The Holy Spirit: the Christian Goddess
The Holy Spirit: the Christian Goddess
So Elohim created man in his own image,
in the image of Elohim he created him;
male and female he created them.
It is my intention in this article to uncover and expose the semantic, historical, and theological truth behind this third divine person of the Christian Trinity. I am aided in this by scriptural and semantic evidence, as well as sound theology. I will first refute Mary's conception 'by the spirit' and my arguments behind this stance; I will then present a more accurate (meaning, gendered) depiction of the Holy Ghost than the traditional one based on the historical Jesus' teachings and scriptural, historical and mythological evidence.
Get it Right! Ruach is not a Boy's Name! (Good News according to Phillip)
The idea that the Holy Ghost intervened in Jesus' virgin birth is met with open hostility in the gospels of the Nag Hammadi collection, where Phillip the Apostle even says: "when did a woman ever conceive of another woman?", which is a clear reference to the Ruach, or Holy Spirit. This is the one time in the Christian scriptures where the Holy Ghost is referred to clearly and directly as a 'woman'. It is no wonder that Phillip's gospel is excluded from the patriarchal canon, which was organized by the Pauline School.
The term 'Ruach', which is the word used by Jesus to refer to the Spirit, is a feminine Aramaic term translated as the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost in English, which came through Latin as the Spiritus Sanctus. The (Pauline influenced) Romanization of Christianity brought about the masculinization of the Ruach, whose feminine gender is CENTRAL to the Christian mystery, and I will explain why later in my article.
In Romance languages, words have gender, that is, they are grammatically considered either masculine (as in EL hombre: the man, or EL carro: the car) or feminine (as in LA mujer: the woman, or LA casa: the house). The same applies to the Latin language. The Latin word spiritus is a masculine word. But the original, Semitic word that was used by Yeshua, the rabbi we know as Jesus, was Ruach, and this is a feminine gendered word. Ruach is the (female) Spirit, the Soul, the accurately gendered Latin translation of which should have probably been Anima. This is the term that Jungians are now using to refer to the inner feminine, or the Divine Feminine. In translating Ruach as spiritus, the association remained between soul and breath, but the original gender of the divine being that Jesus referred to as Ruach was changed.
Phillip, who walked with the historical Jesus, was in fact adamantly rejecting the view of the Pauline School and other Christians on the Holy Ghost and the fathering of Jesus by this agent, because Ruach is a female.
Keep in mind that Paul never met Jesus or heard his teachings in person. For this reason, Paul's teachings, particularly where they entirely divorce themselves from Jewish tradition, may have been an affront to many traditional Jewish followers who were more familiar than him with the teachings of the historical Jesus and knew Paul's theology to be contradictory to that of their Messiah.
Paul's view reflects a strong gentile influence, particularly where he constructed a Christian theology almost identical to Orpheic Dionysian religion, which is a Greek Mystery Tradition. Anyone who knows about the Orpheic tradition will agree with me that the Christian theology that the Pauline School produced was a new form of Orpheism: a mortal is born of a virgin, performs superhuman feats, dies and is miraculously reborn, and becomes a Man-God. He is the new Dionysus, the Son of God (Theos, or Zeus), the God of wine who initiates mortals in the mysteries of wine, and the one who brings, with his mysteries, a promise of a better lot in the afterlife. Jesus himself said: I am the Vine. Jesus himself established his identity within the context of a Dionysian mystery.
The religions of Dionysus and the Christ are even observed similarly, via mysteries known as sacraments. In the Old Testament, and in Jewish tradition, the idea of 'mysteries' apparently does not exist. Mysteries were central to Greek paganism, and they're defined as sacraments, or ritual events, often of an initiatory nature, that produce an ineffable experience. It's only when belief in Jesus' salvific religion is proclaimed that we read of mysteries in the Bible. Before the idea of salvation, there were no mysteries in the Essenean form of Judaism that Jesus and John the Baptist practiced.
The Christian sacraments clearly derive from the Greek Mysteries, and share some similarities with the Dionysian and even the Eleusinian mysteries. We need only look at the Dionysian and Orpheic consumption of goat meat or bread and wine in order to attain communion with the Son of God (Dionysus) to see a clear pattern which all salvific religions share: the consumption of the sacrificial victim implies one's participation in his salvation and grace, and this is how one benefits from the man-god's sacrificial merit.
Having lived among gentiles his whole life, Paul must have been familiar with their theologies and beliefs, and was quite brilliant in his retelling of the Jesus myth in line with the more familiar tradition of Greek heroes and men-gods, which was an appealing theme to Greeks and other gentiles. In fact, mystery religions were in the process of replacing traditional, classical paganism throughout the Mediterranean.
