The Marian Cultural Impulse

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Christmas Speech  to a new relationship between woman and man

Baby_JesusWhen I think of the story of Jesus I feel my soul pulled in two different directions. One direction leads to deep surrender in which I want to reconnect with the intimate faith that I experienced at Christmas when I was a child. If I go in the other direction, everything in me starts to fight. I think of the history of the church, of the inquisition and witch- burning, of false piety and endless suffering.
And I understand why grown-ups cannot believe in any god any more. At the same time I want to rediscover and nourish the sacred aspect of life.
Today I want to read from the story of the Nativity.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first-born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, „Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.“ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, „Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.“ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, „Let‘s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.“ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. What do these words mean for me as a woman today? To answer this I want to give some background. Christmas existed as a celebration long before Jesus Christ was born. Christmas is an ancient festival of the Goddess, a festival of consecration.
Most pagan mystery cults celebrated the birth of the divine child at the winter solstice. They called this night of the birth “Holy Night” or “Mother‘s Night”.
For the first three centuries after the birth of Jesus, the Christian church did not yet know the date of birth of their saviour. The Armenian church still celebrates the
birth of Jesus at Epiphany. It was only at the beginning of the fourth century after Christ that the Roman church took over December 25th as Christmas day, as the people were accustomed to celebrating the birth of God on this day; the birth of other gods, such as Attis, Dionysos, Osiris, the Syrian Baal and other versions of the Sun God were all celebrated on December 25th.
Mithra, the Persian deity, was also born on December 25th. This day was given the name “Birthday of the undefeatable sun”. During the first four centuries of the Roman empire, the cult of Mithra was much more successful than the Christian faith. In former times there was probably also a female Mithra. When patriarchy began, she was changed into a male god.
Mithra was born in a cave. A shepherd and three wise men came to Mithra‘s birth and brought presents into the sacred birth cave. Mithra also performed miracles, awakened the dead, made the blind see and the lame walk, and cast out devils.
Many of our Christmas customs, such as the Christmas tree, presents, candles, holly, songs and celebrations, come originally from worship of the Goddess as the mother of the child. It is all about the relationship between mother and son. Another pagan custom also persisted: the belief that on Christmas Eve, at midnight, animals are able to talk. People believed that at the moment when Heaven and Earth, God and Goddess are especially close, something new is born and one can understand the language of all beings, including the language of the animals.
In the story of the Nativity, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” One can also understand from this sentence that the child itself had spoken. Recently I had a dream that was so intense that I wrote it the next morning:
“I dream that I am on a ship. I have a child on my lap, a baby a few months old. Suddenly the child starts to speak and I can understand its language fully. I am completely astonished and I say “Hey, you can speak!” The child laughs and says “Yes, for those who rediscover their childlike soul, it is easy to understand my language and all languages.” And it continues to explain interrelations of the world, the functional logic between Heaven and Earth, to me. It says “When you rediscover trust amongst humans, logic will change. A completely new logic will be born.”
I am very carefree in this dream and I say “If that is true then I only have to lie down like you, full of trust to see everything clearly, and then all insights will come to me.” My heart becomes light.
Happiness spreads inside me together with an anticipation of a new birth. There is a deep feeling in me. Maybe this is what is meant when it is said in the bible: “Unless you change and become like children …”
That was the dream.
A new picture for a heart which has faith arises if you rediscover this childlike soul inside yourself and know that this soul is the creator of all things. That which lies, so small and fragile in the crib, this new language, wants to be rediscovered.
Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
The others were astonished by the words but they did not understand them. They told everyone what the child had said, they evangelised, they proclaimed the words, but they did not understand them. So, a Christianity, a Christian church was born, which did not correspond with what this little child in the crib had said. A message was transmitted from generation to generation which had hardly anything in common with the Christ-impulse which was born there.
“But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” The Goddess who took on these words is acting here and is now – symbolically – pregnant again. Pregnant with the new cultural impulse which comes from the heart and wants to be born into the world.
The first birth was a physical birth: God became flesh. Now comes the birth of the heart and language: the words were treasured in the heart. The women who have so long remained silent in history now have to start to give birth to words from their hearts. A new cultural impulse is being incubated. It touches a new relationship between mother and son, which will have a strong healing power.
The Christ-child told Mary of a new cultural impulse which wants to be born. And the Mother-Goddess ponders these words in her heart for a long time. All through patriarchy she silently guards these words until the time has come to be able to talk about them.
We women have remained silent for a long time. We had to be silent for a long time. But now it is the task of the woman, who knows the word in her heart and who has
taken care of it, to speak. She transforms from the guardian of a new cultural impulse, to the one who establishes it by learning again to take on the words which this child told to her, to take them to herself.
These words are no longer only the words of a little child. They are a vast treasure of knowledge which is waiting to be accessed: a deep wisdom and knowledge of creation. What Mary is now doing in her female role as a messenger of the Goddess is an important contribution to the question of whether these words of a new culture will succeed or not. It is a message which now wants to be understood and spoken out by us women. It is about a new relationship between the Goddess and her Messiah.
The healing message no longer lies only in the fact that the Messiah was born, that he is lying in front of us in his crib “and seems as nothing worth …” to quote a German hymn. The message of salvation is now to be found especially in the new relationship of Goddess and God. The new cultural impulse is inherent in this relationship. Only by providing the full power of her heart and her full protective power to this child and by being aware of the dimension which wants to unfold within this child, can Mary grasp what wants to be born anew. It is the cultural impulse of a new male love which is embodied in Christ.
