Shekinah Eema Pneuma, Holy Spirit/Holy Soul Sophia, Bride of God

Tau Malachi writes:  The following is a traditional invocation of the Holy Shekinah from the Sophian Gnostic tradition:

Shekinah from SacredHome.comInvocation to the Holy Shekinah

Kodesh Imma, Kodesh Kallah
Holy Mother, Holy Bride,
We invite you, we welcome you –
Please enter!

Ruach Ha-Elijah (Spirit of the Prophets)
Ruach Ha-Enoch (Spirit of the Initiates)
Ruach Ha-Messiah (Spirit of the Anointed)

Ruach Ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit)

O Queen of Heaven and Earth
Holy Shekinah:

We open our minds and hearts and lives to you,
And pray you enter and indwell;

Uplift us now into the Bridal Chamber,
Bring us into the embrace of the Beloved,
So that we might put on our Supernal Image,
To shine with Light above and below;

Be the Divine Spirit, inwardly illuminating us with the Living Word
and Wisdom,
And in this way lead us in the path of righteousness,
So that we might be a sign of hope to the people,
In good times and bad;

We pray for the liberation of the people and the land from all darkness;
We pray for the healing of all illness and dis-ease;
We pray for the Divine Illumination of all living spirits and souls!

May all holy sparks be gathered in; May the Divine Light shine forth!

We pray for the resurrection and ascension of this Good Earth;
Amen and amen.

Shekinah: The Presence of Divinity
by Rev. Mark Raines

Shekinah - also spelled Shekhina, Shekhinah, Shekina, and Shechina - is known in the Qabalah, an ancient form of Jewish mysticism, as one of the emanations of God and the actual Presence of God. The belief was that one could not see God in Its fullness, but could see the emanation of God, Shekinah. When Moses asked to see God, it was Shekinah that he saw. Shekinah is also the consort, or Bride, of God. As such, she is Mother to us all, just as God is our Father.

In earlier times, God was seen as either dwelling in the clouds or in high places like mountains or very high hills. With the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, and then the construction of the Temple, a part of the Godhead came to dwell in the Ark and then in the Temple. This could not be the male God, the God of the Sky and of High Places. So Shekinah, formerly known as Asherah, a Goddess of Earth and Sea, came to dwell in the Ark of the Covenant and then in the Temple.

Originally it was Asherah who dwelled in the Temple as the Bride of God, His representative there. But after the "reforms" of King Josiah, Asherah worship was forbidden in the Temple. Still, the Jews knew that their Lady was still living there as their Queen and the representative of El, their God. So Asherah evolved. She began to be seen as the presence of God, and less as a separate entity. She became Shekinah, which means something like She who dwells (from the Hebrew shakhan, which means the act of dwelling). However, Asherah did not really change. She was always the representative of Her Husband, just as He was always HER representative. She, an Earth Goddess, was also Queen of Heaven. He, as Sky God, was also Ruler of Earth. This occurred only through Their marriage. So, it was not really that Asherah worship ever changed much within Judaism, or that Asherah Herself changed; only, it was made to look like it had changed to fool the patriarchal priests.

Unfortunately, Shekinah has been all but lost to Christianity. Elements of Her remain in Mother Mary, who was perhaps Shekinah's incarnation. Mary Theotokos, as She is called, actually held the presence of God (Yeshua) within Her. She is known as the Queen of Heaven, but she is the representative of God to us and delivers our prayers to Him, according to Catholic tradition. Her apparitions are much more frequent than the apparitions of Yeshua, and the Father never appears. It seems that She is truly His representative to us, because (as we know) She is His Bride.

