a  real  prophet  in  this  regard. Mary:  What  would  you  say  to  the  critics  and  pundits  who  argue  that  Hildegard  has  been  unjustly   appropriated  by  feminism  and  New  Age  spirituality,  and  that  she  was  at  least  in  some  respects  deeply   conservative?

Matthew: Conservative  in  what  exactly?  Is  it  conservative  to  tell  the  pope  that  he’s  surrounded  by  evil   men—men  who  cackle  at  night  like  hens?  And  what’s  conservative  about  refusing  to  move  a  grave  when   instructed  to  do  so  by  the  archbishop,  for  which  she  was  interdicted? Certainly  Hildegard  abode  by  some  of  the  restrictions  of  her  time  and  of  the  institution  of  that  day.  She   didn’t  march  to  be  ordained  a  priest.  But  in  a  subtle  way,  she  brought  the  feminine  strongly  into   ecclesiology  and  her  understanding  of  the  church.  She  most  deCinitely  didn’t  buy  into  the  notion  they  are   trying  to  sell  us  today  that  the  magisterium  and  entire  teaching  arm  of  the  church  is  located  in  Rome. As  you  pointed  out  earlier,  she  was  teaching  as  a  woman,  and  she  was  preaching,  which  of  course  has   been  forbidden  by  the  last  two  popes.  She  was  preaching  in  the  presence  of  bishops  and  archbishops   throughout  Germany  and  Switzerland.  So  I  don’t  see  much  that’s  conservative  about  her! Mary:  Some  claim  that  she  was  an  elitist  because  in  Rupertsberg  abbey  all  the  choir  nuns  were  of  noble   birth.  That  she  didn’t  have  people  of  lower  birth  serving  as  choir  nuns  was  one  of  the  criticisms  directed   at  her  during  her  own  lifetime  by  Mistress  Tengswich,  the  superior  of  Andemach  Abbey,  who  wrote  a   letter  to  her  complaining  that  her  nuns  wore  fancy  hairdos  and  tiaras.  In  other  words,  that  she  was  a   social  elitist. Matthew:  I  don’t  give  her  high  grades  on  what  I  would  call  class  consciousness.  All  saints  have  clay  feet,   and  it’s  important  to  know  their  limitations  as  well  as  their  genius.  She  made  mistakes,  as  we  all  do.  One   of  these  was  that  she  stuck   by  the  class  structure  of   her  day. Matthew Fox nails 95 theses at Wittenberg, Germany, where Martin Mary:  It  was  a  deeply   Luther nailed his 95 theses hierarchical  society  with   deep  class  lines. Matthew:  At  the  same   time,  she  was  explicit  on   the  rights  of  the  poor  and   taking  care  of  their  needs.   She  talks  about  the   compassion  she  felt   whenever  she  encountered   the  poor.  She  also  talks  a   lot  about  greed,  criticizing   it  not  only  in  the  church   hierarchy  but  also  in  the   social  structures  of  her   time.  And  her  favorite   virtue  was  justice,  for  she   was  always  calling  people   back  to  justice.  “Daughter   Justice,”  she  called  it.  But   she  didn’t  apply  her  justice   consciousness  to  the  class   issues  of  her  time,  and   today  we  would  see  this  as  

a shortcoming.  One  could  say  that  she  accepted  the  class  distinctions  of  her  day  rather  than  working  to   deconstruct  them.  Remember,  she  was  part  of  the  monastic  establishment,  which  was  very  powerful  in   her  time.  This  is  why  Francis  and  Dominic,  who  came  right  after  her,  did  break  with  the  monastic   establishment  and  its  ties  to  the  feudal  system. Mary:  She  was  a  woman  of  her  time,  which  was  obviously  different  from  our  day. Matthew:  Yet  in  so  many  ways  she  was  way  beyond  her  time. Mary:  Oh,  way  beyond  our  time  also! Matthew:  I  really  look  forward  to  reading  your  novel  about  her.  Did  you  enjoy  writing  it? Mary:  Very  much  so.  I  was  completely  steeped  in  her  world,  which  meant  the  novel  ended  up  being  twice   as  long  as  the  version  that’s  currently  being  published.  There’s  just  so  much  of  her,  which  meant  it  was   difCicult  to  know  what  to  put  in  and  what  to  leave  out.  She’s  just  so  rich. One  last  question,  Matthew.  How  can  people  of  diverse  faith  backgrounds  integrate  a  Hildegardian   spirituality  into  their  daily  lives?  Not  just  Catholics,  but  individuals  from  all  the  various  faiths. Matthew:  At  the  end  of  my  new  book  I  have  a  whole  set  of  spiritual  practices  people  can  do  based  on   Hildegard’s  theology.  Spiritual  practices  obviously  transcend  any  one  denominational  boundary  because   we’re  talking  about  dealing  with  human  nature  itself,  calming  the  reptilian  brain.  I  try  to  lay  out  in  this   closing  section  of  the  book  a  number  of  practices  that  are  indebted  to  Hildegard’s  spirit  on  the  one  hand,   but  that  are  also  universal. Of  course,  her  teachings  about  how  important  creativity  is,  and  her  insight  that  creativity  is  the  very   nature  of  the  Godhead—that  the  Holy  Spirit  is  music  and  all  the  other  arts—applies  ecumenically.  Then   her  teaching  about  the  Cosmic  Christ,  that  the  Christ  is  present  in  all  the  universe.  And  her  recognition  of   the  sacredness  of  nature,  and  that  all  the  elements  need  to  be  preserved  in  what  she  calls  the  “web  of   creation”—and  that  we  can’t  rupture  this  web,  or  creation  itself  is  going  to  respond  negatively  and  make   us  pay  a  price—which  of  course  applies  to  such  issues  as  global  warming. Mary:  It’s  all  very  topical  for  today. Matthew:  Very  topical.  That’s  why  I  have  chapters  in  which  I  have  her  encountering  Einstein  and  post-­‐ modern  science,  the  work  of  Dorothy  Soelle  and  feminism,  and  the  role  of  the  wild  woman.  Hildegard  is   all  of  these.  She  was  very  shamanistic.  Her  love  of  animals,  too.  And  her  use  of  alternative  healing,  which   is  obviously  very  relevant  today.  All  of  these  things  cross  denominational  boundaries. Mary:  My  previous  novel  was  about  the  Pendle  Witches,  the  17th  century  English  women  healers  who   were  persecuted  for  witchcraft.  When  I  look  at  Hildegard’s  remedies,  she  actually  has  charms  that  read   almost  like  spells.  I  think  if  she  had  lived  several  centuries  later,  she  might  have  been  accused  of   witchcraft  for  the  kind  of  healing  practices  she  engaged  in. Matthew:  In  Cardinal  Ratzinger’s  list  of  objections  to  my  work,  one  of  his  complaints  was  that  I  had   Starhawk  on  my  faculty.  And  of  course  she  is  a  “witch,”  and  a  very  wonderful  woman.  So  we  are  still  going   after  the  witches!  I  couldn’t  believe  that  this  was  such  a  problem  for  the  Vatican.  As  if  they  hadn’t  burned   enough  witches  already.  Notice  that  they  burned  us—we  didn’t  burn  any  of  them.

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The HIDDEN Spirituality of  Men by  Matthew  Fox          Recently  I  had  a  very  powerful  and  beautiful   dream  at  a  place  and  on  an  occasion  that  was  very   auspicious.  I  had  arrived  at  night  and  in  the  dark   at  the  top  of  a  mountain  at  a  retreat  center  named   Mount  Madonna  not  far  from  Santa  Cruz,   California.          The  purpose  of  my  visit  was  to  lead  a  day   workshop  that  was  part  of  a  larger  conference   sponsored  by  the  Institute  of  Transpersonal   Psychology  titled  “The  Divine  Feminine  and  the   Sacred  Masculine.”  The  night  was  dark  as  I   stumbled  along  the  rocky  terrain,  made  my  way   to  my  room,  and  prepared  for  the  workshop  the   next  day.            That  night  I  dreamt  that  I  was  on  a  mountain  in   rocky  terrain.  It  was  daytime,  and  someone  came   to  me  and  said,  “Come  look  at  this.”  I  followed  this   person  over  hills  and  rocky  places  and  arrived  at   a  dirt  road  where  an  entire  caravan  of  cars  was   moving  through  the  mountain.  As  far  as  the  eye   could  see,  over  hill  and  dale,  something  like  a   grand  wedding  was  taking  place  —  it  was  a   wedding  day  parade  with  newly  married  couples   in  each  car  as  far  as  the  eye  could  see.          Only,  lo  and  behold,  in  the  back  seat  of  each   car,  as  bride  and  groom,  was  an  elephant  and  a   tiger.  They  were  newlyweds,  compassion  and   passion.  A  sacred  marriage  revisited!  As  one  car   passed,  I  saw  that  the  elephant  was  more  or  less  

embracing the  tiger,  and  the  tiger  had  its  head  out   the  window  and  was  staring  at  me.  The  tiger  was   beautiful  and  strong,  and  in  the  dream  I  said,   “Look  how  large  the  tiger’s  head  is.”          It  was  a  generous  and  bountiful  occasion.  All   were  happy,  the  sun  was  shining,  and  the  four-­‐ legged  ones,  far  from  going  extinct,  were   intermarrying.  Progeny  were  sure  to  follow.  The   return  of  the  Sacred  Masculine  and  the  Divine   Feminine?  The  return  of  the  Sacred  Marriage  of   the  two?  One  can  hope.  It  was,  in  the  end,  a  very   hopeful  and  amazing  dream.            I  take  the  dream  to  mean,  among  other  things,   that  the  elephant  represents  the  Divine  Feminine.   It  is  grand  and  powerful  but  also  maternal  and   community-­‐minded.  I  take  the  tiger  to  stand  for   the  sacred  masculine—a  tiger  is  a  hunter,  it  is   noble  and  beautiful,  and  also  intelligent  (the  large   head)  and  cunning.          The  animals  were  getting  along  in  the  back  seat   of  the  car,  though  the  maternal,  the  elephant,  was   essentially  holding  or  embracing  the  tiger,  the   masculine.  I  could  not  see  who  was  driving  the   car.  Probably  a  human  being  acting  as  chauffeur.          Of  course,  tigers  and  elephants  cannot  actually   mate,  and  this  dream  about  the  masculine  and  the   feminine  should  not  be  taken  literally.  We  carry   both  masculine  and  feminine  attributes  within  us,  

The Green Man, 2012 Jarvier Garcia Lemuz

just as  the  tiger  family  carries  both  within  it  and   the  elephant  family  the  same.

Dark Mother,  Oshun,  Sophia,  Wisdom,  the  Tao,   Mary,  Kali,  or  the  Lady  of  Guadalupe,  she  is   making  a  much-­‐needed  and  much-­‐heralded            The  caravan  in  the  dream  is  signiCicant.  Middle   return.  Indeed,  not  since  the  twelfth  century  has   Eastern  philosophy  pictures  history  as  a  caravan   the  Goddess  been  so  active  in  Western  Culture.  At   with  the  ancestors  leading,  rather  than  bringing   that  time  she  led  the  charge  to  reinvent  education   up  the  rear.  We  are  all  part  of  history  and  this  was   and  worship,  lifestyles  and  architecture. an  ancestral  caravan,  one  that  in  the  real  world  is            But  what  about  the  Sacred  Masculine?  Here  we   seriously  damaged,  since  tigers  and  elephants  and   have  far  less  evidence  of  an  awakening.  We  need   the  entire  natural  world  is  suffering  at  this  time  in   to  search,  we  need  to  dig—and  we  need  to  let  go   history.  Why  were  the  elephant  and  tiger  in  the   of  images  of  Male  Godliness  that  are  damaging   backseat?  It’s  an  interesting  question,  but  maybe   and  destructive.  What  good  is  it  if  the  goddess   that  is  another  point  of  the   returns  and  men  refuse  her   dream:  humans  (as  chauffeurs)   presence?  What  good  is  it  if   “All the names we give the  goddess  strives  to   have  a  responsibility  to  help   preserve  these  endangered  but   blossom  in  both  women  and   to God come from an amazing  beings.  We  are  here  to   men,  but  men  offer  her  no   understanding of serve. home?  What  good  is  it  if   ourselves” Sophia  wakes  women  up  but   Meister Eckhart, 14th century          Which  takes  us  back  to  the   not  men? essence  of  the  dream—it  is   time  that  we  gathered  our            This  will  not  do—not  in   beautiful  masculine  (tiger)  and   personal  relationships  and  not   powerfully  feminine  (elephant)   in  cultural  institutions,  all  of   powers.  We  need  a  relationship  of   which  need  a  healthy  gender   equality  between  the  yang  and  yin   balance  of  masculine  and   powers  within  ourselves  and   feminine,  male  and  female,  yin   within  our  cultural  institutions.   and  yang.  As  Meister  Eckhart  put   We  are  a  long  way  from  that   it  seven  centuries  ago,  “All  the   situation  in  our  current  caravans. names  we  give  to  God  come   from  an  understanding  of            It  is  widely  acknowledged  and   ourselves.”  If  men  and  women,   regarded  that  the  Divine  Feminine   girls  and  boys,  cannot  receive  a   has  made  a  grand  comeback  in   balanced  sense  of  the  gender  of   recent  history.  This  has  taken  the  form  of  women   God  (any  statement  on  God  is  always  a   circles,  women  scholarship,  WomenChurch,   metaphor),  then  it  follows  that  we  are  not  living   women  organizing,  women  leading,  women   with  a  balanced  gender  sense  of  ourselves. becoming  educated  and  taking  their  place  in   science,  medicine,  politics,  business,  religion,  and            Of  course,  not  too  long  ago,  a  men’s  movement   more.  Far  more  women  go  to  college  today  than   emerged  that  seemed  to  inaugurate  the   men.  Whether  we  call  her  the  Goddess,  Gaia,  God   redeCining  of  the  Sacred  Masculine  described   as  Mother,  the  Divine  Feminine,  the  Black   above.  But  for  various  reasons  it  has  been  only   Madonna,  Tara,  Kuan  Yin,  the  Bodhisattva,  the   partially  successful.  One  reason  for  this  may  be  

that the  mass  media  ridiculed  many  of  the  efforts   of  the  movement;  another  may  be  that  certain   representatives  of  the  movement  seemed  bent  on   deCining  masculinity  in  a  crazy  macho  way  —  for   example,  Robert  Moore  in  his  book  King,  Warrior,   Magician,  Lover:  Rediscovering  the  Archetypes  of   the  Mature  Masculine,  spends  far  more  ink  citing   General  Patton  than  Gandhi,  Jesus,  Malcolm  X,  or   Martin  Luther  King  Jr.  In  an  interview  with   Christian  de  la  Huerta,  a  leader  in  the  gay   spirituality  movement  and  author  of  Coming  Out   Spiritually,  I  asked  him  what  he  felt  about  the   men’s  movement.  Had  it  accomplished  much  so   far?          I  haven’t  been  personally  impacted  by  it.  I   think  for  the  most  part  the  men’s  movement   impacted  the  straight  men’s  community,  so  in   that  sense  I  think  it  did  a  lot  of  good  as  far  as  it   could  take  it.  But  for  some  reason  it  seems  to   have  stalled  or  petered  out,  and  I’m  not  sure  what   that’s  about.            There  is  still  an  acute  need  to  open  up  men’s   hearts  and  spirits.  Look  at  the  evolution  of   humanity,  and  I  would  say  that  men,  and  straight   men  in  particular,  are  the  rear  guard  where  the   majority  of  the  work  needs  to  happen.  And  it’s   because  of  that  disconnection  with  themselves,   their  bodies  and  their  emotions  and  with  the   Divine,  that  frustration  surfaces  and  comes  out  in   inappropriate  ways,  with  violence  and  rape  and   war.            I  asked  Christian  if  he  felt  men  in  our  society   have  a  distorted  view  of  masculinity.  He   responded,  “DeCinitely.  In  a  lot  of  men  I  Cind  a  fear   of  introspection,  a  fear  of  pleasure:  they  become   very  stuck  in  their  lives.  Disconnected  from  their   bodies;  completely  repressing  the  emotions.  And   that,  of  course,  all  comes  out  in  inappropriate  and   sometimes  destructive  ways.”

