The feminine, whether the feminine principle or women themselves, holds the secret of creation, which is the light hidden in matter. It is very important to understand that if one is to do any real spiritual work at this time of global and ecological crisis because the feminine holds the unique understanding of the sacredness in matter and how we need to reawaken that aspect of life… I think both the feminine principle (the receptive quality in consciousness) and individual women in particular, have a unique roll to play. This also needs to be honored by the feminine principle within men — that can understand the power of the receptive feminine and her particular relationship to the spiritual principle of holding the light that is needed to redeem the world — the sacred light that the feminine understands because women alone can give birth to a human being, can bring the light of a divine soul into this world…
It is the feminine that understands all the interconnections in life. And what we are suffering from at the moment is a very fragmented culture, very isolated, very insular, and as I have been shown there is this whole oneness that is emerging into the consciousness of humanity, which needs to be midwifed into our collective consciousness — to understand that ecologically we are one, economically we are one, and of course in the deep spiritual sense we are all one expression of the divine oneness that is inherent within everything. The feminine understands those connections that hold that together — Indra’s Web — that is behind creation and is present within creation.
What my Sheik taught us, and it is not generally known in the West, is that women have a certain spiritual substance in them that men do not. It has to do with the mystery of creation. When I looked at it, it has to do with the fact that not only can a woman give birth physically but she is able to be in a place where the light of the soul takes on human form and remains true to its essential nature. The more you look at it, it is really extraordinary…
Many of you who are involved in healing and spiritual life know that if a human being is too damaged they cannot realize their spiritual potential first, they need to be healed. And the same is happening in the world and women have this magical substance in their being that has to do with the real mystery of creation — where light takes on form, takes on human consciousness, and remains true to its essential nature.
The feminine has deep understanding of the power of matter. Women carry the instinctual knowing of the divine substance in matter and of how to bring this substance into life, because this knowledge is fundamental in the process of giving birth, in bringing a soul into human form. Now this wisdom is needed for the regeneration of the earth, for the earth’s awakening.
This is why the wisdom of the feminine is so important, because the feminine understands the dynamics of relationship, how to listen and be receptive. Feminine consciousness is more attuned to the life of the body, and so knows the rhythms that belong to the cycles of life, rather than the systems imposed by will that are presently strangling our world. The feminine is more instinctively and naturally attuned to life, its patterns and powers. And feminine consciousness is less dominated by reason, more open to the mystery of the symbolic inner world. The feminine is vital in this work of awakening.
Certain kinds of work now specifically require the light of women. There is, for example, a work of bringing into this plane of existence a particular quality or vibration of spiritual energy that is needed for the transformation of life. This is a spiritual energy that belongs to the sacredness of matter, and because women have an instinctual understanding of the sacred nature of matter, this work of transmission can only be done by women. Women carry the sacred substance of life in their spiritual centers and understand how to give this quality of light to life; in their ability to give birth, women have the natural capacity to bring the light of a soul into the physical world of matter and thus awaken the spiritual potential of matter. Women also understand the connections between people and the connections within life; at this time women are needed to bring a seed of pure light into life where it can create new forms and new patterns of interrelationship that are essential to the healing and transformation of life.
Part of our problem is that the nurturing and meaning of relationships traditionally belong to the feminine, and we have not included this understanding that is natural to women in our technological progress. We are still working primarily within a masculine analytic paradigm, rather than fully integrating the wisdom of the feminine. The feminine kind of knowing has a crucial role to play in the development of this technology.
Everything that comes into life has two sides, a masculine and feminine quality, even love. The masculine side of love is “I love you.” Longing is the feminine side of love: “I am waiting for you. I am longing for you.” Longing is the cup waiting to be filled. And sadly, because our culture has devalued the feminine, we have repressed so much of her nature, so many of her qualities. Instead we live primarily masculine values; we are goal-oriented, competitive, driven. Masculine values even dominate our spiritual quest; we seek to be better, to improve ourself, to get somewhere. We have forgotten the feminine qualities of waiting, listening, being empty. We have dismissed the deep need of the soul, our longing, the feminine side of love.
The soul is feminine before God, waiting in a state of surrender for the Beloved to come. The sixteenth-century Indian princess and poet Mirabai knew this mystical truth. Mirabai was devoted to Krishna, her “Dark Lord,” and once, when she was wandering in some woodlands sacred to Krishna, a famous theologian and ascetic named Jiv Gosvami denied her access to one of her Dark Lord’s temples because she was a woman. Mirabai shamed him with the words: “Are not all souls female before God?” Jiv Gosvami bowed his head and led her into the temple.
