Saturday, February 18, 2006

the third battle of moytura. (2)

( this is the second part - you may wish to read part one, below, first. )

the third battle of moytura -
part two
- an engagement with the feminine face of god.

bres, in the battle of moytura, was the son of elatha.

the canaanite goddess and consort of the high god el was elath. the greek goddess of childbirth was eleutheia. the arabian precursor of allah was a triple moon goddess allat. the island of malta was named after ma-lat or mother lat. an italian milky coffee is a latte. the roman milk giving goddess was lat or latona. the mother of the god apollo was leto.

elatha - eleutheia - allat - ma lat - lat - latte - latona - leto.

you can follow the local manifestations of the feminine and milk giving side of god through all of the indo european languages.

the danes built newgrange ? wrong ? no, right - because the de danaans, the danaan greeks, the danes, the children of danu, anu, and european river names from the don to the danube are all the same. another family of names.

europe itself is named after a goddess, europe, an epithet meaning 'broad faced.' europe is named after the moon. ireland is named after eire, another triple moon goddess. the boyne river is named after boann, another.

between the building of knowth and the building of newgrange, on the banks of the boyne, there may have been religious change. this is a big topic - but newgrange has a focus on the fixed solar feast of midwinter solstice - the neolithic christmas. while the older knowth has a focus on the moveable feast of easter, defined as the full moon after vernal equinox.

this gyreum has a solar orientation. an old fashioned masculine focus ! that is another topic. religious orientation runs like an underground river, unrecognised. few now notice the focus of the new year on the first of january, once denounced by the mediaeval church. it is the beginning of the lunar year. it is the day which is twelve lunar synodic months before the following winter solstice. it is eleven days shorter than the solar year.

there is a deeply rooted bias in western christendom against the residue of the lunar and the feminine. again, it is perfectly possible to profess a rational atheism, and still retain a wariness of the day friday, the number thirteen, or the colour green - all with lunar or feminine significance.
there is also a strong bias in favour of light, or consciousness, as against the nocturnal and unconscious, in western religion. the golden cock on the church weathervane is gold because that colour is symbolic of the sun. the church often faces east, the direction of the dawn. the cock is the bird which crows to salute the dawn, or the return of daylight consciousness.
the night time unconscious mind is not celebrated. nocturnal witches, the residual folk memory of the star gazing neolithic priestess, are represented as malevolent and ugly. their companions are owls, bats, cats - chosen because these are creatures of nocturnal habit.

there is likewise a widespread bias in western christendom in favour of the masculine, symbolised by the right hand.
i want to distinguish clearly here between the male and the masculine. the female and the feminine.
when i say i am a feminist, i sometimes provoke howls of laughter because i am male. but i am a champion of the feminine intuitive side, in both men and women. the other kind of feminist is a mere partisan on the side of women in the battle of the biological sexes. she is often in fact a promoter of the masculine side of women.

if the terms masculine and feminine are too emotionally loaded - we can talk in terms of right and left.
we use the right hand in blessing ourselves.
the catholic blessing is in origin the four fold blessing of jupiter.
we use the right hand for greeting with a handshake.
the muslim uses the right hand to eat with, and the left to clean himself.
chief guests are seated on the host's right hand.
the port gets passed around the guests to the left, but seen from the centre of the table, or above, this is to the right. it is sunwise, the same direction as the shadow of the sundial.
in fact most things go clockwise except a ballroom, where the dancers go anticlockwise or widdershins, with the woman leading but as they move backwards, the same direction as witches dancing in honour of the moon.

the two hemispheres of the brain and their different modes of operation are represented mythologically in the book of genesis and other mythology, by the two trees of paradise - the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. the tree of life is an apple, with venus's five pointed star in its centre if you cut it in half it horizontally. some of the celts called paradise 'avalon' or apple land. there are many versions of the garden of the hesperides and the apple paradise in the west.
the tree of knowledge on the other hand is a fig tree. when the mediaeval church represented the fruit which eve gave to adam, as an apple, they were changing the story. they were shifting the focus of the fall from self consciousness, on to sex.
the tree under which the buddha obtained enlightenment was the bo tree - a fig tree. the tree of knowledge, in the genesis story, is mythologically the same tree. the tree is not actually named, but adam and eve made themselves clothes from fig leaves - and fig leaves come from fig trees. so don't demonise the apple.

the only apple that ever caused enlightenment was the one which hit sir isaac newton a blow to the head in a lincolnshire orchard.

there is a long thread of suppression of both the feminine and the polytheistic in western religion.