       I  asked  Jim  Miller,  a  seventy-­‐two-­‐year-­‐old   retired  farmer,  poet,  photographer,  and  swimmer   (he  swam  the  English  Channel  at  sixty-­‐six,  and   regularly  swims  to  Alcatraz  in  the  San  Francisco   Bay)  what  the  men’s  movement  meant  to  him.   Miller  has  been  involved  with  it  for  over  twenty   years,  beginning  with  the  “Friends  of  Iron  John.”   He  spoke  about  the  positive  work  the  men’s   movement  has  done,  and  all  that’s  left  to  be  done:            The  men’s  movement  has  been  a  powerful   thing  with  Robert  Bly  and  Mendocino  men’s   gatherings  over  many  years.  It  made  me   appreciate  the  gold  my  father  did  not  give  to  me.   The  men  in   my  family   were  all   alcoholics  or   crazy.  The   men’s   movement   was  very   valuable  for   me  in  terms  of   Poet Robert Bly getting  my  feet   on  the  ground  and  my  legs  underneath  me  and   understanding  some  of  the  things  that  men  are   about,  including  the  feminine  pole  and  the   masculine  pole  —  awareness  and  awakenness.   Men  have  been  asleep  in  our  patriarchal   theocracies.  And  they’ve  had  a  lot  of  wool  pulled   over  their  eyes  over  a  long  period  of  time.  And  a   lot  are  awakening  to  their  vulnerability  and  their   sensitiveness  to  Life.

Excerpted from  The  Hidden  Spirituality  of  Men:   Ten  Metaphors  to  Awaken  the  Spiritual  Masculine   ©  2008  by  Matthew  Fox.  Printed  with  permission   of  New  World  Library,  Novato,  CA.  or  800-­‐972-­‐6657  ext.   52.  Visit  Matthew  online.  

The TERROR of the

TENDER Art by Deanna

by David  Robert  Ord          In  The  Da  Vinci  Code,  Langdon,  a  cryptologist,   is  speaking:  “The  ancients  envisioned  their   world  in  two  halves––masculine  and  feminine.   Their  gods  and  goddesses  worked  to  keep  a   balance  of  power.  Yin  and  yang.  When  male  and   female  were  balanced,  there  was  harmony  in  the   world.  When  they  were  unbalanced,  there  was   chaos.”              With  the  dawn  of   agriculture  12,000   years  ago,  humans   entered  into  a  new   relationship  with   Earth.  The  control  of   nature  became  key   to  our  species’   success.  But  it  so   changed  male  and   female  self-­‐ understanding  that   today  this  very   success  endangers   the  planet.          When  you  gather   nuts  and  berries,  or   hunt,  you  don’t  have   to  put  down  roots.   But  when  you  sow   crops,  dig  wells,   build  houses,  you   suddenly  have   property––and   property  tempts   others  to  take  it,   which  means  it  must   be  defended.  

The World Needs a Hug Art by Deanna

       Because  men  were   overall  stronger  and  faster,  it  fell  to  them  to   protect.  And  if  you  want  warriors  to  defend  your   property,  you  can’t  foster  tenderness  in  them.  So   a  disconnect  occurred.  Tenderness  was   displaced  onto  woman,  and  the  male  learned  not   to  be  at  all  like  the  female.            With  this  disconnect,  there  developed  in   males  a  terror  of  the  tender.  Male  dominance  

over women  is  male  resistance  to  their  own   capacity  for  tenderness.  Male  putting  down  of   females  is  rooted  in  their  terror  of  their  innate   tenderness.          There’s  such  a  taboo  against  male  tenderness   that  males  must  objectify  women  so  they  aren’t   touched  by  the  tenderness  they  have  learned  to   deny  in  themselves.          This  is  the  root  of   patriarchy.  It’s   about  male  control   of  their  own  tender-­‐ ness.          This  Clight  from   tenderness  is  esp-­‐ ecially  reClected  in   society’s  terror  of   the  homosexual.   Why  the  furor  over   gay  marriage?  It’s   been  suggested  that   when  a  man  can’t   stand  the  thought  of   homosexuals,  it   must  be  that  he   himself  has  a  latent   gayness.  This  may   be  true  on  occasion.   But  I  propose  that   what’s  hiding  in   society’s  abhorrence   of  gay  partnerships   is  actually  fear  of   males  truly  be-­‐ coming  gentle  men.          We  need  to   connect  the  words   hateful  and  hurtful.   When  males  can’t  feel  the  female  in  themselves,   they  lash  out  with  hatred.  Men  are  terriCied  of   facing  the  pain  of  being  out  of  touch  with  their   tenderness.          Denial  of  the  feminine  is  so  pervasive  that   anthropologist  Glenn  Hughes  says  a  male  terror   of  women  is  woven  into  every  institution.  It’s   this  denial  of  male  tenderness  that’s  destroying  

the ecosphere.  Mother  Earth,  like  her  human   daughters,  has  become  an  object  to  be  used.

Intimacy, available  either  on  a  CD  ($12.95)  or  as   an  instant  download  ($5.99).

       How  likely  is  it  we  will  restore  the  tender  in   males?  Sadly,  it  may  well  depend  on  what   women  do  about  it.

       If  you  become  authentic,  no  longer  acting  a   part  but  real  in  your  relationship,  saying  yes   when  you  mean  yes  and  no  when  you  mean  no,   you  will  destabilize  the  status  quo,  which  will   automatically  invite  systemic  change.  You  will   need  to  hold  onto  yourself  when  the  waters   become  choppy,  staying  calm  instead  of   becoming  reactive.  Eckhart  Tolle  explains  how   to  do  this  in  The  Power  of  Now  (in  hardcover   $11  ,  softcover  $14,  and  as  a  CD  set  $39.95).

       Who  most  needs  therapy  in  the  average   relationship?  And  who  most  resists?  A   complaint  I  hear  all  the  time  is  that  men  won’t   talk  and  don’t  listen.  When  challenged  by  a   signiCicant  female  to  seek  help  either  through   reading  or  other  means,  they  retort,  “I  don’t   need  help.”          Women,  when  your  men  won’t  open  up  and   share  feelings,  they  are  saying,  “Don’t  really   touch  me.  Don’t  awaken  the  ‘feminine’  in  me.”   Well,  what  are  you  going  to  do  about  that?  If   you  let  that  man  disappear  into  his  cave,  our   world  will  be  lost.  It’s  males  in  emotional  caves   that  have  largely  put  us  in  the  mess  we’re  in  as  a   planet.          You  get  a  man  to  Cind  the  part  of  him  that  can   experience  tenderness  when  you  Cinally  muster   the  courage  to  be  true  to  yourself.          You  have  to  practically  drag  him  to  it.  Not   angrily,  criticizing,  berating,  trying  to  change   him.  Rather,  by  changing  yourself.  This  is  the   most  powerful,  and  only  truly  successful,  way  of   inCluencing  another  person,  as  Michael  Brown   explains  in  his  talk  entitled  The  Radiance  of  

Click to Order        Don’t  let  a  man  talk  to  you  in  a  disconnected,   perfunctory  manner.  Get  him  eyeball  to  eyeball.   In  an  intimate  relationship,  when  you  touch,  if   he’s  just  going  through  the  motions,  gently  and   kindly  stop.  Reconnect  emotionally  and  pick   things  up  again.  Feel  the  connection.  Anytime   you  lose  the  connection,  stop  and  pick  it  up  yet   again.  How  to  do  this  is  explained  in  Dr  David   Schnarch’s  books  Passionate  Marriage  and   Intimacy  &  Desire,  along  with  his  book   Resurrecting  Sex.

Click to Order

       Standing  up  for  your  wholeness  is  about   being  authentic  no  matter  that  you  rock  the   boat.  You’re  standing  up  not  just  for  yourself,   but  for  all  women—and  for  Mother  Earth   herself.


Exclusive Interviews for  Readers  of

Namaste Insights To highlight different aspects of the Divine Feminine as seen by leading advocates for women, Namaste Publishing’s Editorial Director, David Robert Ord, conducted interviews with Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, Starhawk, and Marianne Williamson.

An Exclusive Interview with John Shelby Spong David: It’s  clear  that  Jesus  was  an  advocate  for   women.  Yet  the  early  church  quickly  became   patriarchal.  So  how  did  the  feminine  become   buried? Bishop  Spong:  Well,  it  didn’t  get  buried,  it  just   got  repressed.  It’s  the  old  issue  of  the  yin  and  the   yang.  We  repressed  the  feminine  as  deeply  as  we   could  in  Western  Christianity. One  of  the  symbols  of  this  repression  of  the   feminine  is  the  fact  that  all  of  the  authors  of  what   we  refer  to  as  the  Holy  Scriptures  are  male  voices.   These  are  mostly  Semitic  male  voices,  though  in   our  world  they  would  be  equated  with  white  male   voices.  So  the  Bible  has  neither  the  voice  of  a   person  of  color  nor  the  voice  of  a  woman.  It’s  

really strange  that  we  would  deny  50%  of  the   human  race  representation  in  the  Scriptures. If  I  talk  about  the  “canon”  of  Scripture,  many   people  who  aren’t  even  involved  with  the  church   now  know  what  I’m  referring  to,  since  so  many   have  read  Dan  Brown’s  The  Da  Vinci  Code.  One  of   the  reasons  I  regret  that  the  canon  of  Scripture   has  been  closed  is  that  we  aren’t  able  to  add   voices  like  Hildegard,  Julian  of  Norwich,  and  many   others  from  throughout  history  who  could  give  us   insight  from  the  feminine  side  of  life.  When  I  say   that  the  canon  has  been  closed,  I  am  referring  to   the  fact  that  the  Scriptures  have  been  the  same,   with  no  additions,  since  they  were  Cinally  deCined —though  there’s  some  debate  on  the  precise  date.   But  the  canon  was  pretty  well  established  by  the   end  of  the  second  century.

The idea  that  God  hasn’t  spoken  for  the  last   almost  2,000  years,  as  if  God  had  been  on  a  very   long  sabbatical,  is  a  really  strange  idea  when  you   think  about  it.  Were  the  canon  still  open,  I  would   like  for  Martin  Luther  King’s  Letter  from  a   Birmingham  Jail  to  be  an  epistle  that’s  read   regularly  in  church.  I  think  some  of  the  insights  of   the  great  feminine  leaders  through  the  centuries,   such  as  Hildegard  of  Bingen,  would  be  an   incredible  addition  to  the  liturgical  life  of  our   church.  To  read  their  writings  and  then  say   together,  as  we  do  when  reading  any  Scripture  in   a  church  service,  “This  is  the  word  of  the  Lord,”   would  broaden  our  understanding  of  how  God   speaks  in  God’s  world. David:  In  the  Episcopal  Church  there  has  been   quite  a  lot  of  movement  in  terms  of  women,   though  not  so  much  movement  when  it  comes  to   removing  the  patriarchal  language  from  the   liturgy.  In  my  experience,  opposition  to  changing   the  liturgy  from  its  often  patriarchal  style  has   come  mainly  from  women.  What’s  this  about? Bishop  Spong:  Yes,  there  has  been  a  great  deal  of   movement.  But  changing  the  history  of  patriarchy   was  never  going  to  be  an  easy  enterprise.   However,  I’m  not  sure  that  I  would  agree  that   women  have  been  the  primary  opposition  to   change.  The  fact  is  that  throughout  history,   women  have  been  the  majority  of  the  members  of   the  church.  Other  than  serving  in  the  ministry,   men  have  been  rather  fringe.  When  you  consider   that  the  church  has  overwhelmingly  been  made   up  of  a  male  priesthood  and  a  female   congregation,  to  say  that  most  of  the  opposition   came  from  women  is  really  to  suggest  that  most  of   the  opposition  within  the  body  of  the  church   came  from  women  simply  because  the  church  has   been  predominantly  female.  However,  I  would   guess  that  most  of  the  positive  moves  also  came   from  women  simply  because  women  were  the   majority  of  the  people  worshipping. You  have  to  look  not  at  the  sexual  identity  issue,   but  at  the  fact  that  religon  for  most  people—and   that  includes  liturgy—is  part  of  their  security   system.  Anytime  you  begin  to  tamper  with  the   security  system  of  any  human  being,  you  are   going  to  get  a  hostile  reaction.  It’s  quite  irrational,   but  it  happens  in  all  areas  of  life.  

