The Divine Feminine – Woman Clothed with the Sun

painting by John Collier

The tendency on the spiritual path is to personify divine principles, and to a certain extent that’s okay. But the discipline is to never forget who the person is and which principle is being represented. In the case of Mary, the mother of Jesus, this is especially true because, well, she’s the mother of Jesus, you know? And if you’ve already personified the Christ in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, then Jesus is God, which makes Mary the Mother of God. And I am quite sure that there is no one in the universe who would object to that appellation more than Mary herself.

The reason divine principles are personified in the first place is that in order for a teaching to persist over time, it must be turned into a myth. This doesn’t make it a lie, which is the way most people interpret the word “myth.” Instead, it turns it into an immortal story. And because divine principles don’t change over time, all of the world’s great myths closely resemble each other. It does not mean, as some mythologists think, that one story gets emulated over and over, thus building up a mystique around it. The stories are similar because the principles they describe are eternal.

Some believe that the Feminine Principle has to do with the mystery of childbirth, which it does, but to say that that’s the only thing it does misses the boat entirely. Childbirth, while miraculous, is still of the body. Even if you raise it to the mental level and call it the creative principle, it’s still only a mental phenomenon. No, the real meaning of the Feminine Principle has to be ontological in scope. It has to be about being itself. This is the realm of the divine – not body, not mind.

For this reason, the Feminine Principle cannot be about Mary alone, nor can it be about the female gender alone. Gender is body. And it doesn’t help us very much either to try to expand it into a cosmic perspective and say that it is about polarity, though it is about that, too. But to think that Mary represents the negative charge of an electron would be reductionist in the extreme.

There is a reason that people are used as icons, that God is pictured as a person, that animals and other living things are used to describe divine principles. And it has to do with the very nature of the universe itself, namely that it is alive and not merely an aggregation of rocks and ice pushed and pulled by nuclear reaction and gravitational force.

When we talk about the Feminine Principle, we are talking about consciousness. And even deeper than that, we are talking about Being and the way Being expresses itself outwardly into manifestation – the act of creation.

The act of creation requires four things:

  • an idea of the thing you want to create – a plan
  • the will to put your plan into action
  • the daring to commit the action, sometimes in the face of seemingly insurmountable resistance
  • and the ability to let go of your action so that your plan can manifest (on the seventh day, God rested)

The Feminine Principle is the spiritual universe’s response to these four elements of the act of creation. “Let it be done……….unto me!” That which is put into motion by mind must have an energy that receives the action and brings it into manifested form.

Now, this all sounds so cosmological, so metaphysical – even occult. And it would be all that if the universe were not conscious and alive. Rocks, trees, plants, and animals are not enough to contain this Life. We are not talking about nature worship. What we normally perceive as “nature” is but the effect of a larger Life, our own physical body being no exception. It is the Solar System itself that constitutes the vehicle of this larger Life – a living cell in the greater body of the Cosmos. We have to understand the body in which we live before we can understand the greater body.

The Feminine Principle is so vast and so powerful that the mind cannot comprehend it. Consider the analogy of sperm and egg. The tiny sperm cell carries the initiative, the spark; the brooding ovum carries the power to act on that initiative. The sperm cell carries the plan, which is procreation. It is the extension of will. And it is committed to the action. But once it has achieved its goal, it disappears. And all of the latent potential of the ovum is unleashed in mathematical precision to the fulfillment of the Divine Will.

The universe functions through adaptation. It takes the infinite number of available possibilities and decides which of them will be acted upon. The ancient symbol for decision is the sword. (Note that the word “decide” has the same root as the word “homicide.”) The ovum culls the herd of sperm cells, choosing only one. The rest die.

The Divine Feminine yearns to fulfill the Divine Will. Without the Divine Feminine’s yearning (and capability) there could be no Divine Will. Neither could exist without the other. A plan means nothing without the ability (and the mater-ial) with which to carry it out.

The vast productive power of the Divine Feminine belies its seemingly passive nature. Just as the ovum controls which sperm will be allowed to start the process of reproduction, so does the Divine Feminine adjudicate the endless ramifications of the mind. If the mind were the final arbiter of what would be created, this universe would be chaotic and unsustainable. It would implode under its own weight. Thus the Divine Feminine is the Preserver of the Cosmos.

The Divine Feminine manifests itself in both men and women. It is not exclusive to the female gender. In fact, it has nothing to do with gender at all. Women manifest outwardly as feminine, but inwardly, which is to say spiritually, they are fiercely masculine. This is why they are the chief proponents of the world’s spiritual movements. Men, on the other hand, are spiritually feminine, which means that they are willing to receive instruction. But those who have achieved the balance of male and female within themselves are capable of being both proponents and adherents. They can both give and receive. They have the ability to create within themselves. This is the Sacred Marriage spoken of by the ancients. It is the inner meaning of the Virgin Birth. Mary was one who had attained the Sacred Marriage, and was thus able to give birth to the Sun.

