This month, I will travel to Europe for a family reunion with my mother’s side of the family in Alsace, France.
It will be my first time in many years, and my first time without my mother (“Crossing the ocean of trust”). I look forward to reconnecting yet I also feel the sadness of the loss of my mother this past year. She will never to return to this country that shaped her early years.
I purposely added the trip to my mother’s birthplace to precede the Religion and Spirituality in Society Conference in Granada, Spain, where I will speak about the divine feminine. It felt important to reconnect with her family before my talk, which I will present with my colleague Melanie Richardson, DOM.
You see, our mothers are the first connection with the Divine Feminine. In my mother’s family, there was always a strong matriarchal aspect because her father became an invalid after an injury when my mother was a teenager. Her own mother had to hold the family of nine girls together from that point on. Each of her sisters was quite strong in her own way but my mom was the only one who journeyed beyond the boundaries of France. Her connection with the Catholic church proved powerful for her in her new homeland of the United States.
Opening the Conversation
In Granada, Melanie and I will lead a focused discussion about the challenges we face in our patriarchal culture. We are proposing that the current state of chaos is in part due to our lack of connection with the Divine Feminine. This appears to exist worldwide but the most toxic symptoms exist in our patriarchal cultures.
Before our talk, we shared our presentation “The Divine Psychotic Break” with a small group of patients, friends, and family in Albuquerque so we could collect feedback. One man commented that he “never had thought about how the Divine Feminine is represented in his life nor ever had thought of how to bring the Divine Feminine into his life.” It was interesting to hear from this one man who is gay and has devoted his life to connecting with the God he knows.
Melanie and I began our talk acknowledging our own biases. I was raised Catholic in a rural community of nondenominational Christians. I still recall a time in junior high, when I asked a neighbor boy to attend a youth event at my church. He declined as he “was not allowed to go as Catholics are not Christian.” No amount of arguing would change his mind. I recall feeling quite puzzled by his narrow mindedness.
My first connection with the Goddess was through Mother Mary. Connecting with Mother Mary was quite easy for me as she as well as other women saints were referred to in the Catholic bible and in Mass. We learned to pray the rosary as well. This was one of the first forms of contemplation/prayer for me.
Opening Other Paths
When I attended John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, which has Jesuit roots, I explored comparative religions and philosophy. My eyes were opened to other faiths and a more open-minded expression of Catholic faith compared to what I was exposed to in my early years. I still remember how appalled my mom was when she learned that my religion class was taught by an Episcopalian, rather than one of the Jesuits. What I didn’t tell her was that I found Western philosophy and most of the religion to be boring.
Exploring different spiritual paths through the years, I found the Eastern spiritual traditions closer to what I saw to be a more encompassing philosophical truth. Taoism and the yogic philosophy allowed for me to feel I have come home to a language I can embrace.
Bringing in the Goddesses from these traditions have added a new dimension to my life. I have had different levels of healing that have come with connecting with the different energies carried by them.
My experience with Mother Mary holding me as I transitioned from giving birth to attending medical school six weeks later was one of my first adult experiences with her gentle power. I felt supported through my journeys home to be with my daughter as my parents cared for her then back again, to medical school. There were many tough moments for me yet I felt divinely held during those first years with my daughter, who is now an adult and a mother herself.
How the Goddess Enhances Us and Heals Us[
Through the years, as my practice with the divine feminine has taken root, I have become more whole and present. I plan to share other journeys with the Goddess in future blog posts, so stay tuned.
Through our own experience of connecting with the Goddesses of different traditions, we have seen how bringing them into our lives has enhanced and healed us. It has allowed us to heal our wounded feminine aspects that had prevented us from embracing our Divine wholeness. We have seen the challenges as we live in our current day culture. This approach may bring solace to the wounds that we all carry.