“The influence of the Holy Spirit, exquisitely called the Comforter, is a matter of actual experience, as solid a reality as that of electro-magnetism”
W. C. Brownell, American art and literary critic (1851-1928)
The Divine Feminine – known as shakti – shekinah – holy spirit– is the LIVING PRESENCE OF DIVINITY within us, around us, and in all things. By making religion all about Father God and his Son, Christianity restricted the Sacred Presence to its selected places, making it necessary to go through the Church and its priests to get access to it. The Goddess however was and is always with all the people, her celebrations are for everyone. Her ecstatic presence was and can still be found in nature, in the body, in friendship, pleasure, joy, laughter, sex.
“… in all countries and in all ages, some form of physical enlargement – singing, dancing, drinking, sexual excitement – has been intimately associated with worship. Even the momentary expansion of the soul in laughter is, to however slight an extent, a religious exercise… It is the infinite for which we hunger, and we ride gladly on every little wave that pioneers to bear us towards it.” Havelock Ellis, The New Spirit, 1892
I was named Shokti by a group of mystical adventurers, led by a female Swiss former disciple of the crazy mystic Osho, whom I met in the jungle close to Hampi, in Karnataka, India, in 2003 – in reference to my spiritualised inner feminine: the name came because they were shocked by my personal shakti! I turned up in their magic circle with my French boyfriend, the two of us both skinny, energised and spiritually awake AIDS survivors, taking a tropical holiday to boost our immune systems and to spend time at the ashram of Amma, the Divine ‘Hugging’ Mother of Kerala as well as travelling to Goa and Hampi.
I had awoken to the reality, presence and unconditional love of the Divine Feminine eight years earlier when I plunged into questioning the purpose of existence while facing likely death from encroaching HIV-related illnesses. As I emptied my mind of life’s concerns there was room for the light of spirit to enter. I soon came to understand that mystical teachers the world over had long considered God’s presence in the world to be a feminine one – and suddenly I saw that by suppressing women and the feminine side of men, by destroying Goddess worshipping religions and the often gay and trans priest/esses who served in her ancient temples, the religions of the Father had been able to indoctrinate the world’s population to believe that ‘God’ is somewhere outside of the world, which eventually led many people to not believe in any form of divinity or holiness at all. The idea that ‘god’ could be known as a presence was until then unknown to my atheistic mindset.
SHAKTI – In Hindu lore shakti is the name for the presence of the divine and is considered feminine. While the masculine Shiva is the transcendent aspect of divinity, Shakti is the immanent, presence, felt and experienced tangibly.
SHEKHINAH In Judaism, Shekinah is the ancient word for the presence within and around us as god’s immanent force. (Islam has sakina). “ The relatedness of Shekinah to the Spirit is important to feminist theology because Shekinah is decidedly feminine and also relates to the concept of faith as a lived experience in Shekinah’s close connection to the concept of tikkun or ‘gathering the sparks’, a concept centered around the idea that god’s feminine aspect (Shekinah) has been lost—scattered—and must be restored in order to make the world, humankind and god whole once more.”(Rebecca Burton Prichard, Sensing the Spirit: The Holy Spirit in Feminist Perspective, 1999)
THE HOLY SPIRIT – In Christianity, the presence of God is known as the Holy Spirit, and named also ‘the Comforter’. The Hebrew word for Spirit, ruach, was feminine in gender – the word translated to the neutral Greek pneuma then masculine Latin word spiritus.
Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as feminine in various gnostic texts – in the Gospel According to the Hebrews, Jesus is quoted as saying, “Then my Mother, the Holy Spirit…” In The Acts of Thomas, the expression “the Holy Spirit, the Mother of all creation,” is used. Gnostic groups the Mandaeans and Ophites called the Spirit ‘the first woman’ and ‘the Mother of all living.’ For the Valentinians, the Spirit as a dove represented “the word of the Mother from above.” According to theologian Peter Gerlitz, speculation on the Holy Spirit as feminine was common among certain Christian sects before they were suppressed after the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE.
I came to see that to know the Divine Mother I had to unite with her inside myself, to ‘become’ Her – by embracing the ‘feminine’ aspects of myself, which I now saw as the powers of the Soul, capable of radiating divine glory. Feminine power is accessed through the body, through emotion and sexuality, through gender-fluidity – all things which the patriarchal religions set out to suppress, thereby cutting humanity off from this powerful magic, indeed from its mother source and its own sacred, eternal nature.
Zulu Sangoma and High Sanusi Credo Mutwa explains, in the YouTube video below, the African wisdom that we each have inside us a warrior mind (which is the male god, the rational individualised sense of self), and the mother mind (which we all share as the portal to collective consciousness, which reveals our oneness with all life). He expresses in this video the simplicity of how we can know the Mother, saying “We must awaken the mother mind within us. We must feel what is going on in the world. We mustn’t just listen to newspapers. We must ourselves, feel.”
The Divine Feminine is missing. Trapped in the Underworld of the human subconscious. Yet She is also right here, in front of our eyes, speaking into our ears and into our hearts. We simply forgot how to see and listen to Her. There has been a growing Goddess movement increasingly active in the world for some decades now – but this movement seems slow to impact the world with its awesome divine truth perhaps because it is missing so many of its key troops, the ones who are designed to enact the union of heaven and earth through their own bodies made sacred by the presence of both female and male soul in one person: many of those who came here to be priestesses and shamans of the Goddess are swimming in the secular vibrations of the sexually/politically charged gay/queer subculture.
The gay subculture is the child of secular society, and gay people have long been reviled as the incarnate devils of the Christian hegemony. For these reasons it is taking some time for the LGBTQ+ movement to embrace its spiritual side – wherein it will find its power and destiny. The world awaits the GAYWAKENING.
I am proud to be named SHOKTI because my dream in this lifetime is to deliver the shock the world needs in order to re-awaken to the ever-present SHAKTI-SHEKHINAH-SPIRIT that sustains and fuels both our consciousness and our physical forms with Her unconditional love….
AND TO SEE GAY PEOPLE RESTORED TO THEIR ROLES AS NATURE’S PRIESTS, as HEALERS, SHAMANS and SCOUTS OF CONSCIOUSNESS, serving the restoration of wholeness on planet Earth.
As Rumi said:
“Though we seem to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream, and will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.“
Will Roscoe wrote in From ‘Priests of the Goddess: Gender Transgression in Ancient Religion (1996) “At the time of the birth of Christ, cults of men devoted to a Goddess flourished throughout the broad region extending from the Mediterranean to south Asia.”
“The modern world was built by Christianity. They have taken the gods out of the earth sent them to heaven, wherever that is. And everyone who aspires to the gods must then negotiate with Christianity, so that the real priests and priestesses are out of a job.” Malidoma Some, Dagara Tribe, west Africa
American gay writer Arthur Evans looked forward in Witchcraft and the Gay Counter-Culture, (1978)“…to regaining our ancient historical roles as medicine people, healers, prophets, shamans and sorcerers. We look forward to an endless and fathomless process of coming out – as gay people, as animals, as humans, as mysterious and powerful spirits that move through the life cycle of the cosmos….. Like butterflies we are emerging from the shells of our past restricted existence. We are re-discovering the ancient magic that was once the birth right of all human beings. We are re-learning how to talk to the worms and the stars. We are taking flight on the wings of self-determination. Come, blessed Lady of the Flowers, Queen of Heaven, creator and destroyer, Kali – we are dancing the dance of your coming.”