A more feminine Christianity

What do we mean with feminine and masculine characteristics? Some of it may be rooted in biology, and most of it is cultural – although there are some universal themes across cultures. Mostly, it’s a way to conveniently split certain human qualitites into two categories, and as human beings, we have all of it in us.

Jesus as depicted in the stories we have about him seems to embrace both typically feminine and masculine qualitites. He seems whole and knows himself as what’s beyond and includes all of it.

The Christian church, so far, has displayed a lot of masculine characteristics, and sometimes in ways that are (what many would see as) unhealthy. They have traditionally emphasized hierarchy, obedience, pathriarchy, judgment, and punishment. They have also emphasized a heaven-Earth split, humans superiority over (the rest of) nature, and devaluing and sometimes demonization of nature and the body and natural impulses.

On the surface, this has benefited men, those higher up in the hierarchy, and humans, and it may even have helped progressing civilization in certain ways. Looking a little closer, it’s clear this has also harmed all of us.

So how would a more feminine Christianity look? Many know a lot more about this than me, and many have developed and practices this since the beginning of Christianity, so I’ll just say a few words.

If I imagine a more feminine Christianity, and one I personally would feel more at home in, I imagine it would…

Emphasize innate goodness, how what we are is love and it’s covered up by pain and trauma.

Be more egalitarian and inclusive.

Be more Earth- and creation-centered, emphasize love for creation, and see creation as inherently sacred.

Emphasize love over ideology.

Encourage compassion for oneself and our scared parts.

Value indigenous knowledge.

Acknowledge the value in the main spiritual traditions of the world, and have an active inter-faith orientation.

Learn from other traditions, and use pointers and practices from any tradition.

Emphasize the pointers from Jesus over tradition.

Emphasize mystery (that we cannot know anything for certain) over doctrine.

I would love to see this form of Christianity gain momentum and popularity, and perhaps it will happen. It’s already happening in smaller groups around the world.

Painting: Harmonia Rosales

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Feminine inquiry tradition

A friend of mine mentioned that we both belong to the feminine inquiry tradition.

I hadn’t heard that term before, and hadn’t really thought of it that way. But I see how it fits.

Here are some of what’s been important to me lately (most of it for a while), that can be seen as feminine:

An emphasis on love. Finding love for what’s here, for this experience, for this part of me and my experience I previously pushed away or ignored. Recognizing that identification (velcro, beliefs) come from love, from a wish to protect, and deep caring.

An emphasis on allowing. Allowing what’s here, this experience as it is. Notice it’s already allowed. Allowing even resistance, contractions, fear and more.

An emphasis on resting with what’s here. Notice. Allow. Rest with even discomfort, tension, resistance, contractions.

An emphasis on feeling. Feeling the sensations that are here. Feeling what I have to feel if I don’t do the compulsive behavior that’s coming up for me to do. Feeling what seems most uncomfortable, here and now.

And the inquiry part:

Inquiring into all of this. Inquire into what’s here. Notice the images, words, sensations. Ask simple questions to see more clearly what’s already here.

So yes, this is a feminine inquiry tradition. It’s love oriented. Feeling oriented. Inquiry oriented. It’s gentle, in a way. And also unsentimental and direct.

It’s even disillusionment oriented. And that too can be seen as feminine. That’s what a mother will do when it’s needed for the welfare of her children and family.

Of course, the reason we may see this as feminine is our stories about it. And these are adopted from tradition and culture. It’s a label. And it doesn’t need that label, which is partly why I haven’t thought about it this way, and may not use that term again in the future. (Unless someone else uses it, and I join in because it fits and helps us connect.)

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Balancing striving with allowing

Some traditional spiritual teachings and practices emphasize going and being somewhere else. They can be a bit pushy and striving, and rest on assumptions that what’s here is not “good enough”. Even when love, body and Earth is included, this too is sometimes done in a slightly pushy and striving way. Without inclusion of it’s counterpart, allowing, this can lead to burnout.

So it can be helpful to balance it with a more allowing approach. One that includes love for what’s here, caring for all our experiences and parts, gentleness, nourishment, receptivity, connection with the soil and the Earth, and a gentle inclusion of the body.

And we see this transition in our culture today. There is a growing emphasis on finding love for what is. Notice it’s already allowed and welcome. Notice that what we may see as troublesome aspects of ourselves are here to protect us, are well intentioned, and come from love. Notice – and enjoy – the relief in this approach.

The two approaches complement and support each other. Allowing gives a more true and restful context for striving. Striving happens within and as allowing. And allowing striving makes the allowing more alive, dynamic and aligned with reality. Striving is allowed, along with whatever else is here.

Both are here anyway. There is a dynamic impulse, and it’s all already allowed. So why not consciously include both?

And are they really here as they initially appear? What do I find when I look for striving or allowing? Can I find either, outside of words, images and sensations?

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The Great Mother

In a way you may be experiencing the opposite of the non-dual state which is the state of the great mother where she holds it all and it is all hers.
– in an email from Barry

It’s difficult for me to find words that capture this for me, probably because it’s still not very clear for me. And I have written about it before.