I understand  that  when  Albert  Einstein   confronted  quantum  wierdness  for  the  Cirst  time,   he  found  it  impossible  to  accept  because  it   challenged  everything  he  believed.  He  wasn’t   prepared  to  open  himself  to  a  new  possibility— and  it’s  not  one  of  his  greatest  chapters.  When   Einstein  died,  Niels  Bohr  said,  “The  king  is  dead.   Long  live  the  king.”  In  other  words,  the  movement   moved  on.  People  cannot  stop  the  movement  of   the  Spirit,  no  matter  what  they  do  or  say. Part  of  being  a  pastor  in  a  church  is  that  you  are   always  dealing  with  the  security  level  of  human   beings. In  one  of  my  congregations  in  Virginia,  every   Sunday  a  man  would  come  out  of  chuch   threatening  to  cut  off  his  pledge  if  we  didn’t  do   something  a  certain  way.  Because  every  week  saw   him  disturbed,  you  got  the  impression  that  maybe   the  problem  was  inside  him  instead  of  in  the  life   of  the  church.  I  Cinally  said  to  him  in  response  to   his  threat  to  cut  off  his  pledge,  “You’re  not  going   to  do  that.” He  became  very  angry  and  retorted,  “What  do  you   mean,  I’m  not  going  to  do  that?” I  said,  “Well,  you  can  do  it  once.  But  once  you  have   cut  off  your  pledge,  you  have  no  more  leverage.   You  can’t  do  it  two,  three,  or  four  times.”  This  was   quite  an  insight  for  him. I  mention  this  story  because  it  suggests  that  so   much  of  what  goes  on  as  religious  conversation  is   simply  a  defensive  shield  around  our  security   systems.  If  our  security  system  goes  awry,  we  feel   like  we  might  be  falling  into  a  bottomless  pit.  So   we  cling  to  whatever  makes  us  feel  secure  with  a   certain  desperation.  It’s  actually  a  sign  of  the   absence  of  faith  much  more  than  it  is  a  sign  of   faith.  Faith  in  the  biblical  sense  really  means  to   embrace  the  unknown—to  walk  into  the   uncertain  tomorrow.  To  be  faithless  is  to  cling  to   yesterday  as  if  there  were  no  tomorrow. So  much  of  what  goes  on  in  liturgy  and  in  the  life   of  the  church  is  attached  to  the  emotions  that   revolve  around  feeling  secure.  That’s  why   ordaining  women  was  such  an  incredible  struggle   for  some  churches.  With  the  rare  exception  of  the  

United Church  of  Christ,  which  ordained  a  woman   in  the  19th  century,  no  woman  was  ordained  until   the  20th  century.  Almost  all  the  churches  that   have  moved  to  ordain  women  did  so  in  the  second   half  of  the  20th  century,  most  of  them  in  the  last   quarter  of  the  century.  The  great  Christian   movements  of  the  world  numerically—the  Roman   Catholic  tradition  and  the  Orthodox  tradition— haven’t  yet  moved  to  this  simple  issue  of  equality. The  reason  there’s  a   battle  around  this  issue  is   that  it  challenges  our   value  systems  of  the  past.   Those  churches  that   won’t  move  on  it  call  the   way  they  cling  to  the   values  of  the  past   “virtue,”  whereas  I  call  it   “sin.”  They  want  to   protect  this  unchanging   sacred  tradition,  but  what   they  are  protecting  is  the   sinfulness  of  human   prejudice  hiding  in  our   insecurity. We  had  the  same  thing  in   the  race  movement  in  the   South.  Deeply  committed   Christians  were  violently   opposed  to  integration.   Every  time  there’s  a   change  in  the  status  of   how  we  see  God  or  how   we  worship,  it  generates   an  enormous  amount  of   anxiety,  insecurity,   hostility,  and  even  warfare.  The  reason  we  have   religious  wars  and  religious  persecution  is  that   we  can’t  embrace  the  ongoing  reality  of  change. One  of  the  reasons  Darwin  so  upsets  many   Christians  is  that  he  said  we  live  in  the  midst  of   Clux.  There  was  never  a  perfect  beginning,  and   there  isn’t  a  perfect  end  in  sight.  It’s  an  ever-­‐ evolving,  ever-­‐changing  situation.  Though  this  is   clearly  the  case  in  life,  religious  people  have  a   hard  time  allowing  this  truth  to  enter  and  inform   their  personal  experience  of  reality.

David: I  don’t  know  whether  you  happen  to  have   seen  the  BBC  movie  called  simply  “Darwin,”  but   Charles  Darwin  went  through  a  similar   earthquake  emotionally,  which  the  Cilm  shows   graphically. Bishop  Spong:  Yes,  he  did.  In  fact  he  arrived  at   most  of  his  insights  about  30  years  before  he   published  On  the  Origin  of  Species.  One  of  the   reasons  he  didn’t  publish  earlier  was  that  he   knew  it  was  going  to  be   terribly  upsetting  to  his   wife,  who  was  a  deeply   devoted  Church  of   England  worshiper. The  fact  is  that  truth   doesn’t  stop  for  all  of  the   weak  people  to  catch  up   with  it.  Because  people   don’t  move  lockstep  but   are  in  different  places  on   the  journey,  we  are   always  living  in  the  chaos   triggered  by  change.  Life   is  rather  like  one  of  those   kaleidoscopes,  where   every  time  you  turn  it,  all   the  crystals  shift  their   position.  It’s  highly   insecurity-­‐producing  for   most  people. I  don’t  believe  the   Christian  faith  offers  us   security.  I  think  that’s   nothing  but  idolatry.  I   think  that  what  the   Christian  faith  gives  me,   at  least,  is  the  capacity  to  live  within  a  world  of   radical  insecurity,  and  to  keep  putting  one  foot  in   front  of  the  other  with  integrity.  I  think  we’ve   totally  missed  the  message  in  the  institutional   church  by  not  understanding  that  this  is  what  our   business  is  all  about. David:  My  sense  is  that  people’s  psychological   development  determines  where  they  are  in  terms   of  their  beliefs.  As  we  develop  psychologically,  we   become  able  to  evolve  doctrinally.  This  was   certainly  true  in  my  own  case.

Bishop Spong:  I  think  that’s  exactly  correct.  One   of  the  problems  we  have  as  the  church  is  that  we   spend  our  time  trying  to  protect  the  security  lines   of  yesterday  because  we  are  incapable  of   embracing  the  realities  of  an  oncoming  tomorrow. David:  Isn’t  it  the  case  that  the  Episcopal  Church   will  only  be  able  to  change  its  liturgy  if  it  rewrites   the  prayer  book?  Do  you  see  any  hope  of  this   happening? Bishop  Spong:  Oh  yes.  It  happens  fairly  regularly,   about  every  50  years.  It’s  a  cataclysmic  event  for   Episcopalians.  Every  now  and  then  people  ought   to  go  back  and  worship  according  to  the  1662   prayer  book,  and  they  would  understand  why  we   have  to  change  it  periodically.  Our  whole  world  is   in  constant  change,  which  means  our  thought   processes  also  change.  In  1662,  nobody  had  ever   heard  of  a  germ  or  a  virus,  let  alone  a   cardiovascular  accident.  Whenever  somebody   became  sick,  they  interpreted  it  as  punishment   from  God  for  their  sinfulness.  So  we  treated   sickness  with  sacriCices  and  prayers.  Now  that  we   know  the  cause  of  illness  isn’t  God’s  punishment,   but  a  virus,  cholesterol  count,  and  so  on,  we  know   how  to  treat  these  things  quite  differently.  As  a   result,  the  secularization  of  medicine  has  taken   place  rather  completely. We  feel  the  same  way  about  the  weather.  Every   now  and  then  you’ll  hear  a  strange  voice  like  Pat   Robertson,  who  said  that  the  Haiti  earthquake   was  God’s  punishment  of  the  Haitians  for   throwing  the  French  out  in  the  19th  century.  Of   course,  most  of  us  smile  at  this  idea  today.  But  if   you  go  back  a  few  hundred  years,  we  didn’t  laugh   at  such  things. When  the  Black  Plague  struck  across  Europe,   everybody  looked  for  a  reason,  trying  to   understand  God’s  punishing  wrath.  One  of  the   candidates  was  that  they  had  moved  the  papacy   from  Rome  to  Avignon.  This  is  when  Clagellants   appeared  on  the  scene.  They  would  go  through   the  cities  of  Europe  lashing  themselves  with   whips,  the  idea  being  that  if  they  punished   themselves  sufCiciently,  God  would  withdraw  the   punishment  of  the  plague.  It  wasn’t  abnormal  to   think  this  way  back  then.  But  this  is  widely   recognized  as  really  strange  thinking  today.  If  the  

church doesn’t  revise  its  prayer  book  from  time  to   time,  it  gets  trapped  in  the  issues  of  yesterday. When  the  Bible  was  written,  we  were  quite  sure   that  the  universe  was  made  up  of  three  tiers,  and   the  earth  was  the  center  of  the  three  tiers.  The   entire  Bible  is  written  from  this  point  of  view.  For   instance,  it  makes  no  sense  whatever  to  talk  about   the  Tower  of  Babel  story,  in  which  they  were   going  to  build  a  tower  so  tall  that  it  would  reach   God  up  in  the  sky,  unless  you  believe  that  you  live   in  a  three-­‐tiered  universe.  It  makes  no  sense  to   talk  about  God  raining  down  manna  on  the   starving  children  of  Israel  unless  you  believe  that   God  lives  in  the  sky.  In  the  story  of  the  ascension,   it  makes  no  sense  for  Jesus  to  rise  up  off  this   planet  and  ascend  into  the  sky  unless  you  believe   that  God  is  above  us.  It  was  Carl  Sagan  who  said  to   me  on  one  occasion,  “If  Jesus  literally  ascended   into  the  sky,  and  if  he  traveled  at  the  speed  of   light—approximately  186,000  miles  per  second— he  hasn’t  yet  escaped  our  galaxy.” When  people  literalize  the  Scriptures  so  totally,   they  literalize  a  worldview  that  has  long  since   died.  If  we  are  going  to  talk  about  our  faith  in  the   21st  century,  we’ve  got  to  extricate  the  experience   of  our  faith  from  the  explanations  of  a  pre-­‐modern   world—and  that’s  a  very  scary  thing  for  many   people. Matthew  Fox  was  one  of  the  Cirst  people  to  start   doing  this,  with  his  book  Original  Blessing.  You   see,  Darwin   makes  the  idea  of   original  sin   nonsense.   Original  sin   assumes  there   was  in  the   beginning  a  state   of  perfection  from   which  we  have   fallen.  But  if,  as   Darwin  shows,   there  was  no   perfect  creation,   there  couldn’t  be   a  fall.  If  there   wasn’t  a  fall,  there   doesn’t  need  to  be  

a rescue,  since  you  can’t  be  rescued  from  a  fall   that  never  happened.  You  can’t  be  restored  to  a   status  you’ve  never  possessed.  So  the  whole  way   we  tell  the  Jesus  story  becomes  increasingly   nonsensical  if  we  identify  the  explanations  of   yesterday  with  the  experience  we  are  trying  to   communicate  today. David:  Paul  in  Romans  1:20  speaks  of  the  divine   attributes  as  evident  in  the  creation.  Do  you  see   aspects  of  the  feminine  that  distinctively  reveal   God  in  ways  that  the  masculine  doesn’t? Bishop  Spong:  If  you  go  back  far  enough  in   human  experience,  you’ll  Cind  that  we  envisioned   God  as  feminine.  When  we  shifted  from  being   hunter-­‐gatherers  as  a  species  and  became   agricultural  in  some  of  those  early  civilizations  in   the  Tigris-­‐Euphrates  and  Nile  River  valleys,  which   are  the  ones  we  know  most  about,  our  concept  of   God  shifted  from  this  spirit-­‐Cilled  world  to  a   localized  deity  who  was  increasingly  identiCied   with  the  reproductive  processes  of  life. In  every  language  of  the  world  that  I’m  aware  of,   our  earth  is  called  Mother  Earth  and  nature  is   called  Mother  Nature,  since  it  was  reproduction   that  kept  our  species  alive.  Long  before  people   understood  the  connection  between  sexual   activity  and  reproduction,  they  recognized  that   the  mother  was  the  one  who  nourished  the  tribe   with  new  people.    God  was  viewed  as  the  feminine   source  of  life. Remnants  of  these  concepts  are  still  alive  in  some   of  our  traditions  today.  The  fact  that  most  of  our   burial  customs  open  the  womb  of  Mother  Earth   and  place  her  sons  and  daughters  back  into  the   womb  comes  out  of  this  period  of  our  history. Child  sacriCice,  as  cruel  and  terrible  as  it  was,   arose  from  the  idea  that  if  you  sacriCiced  your   Cirstborn  to  the  Mother  Goddess,  she  would  bless   you  with  many  more  children—and  having   sufCicient  children  was  a  major  issue  in  a  world  in   which  the  survival  of  the  species  was  always  at   risk.  We  were  told  that  we  were  to  reproduce   because  it  was  our  duty  as  a  human  being.  This   doesn’t  make  a  lot  of  sense  in  a  world  with  more   than  seven  billion  people,  where  natural  

resources are  being  stretched  to  the  limit  to   support  this  gigantic  population. The  recovery  of  the  feminine  in  God  is  also  to   recover  a  sense  of  the  environment  as  being  holy,   and  to  recover  a  sense  of  humanity  as  both  male   and  female  equally.  We  have  had  to  learn  that  God   embodies  both  the  masculine  and  the  feminine.   To  recognize  and  honor  gay  and  lesbian  people  is   an  aspect  in  this  same  struggle,  because  we  have   tried  to  make  God  exclusively  masculine.  All  of   these  movements  tend  in  the  direction  of   recovering  a  meaning  to  life  that  has  a  feminine   perspective.  And  I  think  the  church  is  inCinitely   better  off  because  of  it. In  my  church,  I  see  that  because  we  ordained   women,  legally  beginning  in  1977—we  had   ordained  a  few  illegally  before  this  time—we  have   since  begun  to  develop  female  bishops,  female   theologians,  female  biblical  scholars,  and  female   liturgists.  This  is  to  our  advantage  because,  when   women  look  at  the  Bible,  theology  or  liturgy  from   a  feminine  perspective,  they  see  things  we  have   never  seen  before. No  one  human  being  can  see  the  fullness  of  light,   the  fullness  of  God.  It  takes  the  complementary   aspects  of  both  male  and  female,  along  with  the   aspects  we  call  gay  or  lesbian,  to  be  able  to  see  the   fullness  of  the  meaning  we  search  for  when  we   search  for  the  reality  of  God.

