Friday, August 19, 2016

High Priestess - Tapping in to the Divine Feminine

Look upon me, you who reflect upon me,
and you hearers, hear me.
An old, close friend was here, today, visiting, for the full Moon in Aquarius. She uses the Thoth deck and had recently pulled the High Priestess, depicted with outspread arms, so different from the traditional image of her, sitting on a throne, holding a book. We got talking about what that signified. What is the Goddess or Deity, exactly ?

In Tarot and numerology, 2 is receptive energy personified. The Arabic numeral is in the shape of an ear, because it has to do with hearing, listening. 1 embodies vision, literally a first ray or bolt of lightening. [As a side note, Taurus rules the second zodiac house. Though Aries rules the head in general, ear, nose and throat are more Taurus' jurisdiction.]
If one puts the Marseille Juggler (Magician) beside the Priestess, one could imagine him as listening to her. The wand he holds is parallel to the strap across her front, directed to the book she's holding. His lemniscate hat, with it's two, distinct loops, is open to receive and is a symbol of the eternal return. That he is 'merely' a performer means he himself is not the source of this magic, but a trickster who, by listening and creating space, can 'bring it.'  Interestingly, by casting cards, you yourself become the Magician, with four types of tools, while the vehicle of space, as personified in the Papess revealing sacred wisdom, is Tarot.

Hear me, you hearers
and learn of my words, you who know me.
I am the hearing that is attainable to everything;
I am the speech that cannot be grasped.
I am the name of the sound
and the sound of the name.

 ~ From The Thunder:Perfect Mind, Nag Hammadi Texts

In ancient times - as with any rock concert or belly dance performance or Baptist sermon, today - the performer or priest had to connect with and exchange energy with the audience. The uplifted audience then became as one, through synergy. The Deity was the collective spiritual experience, larger than the individual, but felt inside, by each. The sacred space being accessed (or summoned) for the spirit to flow through and become alive in - one could say that was the feminine principal, regardless of whether people considered the Deity to be male or female. She was/is present in connectivity itself.
Sometimes psychogenic substances were used to enhance the experience, just as they are today, although now people use substances solely because they have lost the ability to open.
This ever-present, but invisible space was concretized as the temple or church, but nature was the original temple, and birds her priests.

We spoke of singing to both people and animals - my friend, to a Tibetan lama, me, to a crow - and how the subject inspires the song. For this giving, receiving and returning to occur naturally, a space needs to open, sesame. That is the threefold way of Goddess. Every time you open space to listen to and understand another living thing, or to receive inspiration with which to playfully create something (as opposed to having to do it for work, noble as that may be), you bring the Divine Feminine into being. The resulting creation then embodies spiritual aliveness, and can be a catalyst in opening space for others.

The modern world seems to be set on eliminating space and imposing will, in one form or another.  Rather than listen to a tree, we think of it in terms of how it can be useful to us. We keep other living beings in cages or kill them for sport and raise our children in institutions, where the same lessons are imposed on everyone of a certain age. Few of us have any energy exchange with what we consume in the way of food - energy just means caloric intake. We want things how they 'should' be, not as they are. Silence is feared, space is the blackness 'out there.'

I am the one whom they call Life,
and you have called Death.
   ~ Ibid

Merely replacing the male godhead with a female is a superficial and symbolic step, but unless we begin to re-open the space that is the living Goddess, through which the spirit flows between every living thing, we will continue on the path of death; eating dead food, wasting knowledge, being ignorant to the root of illnesses, plundering nature/each other, and so on. Then and only then will we finally experience space, for she is also the space between lifetimes and lifeforms, through which both karmic and genetic information is passed. And if we die without listening, we are in for more of the same. That is probably why the first words in the Tibetan Book of the Dead are 'Oh nobly born, listen undistractedly.' Passages are recited to the dead person's soul, to which they must be receptive, instructing them on navigation of the in-between realms.

To the attached person (and we all have some attachments), space feels like a void, equated with Death, and must therefor be a-voided. Silence, stillness and aloneness must be filled with sound, motion and other people.  Their experience of the Goddess space is finite - an empty vessel, from which one might hear an echo, but little else. Patriarchal religion sees the Divine Feminine only as a vessel for the male God, imposing will on that which has no form, but silently provides, sustains and returns life to all creation.

This is not to deny the importance of masculine energy in creation. Going back to Tarot, we see that the Juggler/Magician is the spirit or spark that exists in everything. He has all his tools set before him, and will use the appropriate one, based on what he hears and where the energy wants or needs to be directed. When these two are combined - the spirit and the space - we get the threefold return, a directed movement that is a reverberation and microcosm of the original.

In Tarot, cups are indeed feminine vessels, but the Ace is usually depicted as a threefold fountain, rather than just an empty cup, wherein the waters of life are flowing. It's the natural space, depicted as a church in the Marseille Ace of Cups - likely both a metaphor and a disguise.

And yes, of course the Goddess takes many forms - the Earth, the Moon, and everything in between - but ultimately this initial space is her 'formless form,' via which she gives birth to the infinite manifestations of herself.

I am the knowledge of my inquiry,
and the finding of those who seek after me,
and the command of those who ask of me,
and the power of the powers in my knowledge
of the angels, who have been sent at my word,
and of gods in their seasons by my counsel,
and of spirits of every man who exists with me,
and of women who dwell within me.                      
                                            ~ Ibid

All written content herein, except the Nag Hammadi
excerpts, is copyright ©Roxanna Bikadoroff 2016.


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  1. Thank you for your inspirational article titled "High Priestess - Tapping in to the Divine Feminine," which I was delighted to discover today. It is so profound that I shall have to read it several times in order to understand it fully. But I will thoroughly enjoy reading and re-reading it. You see, I am a retired pastor from a Christian denomination that does not appreciate the Divine Feminine. But I have come to appreciate it and I find it intellectually challenging and satisfying, spiritually liberating and emotionally uplifting. I want to learn all that I can about the divine feminine and your article is wonderful to contemplate. Bless you.

  2. Thank you, that is very kind and good of you to write. I am always glad to hear that someone is getting something out of these blogposts and that they might provide a bridge or a doorway of inquiry. Bless you, too ;-)

  3. It's definitely worth reading the Gnostic hymn quoted here, in it's entirety, btw.