As the plane started to descend and I could physically see the Holy Land, tears began to roll down my face. Emotional intensity filled me, along with the awareness of being in a place where so much of our world's religious history has taken place. I was one of many spiritual pilgrims who have traveled far from home to deepen their understanding of and connection to God -- except I was also looking for the Goddess.
Continuing on with my pilgrimage to reclaim the Divine Feminine, my first religious stop in Jerusalem was the Western Wall, which is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism, where more than a million slips of paper with written notes and prayers are placed into the crevices of the wall each year. Men and women are separated as they pray, so when my friend, who was also doubling as my tour guide, asked me, "How was visiting the wall for you?" I told him that I felt called to write two different letters: one to God, and one to Goddess. He assertively responded, "I don't think God has a gender. I believe God is just God and is in everything. I don't understand why you have to focus so much on this Goddess stuff."
For the record, I don't actually believe that God/Goddess/Spirit/Source Energy/Animating Life Force/Whatever Is Making This World Go Around has a gender, either. However, I do believe most of the problems in this world can be traced to the divine aspect of the feminine not being honored, which I expounded on in my last blog post. Part of my work through teaching Qoya classes and leading retreats for women around the world is rooted in the inspiration to be living at a time where we can have the access to information, freedom of expression, and collective potential to shift and reclaim the Divine Feminine in our own lives and in our world. It's not about God vs. Goddess but about integrating our understanding of and reverence for the masculine and feminine ways in which the divine expresses itself.
We live in a society that overvalues masculine characteristics and expressions of energy while undervaluing feminine characteristics. These are not gender stereotypes but the polarized ways in which energy moves. Imagine the yin/yang symbol of contrasting and complementary opposites. An invitation to come more into balance and embrace more of the feminine in our inner and outer worlds includes being more emotional than mental; enjoying flow more and the overbearing tendency to structure less; feeling our soul's surrender instead of our ego's need for control; feeling the soft, round curves of our beliefs instead of the angular, hard edges; letting our hearts be receptive instead of our wills penetrating; finding the bliss of just being, and of being being enough by not having to always be doing something, even if it's just for a moment; focusing on our intentions more than our goals; truly nurturing the things we love, including ourselves; approving of the possibility that we can dance in chaos, without always having to have "the answer"; letting our expression be wild vs. contained and finding the imperfect perfection in our perception; shifting the center of our awareness from our mind back toward the temple of our body; and honoring the earth.
As I was looking to the Divine Feminine for answers, I knew there were few stories about Her in traditional religious texts. I had also done research on Asherah, the lost Goddess of Israel. Unfortunately, as far as I could tell, she was still lost, as no Israelis I asked knew anything about her. I didn't see the Goddess honored in the Holy Land of Jerusalem, but I did feel her in the Holy Land. I felt her swimming in the sea, in the clouds at sunset, with the flow of the river that goes through Tel-Aviv, in the peaceful quiet of the desert, and in the salt of the Dead Sea, and while I didn't initially see Her at the Western Wall, I felt Her in the stone.
I was reminded that one of the easiest ways to reconnect to the voice of the Divine Feminine is to be in nature. We all know this innately and gravitate toward the beauty of the ocean, feel compelled to hike to the tops of mountains, and have a moment of peace as we watch a sunset. While many religions teach us that our spirit is more important than our bodies and that the promise of an afterworld or heaven is more important than getting caught up in the physical world of here and now, the Goddess invites us to have the awareness of a spiritual being having a human experience rather than a human being having a spiritual experience, and then to take great pleasure in this world, and go as far to make this here and now a heaven on earth.
And why the hell not? As long as we are here, as long as our hearts are beating and the sun is rising each morning, why not come together to do our part to create a heaven on earth?
When I stepped up to the Western Wall and asked for guidance from the Goddess on how to be present to the incredible complexity of history on this land, honor each human being's soul, and do my part to create this heaven on earth, I put my hand on the stones of the Western Wall and heard this simple message:
Always have faith.
Always forgive. (Always, always.)
Always care for others.
Always sing, dance, and be wise, wild, and free.
Always trust the truth will resonate with your body.
Always honor your mother and father.
Always create beauty in this world.
Always know how to access the essence of who you are.
If you listen deeply to the sound of the winds outside your window, to the rain on your roof, to the ocean's waves rhythmically rising, falling, and coming into shore, you'll hear Her. If you watch the breeze dance through the trees or the butterfly cross your path, you'll see Her. The Divine Feminine dances through nature and invites you to see if that is true for yourself. Go sit on the grass, walk along the lake, dive into the ocean waves, watch the leaves fall from the trees, listen to the river, or climb the mountain, and notice what happens inside yourself as you ever-so-gently reclaim the Divine Feminine through the nature that is always around you.
Do you experience a shift when you are in nature?
Do you believe there is any correlation between the Divine Feminine or Goddess and nature?
Do you think heaven on earth is possible as an inner reality? As an outer reality?