the word used for god in the book of genesis is plural - elohim. the seven days of creation arise from a babylonian system of the gods of the heavens - the sun, moon, and five visible planets. the things created on the different days of the first week relate to the gods governing each day. we still use the terms sunday, monday (moon day), tuesday (mars' day) and so on. that is mythology that the jews learned in babylon.

as for the feminine - do you remember the sensation when bishop eamonn casey was revealed to be in a relationship with annie murphy ? now there is a film coming out, 'the da vinci code', to reveal that jesus was in a relationship with mary magdalene. i am not going to say anything about the 'da vinci code' except that i have read it, and nothing in it is new. as you may by now anticipate - i am not very bothered whether the historical jesus had a relationship with mary magdalene, because i do not have a lot of faith in the gospels as history. i am more interested in the mythological. i am intrigued to know why this story is resonating so strongly with people at this particular time. dan brown has struck a chord with the general public. he has sold 40 million copies. something is going on here.
theology is the driest of dry topics. welcome to wet theology.

if we are astonished that jesus may have been in a relationship, what are we to make of the consort of yahweh ? it is clear that at an early stage of development yahweh had a wife, or later as 'the shekinah', a feminine side. she also appears in the bible as sophia, the personification of wisdom. these have come down to later christians as the spirit of god, or holy spirit. the gifts of the spirit, or intuitive side of the mind of god, are traditionally healing, prophecy, and inspiration.
the spirit which is pneuma, the neuter gender breath of god, in greek - is in latin animus, the masculine gendered spirit. here we are skating over centuries of religious evolution in a few sentences, and each of them could be expanded into a talk or a book on its own, or if dan brown is working on a sequel - a hollywood blockbuster.
my point is to remind you that god has not only a dark side, but a feminine side.

so why stop at advocating women priests when you can go all the way and resurrect the divine feminine ?

how are we going to do that ?

some new age romantics dabble in reviving the goddesses of the past. there are plenty to chose from.
a catholic background with its emphasis on local saints and statues and the many manifestations of mary the mother, may make for an easier stepping stone to this approach than strict protestantism, judaism, or islam. but for most people the tendency is first to demolish the old structure, level it, and begin again on a new green field site.
the common characterisitc of those who get into shamanism, buddhism, druid revivalism, hare krishna and all the rest - is a total rejection of their own early religious upbringing. this gives a shallow quality to the newly adopted interest.
when christianity originally came to ireland, it did not act in this way. in the early celtic church there was an easy blending of the new with the older pagan culture. you can cut down a sacred tree or grove, but you cannot demolish wells and mountains and sacred sites, so you must somehow contrive to adapt them. many hilltop crosses are adaptations of pre christian sites - in fact, if you want a guide to the druidical sites of ireland, the best of all is the concrete hill top crosses, marking the powerful sites which could not be obliterated, so had to be taken over . . .

now we are entering a new period of transition.

i am not against new age romanticism, nor even against the traditional solar and masculine religious focus, but i sense that - in the third theological battle of moytura - the forces of light will have to acknowledge and respect the forces of darkness, and reintegrate them into the family of gods, and the feminine will need new expression.

we are in a time similar to the decline of the roman empire in the 300s a d. the old gods were fading. the oracles were falling silent. who would have thought then that the despised christian subversives would become the official imperial religion ? for the emperor constantine to convert the empire was as stunning and unlikely a move as if george bush were to solve all his problems by converting america, tomorrow, to islam. so what is going to happen may not be easily anticipated.

i am not advocating anything. i have no mission. i am not recruiting anybody. i have nothing to sell. there is no hair restorer in my travelling bag.

i am just a prophet on a day out. another prophet blathering in the wilderness, and this is what i prophesy -

the particular god of our time is economic growth. growth is like balor, a big ugly god with only one eye. the followers of the god protect their cult, as of old, by pretending that it is not a cult. yet growth is almighty, growth goes on forever, growth is invisible but everywhere all powerful, and creates all good things. growth will bring more riches for more people and in time create a paradise - even if this means consuming the whole earth.

this god is about to go into a decline. the masculine, sequential, competitive and acquisitive mental mindset is about to hit a brick wall. this growth god is a late manifestation and offshoot of monotheistic jehovah - just as once was allah, the god of the muslims.

this growth god will not disappear, but we will see him reduced in relative importance, just as gods of old shrank and in time became 'the little people.' people will still be born, married, waked, and buried. there will still be naming ceremonies and godparents. ritual, music, candles, flowers, processions - these will remain and may even become more important. take away all dogma from religion, and what do you still have left ? the community gathered under one roof. just as we are gathered here.
churches will not disappear - but the growth god and the growth mentality will end, because growth will end.