The lover waits for her Beloved. And when He comes to us, in those moments of meeting and merging that are so intimate that one can hardly speak of them, the lover is feminine, pierced, penetrated by the tremendous bliss of His love.
In our individual journey of awakening we come to experience how the physical world is no longer a place of imprisonment for the soul, but a place for us to realize and enact our true nature. The awakening of the soul of the world can allow humanity as a whole to begin to realize and enact its larger destiny. We can consciously participate in the vast unfolding of love that is happening throughout our galaxy and beyond.
The soul of the World permeates all of creation like salt in water. The physical world is the denser plane, and within it and sustaining it is the reality of the soul, which contains the Higher Intelligence that is the creative and ordering principle of life.
The light of the World soul is waiting to be used to connect us with the inner powers that belong to matter and to life itself. The real world is an enchanted place, full of magical powers waiting to be used. And, as the alchemists understood, the anima mundi is a creative force: “it is the artist, the craftsperson, the ‘inner Vision’ which shapes and differentiates the prime matter, giving it form.”
The heart of the world is beginning to sing the song of divine remembrance, but no one is listening; no one is attentive. We have even forgotten that the world has a heart. Medieval texts image man as a microcosm of the world, but we dismissed this symbolic relationship, just as we rejected the older vision of the earth as a living being. As the world stopped being a sacred or symbolic reality and became just matter governed by the laws of physics, so the heart, or “soul of the world” (anima mundi), was discarded as a myth.
The song of the soul of the world carries the fragrance of His love for us, a love in which everything is made sacred. This song, which we each hear in our own way, will guide us, will awaken our hearts and attune our souls. It is a most powerful magic because it reminds us who we really are, that we are the children of the orient who have come from a dimension of light upon light to discover the secret of creation, the way His light is reflected in His world.
In each age there is a fundamental shift in the way the divine reveals itself. This shift has already taken place… What is being born within the soul of the world is a quality of consciousness that comes from a union of masculine and feminine. We need to reclaim the feminine so that it can unite with the masculine in a new way, through which a new consciousness can be born, a new way of relating to life, enabling us to have a fuller understanding of our true nature and purpose. Then the deeper meaning of the feminine can become visible, the hidden purpose of the masculine enacted.
If we are not to remain in the paradigm of duality, living our inherited split between masculine and feminine, spirit and matter, we need to acknowledge both of these aspects. We cannot afford to follow the footsteps of the patriarchal church fathers and seek only a transcendent light, look only towards heaven. We also need to know the light hidden in matter and understand the magic of creation that it reveals.
Once we acknowledge the relationship of macrocosm and microcosm within the oneness of life, it becomes apparent how our forgetfulness, our attitudes and actions have caused pain to the soul of the World. We have damaged the inner structures of light and love that nourish our planet; we have created dark clouds in the inner worlds that obscure us from the light. Our values are having a global effect, not only to our physical ecosystem but to the spiritual body of the planet.
The light of the soul of the world needs the participation of all who are open to this work. But part of our redemption of the feminine is to acknowledge that certain work can only be done by women. The interconnections of life belong to the wisdom of the feminine and a woman’s body holds the knowledge of how the worlds interrelate. Masculine consciousness imaged a transcendent divinity—the feminine knows how the divine is present in every cell of creation. Women know this not as abstract knowledge, but part of their instinctual nature—in the womb the light of a soul can come into physical form. Life is standing at the edge of an abyss of forgetfulness waiting for the light of the world to be born. This birth needs the wisdom of the feminine, and women must take their place in this time of great potential.
We need to reclaim the wisdom of the feminine but we cannot return to the time of the priestess. The masculine and feminine have to work together; our actions in the outer world must be guided by our receptivity to the inner. And there is no hierarchy to this work. Part of the blueprint of the future is the ability of each individual to participate directly with the work of the whole.
As this era of masculine dominance comes to an end and a feminine understanding of life’s wholeness is included, we are beginning to experience a different world in which physical, mental, and spiritual well-being are interdependent. We see the signs of this in the new age movement. But the new age movement is often limited by its focus on individual well-being. Our real concern is the well-being of the planet and the whole of humanity. Central to this is the understanding that the physical world cannot be healed from a solely physical perspective, but requires a shift to an attitude that contains a multi-dimensional approach.
If life does not change, it dies, and yet paradoxically we are so frightened of death that we try to hold back the flow of life. Without knowing it, we are caught in a masculine idealized image, a longing for perfection that denies the feminine with its understanding of darkness, decay, and destruction. Without darkness there can be no birth; nothing creative can take place. Without destruction there can be no cycle of life, only a sterile environment in which nothing grows. If we do not accept the darkness, life will lose whatever meaning it has left. If we do not allow ourself to live in the darkness, the doors of revelation will remain closed.