Visit John  Shelby  Spong at:

An Exclusive   Interview   with   STARHAWK

Photo: Bert Meijer

About Starhawk Starhawk  is  the  author  of  twelve  books  on  Goddess  religion,  earth  based  spirituality,  and  activism,   including  The  Spiral  Dance,  The  Fifth  Sacred  Thing,  The  Earth  Path,  and  The  Empowerment  Manual:   A  Guide  for  Collaborative  Groups,  on  power,  process  and  group  dynamics.  She  is  currently  working   with  Yerba  Buena  Films  on  a  feature  production  of  her  novel  The  Fifth  Sacred  Thing.  You  can  learn   about  it  at: Starhawk  is  one  of  the  founders  of  the  Pagan  spiritual  network  Reclaiming,,   and  directs  Earth  Activist  Trainings,  offering  permaculture  design  courses  with  a  grounding  in   spirit  and  a  focus  on  organizing.  See:  She  blogs  at  and  her  website  is

David: How  did  you  Cirst  become  aware  of  the  Divine  Feminine  in  your  life? Starhawk:  I  grew  up  in  the  Jewish  tradition,  and  my  mother  had  long  been  a  proto-­‐feminist.  She   constantly  complained  about  the  favoritism  shown  to  her  brothers.  For  instance,  she  objected  to  the  fact   that  they  experienced  a  bar  mitzvah,  whereas  she  was  denied  this.  I  used  to  think,  “Mom,  get  over  it!  That   was  a  long  time  ago.” But  as  I  grew  older,  I  started  to  notice  for  myself  how  the  same  dynamics  were  operating  in  society.  Then   in  college  I  became  involved  in  the  feminist  movement.  As  part  of  this,  we  started  to  look  at  the  role  of   religion,  realizing  how  much  religion  is  controlled  by  men  and  oriented  toward  males—and,  conversely,   how  little  of  it  is  focused  on  women. In  due  course,  I  started  looking  for  alternatives.  This  is  what  led  me  into  the  Cield  of  Goddess  religion,   whereby  I  started  creating  rituals  and  working  with  groups  that  wanted  to  do  something  different,  trying   things  that  really  look  at  the  energies  that  bring  life  into  the  world,  honoring  these  energies,  honoring  the   body  and  its  Clesh—in  other  words,  honoring  nature. David:  How  did  this  awakening  change  you? Starhawk:  I  found  that  being  able  to  see  the  divine  in  female  form  was  empowering  to  me  as  a  woman,   especially  as  a  young  woman.  It  was  a  tremendous  realization  to  be  able  to  say,  “My  female  body  is  sacred,   and  the  things  that  my  body  is  capable  of  doing  are  part  of  the  life  force,  the  great  creative  force  of  the   universe.” This  insight  made  me  more  grounded.  I  became  more  conCident  in  following  my  own  intuition  and   trusting  my  own  ideas.  I  realized  that  I  didn’t  need  to  have  them  validated  by  a  man.  This  made  me  more   independent. For  me  this  continues  to  be  a  great  source  of  creativity.  I  have  a  way  to  tap  into  the  wellspring  of   creativity  that’s  all  around  us. David:  Coming  from  the  perspective  of  the  Divine  Feminine,  in  any  given  situation,  how  do  you  know   which  is  the  right  path  for  you? Starhawk:  I  think  it’s  a  deep  intuition.  There’s  a  feeling  about  it.  It’s  hard  to  describe,  but  it’s  almost  like   when  you  are  trying  to  adjust  something  and  it  suddenly  clicks  into  place.  There’s  just  a  rightness. At  the  same  time,  there’s  a  certain  feeling  when  I’m  about  to  go  off  on  a  wrong  path.  Maybe  it’s  sometimes   even  clearer  than  when  I  know  the  right  path.  I  might  begin  to  feel  a  little  squirrely  about  something.  Or  if   someone  suggests  something  that  just  doesn’t  feel  quite  right,  quite  ethical,  there’s  an  almost  visceral   feeling  that  says,  “No,  don’t  go  down  that  road.” David:  Is  this  different  from  how,  when  people  are  asked  by  life  to  take  a  new  direction,  they  often   experience  fear,  which  causes  them  to  want  to  close  that  door?  Can  you  differentiate  between  the  two   experiences? Starhawk:  Yes.  We  have  a  saying  in  my  tradition  that  where  there’s  fear,  there’s  power.  When  you  are   going  in  a  new  direction,  especially  when  you  are  approaching  the  edge  of  your  comfort  zone,  it  deCinitely   can  feel  uncomfortable.  But  it’s  a  different  kind  of  discomfort.

The one  feels  kind  of  scary,  yet  at  the  same  time  exhilarating—like  when  you  are  about  to  jump  off  a  high   rock  into  cold  water.  You  want  to  do  it,  but  the  thought  of  the  shock  of  the  cold  water  causes  you   trepidation.  But  if  I  am  being  asked  to  do  something  I  would  feel  ashamed  of—or  if  the  feeling  arises  that   says,  “Whoa,  I  wouldn’t  want  anyone  else  to  Cind  out  about  this”—that  to  me  is  a  big  no-­‐no. I  want  to  be  able  to  say,  “You  know  what,  whatever  happens,  I  stand  behind  this.  I  know  that  my   intentions  in  this  are  right.  I’m   serving  the  cause  of  justice.”  It   Photo: Wisteria Community, Ohio may  even  be  terrifying,  but  it’s   nevertheless  the  right  thing  to  do. David:  We  are  seeing  a  lot  of   pushback  in  the  world  right  now   in  terms  of  women’s  issues.  In   American  society,  the  attempt  by   some  to  stop  abortion  is  gaining   momentum.  In  the  Roman   Catholic  Church  globally,   patriarchy  is  reasserting  itself.   And  what  many  thought  was   going  to  be  an  Arab  spring  is  in   many  ways  turning  the  clock  back   for  women.  How  do  you  see  all  of   this  playing  out  in  terms  of  our   overall  evolution? Starhawk:  One  of  the  things  I   have  always  appreciated  about   Matthew  Fox  is  that  he’s   constantly  been  a  strong  voice  for   women’s  rights  within  the   church,  and  for  really  trusting  the   integrity  and  spiritual  authority   of  women.  We  have  to  trust   women  to  make  their  own   decisions. The  whole  debate  surrounding   abortion  isn’t  really  about  the  life   of  the  unborn.  It’s  about  who  gets   to  control  women’s  reproduction. If  the  abortion  debate  was  truly   about  life  and  concern  for  the   unborn,  then  the  same  voices  that   are  interested  in  banning   Starhawk leads meditation at Wisteria abortion  would  be  showing  at   Summer Solstice Gathering, 2009 least  some  slight  concern  when  it  comes  to  making  sure  children   have  basics  like  food,  shelter,  clothing,  health  care,  and   education  once  they  are  actually  born.  Yet  all  around  the  world  children  in  the  countless  millions  are   going  without  these  things,  with  thousands  dying  every  day  of  malnutrition.

On one  level,  it  seems  like  we  are  in  a  time  when  we  are  having  to  continually  Cight  the  same  battles  over   and  over  again.  But  on  another  level,  the  old  regime  could  be  likened  to  the  dinosaurs  thrashing  their  way   into  extinction  as  the  environment  changed  around  them  and  mammals  began  to  thrive.  I  sense  that  the   younger  generation  doesn’t  have  so  many  of  these  same  kinds  of  concerns  that  you  see  aired  in  public  so   much.  When  you  look  at  the  overall  trend  of  history,  you’ll  see  that  it’s  gradually  moving  toward  greater   openness  and  increased  liberation. In  terms  of  the  Arab  Spring,  I’ve  spent  a  lot  of  time  in  Palestine,  in  solidarity  with  the  liberation  struggle   there—particularly  with  the  people  who  are  waging  a  nonviolent  resistance  to  occupation.  I’ve  had  the   opportunity  to  live  intimately  with  some  of  the  families,  really  getting  to  work  with  and  know  people   there.  Whenever  you  have  conditions  of  intense  suppression,  the  reaction  often  tends  to  move  toward   whatever  seems  strongest  and  most  dogmatic.  But  there  are  great  variations  among  Muslims  as  among   any  group  of  people.  Many  people  chafe  under  the  restrictions  of  fundamentalism.  Remove  the  external   suppression,  and  people  will  Cind  their  way  to  liberation. I  know  that  there  are  a  lot  of  people  within  the  Muslim  world  who  are  working  toward  honoring  women.   There  are  also  a  lot  of  very  strong,  highly  educated  women  in  the  Muslim  world.  Certainly  among  the   Palestinians,  there  are  many,  many  women   with  higher  education.  Families  educate   women  because  it’s  more  likely  that  the   women  in  the  family  will  survive  than  the  men.   In  the  long  run,  this  makes  for  liberation. David:  What’s  the  bottom  line  in  society’s   resistance  to  equality  for  women? Starhawk:  It’s  quite  simply  control,  resulting   from  fear.  People  who  have  control  are   reluctant  to  give  it  up  because  then  they  would   have  to  confront  their  fears.  Men  who  have   little  control  over  the  rest  of  their  lives  at  least   get  to  exercise  some  control  when  they  can   dominate  women.  It’s  their  compensation  for   not  having  rewarding  lives  in  general. David:  Matthew  Fox  has  been  a  presence  in   your  life  for  some  time,  right? Starhawk:  Working  with  Matthew,  as  I  did  for   many  years  in  the  80s  and  90s,  he  introduced   me  to  Hildegard  and  her  wonderful  work.  At   one  point  when  I  was  traveling  in  Germany,  I   had  the  marvelous  opportunity  to  visit  her   abbey.  To  actually  be  there—to  be  able  to  walk   where  she  had  walked,  see  some  of  her   artwork,  and  hear  some  of  her  music  played  in  its  original  setting—was  an  amazing  experience. I  am  grateful  to  Matthew  for  showing  us  that  even  in  the  Roman  Catholic  Church,  there  have  always  been   women  who  had  their  own  vision  and  somehow  found  a  way  to  empower  themselves  within  that   structure,  then  share  that  power  with  others.  Hildegard  has  given  us  some  great  gifts  of  beautiful  mystical   traditions  that  speak  to  people  regardless  of  what  religious  background  they  come  from.

The bud becomes a glorious rose, the acorn a majestic tree; the wild flower seeds a luminous field of color.

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The stars and planets multiply into galaxies, and galaxies into super galaxies. The embryo grows into a fetus, the fetus into a baby, the baby into a child, and the child to adulthood. The broken-hearted become lighthearted, and the emotionally wounded experience healing and peace. There is a universal impulse to grow, to change, to become “more” of who we truly are. Built into the fabric of all existence is the element of growth, of progression. Everything is in a state of evolving to a higher, more complex order. We can call this universal element of creation The Grower. All existence is propelled by the creative energy of this force. When it comes to our personal growth, our evolution to a higher state of consciousness, we can appropriately say it is our Inner Grower at work. Our Inner Grower has our highest and best interests at heart at all times. But what do we really know about our Inner Grower? How can we become aware of it, aligned with it, say "yes" to it? For most of us, our Inner Grower is an unacknowledged part of our being. No wonder humanity as a whole and most humans have been stuck in repetitive negative cycles. We cry out in pain: Why aren’t we learning to live more sanely, more lovingly as a species? Why do I feel so stuck in my life? And why do I make the same mistakes over and over again? Meet your Inner Grower.

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An Exclusive Interview with

Marianne Williamson

David: Marianne,  did  you  grow  up  in  the  traditional  way,  or  were  you  raised  in  a  household  in  which   there  was  some  kind  of  awareness  of  the  value  of  the  feminine,  perhaps  even  a  sense  of  the  Divine   Feminine? Marianne:  I’ve  come  to  realize  that  the  Divine  Feminine  is  more  than  a  concept.  When  I  was  growing  up,   my  mother  was  a  very  traditional  housewife.  She  lived  her  life  for  my  father  and  her  children,  creating  a   home  environment  that  was  positive  for  us.  I  grew  up  in  a  generation  that  looked  at  my  mother’s  life  and   thought  that  it  wasn’t  important  enough.  So  I  wanted  to  go  out  into  the  world  and  do  something   important.  It  took  me  years  to  realize  how  wrong  I  was. First,  I  had  to  come  to  the  realization  that  there  is  no  “out  there.”  Even  more  important,  I  came  to  see  that   my  mother  had  it  right!  The  fact  she  didn’t  conceive  of  it  as  the  Divine  Feminine  is  of  little  importance.   She  lived  beyond  the  mere  concept. Today  I  understand  the  role  of  the  Divine  Feminine  is  to  take  care  of  the  children.  It’s  just  that  every  child   on  this  Earth  is  one  of  our  children. It’s  also  the  role  of  the  Divine  Feminine  to  take  care  of  the  home.  But  we  come  to  realize  that  the  entire   Earth  is  our  home. I  think  it’s  crucial  for  us  to  realize  that   the  Divine  Feminine  isn’t  separate  from   our  earthly  existence.  She’s  not  just  a   concept.  She  either  works  through  our   earthly  existence  or  she  is  simply   mocked. There  are  people  who  have  never  heard   a  phrase  like  “the  Divine  Feminine.”  My   mother  would  have  been  one  of  those.   Yet  she  channeled  Her  more  than  many   people  who  talk  endlessly  about  the   Divine  Feminine  but  don’t  seem  to   notice  that  children  starve  on  our  planet   every  day,  and  the  Earth  itself  is  also  in   peril. David:  How  did  you  Cirst  become  aware   of  the  Divine  Feminine? Marianne:  I’ve  been  reading  books  on   spirituality  and  philosophy—everything   from  the  I  Ching  and  astrology  to   Kierkegard  and  St  Augustine—since  I   was  14  years  old.  Plus  my  career  as  a   speaker  has  spanned  almost  30  years.   This  has  helped  me  to  realize  that  terms   like  “the  Divine  Feminine,”  which  in  the   last  few  years  are  becoming  so  trendy,   have  been  part  of  the  wider  lexicon  of   spiritual  writing  and  philosophy  for   The  Golden  Goddess from  A  Day  in  Nirvana

centuries. Whether  you  are  talking  about  the  Virgin  Mary   or  Quan  Yin,  the  Divine  Feminine  is  simply  the  feminine   face  of  God—the  mother  and  the  Cierce  protector. David:  In  my  Namaste  Publishing  audiobook  Lessons  in   Loving—A  Journey  into  the  Heart,  which  unpacks  the   spiritual  meaning  of  Antoine  de  Saint-­‐Exupery’s  1943  story   of  The  Little  Prince,  I  comment  on  a  scene  in  which  the   little  prince  asks  the  pilot  who  has  crashed  in  the  Sahara   Desert  why  roses  have  thorns.  You  recall  that  the  rose  is   the  little  prince’s  love  of  his  life  back  on  his  own  planet.  We   learn  that  the  rose  has  thorns  so  she  can  be  @ierce  when  she   needs  to  be!

