[Vision2020] Our Mothers; Our Goddesses: Celebrating the Power of the Feminine

Nicholas Gier ngier006 at gmail.com
Thu May 11 14:27:42 PDT 2017

Greetings Visionaries:

For those who do not take the Daily News here is a longer version of my
biweekly column.  An even longer piece, which includes the feminists Laozi
and Jesus, is attached.

May all you mothers out there have a great day on Sunday,


*Our Mothers; Our Goddesses:*

*Celebrating the Power of the Feminine*

by Nick Gier

            One night several years ago I had a very vivid dream about my
mother. I had invited her to my Moscow home, and she appeared in the front
yard in the full bloom of her womanhood. Dressed in her casual jeans and
checkered blouse, she and her beautiful red hair shone in the morning sun.

            We went into the backyard and, looming over “University Ridge,”
was a snow-capped peak. We looked to the left and there was another
beautiful mountain.  I said to my Mom: “Let’s go take a look.” I took her
hand and we flew up into the air, just like Mary Poppins.  As we approached
the mountain, we started to lose altitude.

            In desperation I said: “Let’s flap our arms!”  It was no use,
but some gentle force allowed us to make a soft landing in a meadow.

            “She makes me lie down in green meadows, beside the still
waters, She will lead.” (Bobby McFerrin’s 23rd Psalm dedicated to his

            “Whoa,” you say, “there’s no Goddess in the Bible”! Yes, there
is, but Hebrew patriarchs nearly succeeded in erasing her from the text.
“Yahweh (Jehovah) and his Asherah” is found in at least two ancient
inscriptions, and Jeroboam, Rehoboam, and Jezebel promoted her worship (1
Kings 14:15, 23; 18:19). Celebrating the Goddess, the people of Judah baked
“cakes for the Queen of Heaven” (Jer. 7:18).

            (For more check out *The Hebrew Goddess* by Raphael Patai
and William
Dever, *Did God Have a Wife? *Dever’s publisher is Eerdmans, an evangelical
Christian press.)

            Returning to my failed flight to the mountains, my own beloved,
a goddess in her own right, reminded me: “You are a student of Hinduism,
and you know that the Himalayan peaks are goddesses.” Unlike the Hindus of
Nepal, the Buddhists of Bhutan keep a respective distance from the Goddess
(Mom and I did not), and their kings always banned mountaineering in their
own Himalayas.

            Male gods such as Jehovah play a zero-sum game with power: they
have all of it and we have none.  The Hindu Goddess is significantly
different: she shares power with all beings, and she is the power behind
all beings, including the gods.

            The male gods Shiva and Krishna admit this. Here is Krishna’s
confession to his consort Radha: “Without you, I Krishna am inert and am
always powerless.  You have all powers (*shakti*) as your own form; come
into my presence.” Similarly, Shiva admits to his wife Parvati: “With you I
can create all things. Without you I am powerless and like a corpse.”

            Women express *shakti* power more directly and openly.  They
are the nurturers and the healers. They are generally more expressive of
their emotions, while men have been taught to conceal their feelings, even
though they express shakti power in their intellects, sports, business
competition, violence, and war.

            More fundamentally, of course, women gestate and give birth to
new human beings, and most males have always been afraid of that power.
Some scholars have found, for example, a connection between Asherah and Eve
as “the Mother of the all the Living” (Gen. 3:20).

            Just like the Force in *Star Wars*, each one of us can take our
shakti power to the dark side.  My mother had many dark moments, and I have
come to better understand why this was so. She was a very talented woman
who had many aspirations.  She could have been a very successful business
woman if given opportunity and support. Those were absent in the prime
years of her life.

            One of the most provocative interpretations of the Hindu
Goddess Kali, the most terrifying expression of Shiva’s wife, is that she
is the incarnation of the pent-up rage, frustration, and resentment of
Indian women who have been, and continue to be, oppressed for thousands of

            Male Hindu priests still control the Goddess temples and the
worship that occurs there.  And tragically, there is still far too much
bride burning and honor killings by Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim males.

            For this Mother’s Day I propose that we to our mothers and say:
“I salute the Goddess in you and may your shakti power bless and makes us
whole.” We may also want to bake a batch of cookies for the Queen of Heaven.

            And guys, when you wake up next to your beloved, tell her that
you think she is a goddess.  I can assure you that will make her day and
may well improve your relationship.

            Nick Gier of Moscow taught religion and philosophy at the
University of Idaho for 31 years.


A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they
shall never sit in.

-Greek proverb

“Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.
Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance
from another. This immaturity is self- imposed when its cause lies not in
lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without
guidance from another. Sapere Aude! ‘Have courage to use your own
understand-ing!—that is the motto of enlightenment.

--Immanuel Kant
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