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Nature and God, Feminine or Masculine? A New Vision

José María Vigil, cmf Panamá, Panamá - Mon, Apr 26th 2021

The Philosophical Cosmotheandric Nucleus

Perhaps the most profound and decisive philosophical question would be the conception of nature (cosmos), God (theos) and ourselves (anthropos), and the corresponding relationships among these three poles. Some have called this the «anthropo-theo-cosmic» question. On how we conceptualize in our own minds these entities and their relationships depends all the rest of our thoughts and actions. It is the central nucleus of all philosophy, and of all spirituality and religion. We can establish that God exists or does not exist, that God is a celestial being or nature itself; that we exist, or that we do not exist but rather are forms of the Absolute without any duality at all. Obviously, the position we take will act as the basic axiom (or paradigm) that determines the total structure of our thinking and of our spirituality. This question is worth our inquiry.

The Paleolithic Cosmotheandric Axiom
During the entire Paleolithic Era (of which we only have evidence of the last 70,000 years), humans exhibited a type of spirituality that had as its central symbol the Cosmic Maternal Divinity, a Great Mother Goddess that gives life from within the universe as an organic, sacred and living whole, of which all of us - humans, Earth, plants, all living things - form a part, as her fruits, as her children, as an integral part of her processes. We all form a cosmic web that binds us in all orders and at all levels. Hundreds of thousands of feminine statues of the Great Mother Goddess from this period have been found by archeologists. They express a vision of life on Earth in which the transcendent and creative source of life is conceived as a divine mother, from whom we are all born and to whom we all return at death.

 The Separation of Nature

Around the middle of the Bronze Age, the mother goddess begins to lose relevance and the ability to inspire, and she is moved to the last plane, while the masculine gods ascend to the highest plane. New creation myths appear in which the father god plays the primary role. Sumer and Egypt contribute the first written evidence of the myth of the separation of heaven and earth. Heaven is the divine dwelling place; the earth ceases to be divine and becomes merely natural, material, unformed, and chaotic. The image of nature as a divine mother begins to retreat, and nature begins to be conceived as «manufactured» by the power of a Word that grants existence to all beings by naming them. Nature is no longer divine and holistic. Her divinity is now extracted from her and put aside. The new conception of divinity is now recognized as separate, purely spiritual, immaterial, supremely intelligent and rational, clearly masculine, all-powerful, imposing order on the unpredictable feminine chaos of nature. These are the «creation» myths that removed the divine character that nature previously held: the reality, or existential interlocutor, before which human beings find themselves, is split into a dualism of earth/heaven, nature/God. These creation myths introduce a profound rupture in the anthropotheocosmic unity (cosmos, divinity, humanity): heaven and earth are separated as distinct levels, one inhabited by the masculine God and the other by chaotic feminine nature which the divinity must dominate.

Humanity itself remains separated from nature: we are no longer part of nature, but children of God, citizens of the heavens, temporarily fallen into the material world from which we must free ourselves. The ancient unity has become totally fragmented: nature reduced to things and natural resources, and we are stripped of our very natural being, in favour of an all-powerful patriarchal spirit Lord-Kyrios. Historical analysis underscores the major influence of the religiosity of the Kurgan, Aryan, and Semitic peoples, who worshipped masculine gods, warriors mounted on horseback, who had chosen Nature and god, feminine or masculine? a New visi0n José María Vigil Panamá, Panamá 43 them to conquer new lands and dominate or destroy their inhabitants, sun gods of thunder and storm. Throughout the Middle East, the ancient divinities were supplanted by these warring masculine gods. Throughout this metamorphosis in the conception of God, the ontological status of nature (which changed from divine to creature) was not the only change. The status of humanity also changed; it had been living in symbiotic union with nature as the creative source of life.

From there it understimates nature, then turned its back completely, while considering itself supernatural, citizen of the heavens, living only for the immaterial spirit. Concomitantly the status of women also changed: in ancient Sumer, as in ancient Egypt and Crete, women were owners, their interests were protected by tribunals, they had public office in society, especially as priests, and brothers and sisters inherited equally. With this religious change, the position of women deteriorated, to the point where the feminine deities lost their positions in the Sumerian pantheon. The Kurgan, Aryan and Semitic invaders saw women as possessions of the male, fathers and husbands reclaimed their power over women, only sons could inherit while daughters could be sold as slaves by fathers and brothers. The birth of a male was a blessing, while a daughter could be abandoned to her fate.

This profound religious transformation was a result of the confluence of the agrarian revolution, the urban revolution, and Indo-European invasions. The whole paradigm of our global cosmic vision (that relationship among cosmos, divinity and humanity) was deeply reconfigured and rapidly consolidated. At the end of the Bronze Age there remained not a trace of the ancient cosmic vision. The Mother Goddess disappeared, nature was left definitively degraded and negatively associated with chaos and femininity, and god was left alone in his heavenly kingdom, purely spiritual, free of feminine or natural contamination: masculine, supremely intelligent, and all-powerful.

The Bible, since it was written only after the 7th century BCE, arose well within the time of this new «anthropotheocosmic paradigm». This is a very deep conditioning of which we are only now becoming conscious, thanks to the archeological and anthropological sciences that have allowed us to know about it.

We know that the geocentrism of the Bible is simply an effect of the pre-scientific ignorance of the age in which it was written, and so we can dispense with it. By the same token, today we can assume that the merely material and chaotic character of “creation,” the dispossession of divine sacredness carried out against nature, the separation of the celestial “second floor,” the masculine and transcendent character of God, the misogyny of religions, or the way we live in alienation from our divine mother Nature … these are also avatars of the history of our bio-evolutionary imaginary, whose basis or validity we are now able to judge. We can accept and confirm them, or we can try to reverse them to recover perhaps some lost elements of the previous spiritual vision from which we have strayed. A deeper analysis of this anthropotheocosmic nucleus is necessary, as well as of its transformations throughout our evolutionary history. We need to discover the freedom with which we can confront all previous philosophical conditionings, as well as the need we have for a new vision that liberates us from the disasters caused by the current dysfunctional form in which we relate to nature.

There is an urge to «return home», return to the vision that was our spiritual home, a anthropotheocosmic vision that allowed us to live for millennia as the beloved children of the Sister Mother Earth, today known as Gaia, incarnate body of the divine. As was said by EATWOT (The Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians): we will cease degrading nature only when we understand its divine character and our authentic natural character. These paradigms and axioms are first principles, cannot be deduced argumentatively, and we must choose them -- not so much only by theoretical reasons, as by supremely practical ones: those paradigms which have done and continue to do us harm must be overcome. And it will not be very difficult, because, despite everything, they are right here, here below, in the collective subconscious, as the psychoanalyst Carl Jung observed. The Great Goddess Sister Mother Earth, now pos-theistic and holistic, awaits us.

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