Monday, December 15, 2008

It's always fascinating to me how similar ideas seem to come up simultaneously in posts amongst people who have otherwise limited connections. I found the following post on the National Catholic Reporter website this morning. It's written by a fellow NCR blogger, Sylvester Steffen, whose blog site is called the Second Enlightenment.

Sylvester is a brilliant, compassionate man whose writing is always worth reading. In this post he makes the same point a commenter did on this blog yesterday. Patriarchy has advanced on the exploitation, domination, and abuse of all things feminine. In the case of Catholicism Sylvester makes the point that our sacramental system has become divorced from the truth which gives it any power at all. It's become representational, rather than natural. Another way to put this is our sacramental system is in our heads, not our hearts, a product of mental abstraction and not concrete realism. It is not one with nature, but separate and 'above' nature. It is too left brained and imbued with the Spirit of Domination:

A persisting “heresy” (choice) of Roman Catholicism, of Christianity in general, has been to institutionalize and over-emphasize representational reality and alienate the community of believers from natural reality, thereby enabling the waste, sacrilege, of Natural Sacrament.

In his presentation before the Theology of Land Conference (Collegeville, MN, 1985), Walter Brueggemann enunciated the critical wrongdoing of Western Christian culture, namely, the sanctioned exploitation (rape) of land and women, and the inseparable connection of land and women: (I would say sanctified, not just sanctioned.)

“Adam, that is, mankind, has a partner and mate, adamah, land. Humankind and land are thus linked in a covenantal relationship, analogous to the covenantal relationship between man and woman …unfortunately, in our society we have terribly distorted relationships between man and woman, between adam and adamah, distortions that combine promiscuity and domination.… Likely, we shall not correct one of these deadly distortions unless we correct them both”. [Bernard Evans & Gregory Cusack, Editors, “The Theology of Land”, 1987, The Liturgical Press,

In the ecclesiology of Roman Catholicism, Representational Sacrament has been theologized and emphasized to the point that the faith required of the faithful values Representational Sacrament (liturgy) above the reality of Natural Sacrament.

“Reality” endures in Natural Sacrament (the Naturalis Sacramentum Ordinis) which is sacred by reason of divine instance, i.e., the presence of divinity as expressed in natural prevision and provision, and celebrated in understanding Divine Providence. Grace and authenticity come from fidelity to nature, to female reality, the ground-state of all vitality. The profound degradation of nature is a failure of human prevision/ provision, of “religious” disregard and exploitation of nature, of women.

The rape and prostitution of ecozoic nature (femininity) are about exploitation, for profit, of nature’s vital resources, what are “favors of female gratuity”. All the fruits of natural vitality are fruits of female sexuality, not a gratuity belonging to patriarchal dominion but to the vital wellbeing of the communities of interdependent life.

If priesthood isn’t about service to universal Order in Natural Sacrament, it misses the point of service responsibility and functions as a demon of cultural ideology and social mischief. Unless institutional priesthood attends first to symbiotic fidelity in the Order of Natural Sacrament, it defeats its true-to-life sense of purpose and responsibility. The obsessive, male myopia of dominion theology has lost its common sense of purpose and conscience. (The Native concept of warrior, as expressed in warrior societies, is all about service to the feminine, and to the future, as expressed in living children.)

It's interesting that in Catholic angelic theorising, Michael the warrior is always portrayed in service to Mary---the warrior in service to the feminine principle. This concept has been effectively destroyed and buried in traditional Christian theology, in favor of twisted concepts of complementarity in which the feminine exists to serve the masculine through her fertility and generosity. This notion of complementarity is not supported by many mystics or spiritual visionaries. It is also not supported in any definition of clerical ministry given in the New testament by Jesus himself. In fact, Jesus takes on the role of the feminine at the Last Supper and specifically states the apostles are to be servants to the servants.
Jesus's notion of complementarity recognizes that while women are in service to their children, humanity's potential future, men must be in service to women--servants to the servants. It's about service, not domination.
Indigenous spirituality on the other hand, places the feminine front and center, recognizing it's the energy on which humanity is dependent for it's survival. This is the exact reverse of Western Christianity which more often that not blames the feminine for introducing sin and all matter of other evil. The mysterious divine feminine is to be controlled, exploited, or made subservient to male authority.
This last is why every single Marian apparition must pass the test of orthodoxy before official sanction is given. It's also the reason Joan of Arc met her fate. In her trial, when she was asked what was more important obedience to the Church Triumphant, (the voices of Michael and her Sainted mentors Catherine and Margaret), or the Church Militant, (the Bishops and Pope), Joan made the mistake of saying obedience to the Church Triumphant. So she, amongst thousands of other female mystics and visionaries, met her fate on the pyres of the Inquisition.
The scars left by the witch persecutions are still felt by spiritually talented women who are terrified of what will happen should they come out of their 'spiritual/psychic' closet and confess to 'knowings' and experiences which transcend normal reality. The Inquisition may have happened centuries ago, but it's message is still very very powerful and relevant for today. When feminine ability, whether it be fertility or spirituality, threatens patriarchy it is exploited and/or persecuted.
Whether the Church likes it or not, the fact is, women far more so than men, stand in between this reality and any other reality. This is consistently depicted in placing Mary between heaven and earth.
Men and women are complimentary, but not in the sense in which the Church tries to teach it. It is a complementarity more analogous to the differences between Quantum Physics and Newtonian physics. Newtonian physics does not exist without the creative potential of the quantum reality. In other words quantum potentiality is the uterus which births tangible reality. Women are far more connected to this truth, than men.
It's why Michael serves Mary, and in this picture, a Mary who is standing on the earth and holding a child. They are both fighting a serpent. The serpent known as the Spirit of Domination.


