Marc Graham

Transforming Lives Through Story

The Forgotten Goddess: Recovering the Sacred Feminine

Photo courtesy of Scott F. Wolter

Thank you, Harvey Weinstein.

Before I get inundated with nasty-grams, let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Let’s face it: The Feminine in our society is under attack. This is not news. She’s been under assault for at least 8,000 years, and successfully sequestered for 2,500 years or more.

Some strides have been made in our corporate boardrooms and the halls of academia and government, but for every handful of steps forward, there seems to be a fistful of steps back.

Where women do succeed in traditionally male professions, the yardstick of their success seems to be in how well they align with the masculine roles of business and governance, rather than how they bring to bear the strength and power of the feminine to their particular trade.

In those professions where women can express their femininity, that expression is too often warped into some caricature of womanhood that distorts the true beauty of the feminine spirit.

The recent furor over film producer Harvey Weinstein’s (alleged) treatment of his female employees (including some very high-profile actors) has sparked a general awareness of how women are regarded in an industry laden with self-proclaimed feminists. More personally striking, the nascent #MeToo campaign has emboldened women–many very precious to me–to speak out on their similar experiences.

So thank you, Harvey Weinstein, you (alleged) piece of filth, for going one step too far, for crossing bounds that even the old-boy network could no longer accept. Thank you, brave women, for standing up, speaking out, joining arms, and declaring, “No more.”

But what has all this to do with some goddess or other?

I don’t believe in accidents. I think we’re on the cusp of change in our society that will see the rejection of unbalanced masculine dominance that has been promoted by monotheism and secularized in our patriarchal institutions.

At a recent gathering of one of those patriarchal institutions, I sat among several dozen of my brother Freemasons. As with my natural brothers, there are many areas upon which we disagree, but the bond that is the core of our relationship is strong enough to overcome these. I was pleasantly surprised, then–delighted, in fact–as speaker after speaker expounded on the hidden imagery of the Craft, and on the reverence for the Goddess, the embodiment of the Sacred Feminine, within our ancient symbols and traditions.

When one of the speakers revealed the above photo, taken at the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec in Montreal, I may or may not have uttered a few expletives in my excitement.

For centuries, in both Jewish and Chistian sacred architecture, the tetragrammaton (four-lettered name of the Judeo-Christian god) has been presented within a triangle emerging from a cloud, surrounded by radiant light. The triangle is an ancient emblem of divinity, and together the symbol suggests the emergence of the god into manifest reality. In this particular case, the symbol adorns the sounding board above the pulpit, inviting the divine to illumine and empower the words of the speaker.

The tetragrammaton itself, as the title suggests, is comprised of four Hebrew letters, Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh (יּﬣוּﬣ, right-to-left). This has typically been rendered into English as Yahweh or Jehovah. But there’s a problem with this.

Linguistic evidence gives the name of the father-god of southern Canaan as simply Yah (יּﬣ). In an upcoming historical novel, I explore additional clues that suggest the name of the mother-goddess, Havah (ﬣוּﬣ). This, not coincidentally, also corresponds to the name Eve.

For generations, both were worshiped in the temples and high places of the Levant, along with other members of the Canaanite pantheon. Worship of Yah-Havah (יּﬣ-ﬣוּﬣ) persisted until the goddess was subsumed into the name of the masculine god and forgotten.

Almost.

Scholars and researchers are uncovering mountains of evidence supporting the idea that reverence of the goddess has persisted, albeit it clandestinely, through the centuries. At least 350 years ago, when the Basilica was built in Montreal, someone among the designers and craftsmen brought Havah to the New World.

Now, this is not a call for a return to Paganism or Heathenry, though if your spiritual inclinations lean that way, the Old Ways are worthy of exploration. Reverence of the goddess alone tends toward imbalance, just as worshipping only the male deity does the same. (Though, arguably, imbalance on the side of the femimine aspect of nature would have wrought far less destruction over the years.)

Psychologists, philosophers, and scientists have long noted a symmetry, a duality in nature. Male-female, active-passive, expressive-receiving. In a natural cycle, one cannot meaningfully exist without the other.

Most of us are familiar with the notion of left- and right-brain activities. The left hemisphere of the brain (generally ascribed with masculine qualities) engages in logic, active problem-solving, imposing order on the flood of sensory inputs we receive every moment. The feminine, right hemisphere is the seat of creativity, non-linear thinking, intuition that processes information beyond the limitations of the five senses.

Neuroscientists have conclusively demonstrated that when both halves of the brain are aligned (often called hemisphere synchronization or brain entrainment), cognitive ability is vastly increased. Creative expression, learning ability, even emotional stability are all enhanced by honoring both sides of the brain.

Should the soul be any different?

The ancient Greeks named the male and female aspects of soul Animus and Anima. More recently, the great analytical psychologist Carl Jung applied these terms to the primary aspects of the unconscious mind. It is here that god and goddess meet.

Given the improved mental capacity achieved by those who practice brain hemisphere synchronization (through meditation, brainwave entrainment, or other practices), what might be the outcome of honoring, empowering, and aligning both halves of the individual soul?

Taking a giant step further, what if we truly honored both the masculine and feminine in our society? What if we balanced male and female energy on the scale of a family, a community, a nation?

The goddess is being remembered. The power and value of the feminine is being renewed. As story-tellers, as creatives, as active participants in our personal and collective evolution, we are called upon to help in her restoration and in reestablishing the sacred balance.

Ma’at.


If you’re so inclined, for an exploration of the hidden goddess symbols in sacred geometry and architecture, take a look at America, Nation of the Goddess: The Venus Families and the Founding of the United States by Alan Butler and Janet Wolter.

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About Marc

I help writers use the power of Story to change their readers' lives.

4 Replies

  1. Bro Marc, excellent post about something that needs to be brought forward by as many people as possible. I too, believe we are on the precipice of profound change in the ways humans exist on this planet. Most notably, how we treat one another and how we must care for our Mother Earth. I believe the current strife in Washington is merely a “hiccup” that will, hopefully, prompt a needed backlash that leads to everyone striving for balance in all aspects of our lives. It starts by treating our woman with the respect they so richly deserve.

    Thanks for the plug for Janet and Alan’s book. Call me bias, but it’s really a great read and if you like that one, you’ll be pleased to know they are currently working on a followup.

    1. Thanks, Scott. I’m encouraged as I see more and more men and women thinking along these lines. The new age truly is upon us.

      Cheers!

  2. Great reference to The Princess Bride! The imbalance in our society is leading to all sorts of ills. Returning to a feminine/masculine balance is important. I hope your essay today is, indeed, a sign of hopeful things to come.

    1. Well, you know I have to slide those quotes in where I can… Real hope and real change can’t help but happen when impassioned people of good will work in respect and harmony for a higher good.

      I hope.