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In Goddess We Trust: America’s Spiritual Crossroads

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Celestial choir! enthron'd in realms of light,? Columbia's scenes of glorious toils I write. ~Phillis Wheatley, To His Excellency, General Washington

Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past
. ~George Orwell, 1984  

With the House of Representatives recently passing a bill to reaffirm "In God We Trust" as America's official motto, a national discussion on the proper role of faith in civic discourse is long overdue. As recently as 2002 (and again in 2006) the Congress has already voted to affirm and reaffirm the motto. This bureaucratic move to reassert the authority of the imageless, law-giving Father deity over our civic and private affairs coincides with an alarming increase in what can fairly be called outright attacks on "women's" issues in our culture. Hundreds of bills to restrict or eliminate access to reproductive choices, the crumbling of our national infrastructure, an exponentially-rising income gap between the rich and poor, unending wars for profit, and the militarization of our police departments are all symptoms of a serious illness in the national psyche; signs of our lost loyalty.

Movements like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street show that Americans are engulfed in a revolution of thought. When the ideological systems and institutions of a nation no longer serve the needs of the people, it is incumbent on the people to redefine and restructure them. Many Americans feel that there is a spiritual bankruptcy evident among all of the "white noise" and fundamentalism that currently pass for civic discourse. Understandably, as the world moves into unprecedented environmental, economic and geopolitical upheaval, people turn to spiritual matters to ease their fears and provide them with a sense of unshakable purpose. But one definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. A case can be made that our solely patriarchal ideas about the transcendent have been responsible for many of the ills currently facing our society. Perhaps what is needed is a reaffirmation of allegiance not to our nation's God, but to our nation's forgotten Goddess: Columbia, the Great Dove, the Maiden Martyr.

Thom Hartmann rightly points out that images of America's Goddess adorn the entrances to all of the major federal government buildings in Washington, D.C. She stands blindfolded, faithfully balancing the scales in front of the Department of Justice. She is the source of Inspiration and Knowledge displayed at the entrance to the Department of Education. She is the Goddess of New Life, abundance, provision and harvest who offers her cornucopia to her subjects at the Department of Agriculture. She stands guard atop the Capitol Building and from behind the Speaker of the House's podium. America's Goddess watches, protects and guides from atop her silent perch; encouraging her subjects to set aside selfish desires and serve her in faithful submission. In fact, the holy city and temple of our Goddess, the "District of Columbia," does not allow its citizens to vote based partly on the notion that all who come to the "district of the Goddess" should forfeit their individual egos and agendas and instead work for the Great Goddess and her agenda of liberty, justice and democratic self-governance. A song in her honor, "Hail, Columbia," was actually an unofficial national anthem up until 1931.

But who is she? And how is it that we as a nation have come to forget her, despite her ubiquitous presence atop the nation's most prominent institutions of power?

The name "Columbia" for "America" seems to have been coined by Samuel Johnson as a feminized version of Christopher Columbus. "Columbia" first appeared in 1738 in the weekly publication of the debates of the British Parliament in Edward Cave's "The Gentleman's Magazine." Publication of Parliamentary debates was technically illegal, so the debates were printed under a pseudonym and the names of all participants were disguised. Goddess imagery, it seems, was always "unofficial" and symbolic as opposed to the imageless God who is affirmed in law over and over again. Though already lost in the mental sickness that has crippled our world, it seems our forbearers were apparently still able to intuit the important distinction between word and image, between the abstract part and the organic whole. And the fundamental necessity of each mental association, each way of knowing and interacting with the world, to create and sustain a civilized, democratic society.

But it was an association that had already lost most of its primal, divine essence. An association now void of its initial transformative power.

In essence, the Goddess is the personification of the totality of the brain's creative and critical faculties. She represents the limitless potentiality of our individual and collective minds. As such, she has traditionally taken many forms but remains the same primary principle. In the ancient traditions of prehistory, she is the Triple Goddess: the original Holy Trinity of Maiden, Mother and Crone. As a symbol of the circle of life and the fusion of the whole, she represents life and death, light and darkness. In Hindu culture, she is Kali, the Great and Fearsome Mother of All.  In later Greek tradition she reappears as the Triple Goddess of Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. In any of the traditions in which she appears, including the American one, she is the symbol of life, change and unlimited potential. In America, she is the personification of Liberty, Justice and New Life. For those steadfast pilgrims who ended their long journey to freedom at Her feet, justice and hope were personified in Her form. A form that told the wise sojourner, as Proust observed, "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."