Many women are unknowingly caught in a collective conditioning in which the feminine is made subservient to masculine, rational values. The feminine qualities of relating, listening, waiting are repressed in favor of rational thought and goal-oriented drives. American culture may appear to give freedom to women, but there is a collective pattern that denies the real nature of the feminine. As one woman said to me, “In this culture a woman can be anything she wants, as long as it is masculine.” Yet many spiritual qualities needed for the path, such as creating a sacred inner space, belong to the feminine. Often our spiritual nature lies buried under collective taboos, and requires courage and commitment to be rediscovered and lived. Using our golden bowl for the purpose for which it was made is never easy.
Shame is a particular affliction for women. Shame has long been a tool of collective patriarchal repression. In our Judeo-Christian culture woman was blamed for banishing us from the Garden of Eden, and since then women have been made to feel ashamed of their instinctual self, of their bodies, of their femininity, and also of their spiritual nature. Feminine spirituality carries the sacred wholeness of life, which has been despised and rejected by the masculine which longs to escape the limitations of the physical world. For many women a deep, imposed shame comes to the surface and has to be faced.
The last two thousand years, the Piscean era, have been dominated by the process of separatio. The sign of Pisces is two fish, a duality which in the West we have experienced as the separation of spirit and matter, mind and body, conscious and unconscious. The separation into opposites evokes the constellation of the shadow; thus the physical world, which since time immemorial has been identified with the feminine, has carried both the darkness of the rejected feminine and the shadow side of the spiritual quest.
Apple Farm Community
About Apple Farm Community, which was founded by Helen Luke:
Apple Farm in Michigan is not a “Community” in the ordinary sense of the word. It was not founded as a planned institution but came into being as a focal point for a number of women who had been drawn together already by a community of interests and values.
Kaleidoscope: The Way of Woman and Other Essays Helen Luke
These essays, published over the past three decades, show the breadth of Luke’s experiences as a Jungian psychologist, lecturer, and author. The collection is divided into three sections. Luke’s ideas are often iconoclastic to contemporary attitudes of sexual politics, religious dogma, and literary interpretation: her approach is individual and unique, rigorous and refreshing, as she combines these three paths—the way of woman, the way of discrimination, and the way of story—into a kaleidoscope of the inner journey so necessary to us all. Among the works she discusses are the biblical tales of the Exodus, Jacob and Saul, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the allegorical novels of Charles Williams.
The Way of Story: Myths and Stories for the Inner Life (Parabola Audio Library/Cassettes) Helen M. Luke
Psychologist Luke (Old Age: Journey into Simplicity, Audio Reviews, LJ 3/15/92) sought to discover the role that stories play in our lives and interpreted their meaning through the theories of Carl Jung. Recorded shortly before her death in 1995, these cassettes offer insight into the biblical stories of Exodus, the tale of Saul, the stories of Charles Williams (Essential Writings in Spirituality and Theology, Audio Reviews, LJ 7/93), and two of Luke’s stories, “The Hunter and the Hunted” and “Salmon-Fisher Boy.” She explores the nature and use of power, the belief that evil is necessary for redemption, and the need for balance.
Dark Wood to White Rose: Journey and Transformation in Dante’s Divine Comedy
Helen M. Luke
(Paperback – Mar. 1, 1993)
Richly illustrated with black and white reproductions of paintings inspired by Dante’s masterpiece, Luke explores each of Dante’s poetic images, ending with the “white rose,” the final emblem of joy and regeneration.
Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On : The Autobiography and Journals of Helen M. Luke
Helen M. Luke
(Paperback – June 1, 2000)
Luke, who died in 1995 at age 90, is highlighted in this posthumous book–an account of her dreams and how they contributed to the unfolding of her life. The volume is divided into two parts: her autobiography, written when she was 70, is followed by selections from the handwritten diaries (54 volumes in all) that Luke kept in the final 20 years of her life and then entrusted to Barbara Mowat, director of Academic Programs at Folger Shakespeare Library (DC), to select for posthumous publication. Luke, who emigrated from England to the United States after World War II, later founded the Apple Farm Community–a center for people seeking to understand the power of symbols in their lives. She searches throughout this book for the application of symbols to her lifelong quest for understanding. Her clearly written self-analysis may be of help to readers seeking to understand their own dreams.
Essays that explore the nature of feminine and masculine psychology and the role of story and myth in human culture. Offering insight into the spiritual meaning within modern and classical literature, several previously unpublished essays are collected here-including an analysis of two of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, The Merchant of Venice and Antony and Cleopatra. The title essay reflects on the vital importance of a sense of humor on the spiritual road to freedom and joy, and all combine Christian spirituality with Jungian psychology to discuss the importance of openly and consciously facing the suffering that is part of being human.