  1. dear colkoch. . .this is a great read. . .and thanks for the link (second Enlightenment). . .i want to come back to both your writing here and also the link for both are rich. . .You have a gift with concepts and way of expressing them in clear and concise ways. . .I have always struggled with language. . .and after getting booted out of fundamentalism for being on the wrong side of the fence. . . have done the spiritual path through direct experience and then will search for words to try to synthesis and integrate it. . .Your writing makes it look easy. .

    I so agree with you about the symbol of the dragon being the spirit of domination. . .and this spirit is expressed in all Patriarchal religions as well as some veins of Buddhism and Hinduism these day with the grasp for power and heiarchy. . .I have long read the Old and New Testament scriptures the same way. . and it seems to me all through both of them we are reading two different levels of consciousness. . .for example the story in Genesis of the Creation and how everything by the Non-dualistic Spirit is declared "good". . .then we have the next chapter and we are introduced to the Spirit of Domination and Eve and Adam are cursed and mankind fell into the illusion of separation which is duality. . .

    We have all been taught by the Church Fathers that these two are the same. . .my own little heretical beings says NO. . .All through the text is two energetically different levels of consciousness. . .

    True they are One, but one expresses lower such as the God of Wrath and the Jealous God that expresses duality and like a child and parent that are one. .yet is of greater consciousness. .the parent is much more mature and whole in understanding. . .

    More all the time i am seeing our scriptures are more the story of mankind's slow progression of consciousness. . . rather than the story to tell us who God is or is not. . . with consciousness comes individuation such as the writings of Carl Jung. . and with individuation comes a true Self that is able to stand as the tree between heaven and hell. . .not to be God. . .but to be one with the blessing and grace of the Sacred flowing into the emptiness like the beautiful Saints of old and even now bow low and serve "the least of these". . .

    colkoch. . these are just from my way of seeing and share them only as communication that might at times touch and then diverge from your own views and ways of knowing the Sacred. . . .I am not good with words but so much you wrote here i know to the deepest place in my being. . .

    Back in the late eighties and early nineties there was a phenomena going on in therapist offices all across the Western world. . .Women where coming in droves with horrific accounts of Ritual abuse. . .so many of them where based on the Catholic Church and her rituals. . .I had been taught to believe at face value all that a woman spoke concerning abuse. . .but i sat back with a gnawing which invited me to move it all into deeper realms. . and made the decision to allow it to play in my own consciousness. . .It took me seven years and in that time seven lessons came forth. . .the the material that flowed for me was not ritual abuse for i knew i had not been ritually abused. . .but rather i entered the reservoir of what Jung calls the collective unconscious or what some call the pain body. . .I found the repressed feelings and memories of thousands of ancient years and what had been done to the sacred soul of women, Mother Earth and my Native American lineage. . .by the hands of Patriarch's Spirit of Domination. . .

    I spent seven weeks with a powerful healer in Denver that placed me in physical restraints so the body would not contract and go into convulsions. . .for several hours each day. . .the ancient past was allowed to be released. . .

    After the released of moving through the blocks in the body, the body was able to open to the flow of the Sacred Feminine. . thus i came up dripping of afterbirth. . . .S/he is so very beautiful and loving and S/he is there for all creatures as a gift and expression of Creator to child. . .

    After releasing through what i called the seven lessons realized that the blocks where all due to the programming from the Spirit of Domination. . .and from my small view and experience i think the women that came through in the Ritual Abuse phenomena where expressing the ancient persecution of Mother Earth, Native soul, and the Divine Feminine. . .

