Being raised Catholic, with the “old man in the sky God;” presided over by an exclusively male priesthood; I often felt as if something was missing. How could the God of unconditional love only be male and only choose men to lead “HIS” Church? If God loves us without condition and if we are indeed “made in the image and likeness of God, where was the God in whose image I was made? Furthermore, wouldn’t women, then be equally worthy to lead God’s Church? While the veneration of Mary somewhat satisfied these longings, she still wasn’t God. These questions eventually led me on the search for a feminine image of God that I could call my own, and one that I intuitively knew could be found.
Gratefully, I was not the only one troubled by the exclusively male God of the Western religious traditions and have found much comfort in the research that has been accomplished in uncovering the abundant examples of the Feminine Divine in cultures and religions across epochs, including Her presence in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
In, Goddesses – Mysteries of the Feminine Divine, by Joseph Campbell, I have found another worthy resource in my on-going exploration of the Feminine Divine. Whereas some of the conclusions Campbell presents have since been refuted (ie: the absence of the feminine divine within the Hebrew tradition), this collection provides a worthy addition to the study of the Feminine Divine, and unlike many books written on this topic, Campbell presents this topic in a way that is accessible to anyone.
In this collection of previously unpublished lectures, given to lay audiences in the 1980’s, the reader will get an overview of the research contemporary to the time. Campbell reveals a rich tradition of the Feminine Divine, along with a contemporary challenge to set aside our exclusively male gods with their resulting hierarchies and patriarchies and make room for the Feminine. Balancing the masculine and the feminine, Campbell argues, may be the remedy to the disease of power and control that currently plagues our world, proving once again, the prophetic vision of Joseph Campbell.
If you are a fan of Joseph Campbell or interested in the Feminine Divine, I highly recommend this book.
Spiritual Director, Author, Priest