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RainInanna
September 2nd, 2008, 08:41 PM
Hi, my name is Rain, and I just totally had a brain jolt due to another discussion. I'm sorry if the result here is disjointed but I want to spit some thoughts out and see what develops.

It suddenly occurred to me, due to that other discussion, that perhaps some misunderstanding of how one can be Goddess-centered results from misunderstanding and confusion over gender and sex specific terms.

Specifically, I think people have differing opinions of what identifies male and female, masculine and feminine, and how these can be applied to the Divine. When the terms are used interchangeably or indiscriminately, they may force the Divine into boundaries that may not apply after all.

Let me try to explain from my view:

For my purposes, the terms male and female refer to biological elements of one's sex - reproductive organs.

God and Goddess, when applied to deities, mark them as either male or female.

However, I don't see the deities as having genitals - I don't see them as being male or female. I don't imagine they have biological sex either. So reproductive organs are just not a part of the Divine as I envision it. Therefore, the terms male and female do not apply to the Sacred*. Therefore, the terms God and Goddess do not apply to the Sacred.

What??? Yes, I said it. To me the terms God and Goddess do not define the Sacred. So why say Goddess-centered at all?

The term Goddess can refer to women as manifestations of the Sacred who have female body parts. So I see that it is valid to be Goddess-centered even as I don't apply "male" or "female" to the Divine. I refer, with Goddess-centered, to spirituality that is of and for women. I use Goddess-centered as an adjective to define the spirituality, not to define the Goddess.

I respect that women (such as myself) feel a deep desire to connect with a Sacred form that is like them - that would have female body parts, that would be recognized as female, that are referred to as "she", even as I recognize my view of the Divine is that it transcends body parts.

I suggest that the term Goddess defines human understanding, not the Divine. That when we say Goddess we can simultaneously believe the Divine transcends the female term while establishing connection with that part of the Divine that manifests in our female bodies. That the word Goddess does not define the Sacred at all for us, but is simply one facet of the whole diamond we recognize as Divine. That we use it as a convenient word simply to refer to something we know transcends words and human constructs.

Ok, thoughts welcome, I'm going to wander off and ruminate on this one some more.

In the meantime, with the usual caveat that I recognize Wikipedia is not the be all and end all of resource material, I still referred to these links for several of the concepts, ideas, and terms used above:

Biology of gender (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_of_gender)
Gender (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender)
Masculinity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masculine)
Femininity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Femininity)

*Noting the usual caveat - statements I make must necessarily be understood as from my point of view, which I do not insist is right, correct, or the only view. Hell I don't even necessarily think I know what I'm talking about, so don't think I'm trying to say "this is the only right way to see it" at any time I make any statement whatsoever.

Karri Morgan
September 3rd, 2008, 06:20 AM
I think that you are obviously thinking quite logically, and I must say that I agree on the whole point that divine beings dont have genitals (or do they?). However, when we say male and female, are we not talking about male and female energies, and qualities? That male and female, are not only terms to determine our sex, but also words we use to describe a certain quality, like compassion?

For example me. I have female genitals, but I am gay, and like girls, and I am also sometimes aggressive, passionate and strong, qualities we call male. So, even though I am a woman, I have male qualities. So to me, when I think of a female deity, I have a tendency to giving that deity female qualities, and define them after the archetype-female.

So when I say I am a goddess-centered person, it means that I would rather pray to a deity that has the typical female energies and qualities, of compassion, thoughtfullness, softness, e.t.c. Because I have enough of the male qualities as it is :P I pray to goddesses, and not gods, because I feel more comfortable with the female energy, and the female qualities. I dont like the demanding self-centeredness I often feel if I focus on the gods, but that might be born out of my fear for the christian god, which I view as being demanding, selfish, egocentric, selfrighteous e.t.c.

So, I do think whether you are more into goddesses, or gods (Pun intended), that it does matter how you view them , how you feel their energy, more than the classification of gender.

For example, I dont have as much problems with Dionysos, or.. Hermes, of some strange reason, because they dont give off pure male energies to me. If I have to classify them, Id say`Dionysos is a bisexual male, and Hermes is a rather sexually perverted shemale :P

It probably sound really silly, but that is exactly how I view them. I humanify them after how I feel their energy, how they convert themselves to me, or how I convert the image of the sum of their thought qualities (since I dont know if I believe they are actuall beings).

spiral
September 3rd, 2008, 06:23 AM
Excellent post. I've always felt more drawn to the Mother Goddess type of deity, yet felt uncomfortable with having such a polarised view of divinity. What I've taken from your post is that I'm simply feeling connected to that aspect of divinity which appeals most to me as a woman. Seems obvious now you've pointed it out!

RainInanna
September 3rd, 2008, 10:05 AM
I think that you are obviously thinking quite logically, and I must say that I agree on the whole point that divine beings dont have genitals (or do they?). However, when we say male and female, are we not talking about male and female energies, and qualities? That male and female, are not only terms to determine our sex, but also words we use to describe a certain quality, like compassion?

