In yesterday’s DM we considered how Advent, night and repose can be seen as feminine according to Thomas Merton.
The tradition of God as Mother and Jesus as Mother, a tradition that Julian of Norwich enriches so wonderfully is called to mind in this season of Advent. So too is the archetype of the Black Madonna. We will consider these stories soon.
But let us pause to consider the naming of the Divine as the Godhead. This dimension to divinity does not get the attention it deserves and Advent time is a good season to pay it more attention. The Godhead is also feminine and in many ways, darkness and repose accompany the Godhead in a special way.
But often Westerners are very oblivious and unknowing about the Godhead as distinct from God. This is because the Godhead is feminine and patriarchy rules our languages and our religions and our philosophies and very often our seminaries, sad to say. So let us explore the Godhead more deeply.
Meister Eckhart has written most about the Godhead and contrasts it to God in the following ways:
Meister Eckhart distinguishes “God” from “Godhead” and says they are as different and far apart as the earth from the heavens. In Eckhart’s two languages, God is masculine (“Gott” in German; “Deus” in Latin) and Godhead is feminine (“Gottheit” in German and “Deitas” in Latin).
God is about action—Creator, Liberator, Redeemer, History and the rest; but the Godhead is about Mystery more than history; about Being more than doing; about Silence more than action.
The Godhead is utterly ineffable and there is no talking, no words in the Godhead. “Everything within the Godhead is unity, and we cannot speak about it.” But when we leave the Godhead on being born, when we “flow out from there,” all the creatures of the world stand up and shout: “God!”
We dwell first in the Godhead and we return to the Godhead when we die. In between, at birth, we enter the world of God and creation, history, liberation and redemption.
The image I get of divinity as Godhead is a great big Cosmic Mama in whose lap all of creation rests. We are invited to rest in her lap, to find repose there. And love. And joy.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God….Including the Unnameable God, # 51.
And from Matthew Fox, Passion For Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart, pp. 77-82.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Queries for Contemplation
Have you experienced the Godhead as well as God? What difference does that make? What different might it make to our culture?
Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God
Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview. In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.
“This book is timely, important and admirably brief; it is also open ended—there are always more names to come, and none can exhaust God’s nature.” -Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, author of Science Set Free and The Presence of the Past