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Marianne: Unfortunately  what  Christianity  did  with  that   Cierceness  was  delegate  it  to  sexual  prowess—and  unholy   sexuality  at  that.  For  instance,  the  Virgin  Mary  is  deemed   perpetually  a  virgin,  while  Mary  Magdalene  is  made  to   carry  the  projections  of  a  sexually  ambivalent  patriarchy.   So  within  the  Christian   tradition  we  are  asked   to  see  women  as  either   holy  or  sexual.

In the  Eastern  traditions  such  as  Egyptian  philosophy,  feminine   holiness  and  feminine  sexuality  are  intertwined  and  complementary.   The  reason  this  matters  is  that  sexuality  is  an  ecstatic  energy,  and   there  can  be  no  Cierceness—such  an  essential  feminine  quality— without  this. The  edginess  of  the  authentically  feminine—the  “I’m  not  kidding   about  this”  of  a  truly  feminine  woman—is  a  signiCicant  aspect  of  the   Divine  Feminine.  Without  this  Cierceness,  the  woman   is  diminished  in  a  lot  of  the  ways—and  I’m  including   the  ways  she’s  referred  to  even  in  the  higher   consciousness  conversation  of  today. Again,  how  can  we  talk  about  the  Divine  Feminine   and  ignore  the  fact  that  17,000  children  die  of  hunger   every  single  day?  To  me  this  is  outrageous.  It’s  a  total   denial  of  the  Divine  Feminine,  no  matter  how  much   we  use  the  words. David:  In  our  culture,  many  females  seem  to  want  a   man  to  lead.  They  want  someone  to  look  up  to.  From   where  you’ve  now  come  in  your  understanding,  how   do  you  see  this? Marianne:  I  believe  there’s  a  dance  between   masculine  and  feminine.  Not  a  game,  but  a  dance  out   of  which  all  things  thrive.  If  I’m  dancing  with  a  man  

and he  leads,  it’s  a  beautiful  thing.  If  I’m  dancing  with  a  man  emotionally  and  psychologically  and  he   leads,  it’s  also  a  beautiful  thing.  But  it’s  crucial  to  recognize  that  it’s  a  dance,  not  a  game.  Games  are   oppressive,  whereas  a  dance  is  enjoyable. Male  and  female  are  equal.  Masculine  and  feminine  are  equal.  Yin  and  yang  are  equal.  But  one  gives,  and   the  other  receives  and  then  gives  back.  It’s  like  tennis:  somebody  has  to  serve.  If  I’m  playing  tennis  and   the  other  person  serves,   that  doesn’t  make  me  less   than  an  equal  player. If  you  listen  to  the  current   conversations  in  the   culture—people  such  as   Pat  Allen,  David  Dada,  and   Allison  Armstrong—I  Cind   myself  in  essential   agreement  with  the  tenets   of  their  teaching.  I  grew  up   in  a  generation  that  Pat   Allen  refers  to  as   “ambisexual,”  and  many  of   us  carry  the  scars  of  this   confusion  of  our  sexuality.   We  grew  up  with  a  lack  of   understanding  of  what’s   “macho”  and  what’s   masculine. I  think  we  women  in  many   cases  suppressed  our  own   feminine  in  the  name  of   feminism.  Equally,  I  think   some  men  got  in  touch   with  their  feminine  side  at   the  expense  of  their   masculinity.  It  left  all  of  us   bereft—we  have  the  scars   to  show  for  it. It’s  been  difCicult  for   women  because  we  grew   up  thinking,  “I’m  out  there   doing  things  and  being  in   touch  with  my  masculine   self.”  Somehow  we  thought   that  if  we  achieved  enough,   we  would  be  loved. In  the  process  of  trying  to   prove  ourselves,  we  lost   touch  with  the  magnetic  

The Blue Madonna Jarvier Garcia Lemus

power of  the  feminine,  which  is  that  we  don’t  have  to  do  or  say   anything.  If  we  are  simply  centered  in  our  virtue,  we  are  quite   naturally  magnets  for  something  profound.  When  we  speak  from   that  place  and  do  whatever  we  do  from  that  place,  what  gets   expressed  is  just  as  powerful  because  it  carries  the  feminine   magnetism. I  feel  men  have  been  very  hurt,  scathed,  because  these  poor  guys   grew  up  afraid  to  express  their  masculine,  since  anytime  they  did   so,  someone  would  say,  “Stop  being  macho!”  Both  men  and   women  were  unclear  about  the  difference. In  my  own  life,  the  teachings  of  Pat  Allen  have  affected  me   tremendously.  I’m  a  babyboomer.  She  explained  that  my   generation  thought  that  if  a  man  picks  up  a  woman  for  a  date,  he   should  say  to  the  woman,  “Where  do  you  want  to  go  for  dinner?”   The  idea  is  that  the  woman  then  has  an  equal  part,  so  they  sit  and   decide  together.  Pat  teaches  that  a  man’s  greatest  psychic   craving  is  that  his  ideas  be  respected,  whereas  a  woman’s   greatest  psychic  craving  is  that  her  feelings  be  cherished. Dr Pat Allen In  the  ambisexual  generation,  when  the  man  asked  where  the woman  would  like  to  go  for  dinner,  the  woman  was  supposed  to   feel,  “Oh,  this  is  great,  because  I  have  an  equal  say.”  It’s  as  if  this   were  the  apex  of  liberation. Instead,  Pat  suggests  that  the  man  go  ahead  and  choose  the  restaurant.  Then  he  says  to  the  woman,  “I’ve   made  reservations  at  the  Tratoria.  How  does  that  feel  to  you?”  This  is  so  profound.  He’s  saying  to  her,   “Does  this  please  you?”  The  man  says  what  he  wants,  and  the  woman  says  what  she  doesn’t  want.  It’s  not   a  matter  of  the  man  making  the  decision,  and  that’s  it.  It’s  a  dance. I  speak  for  myself,  but  I  sense  I  also  speak  for  a  lot  of  women,  when  I  say  that  what’s  fascinating  to  me   about  this  is  how  it  feels  for  a  man  to  have  made  the  reservation  and  then  ask  if  that  feels  good  to  me.  He   needs  to  know  I  appreciate  this  masculine  aspect  of  his  psyche.  I  may  reply,  “That  feels  wonderful.” What  we  crave  more  than,  “Well,  I  get  to  make  the  decision  about  the  restaurant  too”—what  we  really   crave—is  the  feeling  that  we  were  taken  care  of  in  that  moment.  This  doesn’t  make  us  less  powerful.  The   way  I  look  at  it  is  that  men  carry  our  suitcases  and  we  carry  their  issues. I  believe  we  are  all  both  masculine  and  feminine.  But  if  you  are  a  man  in  this  lifetime,  you  are  majoring  in   masculine  and  minoring  in  feminine.  On  the  other  hand  if  you  are  a  woman  in  this  lifetime,  you  are   majoring  in  feminine  and  minoring  in  masculine. Women  are  priestesses  of  the  inner  realms,  whereas  men  are  priests  of  the  outer  realms—and  there’s   something  beautiful  about  this.  It’s  cool.  I  can  celebrate  this  concern  for  the  outer  realms  in  a  man.  We   have  to  celebrate  men  for  what  men  are  if  we  want  them  to  celebrate  us  for  what  we  are  as  women. A  lot  of  women  want  to  work  out  in  the  world.  If  you  look  at  women  who  are  out  there  working,  they  are   basically  in  a  masculine  mode.  That  may  eventually  change,  but  right  now  it’s  largely  the  way  it  is.  When   we  are  out  in  the  world,  giving  of  ourselves,  we  are  in  the  role  of  an  initiator,  a  generator.  That’s  the   masculine  aspect.

When we  come  home  from  work,  and  if  we  are  in  a  relationship  with  a  man,  it  requires  an  entirely   different  function  of  the  brain  to  lead  to  success  in  our  relationship  than  is  required  for  success  in  our   work.  Pat  Allen  talks  about  how  it  literally  takes  30  minutes  for  the  brain  to  switch  modes.  So  it’s   important  for  a  woman  to  take  30  minutes  when  she  comes  home  from  work  to  enjoy  a  bubble  bath,   yoga,  meditation—whatever  facilitates  the  shifting  of  her  brain  from  generator  to  receiver. David:  What  is  it  going  to  take  for  the  workplace  to  become  a  place  that  honors  the  masculine  and   feminine  equally,  so  that  men  get  to  use  their  masculine  and  feminine  dimensions,  and  women  get  to  use   both  dimensions  also,  but  each  with  their  unique  emphasis? Marianne:  Society  never  moves  as  quickly  as  many  of  us  would  like,  but  I  sense  that  in  many  ways  it’s   moving  in  this  direction.  We’re  at  least  having  the  right  conversations  today.  Everything  destructive  is   being  discusssed  at  this  time,  but  also  everything  enlightened  is  being  discussed.  We  just  need  to  put   more  force  and  conviction  behind  the  enlightenment  conversation. David:  My  teen  years  coincided  with  the  era  of  the  “new  morality,”  the  1960s.  As  you  look  back  at  that   era,  how  do  you  now  understand  the  way  we  express  sexuality  in  2012? Marianne:  Clearly  our  generation  over-­‐casualized  sex.  But  whenever  there’s  a  break  with  the  status  quo,   a  major  social  change,  there’s  a  tendency  to  overreach.  So  we  overstepped  the  mark.  That’s  just  the  way   we  grew  up—we  went  too  far.  We  were  breaking  out  of  chains  that  we  were  right  to  break  out  of.  But   because  we  had  freedom  confused  with  license,  we  put  ourselves  in  a  whole  new  set  of  chains. I  also  feel  that,  as  often  happens,  there  has  been  a  march  to  the  center  during  the  last  few  years.  A  great   correction  has  been  occurring.  We  realize  now  that  the  fact  we’re  free  to  do  something  doesn’t   necessarily  mean  we  should  do  it.  We  are  realizing  that  sexual  intimacy  is  a  holy  act  and  should  be  treated   with  reverence. Let’s  be  clear  that  it’s  not  about  deferring  to  social  mores  that  were  handed  down  to  us  by  a  patriarchal   order.  It’s  about  honoring  the  principle  of  harmlessness.  When  we  are  interacting  with  someone  sexually,   we  have  a  capacity  to  heal  both  them  and  ourselves.  But  we  also  have  the  ability  to  harm  both  them  and   ourselves. Holy  sex,  appropriate  sex,  truly  loving  sex  can  psychically  heal.  In  contrast,  irreverent  sex,  inappropriate   sex,  can  psychically  harm.  Sex  is  an  adult  activity  in  every  sense  of  the  word.

The Romantic Mysteries Marianne’s Blog The common  wisdom  goes  like  this:  that  the  myth  of  "some  enchanted  evening,"  when  all  is   awash  with  the  thrill  of  connection  and  the  aliveness  of  new  romance,  is  actually  a  delusion...a   hormonally  manufactured  lie.  That  soon  enough,  reality  will  set  in  and  lovers  will  awaken  from   their  mutual  projections,  discover  the  psychological  work  involved  in  two  people  trying  to  reach   across  the  chasm  of  real  life  separateness,  and  come  to  terms  at  last  with  the  mundane  sorrows   of  human  existence  and  intimate  love.                                                         In  this  case,  the  common  wisdom  is  a  lie.                                                                           From  a  spiritual  perspective,  the  scenario  above  is  upside  down.  From  a  spiritual  perspective,  the   original  high  of  a  romantic  connection  is  thrilling  because  it  is  true.  It  is  in  fact  the  opposite  of   delusion.    For  in  a  quick  moment,  a  gift  from  the  gods,  we  are  likely  to  suspend  our  judgment  of   the  other,  not  because  we  are  temporarily  insane  but  because  we  are  temporarily  sane.  We  are   having  what  you  might  call  a  mini-­‐enlightenment  experience.  Enlightenment  is  not  unreal;   enlightenment  -­‐  or  pure  love  -­‐-­‐  is  all  that  is  real.  Enlightenment  is  when  we  see  not  as  through  a   glass  darkly,  but  truly  face  to  face.   What  is  unreal  is  what  comes  after  the  initial  high,  when  the    personality  self  reasserts  itself  and   the  wounds  and  triggers  of  our  human  ego  form  a  veil  across  the  face  of  love.   The  initial  romantic  high  is  not  something  to  outgrow,  so  much  as  something  to  earn  admittance   back  into  -­‐  this  time  not  as  an  unearned  gift  of  Cupid's  arrows,  but  as  a  consequence  of  the  real   work  of  the  psychological  and  spiritual  journey. The  romantic  relationship  is  a  spiritual  assignment,  presenting  an  opportunity  for  lovers  and   would-­‐be  lovers  to  burn  through  our  own  issues  and  forgive  the  other  theirs,  so  together  we  can   gain  reentrance  to  the  joyful  realms  of  our  initial  contact  that  turn  out  to  have  been  real  love  after   all. Our  problem  is  that  most  of  us  rarely  have  a  psychic  container  strong  enough  to  stand  the   amount  of  light  that  pours  into  us  when  we  have  truly  seen,  if  even  for  a  moment,  the  deep   beauty  of  another. The  problem  we  have  is  not  that  in  our  romantic  fervor  we  fall  into  a  delusion  of  oneness;  the   problem  is  that  we  then  fall  into  the  delusion  of  separateness.  And  those  are  the  romantic   mysteries  -­‐-­‐  the  almost  blinding  light  when  we  truly  see  each  other,  the  desperate  darkness  of  the   ego's  blindness,  and  the  sacred  work  of  choosing  the  light  of  mutual  innocence  when  the   darkness  of  anger,  guilt  and  fear  descend.