During the initial awakening phase, lasting about ten years, Big Mind was relatively awake to itself, although there were some remaining confusion as well. Whatever happened – the world, any experience – was clearly recognized as consciousness, the Divine, God, Spirit. And there was no separation. At the same time, there was a knowing that it could be more clear, and could go deeper somehow, be embodied more fully and in a more rich, deep and juicy way.

During the following dark night of the soul phase, there were glimpses of another way reality could reveal itself to itself. Big Mind was still there, recognizing all as itself, and yet it was as if it was more felt and happening inside of everything, inside of every experience. This was sometimes accompanied with a sense of luminous blackness, Big Mind and everything as luminous blackness, held within it, appearing from within it and as it. And there was a sense that this was (one aspect and “level” of) the divine feminine.

Now, the luminous black is not here so much. And yet, there is an even more felt shift into/as the “divine mother” holding everything within and as herself. It’s felt in the body in a very different way from the initial phase where it was more seen and recognized (head, yang) and loved (heart).

Now, it’s revealed more fully as love. It’s more happening from within any experience, anything that’s here. It feels much more related to the divine feminine, the great mother. And – it seems – it’s much more happening from within the belly and body, or perhaps more accurately aided by shifts in the belly and body.

And, I have to admit, it’s sometimes quite confusing. There is sometimes a real sense of losing the mind (and fear of madness, from a belief of course). There is a real sense that this shift is incompatible with relying on any familiar idea, identity or identification. There is a real sense it wants to shift into something quite different from what’s been familiar in the past, at least in this life.

When Barry says it’s the opposite of a nondual state, that’s quite true in a way. It’s the mirror opposite of the more yang, Big Mind facet of reality revealing itself to itself. This one is more felt, more associated with the belly and body, and perhaps further from what I was consciously aware of before this whole process started. Although the initial phase seemed to require all of me, this one seems to do so again and even more so. And it does seem to include a reorganization at a primal and emotional level of my human self. Not just seeing and recognizing whatever is there – primal fears etc. – as the divine too, as happened during the initial phase, but a deep reorganization and realignment of it.

Dream: Kiss on the cheek

I am with two or three woman healers and there is a sense of shared essence and quiet understanding among us. I notice how beautiful it is that it is naturally expressed differently for each of us. One of them gives me a long kiss on the cheek, and there is a sense of a  stream of sweet nectar flowing from the kiss into and filling my heart.

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Divine feminine


During the retreat, there was a shift into an immediate and very personal second person relationship with the divine feminine, one that reveals the divine feminine in its universal and intimately personal aspects.

In the past, second person practices has been more directed to the divine masculine, but now, probably from the shift and deepening into endarkenment, there is a deepening intimate second person relationship with the divine feminine.

None of this has been from choice, or from any conscious views, as I have for a long time been interested in and appreciated the divine feminine as well as the divine masculine. But the direct connection happens at a different level, outside of conscious views and choices.

So some of the second person relationships with the divine that are alive now are…

  • The divine masculine, with its sense of clarity, luminosity, and detachment, with void and luminosity in the foreground.
  • The divine feminine, with its velvety smooth, round, full, luminous blackness, and a sense of a gentle embrace and holding of all forms… including this individual and everything within this individual. Here, smooth fullness and gentle embrace is in the foreground.
  • The indwelling God, with its alive presence in the heart region, for this particular individual, with alive presence in the foreground.

The divine masculine is related to the head center, and filters Spirit (itself) through the head center as void, detachment and luminosity. The divine feminine is related to the belly center and filters Spirit as the smooth full luminous blackness. And the indwelling God is related to the heart center, and filters Spirit as alive and infinitely intelligent, loving, receptive and responsive presence. Each one is noticed through (even a partial) awakening of their respective centers, and each one filters Spirit in a particular way through this center.

All of these share the same qualities of infinite intelligence, love, receptivity and responsiveness, in their universal and personal flavors.

Each one is void, transparent to the void, a manifestation of the void, and also within and as all forms. For the Indwelling God, it is its quality of alive presence which appears within and as all forms, although now with a more universal quality.

Each one has universal and personal aspects. They are revealed as universal, as void, and within and as all forms. As impersonal, as void and a manifestation of the void. And also as uniquely and intimately personal in their immediate relationship with this particular individual.

Each one is explored through second, first and third person relationships… as a you, I and it. And also through a zero person “relationship” with an absence of I and Other.

(For me, each center, and the impersonal and personal aspects of what is filtered through each center, have been revealed at different times, which allows for a clearer differentiation within all of this… there is a benefit to resistance and blocks which reveals Spirit one piece at a time…! If it had all happened at the same time I may not have been able to differentiate it in this way, and that would have been OK as well.)

A few days before this shift, I bought a used book and found a picture of a beautiful icon of a Black Madonna with child stuck between its pages, and I put it up on the wall. It perfectly illustrates the experience of this immediate second person relationship with the divine feminine.

(When I just now looked up icons of Black Madonnas, I found it as the Russian 18th century Fedorovo icon. The picture above is a different one.)