Updated: Jun 23
“Eve was our whistle-blower, knowing she was in the wrong garden. She ate the apple because her hunger for justice, ecstasy, connection, pleasure, equality and love was massively alive in her. Eve is alive in us now. We are on the brink of remembering” V - formerly Eve Ensler (1)
The Divine Feminine is an ancient and complex idea that has existed in various forms throughout different cultures and spiritual traditions. It represents the feminine principle that exists in the universe and is often associated with qualities such as nurturing, creativity, intuition, and emotional intelligence. She is the primordial feminine figure who comes in many guises; mother goddess, virgin, maiden and crone.
I’m acutely aware of the current cultural issues around a term such as feminine and it’s implied opposite masculine. These terms aren’t the same as female and male. It’s more like a dance between two complimentary energies. As represented by the Chinese symbols yin the feminine principle and yang the masculine; two fishes in a circle each containing part of the other.
For 2.5 billion years all life was formed in a womb-like salty ocean; nourished and protected by this fluid and lulled to and fro by the power of the moon in that very female sea. So no wonder then that the symbols of water and the moon have, since the earliest of times, been potent aspects of feminine power. Charles Darwin believed the menstrual cycle originated in this female ocean “organically echoing the moon-pulse of the sea” (2)
Tiamat was a Mesopotamian goddess who represented the primordial ocean of water and chaos that existed before the Earth. She was defeated by the god Marduk and he used the goddess' body to create the universe; Tiamat's chest became the space between heaven and earth. Her eyes became the source of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and her tail became the Milky Way. Tiamat was the symbol of the chaos of creation, depicted as female but also as a sea serpent or dragoness
So the divine feminine is an energy source that exists within all of us, men as well as women. Throughout history many goddesses have been worshipped as embodiments of this divine feminine; Isis in ancient Egypt, Shakti in Hinduism, Aphrodite in Greek mythology and my personal favourite Ishtar of the Mesopotamians. Mary, mother of Jesus, is the Christian concept of the Divine Feminine or Great Cosmic Mother.
The Divine Feminine is associated with fertility, creativity and intuition. Tapping into this energy can help heal the mind, body and soul of women and men in trauma informed therapeutic practice. The idea of Divine Feminine is the spiritual, mythological and psychological concept of what it means to be a human being. Some of the qualities that describe this sacred energy are; emotional strength, right-brained, vulnerable, nurturing, cooperative, extroverted and open, gentleness and sensitivity, intuitive decision making and a focus on the emotional world and inner being.
This Divine Feminine energy can also get out of harmony or balance resulting in these characteristics morphing into negative unhealthy traits and behaviours. When women and men don’t properly channel their feminine aspect, we can become co-dependent, overly emotional, irrational, self-sabotaging, disorganised, confused and feel a bit lost. These traits are at the centre of dysfunctional relationships and result in mental health issues like anxiety, depression and general sense of worthlessness and hopelessness.
The Goddess Kali, the terrible one of many names, is described as being difficult to approach, an image of chaos. As with the Slavic myth of the Baba Yaga, an ogress who steals, cooks, and eats her victims, usually children. However, she is also the guardian of the fountains of the water of life, she lives with two or three sisters in a forest hut that spins continually on birds' legs. These ambiguous images of the feminine are agents of chaos or change.
Women have always been catalysts for change, renewal and rebirth. This is not only the image of the Hindu Goddess Kali and Baba Yaga but also the fierce Boudicca, tribal leader of the celtic Iceni tribe from ancient Britain. When life is dark and oppressive, there’s always hope because life is dynamic and change is the only constant. The great Czech dissent playwright turned President Vaclav Havel wrote “Hope is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because It stands a chance to succeed” (3) Hope, the last of Pandora’s gifts, is the anti-dote to the self-defeating negativity of cynicism.
Healing through the Divine Feminine.
The idea of the Divine Feminine can be a powerful healing force for women survivors of violence and abuse. The Divine Feminine represents the nurturing, compassionate, and creative aspects of the feminine energy, and it can give a sense of wholeness and empowerment for women who have experienced trauma.
Here are some ways in which the concept of the Divine Feminine can help women survivors of abuse:
Reclaiming power: Gender based violence against women can leave survivors feeling powerless and helpless. The concept of the Divine Feminine can help women reclaim their power by tapping into their inner strength and wisdom. By connecting with the Divine Feminine energy, women can find a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.
Healing trauma: The Divine Feminine can provide a space for healing and transformation. By embracing the feminine energy within themselves, women survivors can begin to heal from the trauma they have experienced. Practices such as meditation, yoga, and journaling can help women connect with the Divine Feminine and work through their emotions in a safe and nurturing way.
Building community: It can help women survivors build community and connect with others who have experienced similar traumas. By coming together in support groups or through other means, women can find a sense of belonging and solidarity.
Honouring the body: Sexual abuse can leave survivors feeling disconnected from their bodies. The Divine Feminine can help women reconnect with their bodies and learn to honour and care for themselves. Practices such as dance, massage, and bodywork can help women tap into their sensual and nurturing energy.
Overall, the concept of the Divine Feminine is a complex and multifaceted idea that can be understood in many different ways, depending on your cultural background, spiritual beliefs, and personal experiences. However, at its’s heart it represents a deep reverence for the feminine energy that exists within us all, and a desire to honour and celebrate this powerful force in the world.
Find out more here:
(1) The biblical Eve shows us what we need to do in this time of female bravery and vicious misogyny -V (formerly Eve Ensler) Guardian article 31.01.23:
(2) The Great Cosmic Mother – Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth by Monica Sjoo & Barbara Mor (1987)
Dancing In the Flames – the Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness by M. Woodman & E. Dickson
Divine Feminine: Theosophy and Feminism in England – Joy Dixon
Goddesses in Everywoman: A New Psychology of Women - Jean Shinoda Bolen
Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen – Meditations – Gabriele Uhlein
The Great Mother– Erich Neumann
Trauma and Recovery: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror – Judith Lewis Herman
When God Was A Woman - Merlin Stone
Women Who Run with Wolves - Clarissa Estes
Written by Kara Evans Development Worker