Sarah McLean  has  spent  much  of   her  life  exploring  the  world's   spiritual  and  mystic  traditions,  and   has  worked  with  some  of  today's   great  teachers  including  Deepak   Chopra,  Byron  Katie,  Debbie  Ford,   and  Gary  Zukav.  She's  lived  and   studied  in  a  Zen  Buddhist   monastery,  meditated  in  ashrams   and  temples  throughout  India  and   the  Far  East,  spent  time  in  Afghan   refugee  camps,  bicycled  the  Silk   Route  from  Pakistan  to  China,   trekked  the  Golden  Triangle  in   Southeast  Asia,  and  taught  English  to   Tibetan  Buddhist  Nuns  in   Dharamsala. Sarah  is  the  founding  director  of   Sedona  Meditation  Training,  and   The  McLean  Meditation  Institute.

Modern Mystics Walk Among Us by Sarah McLean

Half of  all  Americans  say  they  had  a  momentary   awareness  of  a  deep  connectedness  with  the   Divine.  Have  you  had  one  too?  It  might  have  been   as  you  watched  a  sunset,  gazed  at  a  night  sky,  felt   the  warm  sun  on  your  skin  as  you  walked  along   the  seashore,  or  listened  to  the  water  as  you  sat   by  the  creek  in  a  canyon.  

•You merge  with  the  objects  of  your   perception.

These experiences  can  create  a  mystical  moment   in  which  you  feel  carried  away  from  the  world   and  its  trappings,    though  you  feel  truly  present   and  clear.  Your  heart  expands  and  embraces   everything  without  question,  and  you  know   there’s  more  to  life  than  meets  the  eye.  

•There’s a  realization  of  the  perfection   and  intelligence  of  creation.

The Mystical  Experience Mystical  experiences  don’t  happen  because  you’re   especially  spiritual  or  deserving.  Or  you’re  in  the   right  place  at  the  right  time.  Instead,  they  can   happen  to  anyone,  anytime,  to  the  religious  and   non-­‐religious  alike.  No  arduous  training,  deep   thinking,  or  willpower  is  required.  You  can’t  wish   a  mystical  experience  into  occurring,  and  reading   or  hearing  about  one  is  very  different  from  having   one. A  mystical  experience  deCies  explanation,  but   here  are  some  common  reported  features: •It’s  a  spontaneous  moment  of  grace. •It’s  a  moment  when  your  heart  is   touched  and  opened.  There’s  deep   contentment  and  inner  peace. •It  can  be  overwhelming,  eliciting  tears   and  laughter  at  the  same  time. •Your  sense  of  self  is  overshadowed  by   the  experience  of  the  Divine. •It  can  include  a  blissful  physical  feeling;   a  heavenly  sound,  melody,  or  God’s   voice;  a  bright  light  or  expanded  vision;  a   taste  of  divine  nectar;  or  the  aroma  of   celestial  perfumes. •You  lose  your  awareness  of  your  body,   the  world,  and  material  reality.

•Even though  your  problems  and   concerns  are  still  present  and  your   questions  remain  unanswered,   everything  suddenly  makes  sense.

•You feel  a  deep  connection  with  the   whole  universe  and  its  Creator. An  experience  like  this  can  last  anywhere  from  a   few  seconds  to  a  few  days.  If  it  passes  after  a   second  or  two,  some  of  us  don’t  give  it  much   signiCicance.  We  simply  enjoy  it  then  dismiss  it  as   a  “nice  feeling,”  slipping  back  into  our  regular   mode  of  existence.   But  a  mystic,  regardless  of  their  religious   background  or  beliefs,  realizes  the  moment’s   signiCicance. Teresa  of  Avila  called  these  ecstatic  experiences   she  had  while  praying  a  “transformative  union.”   She  knew  them  as  spontaneous—she  couldn’t   make  them  happen,  or  make  them  last  longer   than  they  do.  They  transform  and  awaken  a   mystic’s  heart,  creating  a  profound  touchstone.   The  mystic  embarks  on  a  path—as  Thomas   Aquinas  said,  “a  pursuit  of  the  experiential   knowledge  of  God.” Are  you  a  mystic?  Do  you  someone  who  is?  You’ll   rarely  Cind  a  mystic  calling  himself  or  herself  a   mystic,  though  anyone  who  seeks  to  experience   the  Divine,  which  many  call  God,  on  a  personal   and  intimate  level  could  be  on  the  mystic’s  path. The  path  of  a  mystic  is  one  of  the  heart.  It’s  an   inner  call  for  those  who  have  fallen  in  love  with   the  Creator  or  creation  itself. Embarking  on  The  Mystic  Path Thomas  Aquinas,  Hildegard  of  Bingen,  Joan  of  Arc,   Catherine  of  Siena,  Saint  Teresa,  Saint  Paul–  these   mystics’  names  are  familiar  to  us,  and  not  because   they  sought  out  fame  or  fortune.  Instead,  it’s  

because after  they've  had  the  direct  experience  of   God,  they  became  missionaries  to  celebrate  the   Divine.  It's  not  the  other  way  around  for  a  mystic.  

Also essential  on  the  mystic’s  path  are  silence,  an   inward  focus,  present  moment  awareness,  and  a   reCined  nervous  system.  

A mystic’s  path  is  far  from  formal.  It  doesn’t   require  gaining  more  knowledge,  or  thinking  your   way  into  a  Divine  or  ecstatic  state,  or  faking  it  till   you  make  it,  or  doing  endless  acts  of  charity.  It   doesn’t  require  you  to  get  deeply  involved  in  your   religious  practices  either.    

The silence  required  isn’t  an  external  hush  in  the   physical  realm.  It’s  an  inner  silence,  a  deep   stillness  of  the  heart  and  of  the  mind.  This  inner   silence  becomes  established  and  can  even  be   maintained  in  the  midst  of  physical  noise  if   necessary.  Though  the  ecstasy  of  the  mystical   union  can  be  expressed  through  dance  and  music   as  is  found  on  the  13th  century  SuCi  poet  Rumi’s   path,  Rumi  tells  us  the  way  the  Divine  spoke  to   him:

Instead, embarking  on  the  mystic  path  simply   requires  walking  with  a  prayer  in  one’s  heart,  a   prayer  to  deeply  know  the  Divine.     The  mystic’s  path  often  includes  social-­‐ transcendence—as  the  mystic  detaches  from  the   hypnosis  of  social  norms  and  customs,  cultural   conditioning,  and  worldly  inCluences—and   evaluates  what  matters  to  them,  their  way  of   being  in  the  world,  and  their  relationships  with   others.  This  may  include  retreating  from  the  life   and  roles  they  have  previously  been  engaged  in.     The  mystic’s  path  also  includes  self-­‐ transcendence  as  the  mystic  is  less  engaged  with   his  or  her  individuality  and  his  or  her  ego   identiCication.  Thomas  Merton,  the  20th  century   Trappist  monk,  described  the  ego  as  "the  one   insuperable  obstacle  to  the  infused  light  and   action  of  the  Spirit  of  God."   What  becomes  most  important  to  the  mystic  is   their  expanded  consciousness,  and  their  union   with  creation  and  Creator,  as  they  merge  with  the   Creator  through  prayer,  practices,  and  even   through  their  work.  True  Self-­‐knowledge  and   Divine  communion  are  the  ultimate  goal.

Necessities on  the  Mystic  Path The  mystic  path  requires  faith  as  the  mystic  must   surrender  without  a  plan  for  where  the  path   might  lead.    It  requires  the  faith  to  follow  your   inner  GPS,  heed  your  inner  knowing,  and  know   that  the  Divine  is  within  reach.  It  also  requires   patience  because  the  path  is  not  linear  and  there   is  no  knowing  the  timing  of  the  fruits  of  the   mystic  path.

Secretly we  spoke,  that  wise  one  and  me. I  said,  Tell  me  the  secrets  of  the  world. He  said,  Shhh...  Let  silence  tell  you  the  secrets  of  the   world. Robert  Adams,  the  late  American  mystic,  who   once  lived  in  Sedona,  said:  "True  silence  really   means  going  deep  within  yourself  to  that  place   where  nothing  is  happening,  where  you   transcend  time  and  space.  You  go  into  a  brand   new  dimension  of  nothingness.  That's  where  all   the  power  is.  That's  your  real  home.  That's  where   you  really  belong,  in  deep  silence  where  there  is   no  good  or  bad,  no  one  trying  to  achieve  anything.   Just  being,  pure  being.  .  .  .  Silence  is  the  ultimate   reality." Said  Ralph  Waldo  Emerson,  “Let  us  be  silent,  that   we  may  hear  the  whispers  of  the  gods." Along  with  cultivating  silence,  it’s  also  essential  to   turn  your  attention  inward  and  detach  from  the   constant  activity  and  sensory  input  of  the  world.   John  of  the  Cross,  the  Spanish  Carmelite  priest  of   the  16th  century,  reminds  us  of  this  in  his  writing: Creation  forgotten, Creator  only  known, Attention  turned  inward, In  love  with  the  Beloved  alone. And  Teresa  of  Avila  gave  this  advice  to  her   Sisters:  “Some  books  on  prayer  tell  us  where  one   must  seek  God.  Within  oneself,  very  clearly,  is  the   best  place  to  look.”

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A mystic  also  knows  that  the  communion  with  the   Divine  can  only  occur  when  their  attention  is   anchored  in  the  present  moment,  as  the  moment   of  communion  is  the  present  moment.  

about my  purpose  and  more  conCident  and   peaceful  in  my  being.  My  heart  has  opened  and  I   feel  truly  connected  to  the  Divine  Feminine,   which  causes  me  to  feel  more  compassion  toward   myself  and  all  living  beings.


Stress can  get  in  the  way  of  your  realization  of   this  inner  peace  and  spaciousness,  and  it  can  dim   your  experience  of  the  sweetness  of  life.    The   stress,  as  I  see  it,  veils  and  obscures  the  beauty  of   the  heart,  the  radiance  of  the  soul,  the  reality  of   life,  and  the  awareness  of  the  Divine.  With  stress,   one  can  misinterpret  what  is  spiritually  present.

More often  than  not,  meditation  and  prayer  are  a   mystic’s  practices  of  choice  for  establishing  the   inner  focus,  present  moment  awareness,  and  a   reCinement  of  the  nervous  system.  Meditation   takes  practice  and  patience,  because  many  of  us   are  uncomfortable  with  silence.  We  aren’t   conditioned  to  have  an  inner  focus,  and  aren’t   used  to  attending  to  what  is  going  on  in  the   present  moment.   Modern  meditation  practices,  such  as  a  mantra   meditation,  naturally  create  silence  in  the  mind,   an  open  heart,  expanded  awareness,  and  a   transcendence  of  self-­‐image.  I’ve  been  teaching   and  practicing  meditation  for  20  years.  My  daily   meditation  practice  began  as  a  way  to  relieve  the   build-­‐up  of  stress  in  my  mind  and  body.  I  did  it  to   feel  good.  I  had  a  difCicult  childhood  Cilled  with   emotional  turmoil,  worked  a  busy  schedule,  was   concerned  about  impurities  in  the  environment,   and  was  in  conClict  with  the  values  of  the  Western   world.  The  build-­‐up  of  stress  made  me  reactive  to   my  environment  and  kept  me  from  having   harmonious  relationships  with  myself  and  those   around  me.   Stress  can  be  found  everywhere.  Sometimes   stress  is  caused  by  incompletely  digesting  one’s   food,  not  getting  a  good  night’s  sleep,  ignoring  the   wisdom  of  your  body,  or  not  feeling  emotions   when  they  come  up.  Sometimes  it’s  caused  by  not   saying  what  you  mean  and  feel—by  not  living  in   your  integrity.    Stress  creates  physical  impacts   that  we’ve  all  heard  about,  but  it  can  also  trigger   emotional  or  mental  reactivity  as  it  did  in  me.   Reactivity  can  limit  your  awareness  of  the   possibilities  in  each  moment.     As  I  continued  my  meditation  practice,  the  stress   was  lessened,  and  I  found  that  meditation  took   me  on  a  journey  toward  a  more  beautiful  life.  I  am   in  awe  of  this  world  as  I  realize  deeply  the   interweaving  of  life  and  nature  and  the  elements.   I  follow  my  intuition  and  feel  supported  by  nature   and  the  Divine  Feminine  within  me.  I  feel  clearer  

The poet  William  Blake  wrote,  "If  the  doors  of   perception  were  cleansed  everything  would   appear  to  man  as  it  is,  inCinite.  For  man  has  closed   himself  up  and  sees  all  things  through  narrow   chinks  of  his  cavern."  The  chinks  of  the  cavern  he   was  referring  to  are  the  misperceptions  that   stress  creates. We’ve  all  heard  meditation  releases  stress.  But   you  can  think  of  it  another  way.    Meditation   cleanses  the  doors  of  your  perception  by   dissolving  the  stress  layer  that  can  build  up  if  not   dealt  with,  so  the  mind  and  body  can  be  in   balance.  Meditation  is  also  a  practice  to  directly   experience  the  Divine,  but  it’s  ideal  to  have  a   balanced  nervous  system  to  do  so. In  meditation  you  gently  attend  to  your  breath,  or   a  mantra,  or  some  other  focus,  and  this  practice   disengages  your  attention  from  the  habits  of  the   ego-­‐mind.  This  happens  because  your  nervous   system  settles  down,  and  you  experience  subtler   and  subtler  levels  of  thought  until  your   awareness  transcends  thought,  your  body,  your   breath,  and  anything  limited  by  space  and  time.   You  release  stress  and  settle  down  some  more. You  then  directly  experience  the  source  of   thought—the  real  you,  which  some  call  your  soul.   Because  the  soul  has  no  dimension,  you  won’t   “experience”  it  as  you  normally  would:  you  don’t   feel,  see,  taste,  touch,  or  smell  it  as  you  would   objects  of  your  perception.  Instead,  you’ll  be   communing  with  it,  immersed  in  it  and  its  source:   the  Divine.   Like  a  mystical  experience,  you  can’t  try  to  make   transcendence  happen.  It’s  a  natural  result  of  the  

effortless meditation  process.  And  it  can  be   happening  even  if  you  don’t  think  it  is.

out of  practice  and  loving  adoration  of  God,  and   expressing  their  reality  in  the  world.

