We have been meditating on a revolution in values that the return of the Divine Feminine represents. Such archetypes as Mary and the Black Madonna carry this energy forward.
Julian of Norwich talks of Jesus as Mother due to his emphasis on compassion. What if the Europeans who set sail for the “New Worlds” one century after Julian had acted more motherly to the indigenous peoples they encountered?
How different history would have been had they arrived on foreign lands not with swords drawn but with compassionate hearts.
Values of Kinship, Relationship, Compassion, Caring are in stark contrast to values of control and power-over that patriarchy holds up.
My friend and colleague Andrew Harvey, who was born and raised in India, the birthplace of many religions and a land with a long history of honoring the Great Mother, did all of us a huge favor when he wrote a major work on The Return of the Mother in 1995.
The book is deeply ecumenical and chapters include teachings on the Great Mother from Ramakrsihna, Aurobindo, Sufis, the Buddha and the Tao. The last two chapters are on “Mary Our Mother” and on “Christ the Mother.”
Harvey tells us that Mary is far less interested in adoration than imitation. The Mother doesn’t just want to be loved; she wants that love to be made active in all things and in all moments so that the reign of her love can begin on earth.
He invokes the teaching of Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff about Mary as a “prophetic woman of liberation” in his book, The Maternal Face of God.
Boff says Mary brings both “denunciation and proclamation, prophecy and liberation.” He recognizes that under the influence of conquest and colonialism, Mary has often been sentimentalized or forgotten. “As a result, for centuries Christianity has rendered the liberating” message of the Magnificat “impotent.”
But we can develop a prophetic image of Mary…as the strong, determined woman, the woman committed to the messianic liberation for the poor from the historical social injustice under which they suffer.* Among the poor so suffering today is of course Gaia, our Mother Earth.
To be continued.
*Andrew Harvey, The Return of the Mother, pp. 374, 377f.
See Matthew Fox, “Divine Feminine and the Mother of God,” in Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic—and Beyond, pp. 45-58, 102f.
See also Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.”
Banner Image: Lavanderia Cultural Murals, Historic Pilsen Barrio, Chicago. Photo by Richie Diesterheft on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Do you agree that imitation of Mary is more needed than adoration of the same? And that she carries, especially in the “Magnificat,” a “liberating message” for Mother Earth and all who suffer from injustice today?
Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond
Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.” –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.