Does the Divine Feminine parallel the re-emergence of honouring Indigenous ways of knowing?
Since contact, wherever and whenever it occurred on the planet, Christian missionaries brought with them a dominator spirit. The bible uses the word “dominion” to refer to the power that we humans must have over nature and animals.
In the King James Bible, Genesis 1:26 says:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
It is this hubris, this arrogance that has led many to believe that the earth, our Gaia, is ripe for pillaging and raping. It is this belief system that has evolved into a world where we dump toxic garbage into the arms of nature, ‘husband’ our animals as if they have no souls, and batter the planet with our excesses and collective folly.
But perhaps this blight is passing. As the Divine Feminine re-emerges, so does respect for Indigenous ways of knowing. Despite the all-inclusiveness of the word “Indigenous” and the linguistic, cultural and social distinction of the many Aboriginal Nations on this planet, there is, arguably, a common belief system – that nature and animals possess an inherent consciousness and must be honoured if we wish to live in balance, healthy prosperity and spiritual fulfillment.
In reading Joseph Boyden’s excellent novel, The Orenda, I came across this passage, written in the voice of a Jesuit missionary:
In matters of the spirit, these sauvages believe that we all have within us a life force that is similar, if you will, to our own Catholic belief in the soul. They call this life force the orenda. That is the fascinating part. What appals me is that these poor misguided beings believe not just humans have an orenda but also animals, trees, bodies of water, even rocks strewn on the ground. In fact, every last thing in their world contains its own spirit (pp. 31-32). See: The Orenda by Joseph Boyden
How absurd this seemed to a naïve French missionary, yet it strikes me as both true and compelling.
My own teacher, a pipe carrier in the Lakota Sundance Tradition, tells me the rocks he puts in the sweatlodge fire are our grandmothers and grandfathers, who lift our prayers up to the Great Spirit.
My spiritual uncle, who blessed me with the Spirit Name ‘White Eagle Woman’ gave me this name so that I might invoke the wisdom and all-seeing nature of this graceful bird.
The prayer I use each morning before writing, The Great Spirit Prayer, translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887, offers us a means to focus on the spirit inherent in nature. The essence of this exquisite prayer might be summed up in the line “Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in each leaf and rock”, thus acknowledging that nature is our teacher and must be revered. See: Great Spirit Prayer
In the Native American projects, the first of the Native American Ten Commandments is: “The Earth is our Mother, care for her” or, alternatively, “Treat the earth and all that dwell thereon with respect”. See: Native American Projects
Similarly, those who are midwives for the return of the Divine Feminine embrace nature as a manifestation of the Great Spirit or the Divine. Ecofeminism is the belief that patriarchal structures have marginalized both women and nature in a symbiotic manner. See: Ecofeminism
Starhawk is a modern day proponent of the Rebirth of the Great Goddess and when I twice attended Witch Camp with her in the late 1980’s, her work reawakened my intuitive understanding of earth-based religions, which were prevalent prior to the onset of dominator society. See: Starhawk
In the Idle no more Movement, we in Canada saw the deep longing of many First Nations People as they cried out for a return to this knowledge. As their vision states it, “Idle No More calls on all people to join in a peaceful revolution, to honour Indigenous sovereignty, and to protect the land and water.” See: Idle No More
We hold, therefore, the same dream, the same vision. For to live in peace means that all of us, male and female, plant and animal, sky and earth, must be honoured and revered as spiritual conduits and manifestations of the One Great Mystery.
Blessings, Maggi Feehan