Monday, July 9, 2012

Goddesses in the Dust: The Goddess Particle?

Unearthing the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...


I don't know about the rest of the women in the world, but I get really tired of always hearing God referred to as male. Case in point, the recent discovery of the so called "God particle," otherwise known as the Higgs boson, a tiny piece of the quantum soup that physicists on both sides of the Atlantic have been searching for since Peter Higgs, a British physicist, theorized its existence almost 50 years ago. 


I was raised Catholic and my husband is Jewish. We brought up our children primarily in the Jewish faith because he felt a stronger connection to his background. As such, over the years I have become as comfortable at Passover and Hanukkah celebrations as I am attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. 


When I was a young girl, I went to Mass every Sunday and sat in the pew next to my mother, week after week, beating my chest, professing my original sin. At some point in my early teenaged years I had a sudden insight: Why do I have to keep repeating I was born filled with sin? What is this with always having to repeat that I am not worthy? And perhaps more to the point: where are all the women in this church? Surrounded by statues and icons of Jesus and male saints, the only female around was the Virgin Mary, staring dolefully down on me week after week. 


Jump forward a few decades to our annual Passover Seder. After years of reading the Haggadah and reciting a text with male-heavy pronouns over and over I would add the following - in brackets - to all passages, such as this example: This is the bread of affliction that our fathers (and mothers) ate in the land of Egypt. Whoever if hungry let him (and her) come and eat; whoever is in need, let him (and her) come and conduct the Seder of Passover."  


Nowadays I continue the pronoun detente, using "She" as much as "He" whenever God is referred to. At dinner we say grace and thank Goddess for our food. I'm not about edging God out here, I'm about being inclusive. After all, the world would be a lonely place with just God and no Goddess. 


So I propose that we move into the 21st century with a serious dedication to divine equality and name the next quantum piece of our cosmic puzzle the Goddess particle. And with any luck,  let's hope that it's a female physicist who makes the discovery. 

33 comments:

  1. Hear, Hear,,,and Hear,,,that's for my three daughters, and another "hear" for me...(if the correct word is "here",, just subsitute it in place of the others..:) thanks for the visit to our old theater...glenn

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    1. glenn, i loved rambling about in your old theater and if possible i would have purchased a big old bag of popcorn to eat while taking in the view

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  2. amanda, women need champions like you, a voice, a clear note rung off on the hill. (men need it too, lest they become lost in misdirection.)

    i tend to believe that all gender is hoodwink, although in the real and living world more clear and concise voices (like yours) need to be heard to make real and concise changes, but i think fundamentally all gender is a biological accident and that we each embody, well beneath the surface body casts of cock and vagina, a fundamental coalescence of all gender, or even non-gender. unfortunately we all too often are misdirected by ego and power, hence the mess we're in today. and still, either so lazily, or with great craft, we use a male based language to define a world that in its essence is all gender, or non-gender.

    i say, sing on sister. keep striking that bell:))))

    xo
    erin

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    1. dear erin - i tend to believe the latter that it is with great craft (or perhaps craftiness) that a male based language is employed on our behalf. it's up to us to shift this gender weighted language towards balance but it will be a task akin to turning around an aircraft carrier in mid-course —— most likely it will only happen v e r y s l o w l y

      but at the same time we also employ way too many limitations in our plane so i say sing on all of us sisters and explore the freedom of voice - ♡love striking that bell♡

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  3. I echo Erin's words!
    And yes to raising all girls to be as strong and empowered as their brothers.

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  4. I usually just call the goddess particle ..."the universe....the mystery....the unknown...it is hard to define....and that is what i love about life....the enigma.....we are all in it together and really nobody knows any more about the mystery than the next person.....but intuitively...we all know what is right and true.....

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  5. It's interesting how you have voiced so many of my thoughts. But then I was raised Catholic too (and still am, I suppose).

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  6. 'And with any luck, let's hope that it's a female physicist who makes the discovery.'

    This made me smile and feel a funny catch in my throat, all at once, Amanda.

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  7. i agree and rejoice with you and i agree and rejoice with erin.

    have you read 'the mists of avalon' amanda? i met the goddess before god when i read that book and, being also brought up catholic, it changed my life. no exaggeration.

    perhaps i lean to the political when i add this: how in hell does patriarchy and do men continue to hold so much power. we women raise those men and we have such capability. i never understand how rebalancing has not yet occurred.

    thanks for this post ♥

    love
    kj

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    1. kj, because of your suggestion, from perhaps last year, i picked up mists of avalon and was amazed i had never read it before. marion zimmer bradley had such a novel vision that i see her as a wayshower - way ahead of her time. she inspired me and i am grateful to you for pointing me in her direction.

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  8. IMHO God is neither a woman nor a man, actually our language is too poor to describe it:)


    Blog about life and travelling
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  9. I do agree with you Amanda. We do have a male centered language and it screws up our perceptions.

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  10. For some reason I get quite hung-up in the whole idea of giving God gender and prefer to use "it". I don't understand the need for an antrhopocentric god. Perhaps it has something to do with the notion that God supposedly made humans in his image. The thing is it doesn't seem like things like our gender or even our bodies are what God had in mind. Rather it must be like the idea of how we as humans are spirtual beings. The world according to Rubye.

    It'll be interesting to see what comes as a result of learning of the God particle.

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    1. I agree Rubye. God, Goddess, Universe - however you refer to the source of everything - it is our spirit that is connected to that source. Form comes in handy to make life interesting for the source.

