Creatress

Earlier this year I checked out a children’s library book called Changing Woman and Her Sisters: Stories of Goddesses from Around the World by Katrin Hyman Tchana. I felt something in me stir as I read mythologies of other peoples that attribute far greater power to the feminine divine than any in my own culture. Changing Woman is a peculiar deity. She constantly cycles her age from old woman, back to a young child. She represents fertility and the changing seasons of the year. The most respected goddess among the Navajo, she is the creator of human life. She made the ancestors of the Navajo from pieces of her own skin. Rituals in her honor are set around childbirth, coming of age for girls, and marriage.

 

I have often pondered the meaning of feminine divine. I have been saddened that according to our tradition we have a mother in word only. She has no official place in our scripture, theology, or ritual. We are discouraged from talking about her, speculating about, praying to, or worshiping her in any way. I consider these prohibitions relics of an overtly patriarchal cultural system rather than conscriptions from God. One night I decided to reimagine scripture starting with our creation story; inserting Mother God into the narrative of Genesis 1. This was a playful yet thoughtful experiment. Enjoy:

1 In the beginning Mother God created the earth.

2 And the earth was well formed; a primordial sphere. Darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirits of the Gods moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And Mother God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And Father God saw the light, that it was good: and Mother God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And Father God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first time.

6 And Mother God said, Let there be an atmosphere to surround the earth and protect it from harmful radiation and regulate its temperature, that it may be habitable. And let the waters of the earth be divided over the surface thereof in preparation for life.

7 And Mother God made the atmosphere, and divided the waters: and it was so.

8 And Father God called the atmosphere heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second time.

9 And Mother God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And Father God called the dry land Earth; and the gatherings of the waters were called oceans, seas, and rivers, streams, brooks, waterfalls, and aquifers: and Father God saw that it was good.

11 And Mother God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after her kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after her kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after her kind: and Father God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third time.

14 And Mother God said, Let the lights above the earth be used to denote day and night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let the lights in the firmament of the heaven give light upon the earth; and let the plants photosynthesize and produce oxygen to expand the capacity of the earth to give life: and it was so.

16 And Father God saw two great lights; the greater light he called sun and made it to rule the day. And the lesser light (which was a reflected light) he made to rule the night: and there were stars also.

17 And the evening and the morning were the fourth time.

18 And Mother God said, Let the waters be rich in organic compounds that may bring forth complex organic molecules.

19 And let there be single celled organisms that have life in themselves,

20 And in time Mother God said, from the waters let evolve forth the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And Mother God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after her kind: and Father God saw that it was good.

22 And Mother God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth time.

24 And Mother God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after her kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after her kind, and each to its position as suited to its ecosystem: and it was so.

25 And Mother God made them and Father God saw that it was good.

26 And Mother God said Let us make woman in our image, after our likeness: and let them live in harmony with all things in the earth.

27 So Mother God created woman in her own image, female and male created she them.

28 And Mother God blessed them, and said unto them “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” And Father God said “subdue it and have dominion over every living thing.”

29 And Mother God said, “Behold I have given you every plant to eat.

30 And to the creatures of the earth also were given plants to eat.

31 And Mother God saw every thing that she had made, and it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth time.

 

Some have speculated a symbolic representation of Heavenly Mother in scripture, theology, and ritual. Where do you see Mother God in these places? What rituals would you like to put into practice that acknowledge the feminine divine and especially the divine within the feminine?

Chiaroscuro

Chiaroscuro is a play of light and shadow. Finding noisy messy lovely life in all the shades between.

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2 Responses

  1. Wendy says:

    This is devastatingly beautiful, Chiroscuro. Devastating because it so tangibly reveals how damaging it has been for me as a woman to grow up without a representation of the feminine divine in scripture, ritual, and worship. Thank you for this poignant imagining.

    And I’m going to get that children’s book and read it to my young daughters.

  2. Moss says:

    There are fruit bearing trees on the ground of every temple. This may symbolize the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of Life, or God the Mother (the feminine divine is represented by a tree or groves in the ancient near East) or perhaps this points to a conflation of symbols- I could see it pointing to God the Mother as the Tree of Life. Dan Petersen fleshes out this idea in Nephi and his Asherah .

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