Women have been Spiritual Leaders since the beginning of time.
Way back in the beginning, men were more obvious and visible about their work with Spirit, but we know that women have gathered, in their time of the month, at the cycles of the moon, and mostly in secret – separated from the males of the tribe. Although men were aware of these secret feminine groups and “societies,” as long as the women kept their work secret; except when it came to healing, they were tolerated.
In medieval times and in the times of burning witches, women as healers were all considered magical, and therefore witches. And it was men who vigorously instigated, pursued and “punished” every woman who exhibited any healing ability (or even simply a woman who wouldn’t take them into their bed at the time). We have, as a culture and society, come a long way from those times.
In ancient times, Sophia (σοφία, Greek for “wisdom”) is a central idea in Hellenistic philosophy and religion, Platonism, Gnosticism, Orthodox Christianity, Esoteric Christianity, as well as Christian mysticism. Sophiology is a philosophical concept regarding wisdom, as well as a theological concept regarding the wisdom of the biblical God, and also reknown as the High Priestess of the Feminine Divine.
Sophia is honored as a goddess of wisdom by Gnostics, as well as by some Neopagan, New Age, and Goddess spirituality groups.
In Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity, Sophia, or rather Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), is an expression of understanding for the second person of the Holy Trinity, (as in the dedication of the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople) as well as in the Old Testament, as seen in the Book of Proverbs 9:1, but not an angel or goddess.
Today, women over the world are openly beginning to be recognized as healers, spiritual teachers and leaders more than ever.
Clearly, women in many societies have been taking greater roles, but there is still considerable resistance, and in some traditions, it is not allowed at all. But there must be a greater recognition here of the inherent strength of women and the natural capacity they can serve in this regard.
For even in current traditions, women may not serve as the recognized leaders, but they are in most cases the backbone of the religious organization and tradition itself.”
In Israel, women religious leaders do indeed derive their authority from the attainment of the traditional virtues of piety and Torah erudition. They also wield considerable moral and spiritual influence within the communities that acknowledge their leadership. In Orthodox circles, women religious leaders usually differ from male religious leaders in two main respects: they still do not assume the authority to deliver a pesak (decision in halakhah); and their followers usually consist solely of women rather than of mixed-gender communities.
The traditional Christian view is actually a bit more limited than that women are not permitted to be “spiritual leaders” or “prophets.” The Bible has examples of women who are prophets such as Deborah; also, in the New Testament, Mary, Elizabeth, Anna “the prophetess” etc. Others are mentioned but not named. What the church has traditionally maintained is that women cannot be priests. That is different from saying that they cannot exercise any kind of spiritual leadership.
The Age of Women states: “There is a New Message from God in the world, and one of the things that it calls for is the emergence of women leaders, particularly in the area of spirituality and religion. It is time now for certain women to be called into these greater roles and responsibilities, and it is important around the world in different quarters and in different religious traditions that this be allowed.
In this new age of changing paradigms of thinking, the nurturing, empowerment and training in developing a woman’s higher inner connection is critical. The required path is to encourage, inspire, strengthen and empower women spiritual leadership.
The world must begin to encourage women to honor the power of the circle and to trust themselves and their ways of knowing; including the wisdom of the female body, their experience of cycles, and a receptivity to intuition and the unconscious.
Realizing that spirituality means different things to different people; here are just a few definitions of spirituality that you may find helpful:
“The longing for direct firsthand experience of God’s presence in my life. Piety is at its heart the pattern by which we shape our lives before God in grateful obedience to what God has done for us.” ~Howard Rice
“…spirituality seems to consist of learning, exploring, creating or deconstructing story-systems… The perspective I’m taking is that all stories are spiritual – that all stories provide us with structures with which to organize and derive meaning from our inner and outer experiences.” ~Tim Boucher
“Spirituality is the opening of the self at its deepest level to God, a centering of the self in the God in whom we live and move and have our being.” ~Marcus Borg
Webster’s dictionary defines spirit as: “the immaterial intelligent or sentient part of a person.” Saint Teresa called spirit “the life of God within us.” “Spirit” comes from the Latin word spiritus, meaning breath.
SPIRITUAL EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN
Today we are facing a new Era. The ancient Mayan culture speaks of this change, the ending of their old calendar in 2012, and the beginning of a new age. They, along with many other indigenous cultures, also speak that this coming time will be one of a more feminine nature, based in the heart.
But women in our modern world have a problem.