    I love Jesus and the Universal Mother and would never walk away from them or throw the baby out with the water. . for i am one of the babies. . .just like everyone else. . .they together show the way. . .but for me the Circle just keeps getting bigger and like Dr. E. writes there is a river beneath the river which is the true Church. . .and She does not have walls. . .

    colkoch i cringe abit that i am sharing so much. . .but have come to the place in life where the real or perceived Spirit of Domination in any of its forms is no longer the one that has my voice. . .And one of the ways they keep us quite and looking pretty is to shame and label us as mental or heretics. . .I am not saying my voice holds Truth but this is the (t)truth that i walk with. . .

    Nowadays when i read the lessons, parables spoken by Jesus time again i believe he was trying to teach us about the "river beneath the river" that flows and allows us the open connection where we know we are not separated from the Source of God. . .

    Mercy! did not mean to write all of this but once again just flowed and did not know when or how to stop. . .

    In the big period i know it is all perfect and some how it is in the agitation of the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of Domination the and both that we are cleansed and renewed much like being energetically in a Maytag washing machine. . .the two bounce us back and forth to the place we know we cannot live it by Law or Domination but rather by the waters of grace, love and forgiveness we are cleansed and set free. . .

  2. I have to take exception with a couple of things here, one is the dragon as a symbol of domination. The serpent is the symbol of domination, not the dragon. To the contrary, the dragon has historically been the protector and defender, and is traditionally given both feminine and masculine character traits. It is a symbol is revered and honored in many cultures, including some native american.

    I am also troubled by what I am experiencing as "male bashing". I will be the first to acknowledge that vast numbers of men deserve the title of "pig", and perhaps I am still sensitive to the abusive treatment that men received during the feminist uprising in the 60's and 70's. My own experience was to watch a very effective and balanced office be destroyed by a new female manager who systematically terminated the male employees in the department because of her prejudices and bitterness. Admittedly some deserved it, but there were many others who didnt.

    My point is that as we move forward, we must not fall into the old ways that led us to the chaos we are experiencing now. It is time to bring balance of both, not the imbalance of either/or.

    It is too easy to slip into retribution instead of mutual contribution.

    We must also be aware, that if the story that Neale gave us in CWG III about the origin of male dominated society and satan is anywhere close to accurate, both sides in the gender battle have been wrong in the past and both have valid historical complaints against the other.

    I dont know why this is hitting me like this today, but it must be for a reason. Like you Marci, I sometimes have difficulty communicating my feelings. One too many head injuries from an earlier age when I felt I had to prove my manhood.

    todays word is spion - spanish ions?

  3. Marci, we've done it again, I wrote in a comment on the NCR that I felt Jesus was teaching on two different levels. On one level he recognized people who needed the security of laws and dogma, but His other teachings were about tearing down those barriers and reaching with in to find our true self, our divine self, and our connections with the totality of creation.

    For me it comes down to how we want to organize ourselves, families, societies. We can do it through the various tools of control and domination, or we can do it with the tools of love.

    I think the biggest problem with attempting to organize any social group with the tools of love is the pervasive perception that such attitudes are signs weakness, chaos, irrationality, and irresponsibility. The tools of love work for children, but not for adults and the adult world.

    In my personal experience as both a manager and employees, I have found the tools of love: respect, compassion, non judgment, personal responsibility, personal accountability, and openness to any one's ideas, promote incredible efficiency and a work environment in which absenteeism, and employee drama disappear.

    I had the unit citations and production statistics to back my thinking up. Where I ran into problems was with fellow managers who thought I was running some kind of out of control zoo where the inmates were running the show.

    The truth is, 'the river beneath the river' was running the show, and that's what they couldn't comprehend in spite of the phenomenal production numbers. My group of beautiful minds were their nightmare. This was absolutely true when any of my folks were transferred. They were no longer used to one way communication.

    I guess we were ahead of our time because all most all of us were laid off, fired and black listed.
    Which I guess says a lot of people still need more time in the Maytag!

    Carl, your plea for balance is well taken. But I also have real doubts about most men seeing 'balance' as anything more than token sharing, and I especially don't see how men, raised in cultures which give them a form of unearned 'male privilege' can work towards any kind of balance without recognizing these unlooked at cultural assumptions.

    The same is true for women who refuse to look at the truth of this culture and let themselves be used as sexual commodities. Benedict can rant about the licentiousness of secular culture and it's sexual debasement of women, but the Church is no better, and in fact worse, because it goes even further and debases the feminine aspect of the Divine, while at the same time enculturating women to place their fertility as their only real contribution to society.