The union of Shekinah and El was never more evident than in the Sabbath. She is known as the Sabbath Bride, or the Sabbath Queen. Each week on the Sabbath, God and Goddess, El and Shekinah, act out the Song of Songs. One rabbi called that holy book the "Holy of Holies" of the Bible! Now take a look at this passage from the Zohar (the holy book of the Qabalah), called the Secret of the Sabbath, which tells us all about the Sabbath Queen:

Shekinah CD has great music and is available from Amazon.comTHE SECRET OF SABBATH

The Secret of Sabbath:
She is Sabbath!
United in the secret of One
to draw down upon Her
the secret of One.

The prayer for the entrance of Sabbath:

The holy Throne of Glory is united in the secret of One,
prepared for the High Holy King to rest upon Her.
When Sabbath enters She is alone,
separated from the Other Side,
all judgments removed from Her.
Basking in the oneness of holy light,
She is crowned over and over to face the Holy King.
All powers of wrath and masters of judgment flee from Her.
Her face shines with a light from beyond;
She is crowned below by the holy people,
and all of them are crowned with new souls.
Then the beginning of prayer to bless Her with joy and beaming faces:
Barekbu ET YHVH ha-Mevorakh,
"Bless ET YHVH, the-Blessed One,"
ET YHVH, blessing Her first.

(*ET-YHVH is another name for 'Shekinah' (the feminine Divine Presence). In the Kabbalah, ET stands for Aleph to Tav, like our Alpha to Omega, or A to Z. Here ET refers to the song itself as the ultimate speech, hymn or prayer. According to the notes of Daniel Chanan Matt's translation, this passage from the ZOHAR is recited in the Sephardic liturgy on Sabbath Eve.)

1. Shekhina, from Encyclopedia Mythica
2. Wisdom of Shekinah, by WOW Institute
(no longer on line)
3. The Secret of Sabbath  From the Zohar, ancient Kabbalistic inspired writings -- Daniel Chanan Matt also uses this verse in his book Zohar, the Book of Enlightenment


Eema - God the Mother

Who is Eema, and what is Her status in the Christian Church now? This is a question that haunts each one of us, and a question that often goes unanswered. Basically, Eema exists in mainstream Christianity in two forms: the sterilized image of the Virgin Mary, and the watered-down secular image of "Mother Nature." These images do nothing to reflect Her full nature, but we as Esoteric Christians should be thankful for them nevertheless - after all, better that the pistics have watered-down images of Eema than none at all! The other pistic faiths, Judaism and Islam, also have Eema in their faiths - once again, only to a degree. Jews speak of the Shekinah and the Sabbath Bride, and sometimes of Sophia (Chokmah in Hebrew), Goddess of wisdom. Muslims place considerable honor on the figure of Mary but the Muslim Mary is an extremely sterilized, sanitized, de-sexualized puritan character.

Within the catholic denominations - Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism - Eema has continued in the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, as stated, she has been sterilized. She is devoid of sexuality. The early church councils deprived her of all sexuality when they defined her as a perpetual virgin, denied the conception and birth of Yeshua's siblings, and said the Blessed Virgin was above sexuality. So while the catholic denominations do allow for some feminine presence, Her fertility is still very much denied. She is only allowed to give birth to the Son of God, who is also seen as celibate. Celibate God the Father, celibate Joseph, celibate Mary, and celibate Yeshua. It's a wonder that humanity survived the wave of pistic Christian celibacy!

Within the Protestant denominations, there is little evidence of the Feminine Divine. Some Protestant denominations have feminist groups who honor Sophia and the Virgin Mary, but mainstream Protestantism does nothing to honor either of these images of Eema. A few Protestants know Eema as the watered-down, secularized "Mother Nature," but still they recognize Her only as their masculine God's creation and instrument. With only these few exceptions, Protestantism is basically devoid of Eema, Goddess the Mother.