The Pauline salvific faith is, therefore, not entirely contradictory to the Essene Jewish teachings of Jesus, but Paul's mysteries or sacraments erase the memory of an important early Christian person: the Holy Ghost. And it is here that Phillip takes a stand against Christians who don't understand the true, original Christian teachings, and are perpetuating false doctrines.
Keeping in mind that Phillip (unlike Paul) walked with the historical Jesus and heard the teachings directly from his mouth, we have to interpret Phillip's remark in his gospel as meaning that the Pauline School was teaching a false doctrine that contradicted what Jesus taught while alive. This means that there is a Goddess, which is hidden or silenced in the Christian tradition, and that the Holy Ghost is a woman. It also means that there is another explanation, other than our familiar immaculate conception, for Mary's virgin birth. The theological implications of this for Christians are many. Let's look within the Bible for references of the Holy Ghost.
The Waters of Life
Jesus hints at the Holy Ghost's gender when he refers to his 'mother' in heaven, and compares her in the Nag Hammadi gospels to his earthly mother, saying his earthly mother gave him death but his heavenly mother gave him life. He also mentions that his followers are to be born again of the Ruach or Anima, and he speaks of baptism as a ritual of rebirthing, where we are BORN again of the water. Everyone knows there is no birth without a womb, without a mother. Jesus explains this so that the gender of the Ruach is not only incidental, but central and crucial to the mystery of baptism, and the one being baptised is reborn as a child of the Holy Ghost, he or she is born again of the Holy Ghost, a son of the Goddess. I have presented all these facts to conclude that Jesus, and his rabbi John the Baptist, both of whom were Essenes, were beyond a shadow of a doubt teaching a form of Goddess spirituality and a Goddess mystery tradition WITHIN Judaism, and that the Ruach's status as a Divine WOMAN was central to the true mystery and meaning of baptism (3).
Like all initiations, in the baptism performed by John the Baptist and the Essenes, the old self must die and one is reborn again. The Gospel of Phillip sheds light on this mystery when it teaches us that 'a horse can only beget a horse, a man can only beget a human, and a god can only beget a god'. This further illuminates what it means to be 'born of the Ruach'. If the Ruach is spirit, then one reborn from Her becomes spirit and shares her divine, immortal nature, and receives the Holy Ghost as his mother. This new relationship between humans and the Ruach is one of the things that identifies the new Christian community and Christian mysticism.
The mystery of baptism is clearly a Goddess mystery, where the sacred waters grant us new life just as they did in Genesis. In fact, the creation myth that we find in Genesis is based on an earlier, Sumerian myth where the Sumerian Father God (El) and Mother Goddess (Asherah) (1) copulate [are in union] at the beginning of creation. We know of the identity between the God of Abraham and the Heavenly King in Sumerian myth from the name: El. Most prophets and angels in Jewish traditions have names that end in -el, such as Daniel, Gabriel, Mikael, etc. This is a reference to El, the Sumerian God, with whom Abraham believed to have made a pact or covenant that extended to all his descendants. Abraham came from Ur, where El was the main God, even if one among many.
We also know of the identity between the Holy Ghost and the Asherah because both are the waters of life. Lady Wisdom, in the Bible, says that She existed before creation and witnessed it, which means that She is non-created, and therefore her nature is divine. In the Sumerian myth, the spirit of El is hovering over the Asherah, and they are copulating [in union]. In the Genesis myth, the waters of life are no longer personified, and we see a plain sea where the Sumerians saw a watery primal Goddess. But the myth, otherwise, is almost identical. Asherah is the consort of the God of Abraham, the co-Creator, and this must have been the reason why Jewish women used to commit transgressions against the prophets' warnings and pray to Her during early Judaism, because they saw their pagan cousins and neighbors praying to her alongside their more familiar God, and they knew that they had a spiritual Mother who had been stolen from them by patriarchal Jewish religious authorities. Lynn Gottlieb makes the point that had Jewish women - as opposed to Jewish men - written the Bible, the story of the evolution of their religious thinking would have been told very differently.