Thus far, they have begun to become financially empowered and professionally empowered. Yet the most important need, for spiritual empowerment, has often been neglected or ignored.
Our world is already in the time of transition and it will be a difficult time until the new era blossoms into an age of peace and understanding. If our world is to survive, spiritually empowered women must take their place in helping. It’s time for them to step up and step out. The time of hiding is over.
Most “aware” people know that it is necessary to heal our Grandmother Earth if we are to survive. However, it is equally as imperative to also heal each other through love, compassion, respect and, most of all, prayer. Prayers of the heart are one of the most powerful influences in the universe. Moreover, women also need to help men develop their own feminine aspects of gentleness and sensitivity, compassion, nurturing, and kindness. They need to help men learn to work from the heart. If we don’t do all of this, we can’t help our planet and humanity risks extinction.
Women are powerful, truly powerful, with unique gifts that are far-reaching.
That is why they have been considered a threat by so many male-dominated modern cultures and religious hierarchy. Women are especially tuned to walk in both the spiritual world and the mundane world. They are particularly adept at creating energy and change. Their great capacity for bonding has made them especially empathic and gifted at seeing and understanding past surface levels. Ultimately, their roles as caretakers and nurturers have opened their hearts and awareness to many levels of the universe.
Their spiritual gifts can be profound.
Unfortunately, women have begun to lose that understanding of their gifts as they have grappled to survive in the callous societies of today. Many live tentative, cold, and fragmented lives as victims of violence, victims of unspeakable offenses against honor. Too often, their hearts and spirit have become uncertain and lost, awash in grief and fear. They have forgotten who they are. They have forgotten their original instructions as human beings and as women.
Yet, most indigenous cultures recognized the unique and powerful qualities of women. In many cultures they were revered and respected. In some, the entire societal structure was Matriarchal. In others, the special spiritual gifts of women were recognized and they were considered to be the nurturing connection to the Divine.
Throughout the indigenous world, women often held the honored roles of leaders, advisors, or wisdom-keepers. Many times, they were also found as the community healer and seer, although in some cultures that was reserved for women in their post-menopausal years.
It was also fully recognized that a woman’s moon-time, her period of menstruation, was her most powerful, albeit her most uncontrolled, time.
More importantly, however, her moon-time was considered her own personal sacred ceremony, a time where she is quite literally shedding her blood for humanity, purging and purifying herself to make room for the creative energies and life to arrive.
Due to the sacredness of this, some indigenous cultures sequestered their women away from the village during their moon-time. This wasn’t a banning or shunning as is popularly assumed today. This was a period of protection and rest from the duties of their very hard lives, a few days off each month. It was where they were waited upon by other women and served food they didn’t have to cook themselves. It was also a time for reflection or sharing and bonding with other women. In short, it was a time of respect and honor and rest.
During this time, they also did not participate or go near any ceremony being conducted outside their seclusion. There was good reason for this. The main reason, very logical, is that it is never a good idea to cross ceremonies (start a ceremony while another one is in process). At best, it just all blows up and becomes so diluted into confusion that nothing happens for anyone. At worst, you can get some very crossed energies going with highly negative and chaotic results. Therefore, since the women were already in their own ceremony, it was highly unadvisable for them to go near anyone else’s ceremony.
A secondary reason was simply the powerful but raw, uncontrolled energies that sometimes occur when a woman is on her moon-time. Few women know how to control it and that kind of energy is quite literally capable of blasting anyone and anything, intentionally or unintentionally. If you don’t know what I mean then simply think of the last time you crossed a woman who was on her moon-time. It’s not a pretty sight.
The ancient cultures all knew and understood these things. Unfortunately, the truth has often been lost along the way to modern times or misconstrued and twisted into untruth. Women have nearly forgotten their place in the Universe.
So it’s time that women start looking at their power, their bodies, and their cycles with respect instead of as a “curse.” It’s vitally important that women choose to heal themselves and regain the understanding of their own unique gifts; to re-claim their own power and themselves. Then it will be up to each woman, her beliefs, and her Divine as how to best walk with it all.
It is said we are the sacred 7th generation. For our children and grandchildren, for the next 7 generations, for ourselves, it’s time for women to harness their power and get to work helping to save our world. Women can do it; they are particularly suited for this need. But it’s a choice. To quote an ancient indigenous song, “Women of the earth, take courage. You carry the teaching of a people who look to you for guidance. Be mindful of your walk.”
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Categories: SPIRITUAL HEALTH