There is one Christian denomination with the possibility of developing an egalitarian theology that includes Abba and Eema: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. Official LDS teaching states that human beings existed prior to their physical birth as spiritual beings, and that we as spiritual beings lived as the divine children of a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother. The doctrine of a Heavenly Mother was taught to a few members by LDS founder Joseph Smith. One of these members was his wife, Eliza R. Snow, who wrote the first public declaration of belief in the LDS Heavenly Mother with the poem, "Invocation - or the Eternal Father and Mother." This is now the hymn, "O My Father." Unfortunately, the LDS is primarily run by men, and those men refuse to go much further with a thealogy of the Heavenly Mother. They cite an absence of scriptural evidence for Her (even though there are numerous references in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon). Citing lack of scriptural evidence is illogical, because according to the LDS, revelation is still coming to their church. The LDS refuses to allow private revelation on the subject however, issuing an order that no LDS member should pray to or about Heavenly Mother to obtain revelation from or about Her. Like most of Christianity, the LDS leadership has rejected Eema. Fortunately, however, there are many members of the LDS who are unhappy with this. Perhaps there will be a revolution in the LDS, which will allow for an egalitarian theology at last.

So we have seen that Eema is struggling to maintain Her presence in the pistic (mainstream lopsided) Christian churches. But what about in Esoteric Christianity?

She need not struggle with us! She is found in many forms within Esoteric Christianity. We see her as Asherah, the great Canaanite Goddess worshiped early on in the Hebrew tribe. We see her as Shekinah, the Feminine Presence of Godhead and Great Mother. We see her as Mary, the incarnation of Shekinah and Mother of Yeshua, the Queen of Heaven and Earth and our Mediatrix. Sometimes we see Her in the images of Sophia and Mary Magdalene, though They are most often associated with the Daughter Goddess. We see Her in Eloah, feminine counterpart of El, present and active at creation. We see Her throughout all time in many forms, but through past, present, and future She will always be simply, Our Mother.

Thanks to Soror Amber Satterwhite for her essay, God the Mother in Mormonism, which gave me much of the information about the LDS and the Heavenly Mother.

And here's the hymn O My Father which is from the poem Invocation - or the Eternal Father and Mother
by Eliza R. Snow

O my Father, thou that dwellest
In the high and glorious place,
When shall I regain thy presence
And again behold thy face?
In thy holy habitation,
Did my spirit once reside?
In my first primeval childhood,
Was I nurtured near thy side?

For a wise and glorious purpose
Thou hast placed me here on earth
And withheld the recollection
Of my former friends and birth;
Yet ofttimes a secret something
Whispered, "You're a stranger here,"
And I felt that I had wandered
From a more exalted sphere.

I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But until the key of knowledge was restored,
I knew not why.
In the heav'ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I've a Mother there.

When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I've completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.

Song of Creation
by Linda Sillitoe

Who made the world, my child?
Father made the rain
silver and forever.
Mother's hand
drew riverbeds and hollowed seas,
drew riverbeds and hollowed seas
to bring the rain home.

Father bridled winds, my child,
to keep the world new.
Mother clashed
fire free from stones
and breathed it strong and dancing,
and breathed it strong and dancing
the color of her hair.

He armed the thunderclouds
rolled out of heaven;
Her finger flickered
weaving the delicate white snow,
weaving the delicate white snow,
a waterfall of flowers.

And if you live long, my child,
you'll see snow burst
from thunderclouds
and lightening in the snow
listen to Mother and Father laughing,
listen to Mother and Father laughing
behind the locked door.


Pneuma - The Holy SoulPentecost by Nora Kelly

[Note:  In this article, Rev. Mark Raines explores the concept of two trinities, one masculine (Holy Spirit) and one Feminine (Holy Soul).

Initiate Stephen Andrew of our Order of the Divine Mother suggests two wonderful books: The Most Holy Trinosophia and the New Revelation of the Divine Feminine by Robert A. Powell, which makes the case that just as there is a male trinity, there is also a female, the "Mother-Daughter-Holy Soul." The author uses the Star of David, as does Margaret Starbird, to illustrate the inter-connectedness -- or sacred marriage -- of these male and female triads.]

