This is the third part in a chapter I'm composing about the Divine Feminine. If you've followed the first two installments, you know that after reading and thinking about Margaret Fuller's essay, published in The Dial, entitled The Great Lawsuit, I decided to review her treatise.
Forgive me for taking the long way to getting back to Fuller's essay but I'm trying to let the ocean current take you on this same ride. For us to speed comfortably along on the wave, we must be well aware of the undercurrents.
Because God as father has become an over literalized metaphor, the symbol of God as mother is eclipsed. The problem lies not in the fact that male metaphors are used for God, but that they are used exclusively and literally.
Religion means different things to different people if we were to sample definitions. It has become very popular to say, "I'm not religious but I'm SPIRITUAL," or perhaps even more in vogue is the expression that "I identify less with organized religion than with a purely spiritual approach to God and the Universe."
There are several possible root words for religion. The most standard is RELIGO from religare, meaning to bind fast, though Cicero believed the word came from relegere, meaning to read again. I want to propose that it is a combination of both but I'd like to dissect the root words further.
Quick searches almost universally tell us that the Latin LIGO means to tie. But there are other meanings. Unite, fasten, wrap. To "re" wrap or reunite or refasten or to re "tie" our connection to God, seems very different to me than to "Bind Fast." Although when I think about reuniting with God and if I allow myself to think of God as the balancing force of the universe, as the healing power of everything, and not necessarily as a "creator," then I DO want to be bound fast with such a force.
Cicero's definition to read again then will mean what I just described, to re "acquire the word," or rethink my connection. As it turns out I've lived my life wondering about my connection to God so in a sense I'm in a constant state of re "reading," all that has been laid at my feet to help me answer my own question "Who Am I?"
If we follow the etymology of the word religion then we may see the direct link to what I often describe as the point of any practice of spirituality, which is to "commune" with God. To connect, to be connected, to be whole, to have unity, to be the I AM. In this state of blissful communion, we may discover we have powers to be joyful, to heal, to see more clearly, to perceive from a higher vantage point. So really then, we don't have to make a distinction between spirituality and religion, that is if we accept this definition of religion.
But because of the practices of religion and not the meaning behind the religions themselves we have come to think of religion as something else than having a direct connection to God. And it may be those practices themselves which have also distorted our view of who and what God is.
I've promised to keep these posts to short manageable bites. So I'll leave you now with only this much. But I'm encouraged by what I'm finding in religious texts to suggest that they weren't originally written as directories for "boys clubs" and God wasn't originally depicted as a male. Or I should say the texts are open to different translations.