America's Goddess welcomes scores of immigrants into New York harbor with the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. She offers these gifts up to the world's downtrodden in her own name as they enter the New World seeking New Life; asking the world to give Her their tired, poor and huddled masses.

The seven points of her crown represent the archaic myth of the Seven Sisters, or Pleiades, and connect America's Goddess with the Greek Goddess Aphrodite and the Great Goddess of Prehistory. A certain ‘maiden martyr' called St. Columba (Holy Dove) was widely revered, especially in France, and it is this very Goddess (and another aspect of her named Libertas) that inspired Frédéric Bartholdi to create the Statue that would become the face and soul of the United States forever.

Long before Lady Columbia topped the U.S. Capitol or the Statue of Liberty dominated New York Harbor, however, images of women were already being widely used to symbolize the soul and national character of the United States. In fact, art historians have traced images of America's Goddess back to the very beginning of European discovery and invasion. At the outset of Colonization, America was symbolized as a noble, enigmatic Indian Queen. For many, however, the Indian Queen was seen as "too savage" a symbol and she was soon replaced with a tamer, more anglicized American image: the Indian Princess. In the 19th century, the "Indian" in the face of the Indian Princess dissolved into a lighter-skinned, more classical image. Her headdress of eagle feathers evolved into ostrich plumes spraying from a bonnet or helmet. The European settlers began to adopt this exotic princess finally as their own.

In the years surrounding the American Revolution, the image of this Indian Princess began to mesh with that of the Greek Goddess emerging from the European schools of classical art and architecture. "By the late 1790s," folk-art historian Nancy Jo Fox points out, "it was not clear whether a feathered Indian Princess had changed into a Greek goddess or whether a Greek goddess had placed feathers or plumes in her hair."  Alluding to the order and sovereignty of the antique democratic state, the "Plumed Greek Goddess" represented what this eager new country wanted to be. Especially in the 19th century, Columbia would be visualized as a goddess-like national personification of the United States, comparable to the British Britannia, the Italian Italia Turrita, the Swiss Helvetia and the French Marianne. This personification was sometimes called "Lady Columbia" or "Miss Columbia."

With so many variations of the Lady Liberty, it is no wonder that artists began to mix traits from the Indian Princess, the Plumed Greek Goddess and Columbia. Other figures then merged with these images, especially the Greek representations of the Goddesses of Wisdom and Liberty. The Goddess of Liberty was, according to Thomas Fleming, "so intimately identified with the American cause as to become Americanized. We have either Liberty representing the United States or the United States interpreted as Liberty." In any case, it is the image of this feminine power that our founders apparently saw as an essential part of our national consciousness. If the imageless God of America established and empowered law, the embodied image of the Goddess established and empowered this new community with the potential for an integrated, interdependent and visual identity. She would give Law, and thus the Lawgiver, its authority.

As a mythological figure Columbia first appears in the poetry of the slave Phillis Wheatley in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. Without herself enjoying freedom, Wheatley's poem illustrates how removed our nation already was from its own stated ideals. Directing the poem to General Washington, Wheatley put her trust in him as a "godlike" hero who would rescue the people from tyranny and oppression. Washington, in service of America's Goddess, would "sacrifice" himself as the archetypal warrior-king to her greater glory and this sacrifice would produce, for the people, a nation of peaceful abundance; built on character, integrity and justice. A nation made great, Wheatley hoped, by the solidarity and empathy of its citizens. A society not built on one class of citizens perpetually serving the other, but on people serving each other with equanimity and peace, in "worship" of the Great Mother. A hope, tragically, that still awaits realization. A hope cut short, it turns out, by the very systems of thought that produced it.
New research in neuropsychology, evolutionary biology and child development has shown that Western Civilization has been suffering from a several-thousand-year-long hallucination. Many of these scientists are claiming that, for a number of reasons, we have become a dangerously left-hemisphere dominant society. Modern civilization is suffering mightily from this extreme dominance of the rational, intellectual mind. This imbalance, suggests Dr. Paul Levy, "creates a one-sidedness that seemingly disconnects us from nature from empathy, and from ourselves."

When Europeans colonized the "New World," natives recognized this cultural mental illness and called it "wetiko" or cannibalism. Wetiko, or what Levy calls "malignant egophrenia" is a disease of civilization. To a large extent, the development of the wetiko disease corresponds to the rise of modern, industrialized civilization. "This is no mere coincidence," Levy assures. "The unsustainable nature of industrial civilization is based on, and increasingly requires violence to maintain itself. Genuine ‘civilization,' in essence, means not killing people." Due to its disassociation from the whole, wetiko is a "disturber of the peace" of humanity and the natural world; a sickness that spawns aggression and is, Levy claims, "the root cause of the inhumanity in human nature, or our seemingly inhuman nature."