So just who is Pneuma? In most places in the Old Testament, She is the Spirit of God,  [Editor adds: "Ruach" in Hebrew, is the term for the Holy Spirit in the OT.  Ruach is a feminine word in the Hebrew language, Pneuma is a neuter Greek word, and Spiritus Sanctus is a masculine Latin term meaning Holy Spirit.  She de-volved from a female entity to neuter and then finally to masculine.] ...Or the Spirit of Wisdom, "Sophia." In the New Testament She is a little more difficult to find, but She is there as well, with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost influencing the followers of the Way as a group. She was there at creation, breathing life into the first humans. She still continues among us, working in our relationships and in our group settings.

Most denominations don't recognize Pneuma, and instead replace Her with the masculine Paraclete. This is a grave mistake, because they can only receive from the Holy Spirit those gifts and fruits which He can give - the individual gifts and fruits. By denying the Holy Soul, They cannot receive the gifts and fruits that help to build and maintain community. Perhaps this is why community and schism is so rampant in the pistic church.

Some denominations, such as Eastern Orthodox, do recognize the Holy Spirit of Wisdom found in the Wisdom of Solomon, though. (Perhaps this is why there hasn't been a schism in Eastern Orthodoxy since the great schism with the Roman Catholic Church). Without knowing it, they are recognizing Pneuma, the Holy Soul, the Spirit aspect of the Trinosophia. Perhaps that is why Eastern Orthodoxy is such a cohesive group, and why those who do leave it for whatever reason usually don't bear too much resentment toward it.

As mentioned with the Holy Spirit, Pneuma has several gifts, fruits, and charismatic gifts. Some of these She co-dispenses to humankind with the Holy Spirit, and some of them only she gives. Here is a list of those gifts and fruits:

1. Wisdom
2. Strength
3. Piety

The Gift She co-dispenses alongside the Holy Spirit
- Counsel

1. Love
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Kindness
5. Mildness
6. Control

1. Speaking with wisdom
2. Tongues
3. Interpreting tongues

Co-Dispensed Charismatic Gifts
- Healing
- Miracles
- Prophecy

The role of the Holy Soul is group-oriented. She works in our interpersonal relationship and in our groups. When you look at it, the gifts and fruits attributed to Her above generally fit well with groups. Wisdom, strength, and piety are all things that group worship can build up, but counsel can be given by the Holy Spirit to an individual or by the Holy Soul to a group. The six fruits of the Holy Soul are all very group-oriented. Speaking with wisdom, tongues, and interpreting tongues are basically group functions; but the shared charismatic gifts of healing, miracles, and prophecy can benefit an individual or a community. As we look at the gifts and fruits usually attributed to the Holy Spirit, we can see that they can easily be divided among the two biblical forces - the Holy Spirit and the Holy Soul.

Hopefully this essay has helped to explain who the Holy Soul really is. She is the feminine Force that works with the individual. When worshiping together feels really intense, when your group is inspired to do something great together, or when your family is really close knit, this is the work of the Holy Soul. And just as the Holy Spirit has His place as the genetic memory of each person, so the Holy Soul has Her place as the World Soul, the collective unconscious that influences our world on the smallest level. What is interesting is that it truly is as if the two Holy Ones are married - for just as God is King of Heaven and Ruler of the Earth, and just as the Goddess is the Mother of the Earth and the Queen of Heaven...the Holy Spirit finds His place in the World Soul on the individual level as each person in the collective, just as the Holy Soul finds Her place in genetic memory on the group level as the group of ancestors who shared the common faith influencing us today.

Yes, They can be confusing. But if you leave both of Them to inspire you in your group workings and individual prayer time, They will explain (far better than I can) exactly who They are!


