“The hero, whether god or goddess, man or woman, the figure in a myth or the dreamer of a dream discovers and assimilates his opposite either by swallowing it or by being swallowed.” Joseph Campbell
May, our fifth month. Named after the Goddess Maia the eldest and loveliest of the famous Pleiades constellation known as the “seven sisters.” According to mythology Maia was the goddess of spring, causing plants to grow, symbolizing youth, life, rebirth, balance, love and sexuality. She is responsible for our word majesty.
I remember first learning about the Goddesses when I was an undergraduate student taking courses for a theology degree. Goddesses in mythology predated Christianity by thousands and thousands of years. The great Goddess, before she was split into many different forms, is one of the most ancient symbols historians and archaeologist have discovered, dating as far back as 30,000 B.C. when the first sculptures of bone, ivory or stone appeared.
The Goddess. The divine feminine. Her energy has been represented through out time in goddesses such as the courageous and fierce Egyptian Isis, the outstanding Greek athlete and huntress Artemis, or the brainy politician and warrior Athena. She has been the sensual lover like Oshun from West Africa, or a promoter of prosperity like the Hindu deity Lakshmi.
What’s important is to cultivate a connection, not necessarily to a particular female icon or ancient deity, but to the divine feminine energy and that mystical consciousness. Divine feminine energy does not have to take on a particular shape of a goddess. It can be found deep within most world religions, alternative spiritual traditions, current events, and most importantly in your own life. The divine feminine resides in each of us.
The meeting with the goddess energy represents the point in our lives when we experience a love that has tremendous power; it’s all encompassing and unconditional. It’s the union of opposites, and may take place entirely within the person. In other words, the person begins to see him or herself in a non-dualistic way. This is a very important step in the process of finding a life of balance, and it often occurs when we find another person that we love completely represented in the yin and yang symbol.
A return to the Goddess is not about an association with a biological gender; rather it’s about embracing the tension of opposites in a healthy, conscious and balanced way. Our individual wholeness is dependent on balancing each within each of us.
Our western culture’s over-identification with the masculine has lead to a neurotic drive for power. We see obvious manifestations of this in civil and international wars and in a culture that emphasizes competition and materialism over family nurturing and family connection. We see it in our dominance over the other life forms and in the systematic destruction of the environment.
There are no models for anything that is going on today. The old models are not working, and the new have not yet appeared. This is our present challenge. It is up to us to shape the new existence. Perhaps we all can strike a balance by embracing the Goddess energy and bring much needed balance to our fractured world.
The Goddess Maia embodies the remembrance and possibility of a beneficent universe and a reawakening of our hearts. She helps me to imagine a world full of abundance and the possibility of living in harmony with one another and with our planet. She reminds me that there are places that run deep enough that all the conflicts at the surface of life become mute. There are currents of empathy that surpass even the most intense disagreements. There are depths of understanding that open when we get to the very bottom and deep center of ourselves.