Thursday, January 12, 2012

Andrew Harvey and the Goddess

"Hands" by Lorraine Capparell

"At the end of his life, the great Indian mystic Aurobindo said, “If there is to be a future, it will wear the crown of feminine design.” Unless we awaken to the mystery of the sacred feminine, and allow it to glow into, irradiate, illumine and penetrate every area of our activity,  we will die out and take nature, or a large part of it, with us. Unless we come to know what the sacred feminine really is — its subtlety and flexibility, but also its extraordinarily ruthless, radical power of dissolving all structures and dogmas, all prisons in which we have sought so passionately to imprison ourselves — we will be taken in by patriarchal projections of it. The Divine Mother, the fullness of the revolution that she is preparing, will be lost to us. We must understand that comprehending the sacred feminine is a crucial part of surviving the next terrible stage of humanity."

I'm preparing to work on a new series of Masks of the Goddess, and will do some fundraising for the time and materials I'll need to finish the project this year, and I also just proposed a paper for the conference held by the Association for the Study of  Women and Mythology.  I've been thinking about this for a while, and have had so many requests for the masks, that I feel it's time to make another collection, and hold them in trust for any who may wish to use them to explore and tell these important, worldwide stories.  Whew........big project, but it's time.   And because I conceive of the masks as not just for theatre, but as tools for invocation, for changing consciousness, I need to do some serious preparation internally before I can begin the process.  There's a kind of collaboration going on here, a clearing out and inviting in. 

As a student of mythology, I'm not sure it's possible to separate theology from mythology, or sometimes to separate mythology from "magic", which Starhawk defined as "the art of changing consciousness at will".  We conceive of what is sacred, or not, through symbol systems, the play of the  archetypal powers in the country of myth.  The sacred speaks to us continually, but is translated through story and image.   We personify ideas, personalize the Divine in order to experience the Divine......our artwork, our meditations, our prayers, activate the gods.  And as we experience them, they experience us.  I know this sounds strange, but I don't know how to express it.  As Jung wrote, the archetypes have their own collective lives within the collective consciousness of humanity.  There is reciprocity.

So, as we in-voke  the Goddess, She joins with us to shape and change us.    I agree with  Andrew Harvey , whose mysticism I greatly admire, that now is the time when the Dark Goddess is needed, the one who reveals the shadow that illuminates the light.  So much of my own empowerment in the past few years have been "shadow work", the often painful process of uncovering what is below the surface.  One thing important to remember about the Black Madonna, for me, is that She is pregnant.  She is no gentle mother, but she does carry within the new birth, the child of the future, the embryo.  Like Kali, She is the one who clears away and reveals, in no easy way, that which must leave in order for this birth, this new generation, to come into the world.   So I think that will be the first mask I make.

Theologian Andrew Harvey has written passionately about in the sacred feminine. the Dark Goddess,  in this crucial evolutionary time, which is now 2012. 
Black Madonna (2005)
"There's another kind of crucifixion going on (today): crucifixion of purpose and hope. Everybody is totally bewildered. They know that the world is potentially on the brink of  apocalypse. There's a tremendous danger that as people wake up to the horror of what is going on, they will run into political extremism or into fundamentalism of one kind or another.

So it's extremely important that the wisdom of the 'dark night of the soul' gets across, because if people understand the necessity for this crucifixion, and understand that it's preparing a resurrection and empowerment, then they will be prepared to go through it without too much fear, trusting in the logic of the divine transformation.

The Benedictine monk Bede Griffiths shared with me his experience of the dark night of the soul. He said he was sitting outside his hut one day when he felt as if a hand hit him on the right side of his being. He had suffered a massive heart attack that destroyed what he described as his
patriarchal mind and gave him access to a much deeper elaboration of Oneness with all things.

He said, "It's a very strange thing, but when I thought of surrendering to the Mother I of course thought of Mary--I often say the 'Hail Mary'--but it was Mary as the Black Madonna that came into my mind. She is the mother of the earth as well as heaven, of the body as well as the soul, the mother of the subconscious, the hidden, of all those powers that the 'masculine' mind represses; the Mother of the sacred darkness. In Her the Western Christian vision of the Divine Mother and the Eastern one merge and meet; you can think of her as both Mary and Kali, both preserver and destroyer. From that time on, I have turned to Her again and again.
Invoking Her strength and grace, I find, makes the 'birth' go so much faster and more cleanly."
  from BLACK MADONNA RETURNS, by Andrew Harvey

1 comment:

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Andrew Harvey writes beautifully about the dark goddess. I read him some years ago, but can see I need to do so again.I can't wait to see what you create with these new masks!