    One of the sickest things I have read in a long time was on a Traditional Family website where Catholic women were lamenting the fact their small families made them feel uncomfortable at Mass. They were sure everyone felt they must be using birth control when in fact it was difficulty concieving. The commentary was almost all from women who had one or two children and the article was written by a mother of eight who was waxing eloquently about how wonderful it was to be a super mom for Jesus. And here all along I thought gays were the ones who felt marginalized. I guess I was wrong.

  4. Thank you colleen. Your comments paralleled my experience when I was dating at the turn of the century. (That really sounds odd to say that doesnt it?) I found that when I treated women as "commodities" I had an endless stream of relationships. The worse I treated them, the more they wanted and the more they gave. What was interesting was that after a few weeks, boredom set in and I would end the relationships.

    When I shifted my consciousness and started treating them as people, with dignity and respect, I was ostracized almost overnight. I asked one finally and was told "nice men just dont turn me on".

    So, treat women like crap and have a revolving door of sexual experiences or treat them nice and spend my nights alone. Talk about mixed messages!

    No wonder women are still struggling for equality. For every one that works for equality, there have to be at least 10 that are working to keep themselves enslaved.

    And women wonder why I've been without a partner for so long.

    Some days I wonder if there is any hope for balance, or if this is all a pipe dream.

    todays word is cheddiur - the dehydrated cheese crumbs that one finds underneath the chair/sofa cushions

  5. dear Col55 truly i agree with what you have written. . .when i speak of Patriarchal am not taking about male or female anatomy. . .I like men and have many very healthy connections, "male pig" is not my head or heart space here. . sorry you read it that way. . .

    When i make reference to Patriarchal i am making reference to the "P" such as domination through Power, Prestige, Privilege, and Profit. . .For years i have called it the Spirit of Domination because it is about Power that makes others little so it can rise to power. . .And in truth history has revealed the Spirit of Domination has been predominately masculine in its laws and leadership. . .Women where not allowed to vote on issues that effected them, nor where they allowed to vote on whom the leaders would be. .

    I have never been nor will i ever be a radical feminist, but rather know there has to be balance between the masculine and feminine both within and without. . .

    When i was shown the door as a young fundamentalist woman. . . it was not about burning bras or bashing men. . it was for suggesting to the congregation that African Americans be allowed to enter the doors of the small Southern church. . .When i left seminary it was because i was threaten if i did not "fink and reveal that one of my suite mates was lesbian so they could ban her. . i would be unchristian and it would be a serious violation as a seminarian. . .

    When i speak of the Divine Feminine i am not talking about Feminism but rather Compassion, humility, service to the poor, commitment to the "least of these". . .community. . .equality. . .equanimity. . .direct experience with the Divine. . through the body. . .the heart. . the soul. . that expresses more through the Spirit of the law rather than the Law of the Spirit. . .and there are both female and male that are expressing the Divine Feminine these days. . .

    Hope this helps Col55. . .maybe having gone through the ancient memories from the Spirit of Domination, with it's tears of blood and stolen years and lives i experience it at a different level than you do. . .

    As far as "and both" agree 100% and know it cannot be about duality. . . even in the big picture with the Spirit of Domination i trust it is all perfect working together. . .

    but i do not confuse the Spirit of Domination as the "Truth that will set me free". . .with all of it's

    contractions, annihilations (only 0.5 percent of the number of Native population is here today as when Columbus came in 1492). . . the Inquisition,persecutions based on race. . . sex. . . class. . . gender. . .colonization. . . and on and on. . .just to name a few. . .

    All of these through the Spirit of Domination masking as "You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you FREE. . ."

    Truly do not see the Spirit of Domination being something i even want to balance. . .the true masculine and the true feminine yes, but not the "P's" of Patriarch's long period of domination. . .

    when i make reference to Patriarchal i am speaking exploitation by power for profit. . .

    sorry you heard "male bashing". . .

    As far as using the word dragon instead of serpent thanks for highlighting that. . . my mind went to the picture and the picture is of the dragon with wings chasing the woman which Michael is at battle with it. . . and also my mind went to the verses in Revelation. . .

    The woman and the dragon (12:1)

    12:1 A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

    12:3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

  6. Carl, I've heard something almost as interesting. Both men and women say the thing that really scares them about me is that I am at peace with living alone.

    It doesn't particularly bother me to live alone, but I guess they percieve it as one less issue on which they can base any control in a relationship. Or they are really saying they are looking for the antidote to their own loneliness and I don't fit the bill.

    I certainly wouldn't sacrifice the peace of living alone for a relationship based on who can use/abuse the other the most.