See, exactly, I think that may just be the crux of it - when people say God and Goddess they may be referring to social elements like compassion, whereas I see the terms specifically to refer to biological elements like reproductive organs. I'm thinking "well of course I don't have to worship a god, there's no reason I'm required to see the sacred with a penis - after all, *I* don't have a penis, and certainly I'm balanced despite that".

In reality maybe they're thinking of those social elements like ambition, drive, power, independence, and so forth, that they identify as social elements of masculinity. Meanwhile I'm just taking for granted those elements are also found within women and that I'm balanced just fine as a woman with ambition AND compassion, drive AND nurturing, and so forth. Social elements like these need not be expressed by a separate man and woman, so why the heck should people insist I must worship a God and Goddess to recognize them?

As society changes and our social constructs change, we realize those social elements (like compassion) don't really fit into male and female. I'm guessing it's the changing understandings of what is male and female that is causing the confusion (there's a post or two on this in the tomboy heroine thread in Books as well).


It probably sound really silly, but that is exactly how I view them. I humanify them after how I feel their energy, how they convert themselves to me, or how I convert the image of the sum of their thought qualities (since I dont know if I believe they are actuall beings).

No it doesn't sound silly at all, thank you for mentioning it, and helping the discussion develop. I am interested to see how others look at this, especially since as a straight born female I can only understand so much, ya know.

Caelestis ♥ Raven
September 3rd, 2008, 10:54 AM
Beautiful awesome post :)

I never much care for the whole this is what is masculine side and this is what is feminine. When you begin to split it into two different sides of this is feminine and this is masculine you are just forcing us into these tight fitting boxes.

Instead I like to view balance as a circle. There are no sides. Everything is one, everything twists & turns and blends into one.

I believe the Divine is genderless. I believe we create archetypes our Gods & Goddesses to represent aspects of the Divine. To give ourselves an easy "face" to connect with and focus on.

As a woman I embrace an archetype that I can connect with, a female presence, my Goddess.

The Goddess is everything. She is the entire circle not just half of it. I experience the Goddess through my sight, sound, dreams, soul, life etc.. So I need to view Her in a way that I can connect & hold on to.

Just as the Goddess is whole so am I. I am not half of any puzzle. I don't need anyone else to complete me.

tellmethetruth
September 3rd, 2008, 12:12 PM
If you ignore the genitals, breasts, hair, the voice and all the physical qualities differentiating the God from the Goddess, and imagine that you're left with just the energies, what would the difference be between him and her? What would the Goddess do or say or communicate that's different from what the God would do/say/communicate? How is she female? How is he male?

AND - does God bother with women? Does the Goddess bother with men?

AND - if you're gay, which one do you get? Do you get both?

What do you do to worship the Goddess? What do you do differently to worship the God?

Do they agree on things?

Sometimes I wonder if they're divorced.

tellmethetruth
September 3rd, 2008, 12:22 PM
[quote=Karri Morgan;3677973]
For example me. I have female genitals, but I am gay, and like girls, and I am also sometimes aggressive, passionate and strong, qualities we call male. So, even though I am a woman, I have male qualities. So to me, when I think of a female deity, I have a tendency to giving that deity female qualities, and define them after the archetype-female.

So when I say I am a goddess-centered person, it means that I would rather pray to a deity that has the typical female energies and qualities, of compassion, thoughtfullness, softness, e.t.c. Because I have enough of the male qualities as it is :P I pray to goddesses, and not gods, because I feel more comfortable with the female energy, and the female qualities. I dont like the demanding self-centeredness I often feel if I focus on the gods, but that might be born out of my fear for the christian god, which I view as being demanding, selfish, egocentric, selfrighteous e.t.c. [quote]

What I hear you saying is that you've got more of the qualities associated with God, so you balance your energies by honoring Goddess. Correct? That makes perfect sense to me.

Why do you think it is that straight men typically don't honor the goddess?

Not to get too personal - but going with the flow of this conversation, do you prefer a feminine female partner or a masculine female partner?

Karri Morgan
September 4th, 2008, 03:02 AM
What I hear you saying is that you've got more of the qualities associated with God, so you balance your energies by honoring Goddess. Correct? That makes perfect sense to me.

Why do you think it is that straight men typically don't honor the goddess?

Not to get too personal - but going with the flow of this conversation, do you prefer a feminine female partner or a masculine female partner?


Yes, that is exactly what I am saying, thank you for summing it up :)

I think that straight men and most straight women have a secure identity and balance themselves in the relationships with other people. For example, a feminine guy might find a female with more male qualities (not looks :P) and a masculine guy may be attracted to more feminine girls. A feminine woman might want a masculine guy.

Not that all relationships are that way, but I do believe that as we seek balance in what we believe in, we also seek it through other people. And in relationship that dont work, there is usually a lack of balance in some way.

I like small feminine women ;) And I have masculine qualities and energies, so in my case, it fits..

And by honoring the goddess, she helps me in the struggle against my more masculine negative energies. She gives me balance and inner peace, you could say.


Edit:
So that people dont get the wrong idea, and begin stereotyping me, I do MAKE UP, and wear dresses, and am on the outside a feminine girl myself. I am not a stereotypical gay girl. When I say I have masculine qualities, I mean as in inner energies, and certain personality traits :P