God the Father and God the Mother

From my friend Catherine’s website, Catholic Crone.  This was part of a discussion on the violence in the Psalms.  Catherine gives a link to the website of An Exchange Between Peter O’Leary and Alicia Ostriker      and quotes Alicia in her post:

“If I “believe” anything, I believe that the being we call God the Father swallowed God the Mother in prehistory, and that she’s still there, inside, waiting to be delivered. Which is to say: I believe God is pregnant with his exiled, mute, amnesiac, repressed feminine side. Pregnant and in labor. Pregnant and in pain, for I believe our human pain is God’s labor pain, and that we can all collectively be midwives bringing the goddess back into consciousness. Madness? Or metaphor?”

I like the metaphor but it leaves out the part about Goddess being primal for our first one or two million years.  During that time we lived in small foraging bands, and food was given to us out of the abundance of our Great Mother, the Earth.  It wasn’t until people (probably women) discovered agriculture, which of course was hailed as a wonderful thing that would make everybody’s lives more comfortable and easier.  Like many wonderful things initially held to be positive breakthroughs, the downside of agriculture didn’t show itself for at least a few thousand years.  Personally, I believe that being able to control the process of growing food and creating surpluses shifted the balance from living harmoniously with Nature to trying to control natural processes.  It’s at that point that God grew large and brash and aggressive and swallowed Goddess, who gradually disappeared almost entirely from human memory.  I do agree with the idea that God feels our pain, though he/she/it/they don’t save us from the consequences of our actions.
The image of those millions of years when Mother Goddess reigned supreme comes from a wonderful book: “Rebalancing the World: Why Women Belong and Men Compete and How to Restore the Ancient Equilibrium.” by Carol Lee Flinders.  One of my blog posts is on the Values of Belonging.

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