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  11. The whole 'God is a male' thing has been a bone of contention for me for years. Why would this being who gave life automatically be male when it's women who give life here on Earth. So because of that, I try to say Goddess as much as possible, like, Oh my goddess! And, Goddess bless you. People usually look at me funny, but I don't care :)

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    1. And because women are the givers of life on Earth, this mystical power - and it is a power - has been seen as threatening by some, resulting in a myriad of - often male dominated - organizations focused on controlling that power.

      Good for you Sara - keep on being divinely inclusive!

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  12. What a great post, Amanda. Everytime I come here I learn a lot from you, thank you!!

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  13. I think God's not a he or a she, more of an it, or not really even that, if what's meant by God is Tao or Brahman or Jah or Allah and not Jesus or Muhammad who are, in my view, male prophets and holy men.

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    1. I agree, Robert. Yet our world - primarily in Western culture - still uses a "He" pronoun primarily to address the Divine, so we need to find a way to correct that imbalance.

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  14. Giving a gender to God is a linguistic convention. We think God is in some way relational, so we want to use a relational form, not an impersonal "it." Personally, if God really encompasses all of creation, and if male and female are "universal constants" (thank you Mr. Spock), then "he" or "she" is just fine with me.

    Over the years, the congregationsI have served became accustomed to my use of language.

    Language, in its imperfection, is all we have with which to share our ideas, hopes, fears, and joys. And languages often messes up our communication. Funny, that.

    Higgs bosun walks into a Roman Catholic Church. Priest says, "What are you doing here?" Particle says, "You cannot have mass without me." Twas ever thus.

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    1. so true, r-bear - the gendered approach is both a linguistic convention but points to that relational aspect which is so important. thank you for mentioning this. language is imperfect but is our main vehicle to share our emotions and transmit our ideas.

      LOVE the higgs boson joke. twas ever thus indeed.

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  15. P.S.: The Holy Spirit is the Feminine member of the Holy Trinity. The Hebrew word for Spirit is Ru'ah. It is a feminine word.

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    1. i just learned this last year when i was visiting my close friend in israel - she told me that ru'ah meant wind. so there we have our endlessly fascinating linguistic puzzle once again - ru'ah means both spirit and wind the way the greek pneuma does.

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    2. pps - love the fact that it is a feminine word- yet another, critical, layer of meaning.

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  16. i just read all these moments and i love every one.


    kj

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  17. Beautiful, thought provoking post, as always, Amanda. I have settled upon "The Divine," as the appellation to use, as it removes the gender issue altogether. I have no problem identifying this, as The Solitary Walker does, as "it," rather than "he" or "she." I suppose some people cringe at the idea of a gender-less deity, but ultimately, I find it the most inclusive idea of all. (♥)

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  18. Couldn't agree more. We use a new Haggadah now that is a bit more with the times, and i think it's lovely. Sometimes I like the idea of a father figure - but that's mostly familiarity talking - God with the big white beard etc.

    Love Rob's joke - very good

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  19. The last time when a female Physicist - Lise Meitner - made a great discovery, her colleague Otto Hahn got the Nobel Prize for it...
    And do you remember the last-last Popr John Paul I? He had written a book about God being female as well as male and was determined to spread this idea. Strangely, he stayed alive only four weeks after his election...
    I was raised as a Protestant and therefore cannot grasp this attitude towards women in the Catholic Church - adoring Mother Mary, but not allowing all those unmarried priests with female "housekeepers" and common children to admit these women are their wives and a vital part of the priests` lives. Also only allowing male priests in Church but taking advantage of women`s work towards the sick and the poor...
    Hypocracy is something I HATE, can you tell?
    In Germany, it has at least become common to use a female ending for all other addresses (except God), like brothers AND sisters, Student und Studentin, etc.
    But in fact we are still far from being equal.
    I once saw a big sign which said (to open man`s eyes, wonder if it worked)
    "MAN IS NORMAL, WOMAN IS THE OTHER"
    Ha!
    Woman is normal, man is the other. How does that sound?

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  20. Dear Amanda, great post.;) For someone who was denied religion, growing up in the communist east, being baptized in secrecy, I have become a spiritual being. To me the divine takes no form nor gender. To me the power of the divine is love and goodness between people and I love the unknown and mysterious.
    Thank you for your lovely email and for such a great sentiments expressed within your words.
    Hope all is well with you, I have just returned from a week in the Swedish archipelago, celebrating my parents 70's birthday.
    xoxo

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  21. i truly appreciate all of your replies and comments about this post. clearly, the idea of a gendered deity is something that pricks the consciousness of us all in one way or another. jo - using 'the divine' does cover all bases and is inclusive. mim, your comment about a father figure probably resonates with a lot of people who are very comfortable with that notion of a loving caring parent as deity. geli - the concept of having gender identified in endings in the german language is wonderful - but how thought-provoking that the word god is not included in that - how does the language differentiate between god and goddess? and i must do more research into lise meitner/otto hahn debacle as well as john paul I's book - fascinating. and if man is considered 'normal' with the state our world is in currently, then we are in big trouble. lastly, zuzana, your upbringing in a communist country only shows that becoming a spiritual being is completely an inside job.

    thank you to everyone who commented for your rich and generous insights.

    with love,

    amanda

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  22. Why it seems, dear Amanda, you have already found the Goddess Particle. High praise to you! As young women, we grew up without much representation, as Catholics we grew up telling ourselves we weren't worthy. Lordy, do we ever need the Goddess Particle.

    Divine pièce of writing, Amanda. :)

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  23. I love the concept of the Goddess Particle! I was raised both Christian and Jewish and did the same for our kids, but with a cultural emphasis. Shouldn't the concept of God be above and beyond gender? I was struck while reading the Bible how the women were so secondary to the story. What is Noah's wife's name, for example?

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