The Devine Feminine
Jung argued that Western God-images tended to cast a shadow in three areas: femininity, matter, and evil. In relation to femininity, how does this “shadow of God” shows up in the world today.
Western culture is built upon predominantly Judeo Christian views which include a male masculine God figure, using pronouns to describe God as he, his, him, and himself. Because of this one-sidedness, Western culture may look at the feminine aspect of their God as ungodly or lesser than God removing it altogether and applying it external figures. In result, they depict those removed aspects of God in stories as characters which are passive women figure, or even the devil itself (Jung & Storr, 1983/2013, p.295).
A clear illustration of the feminine God-image shadow taking shape in Western culture is through the psychedelic counter culture worship of female deities. These female deities are often associated with specific plant medicines. Many plants that are used to cause altered states of consciousness are often described as being feminine due to the visuals and emotional feelings encountered while under their influence. It is not uncommon for Westerners who have partaken in Ayahuasca ceremonies to encounter spirits described as being La Madre or The Grandmother, both feminine. While in other cultures who may be more accepting of the feminine aspect of God, they might describe the spirit of Ayahuasca being male (Gearin, 2018). In psychedelic spiritual (religious) artwork renderings produced by Westerners, women are commonly depicted as central icons while in other cultures, men may be more likely to be represented.
It would seem to be that due to Westerners onesided masculine view of God, that when an encounter with the divine may take place, Westerners are more inclined to experience a feminine presence. It is as though the feminine repressed aspect of God is trying to level the playing field.
Gearin, A. K. (2018, October 09). 5 Common Misunderstandings about Ayahuasca Demystified | Alex K. Gearin, PhD. Retrieved May 27, 2019, from https://kahpi.net/common-misunderstandings-ayahuasca/
Jung, C. G., & Storr, A. (1983/2013). The Essential Jung. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- Jung, C. G. (1983). The Essential Jung, A. Storr (Ed.), pp. 229-329 (100 pages)
- Whitmont, E. C. (1969). The Symbolic Quest, pp. 250-290 (41 pages)
Peering Into Heaven
Ecotherapist Howard Clinebell asked his clients to tell their Earth Story: a tale of a time when an encounter with some aspect of the natural world—scenery, weather, plants, animals, etc.—became deeply transformational, perhaps even enough to change one’s attitude toward nature. Describe one of your encounters and what you learned about yourself from it.
Journeying out into the middle of the night and driving away from all the towns, lights, and any resemblance of human influence, I found myself standing on a dirt mound with my dad. His love for the night sky brought us both before a star-filled nights sky that was so reflective I felt as though I could see myself falling into its void. My father brought out a device he had engineered from a few pieces of plywood cut to a rectangular shape which, when assembled, was as chaotic, ridged, and heavy as my dad’s soul. He aimed his creation into the distance where a star sat unblinking into the night sky and within a few moments, he motioned to me to peer through this telescope into an ocean of darkness. In my eye filled the reflected light from the sun hitting the surface of Saturn, and it was magnificent.
Seeing a celestial body such as Saturn through a telescope opened my eyes to nature and the beautiful and powerful ways that things take shape. It gave me a sense of “the other” in the vast deepness of space and the respect for the power that governs the universe. It seemed so alien, so different from what I am used to seeing on earth and in space, and something primal was felt inside of me of that cant be articulated through words alone. Through my experience of Saturn, I found that like space, I also had a universe that sat inside of my own mind. That like Saturn, there existed alien like objects that existed in my psyche, and I could look at those objects and see their reflection by listening to my dreams.