Researchers are suggesting that our species is in the midst of a massive psychic epidemic, or what Levy calls "a virulent collective psychosis that has been brewing in the cauldron of humanity's psyche from the beginning of time." Like a fractal, he explains, wetiko operates on multiple dimensions simultaneously – intra-personally, inter-personally, as well as collectively. Like cannibals, those people or societies afflicted with wetiko will consume the life force of others for private purpose or profit, and do so without giving back something from their own lives. Over time, the patterns become so pervasive, so reinforced at all levels of the culture, that they become the norm. The lunatics forget they are hallucinating. The wheels come off the bus. "One of the most important characteristics of both memory, neural tissue and of development," claims child therapist and psychological trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry, "is that they all change with patterned, repetitive activity. So, the systems in your brain that get repeatedly activated will change and strengthen and develop and the systems in your brain that don't get activated won't." This "use-dependent" development is one of the most important properties of neural tissue." Although each of us is born with a unique set of genetic instructions, according to Dr. Perry, "we enter the world as a work-in-progress and await the deft hand of ambient culture to sculpt the finishing touches."

Neuropsychologist Iain McGilchrist argues that in our modern world, we have created a society that looks very much like the left hemisphere's world. "We've prioritized the virtual over the real, the abstract over the natural; the technical becomes more important than the organic. Bureaucracy flourishes." America is in many ways the full expression of the Enlightenment ideals of pernicious self-interest and detached, scientific rationalism. "The most basic consideration," states psychologist Rollo May, "is that the two principles of rationalism and individualism, the myths on which the modern age is founded, are chiefly male, left-brain activities." Our nation has become bewildered by the very ideals with which it sought to free itself. We find ourselves ensnared by our materialism in a cycle of diminishing returns. The mountains of Industry, Individualism, and Imperialism-long promised to offer us a path to the visionary peaks of human potential and individual achievement-have instead become burial mounds for the very people they were intended to lift up.

McGilchrist explains that people, and cultures, who lose their right hemispheres have a pathological narrowing of the window of attention. Our collective left-hemisphere has shaved off, smashed and ignored anything that is not consistent with its own relentless self-promotion. "Like a cancer of the mind that metastasizes," Levy argues, "a pathological part of the psyche co-opts and subsumes all of the healthy parts into itself so as to serve its pathology. The personality then ‘masks' the inner dysfunction, making it hard to recognize. In a psychic coup d'etat, the wetiko bug can usurp and displace the person, who becomes its puppet and marionette."
A vitally-important and unspoken message of this failed American experiment is that even the so-called 1% do not seem to be comprised of balanced, fulfilled people most of the time. It seems that it's not just the "losers" of this current system of unbridled, savage capitalism and its attendant institutions of repression and control that suffer all of the psychological, physical and spiritual fallout these systems produce. The elite themselves seem increasingly insecure, addicted, paranoid and discontent. Indeed it is just as George Orwell warned us so many years ago when writing about British Imperialism in the Far East, "When the White Man turns tyrant, it is his own freedom he destroys." The ennui hits them with an unrelenting force because it exposes the lie they have believed for generations: namely, that all they possess will make them whole. The Hindus have rightly diagnosed this psychosis by claiming a person can "never get enough of what they don't really need." A hundred years ago Jung already recognized that "the alarming poverty of living mythological symbols" is now the condition of our age.

The picture has become fragmented, Dr. McGilchrist warns. "There is a loss of vitality and uniqueness. The need for control leads to such a paranoia and distrust of one another in society, that we need to govern and control everything." This particular model of society is entirely self-consistent largely because it has made itself so. "The more we get trapped in this the more we undercut and ironize things that might have led us out of it," explains McGilchrist. "A hall of mirrors effect is created, and we just get reflected back into more about what we know about what we know about what we know." Einstein somehow understood this when he said, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant." We have created a society that honors the servant, stresses McGilchrist, but has forgotten the gift. Referring to the lack of ‘civility' in modern society, Gandhi was asked once what he thought of Western civilization and responded by saying, "I think it would be a good idea."

