God and Christ are beyond gender, and all humans are a blend of masculine and feminine traits. But because Western Christianity and culture have primarily worshipped male images, I believe it’s important to reclaim and honor female wisdom. (Sunday)
Mary intuitively symbolizes the first incarnation—or Mother Earth. I am not saying Mary is the first incarnation, only that she became the natural archetype for it. Humans produce in art and story the inner images the soul needs. (Monday)
Today we are witnessing an immense longing for relational, mutually empowering feminine qualities at every level of our society . . . which have become far too warlike, competitive, individualistic, mechanistic, and non-contemplative. (Tuesday)
In blessed Mother’s view, all are lovable; all souls are accepted, all carry a sweetness of heart, are beautiful to the eyes; worthy of consciousness, of being inspired, being helped, being comforted and protected—even if other mere humans believe foolishly or blindly to the contrary. —Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Wednesday)
My God is an incarnate feminine power, who smells like vanilla and is full of sass and truth, delivered with kindness. She’ll do anything for her creation; her love is fierce. She weeps when we do and insists on justice. She is God. She is Love. —Jacqui Lewis (Thursday)
The feminine . . . is shifting the global paradigm from one of dominance and individualized salvation to one of collective awakening and service to all beings. —Mirabai Starr (Friday)
Practice: The Ordinary
Mirabai Starr was born in New York to secular Jewish parents and spent her teenage years at an inter-faith community in New Mexico. During the counter-cultural 1970s, an accidental dose of LSD triggered terrifying altered states of consciousness, and Mirabai’s spiritual teacher brainwashed and sexually abused her. She writes about the importance of staying grounded in reality and finding healing for our bodies:
For women mystics, contemplative life is not so much a matter of transcending the illusions of mundane existence or attaining states of perfect equanimity as it is about becoming as fully present as possible to the realities of the human experience. In showing up for what is, no matter how pedestrian or tedious, how aggravating or shameful, the what is begins to reveal itself as imbued with holiness. How do we make space in our lives for this kind of sacred seeing?
It doesn’t hurt to engage in some kind of disciplined practice, such as meditation or prayer. Silent sitting becomes a magic carpet that rescues us from identifying with every neurotic thought that pops into our minds and every emotional distraction that threatens to abduct us. When we purposely build periods of reverence or stillness into our days, we practice gazing through the eyes of love, and we get better and better at seeing love everywhere we look. Your practice may take the shape of twenty minutes a day on a cushion or aimless solitary walks on the beach. It can look like kneeling in a church or a mosque or simply like following the flow of one breath to the next with your full attention.
It took me a couple of decades of meditation practice to make my way home to the feminine contemplative path. I began my quest at fourteen. My initial training was framed by a masculine approach: it was all about crushing the ego and distrusting the body. My goal was to detach from the material plane and travel in the astral realms. . . . I was the perfect candidate for spiritual trickery. . . .
Healing from my exploitation involved not only escaping the charlatan master but salvaging the sanctity of my body and inching my way toward a more female-positive approach to things. This reclamation project spilled into my spiritual life and permeated the interior landscape. I began to leave the altered states behind, trade the razzle-dazzle of paranormal phenomena for the blessing of the ordinary. I flirted with the possibility of fully inhabiting the present moment, willing to investigate things as they are and myself as I am. I started looking with curiosity and kindness. As I developed this method of mindfulness, the impulse to be present expanded beyond the cushion and into the open field of my life.
Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics (Sounds True: 2019), 11, 13-14.
For Further Study:
Jacqueline Orsini Dunnington, with photographs by Charles Mann, Celebrating Guadalupe (Rio Nuevo Publishers: 2004)
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul (Sounds True: 2011)
Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019)
Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics (Sounds True: 2019)
the Mendicant, vol. 9, no. 2 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2019)