Canadian Publisher Explores "Divine Feminine"
The Fall Issue of Namaste Insights, a publication of Namaste Publishing, located in Canada, is titled "The Imperative of Unleashing the Divine Feminine." In her introduction, "There's Something About Mary, All Right!," Constance Kellough, Namaste's president and publisher, writes that "restoring the Divine Feminine to its rightful stature" will result in "restoration of the Sacred Masculine." It seems to me that choosing to justify "restoring the Divine Feminine" because it will restore the "Sacred Masculine" is rather odd first, because restoring the divine imaged as female needs no justification and second, because the "sacred masculine" needs no restoration. The "sacred masculine" (why is masculine "sacred" and feminine "divine'?) has been in charge for several thousand years without ceasing. But be that as it may, this publisher is trying, and has recently published a number of provocative books related to spiritual feminism, some of which are highlighted in this issue. As part of this introduction to the articles, Kellough includes an analysis of books and films related to the subject, discusses the status of Christian figures related to the "Divine Feminine," and includes cartoon-like drawings of belly dancers.
In the first article, Joan Chittisster comments on Matthew Fox's new book on Hildegard of Bingen, who has just been elevated to "Doctor of the Church." The same pope who just elevated Hildegard ex-communicated Fox, a Dominican friar, mainly for his feminist stances. Namaste has published both Fox's book and a recent book by Chittisster, who is a Benedictine nun, as was Hildegard. The second article, titled "Book Review" is Mary Lou Kownacki's review of Mary Sharratt's book, Illuminations: a novel of Hildegard von Bingen. Kownacki is also a Benedictine nun. You might find it interesting to compare her take on Sharratt's book with our review of it here.
For me the highlight of this issue of Namaste Insights is the "Dialogue" between Sharratt and Fox about Hildegard, in which Fox calls this Pope's elevation of Hildegard an irony. Fox says, "She's a Trojan Horse not only to patriarchal religion, but to patriarchy in general. " Sharratt then asks: "What will happen once they let the Trojan Horse in through the gates?"
There follows two articles about men and the sacred: "The Hidden Spirituality of Men," in which Fox probes what might be meant by the "Sacred Masculine," and David Robert Ord's "The Terror of the Tender." Ord is Namaste's editorial director.
Next are interviews of Ord, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Starhawk, and Marianne Williamson. In his interview, Spong, known to support equality for women as well as other progressive views, says, "If you go back far enough in human experience you'll find that we envisioned God as feminine," and goes on to speak of Mother Nature. Yet he connects child sacrifice to Goddess veneration, an unprovable contention.
In her interview, Starhawk discusses the development of her Goddess path, her views on other women's issues related to religion, and her work with Fox.
The issue concludes with the articles, "Modern Mystics Walk Among Us, " by Sarah McLean, and "How to Raise Boys and Girls to be Equal," by Shfali Tsabary.