i am prophesying that something will arise to displace monotheism and hierarchy and authority. something that mimics the dispersed power of the internet, a fluid communal network, rather than a fossilised central authority. nothing shallow or romantic , or anything you can buy in a new age bookstore, but a flowering of some fundamental element of existing religion. an ethos rather than a dogma. something powerful, unlikely, and unexpected.

i will end by suggesting a range of possibilities. i predict that a stable, responsible, natural, nurturing feminine ethos will re-emerge. it will not be hierarchical and controlled. it will be dispersed and of great diversity, like nature herself. it will enfold, rather than compete with, what went before. she will emerge clothed in a personal mythology.

it could have the concept of gaia - the living earth - as the focus of worship. the concept of 'the environment' carries human centred implications. gaia would be a geocentric focus for religion, science, and philosophy.
it could be a return of eire, the goddess of sovereignty of the land of ireland. a goddess of the land and the earth, but with a more local, tribal focus than gaia.
it could be a new emphasis on the holy spirit as the feminine aspect of the trinity. the holy spirit that was present at the creation, and 'moved on the face of the waters' in the genesis account.
it could be 'the lady of all nations', an authorised veneration originating in visions seen by a dutch woman in the 1940s and 1950s.
it could be saint therese of lisieux.
who ?

i throw in saint therese of lisieux, often pronounced 'teresa of leesyoo', as an example of the unlikely.
this is the french saint theresa, the little flower. her cult is mysterious. it draws two million visitors a year to her birthplace in france. that must be far bigger than the french green party. her great strength seems to be in her youth and ordinariness - she was a nun. she died at twenty four. her statue can be found in irish cathedrals and churches and always with one or two small gifts of fresh roses.
rather than an offering of money, these roses come as an offering from the natural world - strangely, for a nun, because roses represent fertile motherhood. it is lilies which are traditionally symbolic of virginity.

nothing in the history of religion rules out saint teresa as the next great goddess who enfolds and contains the preceding theology. if you think that is an unlikely assessment - go back and remind yourself of the obscurity from which gods have emerged in the past.
if you are looking for the next religious development among the dissillusioned and disappointed adherents of the growth cult - don't look up expecting to see oak trees, look down among the grass, for acorns.

but it is not for you to go shopping for gods and goddesses. we are not talking about religion as a consumer option. the way to encounter a divinity is to simplify your life, to contemplate, to meditate, and to cultivate humility and she will come looking for you.

we are not the owners of the earth. we are not the inheritors of the earth from our parents. we are not even the caretakers of the earth - but she is our caretaker. she decides. she creates and recreates the balance. that is what should give us both fear and hope. the need to tune in to that balance will bring us back to a cult of life, powerful enough to enfold and absorb the masculine cult of dominance, victory, and death-dealing destruction. it is time to moderate the sky gods and thunderbolt throwers. to maintain a stable community of living beings, on this planet, we need to ground ourselves in a geocentric religion.

that is my attempt at prophesy. but the future is not bound by the present. a little humility is in order. forgive me if i sometimes pretend to know more than i do.

there follows an incantation to a goddess unborn. it was written some years ago, not for this but for a different context, but it will do -

goddess unborn
fanfare unblown
touchstone untouched
name unknown
haven unreached
sight unseen
chalice unfilled
uncrowned queen.

stone unturned
fire unburned
word unspoken
peace unbroken
flags unflown
harp unstrung,
mass unsaid
and hymns unsung.
funeral toll
of bell not rung.

beckoned by the echo of a voiceless call.
crushed, crushed, in the ungathered crowd.

take up a task
that you dare not ask.
view what lies
behind your eyes.
turn in the dark
turn in the dark
turn in the dark.

tell what you learned
at truant school.
promise to keep
the unmade rule.
meet at the place
where all roads part.
unspoken wish
in pulseless heart.

unlit dawn
unborn dead
tears unshed.
of a thing not yet.
bones unearthed
of hosts unmet.

silent scream
of the unafraid.
wings unfold
in egg unlaid.
tangled skein
of bald babe's hair.
hybrid spawn
of unmet pair.

now is the season
of the coming time,
metrical reason
of unfinished . . .

rhyme unspoken
ring unbroken
thought untaken
mind forsaken.
news untold,
earth grows cold.
plot untended
tale unended
faith unfounded
fox unhounded
gone to ground -
lost and found.

nearest, farthest,
unsown harvest,
virgin mother,
same is other.

ancient dream
of unborn race.
fleeting smile
on unformed face.

goddess unborn
goddess unborn.


gillies macbain.

based upon a talk given in the gyreum,
corlisheen, county sligo, 12 february, 2006.


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