What is special about this new cultural impulse? It embodies love instead of laws. It embodies reconciliation instead of punishment. The male aspect of creation is no longer only of mental-spiritual nature. God, the spirit, embodied himself as flesh. God became flesh. How many centuries will we still need to fully understand that? The redemption of the son of man lies in the fact that the spirit became flesh. The divine is to be found in the body. “And the word became flesh.”
“You are my my house, my home, for ever and ever” God says to Teresa of Avila, who struggled so deeply in her life to pass on her female knowledge in dark times when all that was female was condemned. It is about a rediscovery of the human. This is how profound the meaning is of the sentence “And the word became flesh and lived amongst us.”
Christmas is about rediscovering and celebrating natural contact between humans and God. Through a new relationship between mothers and their sons, a new culture can arise in which the human being understands his true importance. Normally, mothers always try to keep exactly that aspect in their sons small, which is actually big. But children are divine beings from the very beginning and they bring a great knowledge. It is knowledge from the world beyond. We women have to once more take on guardianship of this knowledge. Our children shall be allowed once more to tell what they remember from the world beyond.
For far too long we have taken them far too quickly into our world, treating them as unknowing babies in need of education, instead of seeing and supporting their divine being.
In the history of patriarchy, mothers have wanted to make their sons into strong men far too early. They do not protect what actually needs to be protected in a child. They do not protect the birth of a new divine power. Mothers educate their sons to become functioning figures in a system in which God has no house and no home in the human being. The new cultural impulse in the child says: “I am very fragile and I need all your powers of protection. Make your house into a home of the divine power.” And Mary knows what needs to be done as she has pondered these words in her heart.
If human consciousness is led to the heart we enter a different state of consciousness which is healing and has great power. The Christ-child also says: “Hear my words and do not allow them to be talked away. You have to protect the child-like soul in yourself, which is not small but large, so that you can learn to understand my language ever more.” The new culture in which the impulse of Christ can act, is a culture of love, truth and trust.
The old picture of the strong man, tyrant or dominator has to be wiped away so that something new can be born. This step cannot be forced through laws and punishments. Negativity is not healed by destruction – through more negativity, but only through transformation. It is the deep belief in the fact that humankind is interconnected, that the destiny of one human being is inseparably connected with the destinies of all the others. Mary prepared herself in her heart for this knowledge. And the voice continues speaking to her: “You have to create a home, a human surrounding in which hearts can open again for the idea of reconciliation.” This is the task of the female divine power: to realise this birth. Where the Christ impulse wants to act in the son of man it first becomes fragile and small, even in the strongest man. And where this point in the man experiences female protection and reconciliation, healing can enter.
Even now the Christian tradition follows the idea of punishment for evil and reward for good. The day of judgement.
But how much endless suffering, how much pain and cruelty has been committed in the name of good? In the battle against evil there was soon no good any more. In a culture in which the language of the loving heart is spoken, the moment of truth starts when the heart looks at the events of history with forgiveness, but also with an understanding of how change can occur. Human consciousness is elevated and refined until love is the strongest power.
Returning to this world means ending separation between good and evil, between the spiritual and material worlds, and between God and flesh. Instead of making efforts to liberate ourselves from desire and sexuality as Christianity has preached, we should dissolve the fatal connection of sexuality and violence and understand what it means that the word became flesh. Mary, who speaks from the heart, will positively affirm the sacred nature of bodily life on all levels, and she will take care of it. She will
positively affirm sexual joy once again. Why should the human being use his powers to overcome the call of his body when he has just become a human being anew? How long do we want to continue fighting against this arising God in the human being? For a long time religion has served to suppress unsolved human issues.
As a woman I am a part of the Goddess, part of the landscape and of nature. Love to humans is not my private story, separated from nature and the world. When the task that the Goddess has given me can come together with my love life, I experience the happiness of universal love. From this happiness, universal communities arise in which humans are connected once more with the world, the Earth
and nature. How many unsolved human issues does the divine world have to bear? How many sighs of human life not lived, of elementary joy not experienced and truth not spoken are pushed into the spiritual world? How many people talk of spirituality, healing, health, of all possible issues, while actually looking for human contact, human closeness and human acknowledgement? We have to bring back into the human world many of the things that we project into heaven. Only then will we be able to perceive the actual presence of the Goddess on Earth, of nature spirits and elementary beings, without projections. This is what the statement “God became human” means. God is human amongst humans and wants to be discovered, understood and protected here so that he can unfold on Earth.
A humane culture will arise when we have become capable of contact and truth in the human area and when we no longer bind the question of Eros to the personal question “Do love me or don‘t you? Do you mean me or don‘t you?” The healing of the Earth needs people who have understood love and are able apply it, especially love amongst humans. The rest will come naturally. We are here to make this world divine.
Therefore to all women: Do not follow the impulses of revenge and retaliation that are triggered by the fact that the strong lover and man for whom you wish does not yet exist. So far, strength has manifested in suppression, power, domination and legal structures. Rediscover the greatness in what is lying “as if nothing worth” as the creator of all things in the crib, looking for female protection. Hear the words of the child. Then you will act differently than all mothers so far, who wanted too soon to see their sons big and strong and therefore killed that which was fragile in them, that which was Christ in them, that which actually wanted naturally to become beautiful and great.
I thank the spirit of community who makes it possible to find this kind of human truth, to understand it and to protect it.

One thought on “The Marian Cultural Impulse

  1. Thank you for this Sabine. It reframes the Christ Mary relationship as an example of the mother protecting and nurturing the Christ nature of the infant. May all us men learn to grieve this loss and thereby perhaps retrieve it, and learn to support our women fully.
    I love the part about projecting into heaven what we could be living here in this flesh.
    Much love

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