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The tendency on the spiritual path is to personify divine principles, and to a certain extent that’s okay. But the discipline is to never forget who the person is and which principle is being represented. In the case of Mary, the mother of Jesus, this is especially true because, well, she’s the mother of Jesus, you know? And if you’ve already personified the Christ in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, then Jesus is God, which makes Mary the Mother of God. And I am quite sure that there is no one in the universe who would object to that appellation more than Mary herself.

The reason divine principles are personified in the first place is that in order for a teaching to persist over time, it must be turned into a myth. This doesn’t make it a lie, which is the way most people interpret the word “myth.” Instead, it turns it into an immortal story. And because divine principles don’t change over time, all of the world’s great myths closely resemble each other. It does not mean, as some mythologists think, that one story gets emulated over and over, thus building up a mystique around it. The stories are similar because the principles they describe are eternal.

Some believe that the Feminine Principle has to do with the mystery of childbirth, which it does, but to say that that’s the only thing it does misses the boat entirely. Childbirth, while miraculous, is still of the body. Even if you raise it to the mental level and call it the creative principle, it’s still only a mental phenomenon. No, the real meaning of the Feminine Principle has to be ontological in scope. It has to be about being itself. This is the realm of the divine — not body, not mind.

For this reason, the Feminine Principle cannot be about Mary alone, nor can it be about the female gender alone. Gender is body. And it doesn’t help us very much either to try to expand it into a cosmic perspective and say that it is about polarity, though it is about that, too. But to think that Mary represents the negative charge of an electron would be reductionist in the extreme.

There is a reason that people are used as icons, that God is pictured as a person, that animals and other living things are used to describe divine principles. And it has to do with the very nature of the universe itself, namely that it is alive and not merely an aggregation of rocks and ice pushed and pulled by nuclear reaction and gravitational force.

When we talk about the Feminine Principle, we are talking about consciousness. And even deeper than that, we are talking about Being and the way Being expresses itself outwardly into manifestation — the act of creation.

The act of creation requires four things:

  • An idea of the thing you want to create — a plan
  • The will to put your plan into action
  • The daring to commit the action, sometimes in the face of seemingly insurmountable resistance
  • And the ability to let go of your action so that your plan can manifest (on the seventh day, God rested)

The Feminine Principle is the spiritual universe’s response to these four elements of the act of creation. “Let it be done…unto me!” That which is put into motion by mind must have an energy that receives the action and brings it into manifested form.

Now, this all sounds so cosmological, so metaphysical — even occult. And it would be all that if the universe were not conscious and alive. Rocks, trees, plants and animals are not enough to contain this Life. We are not talking about nature worship. What we normally perceive as “nature” is but the effect of a larger Life, our own physical body being no exception. It is the Solar System itself that constitutes the vehicle of this larger Life — a living cell in the greater body of the Cosmos. We have to understand the body in which we live before we can understand the greater body.

The Feminine Principle is so vast and so powerful that the mind cannot comprehend it. Consider the analogy of sperm and egg. The tiny sperm cell carries the initiative, the spark; the brooding ovum carries the power to act on that initiative. The sperm cell carries the plan, which is procreation. It is the extension of will. And it is committed to the action. But once it has achieved its goal, it disappears. And all of the latent potential of the ovum is unleashed in mathematical precision to the fulfillment of the Divine Will.

The universe functions through adaptation. It takes the infinite number of available possibilities and decides which of them will be acted upon. The ancient symbol for decision is the sword. (Note that the word “decide” has the same root as the word “homicide.”) The ovum culls the herd of sperm cells, choosing only one. The rest die.

The Divine Feminine yearns to fulfill the Divine Will. Without the Divine Feminine’s yearning (and capability) there could be no Divine Will. Neither could exist without the other. A plan means nothing without the ability (and the mater-ial) with which to carry it out.

The vast productive power of the Divine Feminine belies its seemingly passive nature. Just as the ovum controls which sperm will be allowed to start the process of reproduction, so does the Divine Feminine adjudicate the endless ramifications of the mind. If the mind were the final arbiter of what would be created, this universe would be chaotic and unsustainable. It would implode under its own weight. Thus the Divine Feminine is the Preserver of the Cosmos.

The Divine Feminine manifests itself in both men and women. It is not exclusive to the female gender. In fact, it has nothing to do with gender at all. Women manifest outwardly as feminine, but inwardly, which is to say spiritually, they are fiercely masculine. This is why they are the chief proponents of the world’s spiritual movements. Men, on the other hand, are spiritually feminine, which means that they are willing to receive instruction.

But those who have achieved the balance of male and female within themselves are capable of being both proponents and adherents. They can both give and receive. They have the ability to create within themselves. This is the Sacred Marriage spoken of by the ancients. It is the inner meaning of the Virgin Birth. Mary was one who had attained the Sacred Marriage, and was thus able to give birth to the Sun.

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Michael Maciel
Michael Maciel is the author of the website The Mystical Christ (mysticalchrist.org) and two books on contemporary Christian mysticism--The Five Vows and World Priest. Michael lives and writes in Redwood City, California. Contact Michael at michaelmaciel@me.com.

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