In this classic text on aging wisely, the renowned Jungian analyst Helen M. Luke reflects on the final journeys described in Homer’s Odyssey, Shakespeare’s King Lear and The Tempest, and T. S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding,” and also on suffering. In examining some of the great masterpieces of literature produced by writers at the end of their lives, she elucidates the difference between growing old and disintegrating and encourages us to grow emotionally and mentally in this culminating stage of our own lives
The Way of Woman: Awakening the Perennial Feminine
Helen M. Luke (Author), Marion Woodman (Author)
The Way of Woman offers a distillation of Helen Luke’s life’s work as a writer, counselor, and Jungian therapist, a luminous, multifaceted reflection on the two questions that have long preoccupied her: Why do so many modern women feel so conflicted about their roles, so cutoff from sources of spiritual nourishment? More importantly, what can they do about it?.
The Dove in the Stone: Finding the Sacred in the Commonplace Alice O. Howell
“What we are looking for on earth and in earth and in our lives is the process that can unlock for us the mystery of meaningfulness in our daily lives,” writes Alice O. Howell. “It is the best-kept secret down through the ages because it is so simple. Truly, the last place it would ever occur for us to find the sacred would be in the commonplace of our everyday lives and all about us in nature and in simple things.” Join Alice O’Howell on a magical ramble through the Celtic isle of Iona, in the Scottish Hebrides, in this deceptively simple, poetic jewel of a book. Our guide on this gentle travelogue of the soul is the Holy Sophia herself, the feminine aspect of wisdom, who teaches us to discover that the entire world is filled with outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual meaning.
The Web in the Sea: Jung, Sophia, and the Geometry of the Soul Alice O. Howell
Geometry is hidden in the symbolism of all religions. In this magical book, Alice O. Howell weaves a ramble on the sacred island of Iona with a meditation on the geometrical forms we encounter everyday. With the meditating help of Sophia, the divine feminine principle of wisdom, she shows how we can decode the inner meaning of shapes, numbers, and other symbols through intuition, to enrich our experience of living and deepen our appreciation of the mystery of form.
The Dream of the Cosmos: A Quest for the Soul Anne Baring
Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe toward which this world is headed – be it ecological, social, demographic, or a general breakdown of civilization will be unavoidable.
— Vávlav Havel, address to US Congress
To reclaim the sacred nature of the cosmos – and of planet Earth in particular – is one of the outstanding spiritual challenges of our time.
— Diarmuid O’Murchu, Quantum Theology
The Dream of the Cosmos is the story of a multi-layered quest to understand the causes of human suffering and to re-connect with a deeper reality than the one we inhabit in this physical dimension of experience. It is written for those who are looking for something beyond the superficial values of our culture, who may be disillusioned with religious and secular belief systems as currently presented and who question the political values which are deeply mired in the pursuit of power. It is written with two voices: one the voice of a personal quest and the other which explores the historical and psychological causes that have brought into being our present view of reality. (Further info)
The Unknown She: Eight Faces of an Emerging Consciousness Hilary Hart
(Paperback – March 1, 2003)
“For serious students of mystical traditions and women’s spirituality, this challenging book offers rewards not found in more conventional works.”
“A profound exploration of what may beome the most important development in the 21st Century: the return of the feminine voice in spiritual experience.”
—Tsultrim Allione, author, Women of Wisdom
The Unknown She: Eight Faces of an Emerging Consciousness is a dynamic exploration of feminine wisdom and power in our collective evolution. Author Hilary Hart traveled around the world meeting eight mystics from a variety of traditions to uncover the feminine aspect of mystical experience and ways we can live this awareness for the sake of the whole.
Body of Wisdom: Women’s Spiritual Power and How it Serves Hilary Hart
A chakra in our breasts that emits spiritual nouishment into life… a secret substance inour bodies to heal the earth… a direct connection from our wombs to the creative center of the universe…
In Body of Wisdom, Hilary Hart identifies nine hidden powers alive in women’s bodies and instincts, waiting to be used in contemporary challenges such as the creation of community, healing of the earth, and th erestoration of life’s spiritual nature. Based on interviews with the world’s most visionary spiritual teachers and women’s dreams and experiences, Body of Wisdom ushers in a new spirituality in which the body and the shared body of the earth are known as a seat of mystical power and women take responsibility for spiritual work that only they can do.
With: Dorothy Atalla, Elizabeth Frediani, Sandra Ingerman, Larry Merculieff, Sobonfu Somé, Guan-Cheng Sun, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, and Pamela Wilson.