In meditation,  as  you  go  in  and  out  of  the   transcendent  experience,  your  nervous  system   becomes  more  subtle  and  reCined.  You  cultivate   an  internal  stillness  and  present  moment   awareness.  As  with  a  mystical  experience,  you   become  more  enlightened  to  a  world  beyond  your   senses,  aware  that  all  is  one.  You  realize  all  is   well.  There’s  a  deep  inner  peace,  coupled  with  a   feeling  of  inclusivity  and  reverence.  

Whether through  their  love  poems  and  songs  as   HaCiz,  Mirabai,  Rumi,  and  Hildegard  of  Bingham   did,  or  through  compassionate  action  as  Mary   Magdalene,  Francis  of  Assisi,  Joan  of  Arc,  Helen   Keller,  Mother  Teresa,  Ammachi,  and  Thich  Nhat   Hanh  did,  they  see  God  in  everyone  and   everything.  As  Khalil  Gibran,  Lebanese  poet  and   author  of  The  Prophet,  wrote,  their  "work  is  love   made  visible."

This transcendence  experience  in  meditation  is   the  everyday  reality  of  the  mystics.  And  with   faith,  patience,  and  grace,  it  will  eventually   become  a  part  of  your  everyday  experience.  You   know  there’s  a  Divine  plan  for  your  life  and  that   you  are  on  the  right  track.  When  each  of  us  walks   in  this  way,  we  walk  the  mystic’s  path.    

Mystics are  creative,  fearless,  powerful,  intuitive,   and  clearly  see  the  realities  of  the  culture  that   surrounds  them.  They  have  boundless  energy  to   serve  as  a  mediator  between  humanity  and   Divinity.  They  walk  in  this  world  with  a  great   sense  of  reverence,  wonder,  delight,  humility,   inclusiveness,  and  compassionate  action  as  they   teach,  share,  and  bear  witness  to  life  and  the   Divine  in  its  entirety.  They  reveal  and  awaken  the   reality  of  our  own  relationship  to  the  Divine.

A modern  day  mystic,  Ammachi,  the  hugging   saint,  describes  the  transcendent  union  with  the   Divine  in  this  way: Everything  seems  permeated  with   divinity.  Every  blade  of  grass  and  every   sand  particle  are  Cilled  with  Divine  energy.   The  awakened  one  has  the  attitude  of  deep   reverence  and  humility  towards  all  of   creation,  because  once  you  go  beyond  the   ego,  you  are  nothing—you  are  inCinite   nothingness  Cilled  with  Divine   consciousness.  When  you  have  the  attitude   of  constantly  bowing  down  with  a  feeling   of  humility  towards  all  of  existence,  that   existence  Clows  into  you.  You  experience   that  everything  is  part  of  you,  nothing  is   separate.

The mystics  .  .  .  they  walk  among  us.    

Walking in  the  World A  mystic  sees  things  clearly  from  a  new   perspective.  Often,  once  they’ve  awakened  to  the   Divine,  they  engage  in  the  everyday  world  to   impart  this  wisdom  in  their  own  unique  fashion   to  the  culture  of  their  time.  Mystics  are   peacemakers,  pioneers,  scientists,  discoverers,   religious  or  social  reformers,  artists,  poets,  or   national  heroes  or  heroines  who  live  between   two  worlds:  turning  inward  in  deep  silence  born  

October 6 - 8

Movies to Grow By How aware  are  we  most  of  the  time  of  the  extent  to  which  our  individuality  and   independence  rest  heavnily  upon  our  dependence  on  other  members  of  the  particular   society  in  which  we  live? We  are  a  culture  in  which  no  small  number  of  us  are  into  what  we  call  “personal  growth.”   But  what  do  we  mean  by  personal  growth?  For  in  any  era,  and  in  any  society,  there  can  be   no  "me"  without  "you."  We  can’t  disconnect  ourselves  from  the  rest  of  our  society,  and  we   can’t  evolve  individuality  very  effectively  without  each  other. We  all  have  a  role  to  play  in  helping  each  other  deCine  ourselves—a  role  that’s  sometimes   supportive,  and  sometimes  oppositional.  Both  serve  to  bring  out  who  we  truly  are  in  our   essence—even  though  we  might  not  care  for  the  oppositional  aspect.  Both  can  be  tools  for   discovering  the  Divine  Feminine  and  the  Sacred  Masculine. Though  we  like  to  talk  about  freewill  and  individuality,  the  reality  is  that  our  ability  to  be   free  and  express  our  individuality  is  both  enhanced  by  and  limited  by  the  degree  of   freedom  and  individuality  tolerated  by  those  members  of  our  society  among  whom  we   live  our  lives. This  comes  out  clearly  in  the  movie  The  Duchess,  in  which  Kiera  Knightley  and  Ralph   Fiennes  are  superbly  cast,  and  which  is  Cilmed  in  the  gorgeous  setting  of  Princess  Diana's   ancestral  home.  It’s  a  movie  that  revolves  around  the  collective  aspect  of  our  humanity   and  its  impact  on  our  private  lives.  It's  also  about  the  impact  we  as  individuals  have  on  the   collective. In  The  Duchess,  we  really  get  a  look  at  how  the  collective  nature  of  our  humanity  can  limit   our  ability  to  express  our  full  essence  as  individuals—especially  how  patriarchy  can   inhibit  both  the  Divine  Feminine  and  the  Sacred  Masculine. The  movie  chronicles  the  marriage  of  Georgianna,  Duchess  of  Devonshire,  a  direct   ancestor  of  Princess  Diana.  The  parallels  between  their  lives  are  striking  throughout  the   movie.  One  almost  wonders  whether  Diana  was  a  reincarnation! What  made  the  difference  in  the  lives  of  Georgianna  and  Diana  is  the  era  in  which  they   each  lived.  In  Georgianna's  day,  the  patriarchal  nature  of  society  prevented  her  from  

becoming the  unique  individual  she   longed  to  be.  Princess  Di,  in  contrast,   lived  at  a  time  of  social  transition  that   allowed  her  to  expand  the  boundaries   and  increasingly  express  her   individuality,  despite  the  limitations   inClicted  by  patriarchy. It  may  not  be  obvious  at  Cirst,  but  the   Duke  of  Devonshire  is  also  a  victim  in  this   drama,  just  like  the  duchess.  His  entire   reputation  is  staked  on  maintaining  the   façade  of  ego  that  was  so  essential  in   those  times.  Yes,  men  suffer  deeply  from   the  very  patriarchy  they  promote. The  duke  grew  up  to  know  nothing  other   than  the  role  he  was  expected  to  play  as   duke,  so  that  his  ability  to  feel  his  own   heart,  let  alone  that  of  another,  was   severely  restricted.  But  as  the  movie   progresses,  we  see  him  begin  to  feel— largely  in  response  to  his  wife's  impact,   together  with  that  of  another  woman  who   comes  to  play  a  crucial  role  in  this   ancestral  home. To  make  sense  of  the  movie,  we  have  to  keep  in  mind  how  crucial  the  issue  of  a  male  heir   was  to  family  power  and  prestige  in  that  patriarchal  world.  Love  for  his  wife  was  not  why   the  duke  married  her,  which  was  the  way  it  often  was  in  that  society. It's  in  the  acceptance  Georgianna  was  Cinally  able  to  surrender  to  that  we  see  the  real   lesson  of  this  story.  In  acceptance,  she  grew. The  duke's  mistress  came  to  live  with  them,  as  part  of  their  family.  Clearly,  what  began  as   just  another  Cling  of  the  sort  dukes  had  in  those  days  led  to  a  genuine  love  for  her,  and  she   became  his  wife  and  duchess  after  Georgianna's  death.  But  it  was  initially  a  terribly   painful  blow  for  Georgianna,  who  had  trusted  this  woman  as  her  closest  friend. In  an  amazing  way,  after  her  initial  reactivity,  Georgianna  reached  out  to  this  woman  and   befriended  her  in  a  much  more  meaningful  way.  As  the  bond  grew,  there  was  no   possessiveness  involved  in  their  friendship.  Georgianna  had  surrendered  her  emotional   attachment  to  this  woman  as  her  friend,  which  enabled  her  to  encounter  the  real   individual,  as  she  expressed  aspects  of  the  Divine  Feminine,  for  who  she  was.

It's only  when  we  let  go  of  our  emotional  attachment  that  we  Cinally  discover  what  it  is  to   love  a  person  for  who  they  truly  are.  Now,  at  last,  we  can  really  connect—and  the  movie   shows  this  connection  in  a  deeply  moving  way. Georgianna  could  take  such  a  gallant  step  because  she  Cinally  saw  in  this  woman  not   someone  who  betrayed  her,  but  a  wonderful  soul  trying  to  Cind  her  way  in  a  very  difCicult   set  of  circumstances.  She  saw  the  heart  instead  of  the  appearance.  She  allowed  herself  to   encounter  the  Divine  Feminine. The  Divine  Feminine  isn’t  afraid  of  messy  situations.  It  works  through  them  all  the  time,   without  judgment  and  without  reproach,  using  them  to  grow  us. In  the  end,  a  deep  respect  develops  between  the  duke  and  duchess.  One  would  even  say  a   love.  Not  the  romantic  kind  of  love—not  passion  for  each  other,  as  he  felt  for  his  mistress —but  a  compassion  and  caring  born  of  seeing  each  other's  essential  being. Society’s  largely  patriarchal  nature  still  restricts  just  how  far  we  can  go  in  being  true  to   ourselves.  When  we  reach  the  limits  of  what  a  particular  society  and  era  permits,  the  only   possible  way  to  experience  love,  joy,  and  peace  is  through  acceptance. And  not  just  being  resigned  to  our  situation,  all  the  while  resenting  it,  but  embracing  life  as   it  is  and  Cinding  joy  in  it  in  the  manner  Georgianna  models  so  well  in  The  Duchess. Individual  societies  are  interwoven  with  the  broader  fabric  of  a  region,  a  nation,  and   ultimately  the  human  condition  as  a  world.  Just  as  the  patriarchal  nature  of  society  stems   ultimately  from  the  human  condition,  so  also  waking  up  to  the  Divine  Feminine  and  the   Sacred  Masculine  involves  more  than  just  our  individual  growth. When  we  live  within  a  family,  a  society,  a  culture,  a  nation,  or  a  particular  period  in   history,  we  simply  aren’t  aware  of  how  invasive  are  the  beliefs,  attitudes,  mindset,  and   practices  of  the  situation  in  which  we  are  embedded.  We  tend  to  have  little  real  concept  of   how  deeply  we  are  programmed. All  of  us  are  products  of  an  interplay  between  our  own  being  and  the  circumstances  in   which  we  Cind  ourselves.  Part  of  waking  up  to  our  powerfulness  involves  becoming  aware   of  how  deeply  we  have  been  indoctrinated  by  every  aspect  of  the  world  in  which  we  Cind   ourselves.  Our  mindset  is  so  heavily  tainted,  we  often  have  no  clue  that  our  real  being  is   someone  quite  different  from  the  person  we  imagine  ourselves  to  be. There  is  of  course  a  great  deal  of  liberation  that  we  can  experience  as  individuals,   especially  in  the  West  today.  Yet  even  here,  the  collective  nature  of  our  species  places   limits  on  us.  Patriarchy  is  still  rife  on  both  an  individual  and  systemic  scale.  Consequently,   we  can  only  fully  awaken  as  we  do  so  together. But  if  we  each  push  the  envelope  within  our  particular  historical  and  social  context,  we   will  empower  the  next  generation  to  take  it  further.

How to  Raise  Boys  and  Girls to  Be  EQUALS by  Shefali  Tsabary,  PhD There's  a  great  deal  of  male  aggression  toward  women  in  many  cultures.  In  some  places  in  the  world,   aggression  is  condoned—and  even  outright  violence  to  keep  women  in  line  is  encouraged.  Is  this  simply   the  result  of  excessive  testosterone,  or  is  there  something  more  going  on? As  a  child  psychologist,  for  me  the  answer  lies  not  so  much  in  testosterone,  but  in  a  web  of  historical  and   cultural  complexities. In  past  centuries,  men—being  the  hunter  gatherers  that  they  were—had  to  exhibit  dominant,  aggressive   traits  in  order  to  survive  in  the  natural  world.  These  traits  are  deeply  entrenched  in  our  collective   unconscious  and  have  become  archetypal  of  what  it  means  to  be  a  man,  which  is  understood  as  being   "macho." While  this  historical  archetype  of  the  macho  man  may  have  faded  somewhat  in  the  more  Westernized   countries,  thanks  in  large  measure  to  the  suffragettes  and  the  more  recent  women’s  movement,  they   haven’t  receded  at  all  in  some  parts  of  the  developing  world. In  many  countries,  men  continue  to  be  raised  with  the  stereotype  that  being  aggressive  is  more  "manly,"   and  this  is  both  consciously  and  unconsciously  encouraged  in  families.  Women  in  such  cultures  are  raised   to  think  of  themselves  as  subservient  and  hence  more  servile,  docile,  and  timid. Given  these  two  stereotypes,  mothers  automatically  raise  their  sons  to  be  more  dominant  personalities   and  their  daughters  to  be  more  passive.  It’s  done  intentionally  on  some  levels,  and  on  other  levels   without  thinking.  When  these  sons  become  adult  men,  they  are  guided  by  the  internal  archetype  that  tells   them  they  are  more  powerful  than  women  and  have  a  right  to  dominate  the  women  in  their  lives. The  equation  in  such  homes  will  only  change  when  mothers  begin  to  raise  their  sons  and  daughters   differently.  It’s  when  mothers  begin  to  awaken  to  their  own  deeper  being,  which  enables  them  to   embrace  a  transformed  understanding  of  their  own  internal  power—the  kind  of  awakening  that  began   with  the  suffragettes  and  continues  with  the  more  recent  women’s  movement—that  they  will  be  able  to   raise  the  next  generation  with  a  sense  of  equality. Every  human  being  is  capable  of  manifesting  both  masculine  and  feminine  qualities.  It’s  a  myth  that  only   men  need  to  manifest  masculine  qualities.  Each  of  us,  when  given  the  space,  has  the  capacity  to  be   aggressive  or  passive,  assertive  or  timid. We  need  to  stop  equating  men  with  purely  masculine  qualities  and  women  with  purely  feminine   qualities.  Once  we  break  out  of  these  binary  stereotypes,  we  will  allow  our  children  to  be  free  to  inhabit   any  space  they  wish  to,  with  little  regard  to  what  they  "should"  be  from  a  traditional  point  of  view.  