These researchers are suggesting that for society to survive and reinvent itself in new and meaningful ways, it must somehow quickly and completely shift its perspective and rethink the social institutions and beliefs that have brought us to the brink of collapse. We must immediately shift into a right hemisphere perspective and define our culture along the lines of empathy and compassion instead of narcissism and competition or we will not survive. A return to the embodied Image of the Goddess might be the only thing capable of initiating such a monumental paradigm shift. As the embodiment of the right hemisphere's spiritual faculty, she does not need to be officially recognized in laws and decrees. Her laws are not written in books or official mottos but visible in the changing of the seasons, the pathways of the constellations and, it turns out, in the very DNA of who we are as a nation, and as a species.  

For thousands of years, people throughout the Fertile Crescent venerated a deity who personified the Great Goddess. These ancient cultures were all polytheistic, acknowledging the existence of many deities, but they also recognized the feminine principle as primary for life, spirituality and consciousness. When we speak of this area as the "cradle" of civilization, we subconsciously acknowledge the superior role the feminine principle played in the "birth" of modern humankind. Cultural mythologist Joseph Campbell writes of the Goddess:

The goddess is red with the fire of life; the earth, the solar system, the galaxies of far-extending space, all swell within her womb. For she is the world Creatrix, ever mother, ever virgin. She encompasses the encompassing, nourishes the nourishing, and is the life of everything that lives.

The material of our earliest cultural myths is the material of our lives, our bodies and our deepest, most profound experiences. And the first experience for anybody is the mother: what Jung called the "participation mystique." To be in tune with the universe as the child is in tune with the mother's body is the principal function of mythology according to Campbell. Woman is the center and continuer of nature, of life. Man creates and defends sacred space for her to bring forth and nurture life. The first object of a subject is, therefore, the mother. The child knows no other. The whole conception of eros, of libido, is for a return to the mother. And the child is immediately ready for that: Mother as environment, child as creature. The child knows exactly what to do and this is all pre-linguistic. "What does our great historical hunger signify, mused Nietzsche, "our clutching about us of countless other cultures, our consuming desire for knowledge, if not the loss of myth, of a mythic home, the mythic womb."

Psychologist Rollo May believes Nietzsche is right. "Our powerful hunger for myth is a hunger for community. The person without a myth is a person without a home, and one would indeed clutch for other cultures to find some place at some time a ‘mythic womb.'" Myths are original revelations of the preconscious psyche. Dr. May suggests myths are "involuntary statements about unconscious psychic happenings." According to Jung, "They are the psychic life of the primitive tribe, which immediately falls to pieces and decays when it loses its mythological heritage, like a man who has lost his soul." Myths are archetypal patterns in human consciousness. May argues that myth and self-consciousness are to some degree synonymous. "Where there is consciousness, there will be myth." As such, it is the Goddess, not the God, who is the symbol of creation and life in most of the tribal societies of prehistory. She is the author of consciousness, and thus, as Buckminster Fuller calls her, the "architect" of culture. She is the first principle that informs both our animal and divine natures.

So then, we must change the medium, if we wish to change the message. And thus, the IMAGE of the Great Goddess must come back to the forefront if we are to reform our social, civic and educational institutions in meaningful and productive ways. "Woman, in the picture language of mythology, represents the totality of what can be known," claims Joseph Campbell. "She lures, she guides, she bids us burst our fetters. By deficient eyes she is reduced to inferior states; by the evil eye of ignorance she is spellbound to banality and ugliness. But she is redeemed by the eyes of understanding." As the image of infinite potential, She is the ‘gatekeeper," the One who keeps man's drive for power in check. Our culture has become unhinged, hopelessly separated from the ability to self-reflect and heal itself. But as the losers of the "Me" generations begin to pick themselves up and dust off the centuries of corrosive ideological abuse, they are realizing that they are legion. The scales are beginning to fall from their eyes. Suddenly, the Emperor is seen to be wearing no clothes. And let us just say the reports of his potency have been greatly exaggerated. One by one, the traditional symbols of masculine power are being exposed for the corrupt, lifeless and abusive institutions they really are. No matter how many times we pass "official mottos" saying otherwise, the image of the divine, primal Mother is calling, in silent anger, from the deep recesses of our collective cultural mind. America must reinvent itself in order to survive. And to do so, we need to humble ourselves and go back to the very beginning.

Humanity is at one of its most incendiary crossroads. We know that our definitions and cultural institutions must change to serve the needs and anxieties of the emerging world but how that change must occur and what new foundational principles it should be based on are still unclear. It seems the goals of Industrialism, Colonialism and Philosophical Dualism have left us battered and assaulted as a species. Gone is our connection to the earth and the changing seasons. Gone is our sense of camaraderie with the other species of the biota. No longer do we keenly, intuitively, feel loyalty and brotherhood towards one another.

