It twists my gut like an intestinal bug when people use the term “feminine divine” or “divine feminine” when what is meant is female deity. I keep thinking that like many gut bugs, it might just go away on its own—but no such luck.
Here’s how I see the history, the herstory, of this linguistic corruption. From what I remember, “divine feminine” (or “feminine divine” or “sacred feminine”) came into usage sometime in the 1980s by people, some of them authors, who wanted to refer to a female deity (or female deities, or female aspects of the divine) but didn’t want to use the word Goddess or wanted to talk about the subject in a non-religious, even not specifically spiritual, context. Often they also didn’t want their views to be construed as feminist. Sometimes these were participants in the New Age movement or people approaching the newly emerging Goddess movement from a psychological standpoint (“it helps women feel better” or “it helps women find themselves”). It was not unusual for them to speak of the “feminine within” for women and the “inner feminine” for men. For women, what was usually meant was that they had an outer feminine and an inner feminine, and that the inner feminine was spiritual. For men, there was the implied constraint that their feminine part was of course tucked away “within” where only they would be aware of it. These ideas seem to be rooted in the Jungian anima-animus concept.
Though I think that helping women “feel better” or “find themselves” may be a worthy goal and is part of the picture for some interested in Goddess, it is not by any means the full picture and it diminishes the power (and empowerment) of Goddess by making the role of the divine less than in other religions or spiritual paths. Continue reading “Why Not ‘Feminine Divine’? by Judith Laura”