Men who  are  whole  are  those  males  who  are  allowed  to  be   both  masculine  and  feminine  according  to  their  particular   nature.  The  same  goes  for  women.  Whole  individuals  are   unafraid  to  exhibit  qualities  that  are  organic  to  their  inner   core,  with  little  regard  for  whether  it  matches  a   predetermined  cultural  archetype.  In  other  words,  cultural   inCluence  bows  to  what  is  innate  in  the  individual.   You  can  see  how  patriarchy  begins  to  dominate  women  if   you  look  at  what  happens  when  they  enter  their  teens.  As   girls  and  boys  reach  puberty,  they  tend  to  play  out  their  lack   of  wholeness,  which  will  be  a  reClection  of  their  background.   This  is  why  girls  are  frequently  drawn  to  the  "bad  boy"   types,  who  seem  so  attractive  to  them  and  yet  end  up   abusing  them. Females  who  are  attracted  to  the  "bad  boy"  archetype  are  in   essence  attracted  to  a  sense  of  risk,  imbalance,  chaos,  and   unpredictability.  These  qualities  are  appealing  because  of   the  unresolved  issues  within  these  women,  stemming  from   their  own  childhood  and  past  experiences.  Women  who   grow  up  with  a  sense  of  unpredictability,  abandonment,   betrayal,  chaos,  and  loose  boundaries  often  project  these   unresolved  needs  onto  their  intimate  relationships,  in  this  way  recreating  their  unbalanced  childhood  for   their  own  children. Women  who  are  attracted  to  abusive  men  are  those  who  suffer  from  a  low  sense  of  self-­‐esteem,  a  poor   sense  of  self.  They  are  out  of  touch  with  their  inner  core  of  empowerment  and  strength.  Because  they  see   themselves  as  lesser  than,  they  Cind  men  who  treat  them  badly.   Though  I  live  in  the  New  York  area,  I  come  originally  from   Indian  culture,  in  which  the  Divine  Feminine  is  a  powerful   Cigure  represented  through  strong  cultural  and  religious   archetypes  in  the  form  of  goddesses.  Goddess  worship  in  India   is  widespread  among  both  men  and  women,  who  are  ardent   followers.  In  other  words,  despite  its  patriarchy,  the  Indian   culture  is  amorous  of  its  goddesses. In  the  goddess  form,  women  are  portrayed  both  as   traditionally  “good”  and  “pure,”  but  also  as  capable  of   unleashing  tremendous  power  that  can  bring  great  destruction. For  example,  Goddess  Sita  is  one  of  the  most  famous  of  the   Indian  goddesses,  adored  for  her  virtuous  qualities  of  being  an   exemplary  wife  and  mother.  Goddess  Kali,  on  the  other  hand,  is   ardently  followed  for  her  power  and  dark  destructive  capacity. The  Indian  culture  is  thus  able  to  hold  and  tolerate  both   archetypes  when  it  comes  to  their  women.  This  is  what  needs   to  happen  with  raising  our  daughters  to  be  equals  with  our   sons.

Written by Namaste author Shefali Tsabary, PhD, with the Preface by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and advance acclaim by authors Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Wiliamson, Marci Shimoff, Laura Berman Fortgang, and other leaders in the field of parenting, this is the book we've all been waiting for.


THE CONSCIOUS PARENT is available in softcover and as a downloadable eBook

Also by Dr Tsabary in CD and MP3 formats

Books for  Bringing  up  Children   to  Be  True  to  Themselves In Mister Ego and the Bubble of Love, Nico and Leo, who are playing with blocks, get into an altercation. After the squabble is over, Leo is mad at himself because he’s spoiled all the fun. How can a child who tends to get upset and cantankerous learn to stay calm when he or she doesn’t get their way? This exquisitely illustrated children’s book introduces children to an imaginary figure called Mister Ego—a character who represents the part of us that so easily becomes out of sorts and ruins a good time.

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Drawing on the wisdom of the world around us, Mister Ego and the Bubble of Love coaches children in how to tame their difficult side so that they are able to get along with each other a whole lot better.

With Mister Ego at rest in his bubble of love, the sun is out again and the house is once more a happy place for the children to play. Mister Ego and the Bubble of Love is appropriate for ages 3 to 8.

Milton is a happy kid until a school bully starts to push him around. Now he worries all the time about what the bully will do to him when he's at school. But Milton encounters a few situations (including a special lesson from Snuggles the cat) that help him understand a very important thing: the only way to be happy is to live in the Now. For the first time, Eckhart Tolle and coauthor Robert S. Friedman bring the concept of the best-selling The Power of Now to a story for children. Thought-provoking, beautifully illustrated, and a wonderful teaching tool for parents, Milton's Secret will inspire and help children who must face difficult encounters at school, on the playground, and everywhere. Click to Order

A Message  from  Earth  Mother   to  Her  Daughters Mare  Cromwell

     How  I  love  you  so,  all  of  my  daughters!  And  those  who  remember  me  and  offer  prayers  to  me,  I  love   you  the  most.          Oh,  my  daughters,  I  used  to  gather  with  you  when  you  would  bleed  with  the  moon.  That  was  our   special  bonding  time,  when  the  women  would  come  together  away  from  the  men.  I  was  there  listening   and  slipping  wisdom  to  one  of  the  elders  in  the  tent  to  help  guide  you  and  connect  you  to  me  and  each   other  more.          But  now  almost  all  of  you  are  too  frenetic.  Too  busy.  You  sit  in  front  of  your  TV  or  computer  boxes   inside  or  hold  those  cellphone  boxes  to  your  heads  when  you’re  walking.        Many  of  you  carry  such  pain  within  you  because  your  bodies,  your  hearts,  your  souls  have  been  so   abused.  You  need  to  Cind  healing.          Please,  for  me  and  all  of  your  sisters,  walk  barefoot  on  my  brown  soil,  and  my  grass  and  forest  Cloors,   and  give  me  your  pain,  your  sorrow.  Send  it  right  down  to  me  through  your  wombspace,  your  legs.  Let   your  tears  water  me.  I  love  your  tears  when  I  know  that  you  are  letting  go  of  your  sorrow.          I  know  this  sorrow.  I  do.  Sorrow  for  all  of  my  daughters  and  me  and  all  the  wounds  across  my  body.          Call  on  me  to  hold  you.  When  you  are  alone,  you  can  wrap  yourself  in  your  beds  with  my  love  wrapped   around  you  like  a  blanket.  I  will  come  as  soon  as  you  call.          Scream  your  pain  out,  if  need  be.  Dance  like  mad  women  if  this  can  take  you  to  a  place  of  less  rage  and   more  calm  within  yourself.  Get  a  punching  bag.  I  wish  there  was  a  punching  bag  my  size  because  I  could   sure  use  it  right  now.          Oh,  daughters,  do  you  know  how  much  I  love  you?  I  have  always  loved  you.  To  have  watched  over  the   past  few  thousand  years  as  you’ve  lost  your  temples  and  needed  to  suppress  your  overt  love  for  me  –  this   has  been  so  painful  for  me.          You  have  such  magic  within  you.  All  of  you.  Magic  to  share  your  blood  with  me.  Magic  to  create   children  within  you,  with  the  help  of  a  man  two-­‐legged’s  sperm.  Magic  of  your  Earth  connection  and   spirit  that  is  so  linked  with  me.  Your  men  two-­‐leggeds  don’t  have  this.  Only  you  women  two-­‐leggeds.  You   can  remember  this  magic  within  you  if  you  try.  It  is  time  to  remember.  This  will  help  not  only  with  your   healing,  but  also  my  healing  as  Earth  Mother.            Come  back  to  me,  daughters.  I  miss  your  love,  your  songs  and  dances  and  blessings  to  me.  I  miss  your   powerful  gratitude  and  ceremonies.  I  miss  you  being  connected  to  me.          Oh,  how  I  love  you.  How  I  love  you!  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               —  Mother

           Excerpted  from  Messages  from  Mother….  Earth  Mother,  by  Mare  Cromwell.  Book  forthcoming  October,   2012.

Mare Cromwell  is  a  writer,  poet,   gardener,  and  environmentalist.  A   spiritual  seeker  for  many  years,  she   holds  a  Masters  in  Natural  Resources   from  the  University  of  Michigan. Following  an  international   environmental  career,  she  spent   seven  years  interviewing  people  for   her  award  winning  book  If  I  gave  you   God’s  phone  number....   Currently  a  part-­‐time  professional   gardener,  Mare  resides  in  Baltimore,   Maryland,  where  she  is  exploring  new   workshops  to  lead. Mare  is  coordinating  the  mid-­‐Atlantic   satellite  to  the  Women’s  Congress   highlighted  in  this  issue  of  Namaste   Insights.

Women’s Congress For Future Generations September 27-30 Moab, Utah A Women’s Congress for Future Generations will gather in Moab, Utah September 27th-30th, 2012, to celebrate and express our gratitude for the Earth’s wondrous bounty, and to fulfill the special responsibility that women hold as the first environment for future generations. At the Moab Congress, we will map possibilities and pathways toward achieving whole health and justice in this generation and for all generations to come. Inspired by our environmental foremothers, our hope is to craft a dynamic articulation of the pressing rights future generations have to a livable world and the responsibilities of present generations to uphold those rights. Our labors will yield a living affirmation of these rights and responsibilities in word, art, music, and story. This Congress is for those called to stand for Future Generations. We seek solidarity with those working for environmental justice, for Climate Justice, for indigenous sovereignty, for the health of women and children, and with those living on the frontlines of the struggle against industrial pollution and climate change. Women from across the diverse spectrum of womanhood are welcome—women of all ages and cultural groups, women from all places, backgrounds, and walks of life, women with diverse talents and interests, vocal leaders, and those still finding their voice. We invite men to participate in the Congress, too, as Sacred Witnesses who honor and empower women's voices. Our commitment is to work that is firmly rooted in Radical Inclusion, in all of its forms—not as an afterthought, but as a framework for how we come together and organize. We recognize the double layer of oppression for women of color, Indigenous women, lesbians, transgender individuals, and women living on the frontlines of the environmental and social struggle. This is our inquiry and the exploration we intend to deepen with the launch of our Congress. We endeavor to foresee and address barriers that might otherwise diminish the fullest and most diverse gathering of women, and

we welcome creative strategies to overcome these barriers and, in the coming months, to carry forward this work in ways that draw strength and wisdom from an ever-widening circle of women. In this vein, all are welcome, but we recognize that only a fraction of those who feel called to this gathering are privileged enough to mobilize the time and resources to convene in Moab. Women who need assistance and support to attend are encouraged to register and apply for scholarships to defray travel expenses. Young women, students, women of color, indigenous women, women from low income communities, and women from fence-line communities are especially encouraged to attend. We encourage those who can donate funds, airline miles, or accommodations to do so, in an effort to support those for whom it is financially difficult to travel to Moab.

Useful Links Follow us on Twitter: @wcffg Facebook: https:// WomensCongressForFutureGener ations Facebook Event: https:// 247510212010054/ Registration Page: http:// Scholarship Application: http://

Questions that will animate our time together: What are the sacred rights of future generations and the responsibilities of present generations? How might we most powerfully write, craft, sing, pray, dream, speak, and legislate these rights and visions into being? What might a civil rights movement for future generations look like? What does such a movement need? What does reclaiming power as women look like? How might women organize on behalf of future generations in ways that transcend traditional strategies of action/resistance, and that honor, embody, and translate the sacred feminine spirit into the realm of direct political and social action?

About the  artwork  in  this  issue Deanna   Williams Special  thanks  for   Deanna’s  depictions  of   the  Divine  Feminine.   She  is  also  author  of   the  children’s  book  Mr   Now’s  Magni<icent   Moment.  You  can  [ind   her  artwork  at

ith H Goddess w


Javier Garcia   Lemus Javier’s  primary  theme   for  many  years  has   been  the  Divine   Feminine.  An  award   winning  artist  in  his   home  country  of  El   Salvador  where  he   grew  up  amid  the  wars,   his  work  is  both   surrealistic  and   indigenous.  He  can  be   contacted  at   UllrrichLemus@

The Cosmic Bla ck


About Namaste  Publishing... As  a  publisher,  I  have  no  interest  in  just  putting  more  words  out  into  the  world.  I  am  interested   only  in  offering  readers  signiCicantly  unique  material  that  is  life-­‐enhancing,  even  life-­‐altering. All  true  change  comes  about  Cirst  through  inner  work.  In  trying  to  treat  the  problems  we  are   facing,  we  often  ignore  the  only  thing  that  actually  matters—the  quality  of  our  inner  state  of   being.  Solutions  are  always  found  on  the  inner  plane.  They  emerge  when  we  enter  a  place  of   heightened  consciousness  experienced  in  inner  stillness,  which  is  often  called  "presence." At  Namaste,  our  overarching  mission  is  to  make  available  publications  that  acknowledge,  celebrate,  and  encourage   others  to  express  their  unique  essence  and  thereby  come  to  remember  who  they  really  are. "Namaste"  is  a  Sanskrit  word  that  acknowledges  the  inestimable  value  of  each  individual.  It  is  often  used  to  greet   and  honor  others.  Translation:  "As  I  acknowledge  and  honor  the  divine  presence  within  myself,  so  do  I   acknowledge  and  honor  the  divine  presence  within  you."  To  all  our  readers  I  say,  "Namaste." Constance  Kellough

Coming Soon from   Namaste Publishing

Namaste Publishing, Inc. PO Box 62084 Vancouver, British Columbia Canada V6J 4A3

Namaste Insights, Fall 2012  

A publication of Namaste Publishing, the original publishers of Eckhart Tolle and other insightful and inspiring authors.

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