Guest Post by Kimberlee. I am the proud grandmother of 3 incredible adorables. The proud parent of two amazing adult children. Celebrating 47 years with the love of my life. We love to read, hike, travel, and eat good food together. I have graduate degrees in Art History (MA 2001), Women’s Studies (MA 2003; PhD 2013) from the University of Maryland. We live in northern California where we serve in the Oakland Temple.
All glory, laud, and honor to Mother God, the Feminine Divine, the Divine Feminine, the Goddess, Mother in Heaven, Heavenly Mother. Her names are endless and endless is her name. Praise and Adoration to Her.
My earliest pull towards her came in 1972 during a choral performance of “we young women” in the Bay Area on the stage of the Oakland Inter-Stake Center. Although still in high school, I had been reflecting with confusion on my discomfort with the position of the church on the proposed ERA amendment. As we sang, “Nothing Like a Star” (wearing pink!), a sliver of comfort came down from above and rested upon me. While I didn’t identify its source as Mother God at the time, it’s clear to me in hindsight that it was she who was sending me the peace to move forward comfortably in disharmony with the official position. While before I had been wavering in the social winds of the congregation in which I worshiped, I was now comfortable with articulating my own position for myself. It is possible, of course, that someone might have felt comfort from above in aligning with the position of the church. My hindsight recognition was less about the amendment itself but about traits of being that I would need in the years going forward: comfort in living with paradox, ambiguity, and a lack of clarity on many significant topics. The recognition at that time of my being able to let go of internal conflict over contradictions in the world about me has been one for which I’ve been humbly grateful. It has allowed me to stretch and grow and remain rooted in faith.
All glory, laud, and honor to those who further opened the conduit to Mother God for me. As a young married mother in 1985, I watched Carol Lynn Pearson perform “Mother Wove the Morning” with rapt attention. My mind exploded with endless possibilities of knowing and being there unfolding before me. Pearson’s tireless, courageous, and brilliant dedication of her talent to knowing Eternal Mother in all her many incarnations has informed so much of her work and my awareness of eternal possibilities throughout the years that have followed, most recently recapitulated with glorious power in her compilation “Finding Mother God: Poems to Heal the World.”
All glory, laud, and honor to the women of Exponent II and Dialogue for courageously giving voice to the discoveries of many with respect to Mother God: to Margaret Olson Hemming for her passionate and uplifting focus on the Feminine Divine in her recently curated art exhibition on the topic at Lincoln Center, to McArthur Krishna and Bethany Brady Spalding for their books exploring the multi-faceted faces and attributes of Heavenly Mother. The voices and talents of all these women and more have been manna to me in my own exploration towards the Divine Feminine. They have been the hands and voices of earthly angels on my mortal journey to better understanding God as female and to building rapprochement with God as male.
All praise to women everywhere and throughout time who have celebrated Her, who have acted with Her power on behalf of women’s oppression in patriarchal cultures across the world. It is She who animates so much of all that is living. Her divine and earthly powers are equal in might to that of Father God. Individually and together, they are creators and sustainers of all that is hopeful and good in their compassionate love of humankind. They inspire and embrace and hold us as we journey.
While I had always felt it possible to comprehend (at least in part), the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer and thus forge a relationship to Him, God the Mother has changed my relationship to God the Father in many positive ways. For many years I struggled to pray effectively to God the Father. He felt distant to me, and although I knew He loved me and all of humankind, it was difficult for me to feel a relationship with One who didn’t have attributes that I could discover of the female. Having since felt the heart of Female as Divine has been a beautiful and edifying experience and has helped me to learn more about both God the Mother and God the Father. The first time that I addressed them both in prayer, my heart felt at home. It felt so natural that it now seems impossible to me that it had not always been thus in my life. What an experience of Grace for me to have been able to grow in knowledge of and love for Her, thanks to all the way finders who have been pulling Her slowly but determinedly into our orbit and view. I see Her smiling upon these efforts and endowing them with magnifying and magnificent greatness.
I write and think out of the space of the privileges of my lived experiences. I am a white (European-American), cis-gender woman living among the upper middle class. I have the privilege of being highly educated. I lack for nothing. Although I have studied and taught Women’s Studies and Feminism, with an emphasis on social justice and an attention to the marginalization and oppression of women along the many intersecting axes of color, ethnic, gender, religious identity, economic status, geopolitical location and more, I recognize the paucity of my experience in truly seeing through the lives of others who do not stand in my location of privilege.
What I wonder is their experience of or hopes for the Feminine Divine? I look forward with great eagerness to this and other opportunities that exist for us to share what She means to each and to all of us; I look forward to learning about The Divine Feminine from others whose lived experience is vastly or even partly different from my own. In this regard, I am, again grateful to the work of Hemming, Krishna and Spalding, and Exponent II and Dialogue editors for the powerful and multi-faceted visual experiences of the Female Divine they have given space for in their spheres of influence.
My testimony is that She is omniscient and omni-powerful and the essence of eternal love and of peace. I believe that She accommodates, indeed celebrates our differences and our diversity. Indeed, Her gift is to bring us to our own joyful acceptance of the very diversity she endowed the earth with from the beginning.
I believe She has the power both to heal those who suffer though any capacity, while simultaneously elevating the wisdom they have acquired from their particular and challenging journeys. I believe She is comfortable using they/their pronouns. I believe that She/They both mirror and reflect what is most needful and precious for each of us. There is nothing that She/They may not accomplish for good. Worlds without end live in Her/Their being and She/They live for us, with the goal to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of each and all of us journeying here in mortality. As we come to know Her/Them better, our understanding of how to better realize this goal more inclusively will unfold harmoniously, for Her/Their work is to use Her/Their glorious light to dispel the dark forces of earthly tribalisms and other isms of oppression. These will fade away and the earth itself will begin to heal, particularly to the extent that we put forth all our own efforts to the work. Following the principles of the Gospel of the Savior Jesus Christ will bring us closer to God the Mother, and to her all-knowing wisdom, illuminating the journey forward for all those born of woman.
This post is part of a series, Contemplating Heavenly Mother. Find more from this series here.