Tau Malachi writes: The
following is a traditional invocation of the Holy Shekinah from
the Sophian Gnostic tradition:
the Holy Shekinah
Kodesh Imma, Kodesh Kallah
Holy Mother, Holy Bride,
We invite you, we welcome you
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
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 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:
THE 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
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.)
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 -- zohar.com. Daniel Chanan Matt also uses this verse in his book Zohar, the Book of Enlightenment
- 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
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
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.
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.
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
and lightening in the snow
listen to Mother and Father laughing,
listen to Mother and Father laughing
behind the locked door.
- The Holy Soul
[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
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
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:
THE THREE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SOUL
The Gift She co-dispenses alongside
the Holy Spirit
THE SIX FRUITS OF THE HOLY SOUL
THE THREE CHARISMATIC GIFTS OF THE
1. Speaking with wisdom
3. Interpreting tongues
Co-Dispensed Charismatic Gifts
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
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
The Shekinah of Esoteric
by John Nash excerpted from Reflections
on the Divine Feminine
The Shekinah, first discussed in the
Talmud, is the embodiment of divine glory, Gods 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 humanitys 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 createdor should we rather say discoveredby
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 principlestressed in esoteric Judaismthat
men and women are incomplete without the other and that both can
joyfully and spiritually come together in marital union.
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