I received the directive from the Old Man to learn all I could about the things that mattered most to me, so I’ve been reading a plenty. Mostly things on polytheism as a theology, but I’ve also dug into The Hebrew Goddess by Patai as well. I’d not heard anything from the Old Man since December but did hear this a few weeks ago:
“So I see you’re out making friends.”
I took that and the amused tone that went with it to mean that he approved of my learning about other deities, specifically female ones. For so long I’ve had difficulties connecting to the feminine Divine, and often if a goddess is reaching out, I have trouble seeing it. Patriarchal belief is hard to shake off despite its toxicity.
I’ll be honest some of his theories concerning the Shekinah I find a bit of a stretch, however the chapter on Asherah was brilliant, and I’m sure quite groundbreaking at the time. As a child I started questioning the idea of a male only god pretty early, and for monotheists who insist their god is sexless/genderless refer to Yahweh/Allah as She and watch their reaction. It will probably be one of disgust and anger. Because in the Judeo/Christian/Islamic mindset women are dirty. We are other and incapable of being a reflection of the Divine. Our only true value in the three faiths is that of child bearing mother. And even those children are not truly our own, but one more possession of the father.
There was a time in my life where I sought a monotheistic compromise and chose what I thought to be the lesser of three evils. Indeed, Islam does at least place an equal blame on Adam and Eve and regards women as spiritual equals. However, many other prohibitions on women still remain. We are unclean during our periods and for forty days after childbirth unable to approach god. Rendered unclean by the bugaboo of patriarchal men who say god made all things perfect- except women of course. By their logic we were deficient from the beginning. I’m not necessarily saying that if the cult of Asherah had persisted patriarchy wouldn’t have persisted, I think the toxic patriarchy present in polytheistic India disproves that, however at least women would have had something to revere in the sacred that was a reflection of themselves.