Our religions have stopped serving us in vibrant, relevant ways. They are dead, rigid, legal codes meant to keep us in states of perpetual guilt and confusion. They do not increase our understanding of ourselves or the world we currently inhabit. They live on through the uncritical passing of dangerous, misogynistic, Bronze Age memes and catechisms of left brained Ego-worship. Catacombs of our collective human shame, they have become unhinged from their mythological womb; from the vast, cosmic ocean that is the source of all knowledge and forms. 

We must no longer worship at the altar of unbridled greed and materialism. Right-hemisphere goddess identification will lead us to eschew celebrity, inherited wealth and the trappings of empty political slogans. Goddess consciousness will allow us to overcome our hatred of nature and distrust of one another, mercilessly bred into us over centuries of psychological manipulation. We can no longer abide a media that calls mothers like Cindy Sheehan "whores." We can no longer allow Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton to be the icons of feminine power and beauty. A society that mistakes narcissism for self-confidence, and values people for what they have rather than for what they give is not one worth fighting for or, quite frankly, fighting over. A return to authentic Goddess consciousness will immediately begin to fire what Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor calls "the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres" and will have profound implications for how the culture redefines itself.

Economist, author and political activist Jeremy Rifkin speaks of the emergence of an Empathic Civilization before our very eyes, if we have the right eyes to see.  "Empathy is the opposite of Utopia," Rifkin explains. "It is the realization that to be alive in this world is a fragile and scary and beautiful thing. Empathy is grounded in the acknowledgement of death and the celebration of life and rooting for each other to flourish and Be." We have the technology to extend the central nervous system and to, as Rifkin asserts, "think viscerally as a family, not just intellectually." Rifkin argues that if our parenting, education, business practices and forms of government have suppressed this "soft wiring" for empathy and replaced it with the secondary drives of anger, aggression, violence, selfishness, materialism and narcissism, then we must work to rethink and reform these institutions so that they work to create an empathic civilization. One based, Rifkin hopes, "on the solidarity that arises from our shared understanding of the fragility of life and the right all living things have to thrive and grow in the biosphere." What if the left-hemisphere-dominant memes of our collective spiritual iconography are directly related to the imbalance of power, money and influence in our society? To worship the Goddess, then, would be to understand that you are valuable to your community not because of what you have, but because of what you do with what you have to make the world a better place.

To worship the Goddess politically is to acknowledge and protect the "Commons" and to expand them to include education, health care, safe food, clean water and sustainable economic opportunity for all. When we stop taking more than we need, we will have more for those in need. The Goddess has suffered thousands of years of neglect, abuse and ridicule. We have burned her skin, drained her blood, cut her Old Growth forests, and polluted her rivers, streams and oceans. The glorious menagerie of her infinite forms has been forever diminished by our selfishness, greed and pathological forgetfulness. But she remains still. Ready and able to regenerate herself and all life that she sustains. This is the real power of the Goddess. As destructive as BP was as it raped and pillaged its way across the Gulf of Mexico, the Goddess is even stronger in her ability to heal, to forgive, to restore life. As catastrophic as the nuclear emergency at Fukishima was, and remains, the Goddess blinks at the half-life of toxic waste. We may not all make it through the transition, but those of us who do will be welcomed into a new heaven and a new earth. One that is guided by temperance and balance, not violence and greed.

What is not needed is another "ism." The way forward cannot be found in the resurgence of "alternative religions" or a repackaging of the New Age Movement. This is not about 5th Wave or 6th Wave feminism. Although, as those who have inherited the hard-fought wisdom and thankless sacrifice of untold generations of women in these movements we wear our heritage with them not as the filthy rags the establishment perceives them to be, but as robes of honor. Their blood the color of sunset, their eyes the blue of Mother Ocean. The brown and green the visual pulse of the embodied world. "Feminism is humanism," prophesized Judy Chicago. Now, it seems, in the reemergence of our Goddess tradition, we see that Feminism is indeed life. And life is a spiritual enterprise. And spirituality, in the embodied Image of our divine Mother, is the highest form of political correctness and social activism. We are awake, finally, and we speak in one voice with the author Terry Tempest Williams, "The time had come to protest with the heart, that to deny one's genealogy with the earth was to commit treason against one's soul."

