“She rules the elements, the air, the earth, and the sea. She governs the life of the animals; she tames the wild beasts and prevents their extinction . . . She assists in birth.”
The Ancient Greeks on the goddess Artemis
Before I was old enough to fly, I pretended to fly standing on a cliff above the Long Island
Sound. With my blond hair tossing and my arms outstretched wide into the wind, the roar of
the waves below echoed a thundering roar, leaving a white frothy foam in their wake. Towards
the horizon where the tumultuous water meets the stalwart sky, I imagined flying, suspended
between them. It seemed as if anything was possible in those early days.
Seven years later, as I sat at a dinner table with my parents, “devout” atheists, I realized that little did they know of the powerful influence of religion on my young girl’s heart. While my parents believed that traditional religions are wrongly used to justify prejudice, hate, and wars, the surrounding societal norms said otherwise. When I was 14 years old, I asked my teacher
why a male was not a female God. I told her that I found this odd since women populated half of the earth. She appeared astonished that I would ask such a question and then said, “Well, that’s just not the way the world is. Remember, too, that it was Eve and her weakness, which led to the downfall of humankind.” I later made fun of her answer to a classmate, but in truth, her response was not so easily dismissed.
Here was a woman, an intelligent teacher, who was comfortable relegating women to secondclass citizenship in a heavenly hierarchy. Her response may be supported in the Bible, but not her by profession. In reading the bible, she must have come across passages such as “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent, for Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”
The absence of a female God influenced the teacher’s identity and even my own. Though I was raised “without religion,” and we did not attend church except for Christmas Mass, our society’s dominant religious dogma influenced me. While many Christian dictates are positive and welcome, especially when they directly refer to the words of Jesus Christ— “Do Unto Others,” “Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself”—others are extremely harmful. For example, the existence of a male God, absent a female counterpart, sends a strong message. If divinity is deemed to flow from this one masculine source, then all beings that do not resemble the masculine God, including women, children, and animals, are demoted in this “heavenly hierarchy.”
From Secrets of a Celtic Mystic: Sacred Earth Prophecy by Catriona MacGregor