In the African Yoruba tradition, known as Santeria in the diaspora, there is a type of once in a lifetime initiation where a mortal becomes a priest of an Orisha, which resonates with the Christian baptismal Goddess mystery. One of the many rituals that has to take place before initiation is, as in Eleusis, a ritual bath. This takes place in the river, as Oshun is the Goddess of the sweet waters of life, of fertility, and of the rivers. Oshun's name means 'source', and like Asherah She is a water Goddess. She is therefore identical to the pre-Biblical the Sea Goddess hinted in Genesis only as a de-personified metaphor in her role as the initiator in a new spiritual dispensation. Once the initiate has bathed in Oshun's waters and once he has been cleansed of his past crimes, he is fit for rebirth. In Eleusis, the ritual bath and sacrifices also took place before the initiates entered the Telesterion and underwent the more important secret rites. I won't get into any more details as it's not within the scope of this article, but Yoruba religion is the only pagan mystery religion, which has existed consistently and without interruption since pagan times.
Then have them make a sanctuary for me, that my Shekinah may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8
The Jewish Holy Ghost is known as Shekinah. Her name means 'presence', and according to Lynn Gottlieb (2), her descent among the Jews seems to have been the fulfilment of the terms of the alliance between the God of Abraham and the Jewish people. Hence, the Ark of the Alliance was built so that She may dwell among them.
In the Christian tradition, some of the boons of the Holy Ghost include creativity, inspiration, counsel, and the transformation of both the individual and the culture by its grace. These are all attributes of Divinity that are associated with the Shekinah, and these have become evident in the modern Goddess movement, which accentuates the importance of intuition and creativity. They also are in line with the Jungian concept of Anima as the Inspirer, and with scriptural references to Sophia, or Divine Wisdom in Proverbs, Wisdom, and other books of the Bible. In her attributes and roles, the Ruach, the Shekinah, Sophia and the modern pagan Goddess seem to be one and the same.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. Proverbs 8:23
In the scriptures, Wisdom (Sophia, in Greek) is the Lady that inspires men to be good, righteous, and wise, and to perform virtuous deeds. She is the Goddess of philosophers (literally, 'lovers of Wisdom'), King Salomon seems to have been inebriated with Her beauty and power, and the eighth chapter of Proverbs is the one chapter in all of the Bible where She speaks for herself, in the first person.
In our day, the Ecclesia Gnostica and Essene reconstructionist groups are celebrating Christian tradition in a way that is truer to the original form than the orthodox, more familiar forms of Christianity. Other, more mainstream churches have also stepped in and, mainly with insights from the Nag Hammadi library and the Dead Sea scrolls, are revisioning Christianity in a way that will help it stay true to the original spirit in which these mysteries were taught. They also are coming to terms with the fact that there were various original forms of Christianity and that there was a struggle for power between these different schools, which is only normal in all human institutions. This may indicate a need for research beyond the politics and the egos involved in the process of distilling a Bible and a Christian tradition that was acceptable to all. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide these efforts to retell Her story and revitalize the culture. Peace,
The Holy Spirit: the Christian Goddess
1. The descent of the Holy Ghost upon Jesus is described in Matthew 3:16, where the 'signal' that is given is a dove. Anyone familiar with Sumerian, Phoenician, and Canaanite religions will be reminded - and surely Jews in those days were - of Asherah, the Mother Goddess, whose sacred symbol is a dove, and who was worshipped alongside the Father God El as his consort by the neighbors of the Jews. Unfortunately whenever a (usually feminist) theologian dares look beyond the Judeo Christian tradition in her work, she's usually considered an anthropologist instead of a theologian, but in the case of the Asherah the evidence linking her and the Divine Feminine in the Jewish and Christian traditions is strong enough that it's almost impossible to miss.
2. Lynn Gottlieb is a brilliant feminist theologian who wrote 'She Who Dwells Within'.
3. The Catholic and other churches that perform baptism shortly after birth have forgotten the true nature of the baptismal mystery. The person being baptised must be mature in order to experience transformation. There is another, also important, ritual which has replaced the true baptismal mystery in the Christian tradition: that of naming a newborn and welcoming him into the community. It is important that a newborn be presented to the elders in a community in order to ensure that they will take an interest in him and protect and guide him. Freya Aswynn, in fact, mentions that there seemed to be a form of 'baptism' in Northern Europe * before * Christianity was officialized. The Havamal contains the instructions for this ritual, where water is sprinkled on the child and the rune EIHWAZ is chanted. This is a protective rune. The ritual of welcoming a child into the community by sprinkling of water also exists among the Yoruba, so that it seems to exist in several cultures that engage in ancestor reverence. While this is an important ceremony, it serves quite a different purpose from the baptism that we see in the Bible. Jesus himself was not baptised until he was 30, and baptism was only performed if the person made a decision to enter the New Covenant.
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