Let us go forward with clarity of vision and unity of purpose. Women must be the face, the voice and the soul of this movement. Senator Barbara Boxer has declared 2012 "The Year of the Woman." Let us hope she is right. But this is not about electing female candidates who will simply reinforce the status quo and the corrupt corporate paradigm. The culture is brimming with talented, motivated, compassionate, educated and powerful women who are ready and able to transform our society if only given the chance. Randy Rhodes has encouraged people to "occupy" the public airwaves and to make their voices heard. She has also been one of the leading voices calling for the country to focus its attention on the corruption of power and money in Washington, D.C. by calling for a removal of money from politics. It is no accident that both of the currencies of power, law and money, have asserted the "In God We Trust" motto in justification of their own abusive systems of control. Together, they are capable of destroying the entire planet in pursuit of their own selfish goals. This is why D.C. must be "ruled" by the Goddess. She is the only thing powerful enough to control our destructive impulses.

Goddess "worship," it must be stressed, is an ancient technology meant to trigger the empathic drives of our collective right hemispheres. This is not about joining a religion or passing new laws. This does not cost any money or even require anybody to change worldviews or political affiliations. This is about recognizing that life is precious and sacred and that by increasing the dignity and freedom of all living things, we increase our own. The Goddess is the symbol of our highest responsibility to one another. Through understanding eyes, she is that purest image of our own potential to evolve from Homo sapien (the knowing creature) to Homo empathicus (the empathic creature). She allows us to see ourselves in the Other and, thus, to embrace it.

Occupy Movement: It is time to occupy your minds and meet your great, archaic spiritual Symbol. If you do the work to trigger your collective right-hemisphere, you will be able to reshape the culture into Her benevolent image. Tea Party: It is time to honor your patriotic roots by embracing our nation's most sacred symbol of justice and freedom. If you truly care about justice. If you truly care about freedom. Educators: It is time to move away from detached specialization and dead orthodoxy and embrace the power of knowledge to not just reassert the past but to shape the future. Resist the pressure to shill for the status quo and instead empower your students to change the world. Atheists and scientific materialists: it is time to recognize that the spiritual and the physical are one and the same. Your attempt to wrestle the natural world away from religion, well meaning as it may have been, has been short sighted and has failed. It is not religion that destroyed the Gulf of Mexico. It is not religion that has released dangerous amounts of Mercury into our food and water. And it is not religion that has turned the world into its personal toilet, devouring its resources in pursuit of its own unsustainable greed.

And monotheists (especially Jews, Christians and Muslims): it is time to recognize that yours are not the only voices in the room. Your masculine deity shares in the creative power of the Universe and is indeed an important part of defining who we most deeply are. Your scriptures are language-bound, legal codes that present you with the image of a masculine god who is both your father and husband. Clearly this is a metaphor for the creative and critical faculties of the left hemisphere, filtered through the lens of ego and asserting itself in the world. It is time for you to also embrace the other side of your spiritual mind and engage the Goddess as both your metaphorical mother and wife, and to see her not in the legal codes and scriptures of the left brain but in the world in which she resides. You must remember that even your God was born of the Great Mother, because it is in this formulation that your right hemisphere peace centers will be triggered and your perception of the world inevitably changed for the better.

Religion can and must be (and used to be) truly holistic, providing us with the mythological symbols to intuit and understand the deepest and most connected parts of our humanity. The creation myths are symbolic narratives depicting for us the trauma of birth and the hope of one day returning to that state of preconscious perfection. When the Mother's heartbeat was our own. When we were nourished directly from her body, and when the darkness we knew was not filled with fear and isolation, but with unbroken intimacy and visceral, relational truth. After centuries of declaring and fighting for our independence, according to filmmaker Tiffany Shlain in her documentary "Connected," it may be time for us to declare our interdependence instead. Let us redeem the stain on humanity left by the masculinized version of Columbia's name. If we do, it is possible to overturn the institutionalized systems of ignorance, oppression and greed that Columbus brought this Virgin land and reclaim our original inheritance as brothers and sisters with all that is, and all that is possible for us to become.

Alice Walker

We have a beautiful mother ?
Her hills ?are buffaloes; Her buffaloes hills.
We have a beautiful mother ?
Her oceans are wombs; Her wombs ?oceans.
We have a beautiful ?mother ?
Her teeth the white stones at the edge of the water;
The summer grasses her plentiful ?hair.
We have a beautiful ?mother ?
Her green lap ?immense ?
Her brown embrace eternal ?
Her blue body everything we know.


Image by Shane Henderson, courtesy of Creative Commons license.

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