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  • Writer's pictureApril Beebe

The Divine Feminine: A Primer

I used to have an association of The Goddess and Divine Feminine with Lilith Fair, body hair, and bad New Age art. I’ve outgrown this association for the most part, but the spectre of it lingers when I speak of working with the Divine Feminine because I don’t want you to think of me that way (I’ve been working with this fear and have some thoughts about it but that’s its own article).

You may not have any such associations, and feel ready to embrace the Goddess, but are perhaps still unsure as to how that looks in practical terms. Like what does it actually mean to work with the Divine Feminine? Do you need to get a statue of Mary or Quan Yin and light some  candles? Is that all there is to it?

Allow me to demystify this entire prospect for you. First, I have some good news: working with the Divine Feminine is not hard, you’ve probably already been doing it, and statuary isn’t required (though totally a valid option if you’re into it!).  At it’s most basic level, working with the Divine Feminine is just about reclaiming the aspects of being that history has marginalized. Crystal clear, right?       

I’ll break it down even further: History tells us that to be a woman is to possess a certain set of characteristics, e.g, beautiful, demure, soft, thin, nurturing, emotive, intuitive, passive, etc. Humans born with vaginas had better display those things or they’re in for trouble. Also, while we’re at it- those things are bad. It’s much better to have a penis and display characteristics we’ve deemed masculine, e.g., strong, assertive, hard, intellectual, decisive, aggressive, etc. AND, for good measure- we’re going to make sure that those with penises aren’t safe if they have any of those icky feminine attributes, because as we’ve already established- those are bad. It doesn’t take more than a moment to see how fucked up this is. It’s a bum deal for women, for men, and for everyone in between.       

So Goddess work is about unraveling all that bullshit. This happens in two primary ways. First, in making space for all the aspects women haven’t historically been allowed to express (e.g., wild, angry, destructive, childless, fat, old, assertive, strong, powerful, decisive, etc.). Then secondly, in restoring the benefits of all the classically feminine traits and making them available to everyone, no matter what their genetalia look like, or what their sexual orientation is. So for example, we embrace the attribute of nurturing, acknowledge its availability to everyone, while also not forcing it on someone because they have a vagina.       

Another key aspect of the Divine Feminine is embodiment. That means bringing our awareness back into our bodies, in reclaiming the value and sacredness of our bodies. It means not seperating our bodies from spirit, but realizing them as expressions of and an entry points into spirit.  It means valuing the inherent beauty and autonomy of all bodies. It means saying no to sexual violence.       

If this sounds like feminism to you, that’s because it is. How else could it possibly look? God/dess isn’t some external seperate being up in the clouds. The divine works through us, as us. So as we collectively acknowledge the value and dignity of the feminine and the importance of embodiment, the resulting cultural shift is what the rise of the Divine Feminine looks like. It’s already happening, and has been for a while now.       

As with anything, there are layers to working with Divine Feminine and you can go as deep into it as you feel called. I’ve outlined a top-level approach to illustrate that it's not just for women, and it doesn’t have to be some strange or mysterious practice. I also want to highlight that even without a ton of people worshipping the Goddess in full moon circles, she’s been making a comeback. We can accelerate this proess by continuing to recognize our own divinity, whether that shows up as feminine, masculine, or anything in between. 

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