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11 Responses to The Divine Feminine – Woman Clothed with the Sun

  1. Nina Allchurch says:

    Yes Judith, my sentiments exactly … Just stupendous. Would love to know who penned this.

  2. Silly me. I’ve been so focused on writing these articles that I completely forgot to add a byline. My name is Michael Maciel. I live on the San Francisco Peninsula. I lived in San Francisco once before, in 1972, where I was a priest in the Holy Order of MANS. Since then, I have investigated many spiritual paths from which I have tried to extract the essentials and present them here as clearly as I can. To date, there are nearly 100 subscribers to The Mystical Christ, and the list is growing. Thank you for your comments. If you would like to contact me, you can reach me through Facebook.

  3. Anne says:

    Dear Michael Maciel,
    Will you please talk more about the inner Sacred Marraige?
    Thank You,
    Anne.

  4. patrick rainford says:

    The Hermetic axiom, To Will, To Know, To Dare, to Be Silent; is the representation of the YHVH ‘process’ of creation; and really like your use of the YHVH formula: To Know (plan) to Will, and To Dare to realize our Heart’s Desire) and to be Silent about it. OUr Lady clothed in the Sun/Son (Key3). Daleth,the Door, unites Cosmic Consciousness (KETHER) to the House of Beauty (Tiphareth), in Lurian Kabbalah; and in astrology Key 3 is exalted in Key 18, the Creative Process Key 3, Reorganizing Key 18, our vehicles, to more receptive and purified for the Light to Work through.

  5. Hamid Emami says:

    The Devine Feminine is, indeed, the Preserver of the Cosmos. Goethe’s Faust, longing for “higher spheres” recognizes this in the end when he says “das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan” – the Eternal Feminine draws us upwards. What wonderful truth, Michael. Thank you.

  6. joel weber says:

    Thank you Mother, Thank you Michael, a beautiful BIRTH…..

  7. Michael Wilson says:

    Hi, Michael,
    As an archetypal image, I think The High Priestess is an ideal representative of the Divine Feminine. She represents subconsciousness, which is not to say that it is inferior to self-consciousness, represented by The Magician; just a different function: duplication. Like the Moon reflects the Sun, the subconscious mirrors whatever the self-consciousness puts into it. Subconsciousness is the propulsive, driving force in human personality–propulsion.
    The Mother is well represented by The Empress, Key 3, which is the response of subconscious mental activity to self-conscious impulse in the generation of mental images: multiplication. Hence, 3 is the number of production, formation, organization, propagation, elaboration.
    The nice thing about Tarot images is they are clearly archetypal, whereas personalities have their own stories and may not so clearly illustrate particular principles. Certainly, Jesus would not claim to be God, nor would Mary claim to be God’s Mother. I daresay, we know many women “clothed with the Sun.”

  8. Quite interesting to note is that Mary in Greek means water (mere, the sea). Fire through water – the spirit only manifests through water. A woman’s “water breaks” announcing the birth of her child, a new spirit’s arrival in the Kingdom.
    There was a book written for Initiates of the Great Work called the Tarot. It not only gives them some idea of what lies in store for them on their path ahead, but, in addition, beautifully illustrates the changes required in their lives to keep them on it! Throughout the Tarot runs the “stream of consciousness”, beginning with the High Priestess. Please observe that in Key 1 the Magician hasn’t picked up his tools yet, he’s just setting the stage, so nothing actually happens until we pass through the High Priestess Key 2. And what does the stream of consciousness actually do as it meanders through the Keys – why, yes, it rises, up and up. Because as we (our consciousness, that is) meander through the Tarot we will become more conscious. In Genesis 1:2 “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”. This is before He said “let there be light.” So many references to water, to the Divine Feminine.
    And what is water? Water washes and purifies, water dissolves particles and suspends them in itself, water purges, water delivers. To express all our observations, whether spiritual or physical, we are limited to the words that we use to express what we experience through our senses; but even with this limitation, it is enough to motivate us to wonder, to want to know more about where we “live”. It is through the Divine Feminine, our Alma Mater, that we will learn and study and finally realize ourselves, and by doing so, we then leave all the learning and wisdom behind (see Key 19 The Sun).
    Tomorrow when you go outside and look at the new buds pushing through the branches of the trees, remind yourself, it is the Spirit of Fire that you see pushing through the Water of Life, reaching out to you, saying,”Remember Me? I’m here to remind you of who you are, Everywhere you look, I’m here. You are Mine and I am yours.”

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