The Shekinah is the Cosmic Womb
"In the last chapter of the Book of Revelation (Rev.21:2), written by a Jewish Christian hand, the imagery of Shekinah can be recognised in the description of the Heavenly City, "descending from heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" with pearls and gold and precious jewels, having no need of sun or moon or light, for she is the Light, the Glory of God. Christians, knowing nothing of this lost tradition, cannot make the connection between the Shekinah as Bride and the Holy Spirit, the feminine aspect of the divine." - Andrew Harvey & Anne Baring
'The Shekinah or feminine face of the godhead is the Cosmic Womb, the Palace, the
Enclosure, the Fountain, Apple Orchard, and Mystical Garden of Eden and, at the
same time, the radiance that becomes the successive robes or veils that are the
spheres of consciousness or dimensions of created life. She is named as Mother,
Sister, and Daughter, Beloved and Bride, the architect of worlds, the source or
foundation of our world, who is the Radiance, Word, or Glory of the unknowable
ground or godhead; she brings into being all the creative powers and entities,
both female and male (the ten sephiroth), all the spheres or dimensions of
manifestation that are ensouled by the godhead until she generates the manifest
world we know.
The Kabbalists called this last sphere Malkuth, the Kingdom, where the divine Mother-Father image is expressed as the male and female of all species. Humanity, female and male, is made in the image of God, the reflection of the duality-in-unity of the godhead. The Shekinah is forever united with her beloved spouse in the divine ground or heart of being, and it is their union in the godhead that holds life in a constant state of coming into being. The sexual attraction between man and woman and the expression of true love between them is the enactment or reflection at this level of creation of the divine embrace at its heart enshrined in the words: "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine." Human sexual relationship, enacted with love, mutual respect, and joy, is a holy ritual that helps to maintain the ecstatic union of the divine pair.
Text after text uses sexual imagery and the imagery of light to describe how the ray that emerges from nothing is sown into the womb - the Great Sea of Light - of the celestial Mother and how she brings forth from this womb the male and female creative energies, which, as two branches of the Tree of Life, are King and Queen, Son and Daughter. A third branch of the Tree descends directly down the center, unifying the energies on either side. Surely a long visionary tradition, meditated on for centuries, must lie behind these images. The Shekinah is the waters above and below the firmament, the Divine Spouse, the indwelling and active Holy Spirit, and the divine guide or immanent presence who delivers the world from bondage and restores it ultimately to the heavenly spheres. Wisdom, compassion, justice, and mercy are four intrinsic qualities of her being; yet, like the goddesses of Egypt and Sumer, she can also be terrible in her power to destroy and in her fury at the wanton desecration of her life.
Because she brings all worlds into existence as her robes or veils, and dwells in them as Divine Presence, nothing is outside God, nothing excluded. Everything is connected to everything else as through a luminous circulatory system, a seamless robe of light. Moreover, the Shekinah is deeply devoted to what she has brought into being, as a mother is devoted to the well-being of her child and, in particular, to the mystic community of Israel.
In the last chapter of the Book of Revelation (Rev.21:2), written by a Jewish Christian hand, the imagery of Shekinah can be recognised in the description of the Heavenly City, "descending from heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" with pearls and gold and precious jewels, having no need of sun or moon or light, for she is the Light, the Glory of God. Christians, knowing nothing of this lost tradition, cannot make the connection between the Shekinah as Bride and the Holy Spirit, the feminine aspect of the divine."
Andrew Harvey & Anne Baring, The Divine Feminine
Conari Press, Berkeley, CA
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