"Give me ecstasy, give me naked wonder! Give birth to the Beloved in me, and let this lover die. Let a thousand wrangling desires become one love."
For many, dogmatic wounds taint or even forbid certain pleasures, and to the most conservative believers, the Divine Feminine isn’t just an insult to established order: she’s blasphemous.
“Goddess worship, even in its ultimate form — witchcraft — is now being openly, even proudly practiced in mainstream Christian denominations, in defiance of the foundations of the faith,” one blogger wrote. “The cause for alarm is the massive nature of the assault, which doesn't end at the church door. The ultimate philosophy behind the global agendas of feminism, homosexuality, environmentalism, abortion rights, multiculturalism, and anti-“fundamentalism” has its roots, knowingly or not, in the new paganism.”
I’m not pagan (not that I have a problem with earth worship), but a spiritual woman raised in a somewhat religious home who came to understand that sexuality and spirituality are pillars from the same divine source. It seems such an obvious question to me: If we are truly crafted in ‘God’s image’ — granted, do any of us really know what that means? (Nice to see you again, God. Been a while, say, since that flooding incident way back…) — then how can our sensual desires be judged as ‘wrong,’ or worse, something evil, an indignity to the soul?
Original sin, it seems to me, isn’t that our ancestors succumbed to temptations and ate the forbidden fruit, but that we learned to fear our physical passions as something other than sacrosanct, as if God created everything about us, but the devil slapped on the genitals.
Finding Mystical Truths in a Non-religious Book
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Human Sexuality (2010), by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá, enhanced my understanding of this artificial split become sex and God with a slap (for its intellectual discourse) and a tickle (for its sharp humor). I’m not sure the authors meant to reinforce any mystical truths about our sacred-sensual natures when they sought to, “show how our promiscuous past haunts our current struggles regarding monogamy, sexual orientation, and family dynamics.” Looking at the circumstantial evidence in our bodies and primitive civilizations, their book nevertheless did just that for me, indirectly at least.
That is because woven between their explanations of why we have sex the way we do are messages of our innate capacities for love, cooperation, and generosity. Beyond that, they demonstrate that it is quite likely modern day sex-angst had little hold on how and when our ancestors coupled. Long before the Church convinced us that our lusts came from Satan, humanity knew free love.
In these more modern times, sexuality’s become pulverized, culturalized, and civilized (some might argue otherwise), women’s especially so, our libidos wrapped up tight in prude little bows, only to discover that we don’t hump like animals at all. Oh no, we are far more carnal than our primate cousins with the exception of the bonobos, who live in a jungle more lush, fragrant, and peaceful than any we’ve built in our concrete labyrinths.
Those sluts. I mean the monkeys. Shame on them, right?
That’s why I’m not surprised about this quiet revolution taking place despite objections like the quote above. In conjunction with the decline of societal, political, organizational and communal structures, we are witnessing the resurrection of the Divine Goddess, and not just in pagan circles. Behind the scenes and in softly hued corners, women especially are learning to reject labels and the price we pay to wear them.
You know exactly the ones I’m referring to: slut, whore, prude and more, terms used to subjugate us for a long, long time. The women doing this aren’t seeking the limelight, although they are easily recognizable by their patina of pleasure and power. And yes, some of them call themselves priestess, and consider all of womankind a sisterhood of goddesses. Rent Tent, anyone?
Ecstatic spirituality encourages us to reclaim the ground between prudishness and promiscuity, that fertile place within our imaginations that understands being naughty isn’t just for bad girls and boys anymore. Our fantasies are the stuff of the soul, whatever that means to each reader, as they are of the body. The sex-positive feminist in me can’t resist sharing a favorite saying: when God created sex, she had a smile on her face.
It’s not just feminine sensuality we’ll be aiding and abetting by reclaiming this sexual-soulful energy; men are wounded by the shackles of shame, inhibition and insecurity too. Think about it. How often have you found yourself taking a bold step towards sensual living — dancing in little else but an obnoxious hat or whispering wantonness behind a pink fan — only to scuttle back in fear?
The Feminine Divine invites us all to show our slips, swivel our hips and let our hair down. She says, go ahead and growl, whimper, and be an example of sumptuous living. In no uncertain terms, find your rapture. Shake your booty and your soul, and imagine all those vibrations spreading like wildfire on the winds of social and personal change, judgment be damned.
Don’t worry, and hum along now: God is watching us, God is watching us, God is watching us…with a smile.