    Besides, I have my cats and I know who controls who there.

  7. dear colkoch. . .we must be from a similar cookie cutter. . .i made the decision in the 1990 to be celibate until i was right with myself. . .thought i would be a short period. . .everytime i turned around there was someone that i could of coupled with but i held to the commitment. . after two years i absolutely knew i did not want to enter romantic relationship again. . .for what had been projected externally i was finding within. . .i love being celibate and the strange thing is nowadays i am able to experience much deeper levels of intimacy with people in my life. . .

    I love celibacy. . .and i too have a cat that allows me to live with her. . .

    And Col55. . . i know about head injuries. . .i butted heads with a goat running full force when i was a preschooler and was knocked out cold. . .when i sat up there was a perfect ring of stars and then blacked out again. . .i think it wa my first "spiritual opening". . .

  8. Marci, when we return to the original texts, we often find that many words have been either unintentionally or deliberately mistranslated. Dragon is one of those. When we go back to the original greek texts, the word translated as dragon is actually:

    Drakon(greek) = a great serpent, a name for Satan

    The verses you quoted would be more correctly rendered as Satan or serpent. If you will reread Rev 12 and substitute Satan for dragon, it will give these scriptures a fresh new meaning.

    My question now is, why havent the religious authorities taught this? What do they gain by using dragon instead of Satan? Something to think about.

  9. I had to do some research for this part. In greek mythology, there are no dragons. Therefore, even though "Drakon" is sometimes translated in the scriptures as dragon, that is an error. The true meaning is serpant or Satan.

  10. guess it is a matter of words concerning the use of dragon. . .there is Greek dragon though. . .


    Eurystheus ordered Heracles to kill the Lernaean hydra. This hydra, raised in the swamp of Lerna, would go out into the plain and destroy both property and livestock. The hydra is a gigantic multi-headed dragon, with anywhere from 6 to 9 heads (depending on which version of the story you read) with the middle one being immortal. It's breath and blood were deadly.

    He traveled to Amymone, where the Hydra's cave was near. After finding the hydra he forced it to come out by shooting burning arrows at the entrance. When the creature emerged, Heracles grabbed it and held on. The hydra coiled around Heracles' feet and tried to smother him with the huge coils of itself. Heracles' attempts to smash its heads with his club were unsuccessful, for whenever he smashed one head, two would grow where the one was originally. Additionally, a huge crab helped the hydra by biting Heracles' feet.

    The crab however, was not immortal, so Heracles smashed the crab into mush. After killing the crab, Heracles called to Iolaus for help. Iolaus, after setting fire to part of the nearby grove of trees, stopped the heads from sprouting up by cauterizing the stumps with torches as they came up. Heracles, having killed all the other heads, he cut off the immortal head, buried it beside the road and put a heavy rock on top of it. With that done, he cut open the body of the hydra, and Heracles dipped his arrows in its deadly bile. Eurystheus, however, said Heracles could not count this labor among the ten, since he cheated by having Iolaus help him defeat the beast.
    The Hydra has a constellation named after it .

    ( I do believe you are correct in that many interpret the dragon as the same as the Serpent or Satan. . .but what i was explaining is that the picture is of a dragon and the Scriptures use the word dragon. . .)

    But as just one human to the other why in all of this only point out what you perceive as another's mistake. . .nice to meet you dear brother. . .

    palms together

  11. Marci, Heracles should star in his own Zelda game. At least he had enough sense to realize he couldn't triumph alone. He's a true hero. :)

  12. Marci, did you happen to notice that the description of the "dragon" in revelation is actually a description of the hydra?

    There are a lot of things that this is bringing up for me. First, is that dragon is the energy that I was born into. The dragon is my power animal now, interestingly enough replacing snake as my power animal.

    Part of the reason for the sensitivity is that the traditional rendering in revelation in my opinion is not just an error in translation, but a deliberate attempt at deception. The question I ask, is why did the catholic church feel the need for this deception?

    There are far too many cases of this type of deception in the scriptures. Deceptions that the catholic church created in the translations.

    Another glaring one is the trinity. There was no trinity in the original texts. The trinity was a fabrication added by the catholic church at a later date as justification for their agenda.

    Another one is hell. Hell as portrayed in traditional christianity is another falsification of the scriptures.

    Another deception is the writings on homosexuality. When one goes back to the original aramaic, one finds the renendering to be "child molester".

    It may seem like a trivial thing, but do we really want to be creating and perpetuating a belief system that is based on deception and lies?

    That is my passion at this point in life: exposing the lies and deceptions that the catholic church has vomited on an unsuspecting laity.