Beyond the Hebrew Bible: The Female Principles of the Shekinah and the Sabbath
from longer web article

The language of Jewish mysticism is erotic language. The mystic's attempts to come closer to divine phenomena through the Sefirot ('stages') are depicted in sexual terminology (as well as in language of light/darkness, letters and numbers). It is therefore not too startling to find, among the imaginative literature of the Qabbalah (mysticism), some fresh treatments of Yhwh's feminine complements. These hark back to biblical notions which are further developed, and with a twist. We shall name two such cases by way of illustrating this point.

According to the Bible, the immanence (Hebrew kabod) of god 'dwells' (Hebrew shakan) in certain parts of the world and among his people. Post-biblical Judaism developed the concept of 'immanence' and that of god's Shekinah, his 'dwelling', alongside it. In the Qabbalah, the Shekinah is the feminine element of the Sefirot, the first of ten such 'stages'. The mystic's ultimate purpose is to recover god's oneness through the reunification of his masculine and feminine elements - the oneness that was damaged by Israel's sins and other factors.

Another divine spouse is the sabbath. In sixteenth-century Safed, a great Qabbalic centre, the sabbath was hailed as 'The Queen' (one of the Hebrew god's appellations would translate as 'The king of the Royal Kings'!). The custom of reciting the Song of Songs for the sabbath became more and more widespread. Another poem cited for it was the biblical passage praising 'the woman (actually, wife) of valour' (Proverbs 31.10-22). In time, the view of the sabbath's matrimonial status spread beyond mystical circles.

The Shekinah of Esoteric Judaism
by John Nash excerpted from Reflections on the Divine Feminine

The Shekinah, first discussed in the Talmud, is the embodiment of divine glory, God’s presence in the world. She was betrothed to the Holy One, Blessed be He. However, she was exiled, lost in the wilderness, and defiled as the result of humanity’s fall from grace. The faithful was charged with finding the Shekinah, adorning her for the wedding, and presenting her to her bridegroom The relationship between the Shekinah and her bridegroom is depicted well in the Qabalah. The Shekinah is associated with the divine emanation of Malkuth, and the Holy One with Tiphareth. In the Christian Qabalah, Tiphareth is identified with Jesus Christ. In both the Judaic and the Christian traditions, the goal of spiritual development is to raise the consciousness from Malkuth to Tiphareth, restoring the Shekinah to her rightful place with the Holy One.

Qabalists insist that all the emanations on the Tree of Life are all divine. In particular, they insist that the physical world is divine. Indeed, the very essence of the Shekinah is an expression of the immanence of God, the Glory of God in the natural world. Her role, in relationship to her bridegroom, finds an echo in many traditions in which the feminine aspect of God is identified with the earth, and the male aspect with the sky. For example, the Essenes spoke of the Heavenly Father and the Earthly Mother. Hindus identify the Brahman as the unknowable Godhead, and mother Maya with physical existence.

Some critics have complained that the portrayal of a goddess as a bride is demeaning: that a bride is somehow inferior to a bridegroom. Significantly, it was the Shekinah who was lost in the wilderness, not the Holy One. However, we may ask why the Holy One never went looking for her. He comes across as a passive, somewhat ineffective figure. For her part, the Shekinah did not abandon fallen humanity but chose to share its suffering, while the Holy One remained aloof. To that extent, the Shekinah served the same compassionate role as the Egyptian Isis, the Tibetan Buddhist Tara, or the Virgin Mary of Christianity.

There is no need to deny that the bride goddesses were, to a great extent, the products of male devotion. The Shekinah was created—or should we rather say discovered—by rabbinic scholars in a society of rigid gender roles. But we must also recognize that the rabbis accorded her the highest honors of their culture. She was adorned, she was beautiful, and she was sought-after. Moreover, the Shekinah was not forced into virginity. Later Qabalistic tradition has the Shekinah and the Holy One united in sexual fulfillment at midnight on the Sabbath. The healthy persona of the Shekinah reflects the principle—stressed in esoteric Judaism—that men and women are incomplete without the other and that both can joyfully and spiritually come together in marital union.

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