Holy Spirit: feminine form?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by barefootgal9, Apr 5, 2004.

  1. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,749
    Likes Received:
    2
    well, yes, but this isn't the reason! there is a large community of iraqi jews in london, several hundred strong, most of whom, like my family, came originally from iraq, but moved to bombay in india for about a hundred years. the iraqi community is the oldest diaspora community, as it dates back to the destruction of the first Temple in 586 BCE and the babylonian exile. those iraqi jews that hadn't moved to india by 1948 when israel was established were chucked out in a series of bloody pogroms (known as the "farhoud") and moved to israel. the indian community decided to move to the UK and israel after indian independence, partition and the riots.

    there were only about 30 jews left in baghdad before saddam was ousted; he kept them on display to prove that he wasn't anti-semitic, just anti-zionist. the iranian regime does much the same thing, albeit the community is a lot larger because iran was tolerant of the jews until the islamic revolution of 1979.

    there is also, in london, a large iranian-jewish community, plus afghans, bukharans, spanish-and-portuguese and moroccans in addition to the majority and more well-known polish, german, russian and other european (askhenazic) communities.

    which i seem to spend a lot of time explaining!

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  2. amberlaine

    amberlaine New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, but you like to hear yourself talk so it all works out.


    *grrin*
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2003
    Messages:
    6,532
    Likes Received:
    8
    I like to hear him explain it as well. :) It is a genuine shame that there are not more Jewish people on these forums, and so willing to engage in interfaith discussion.
     
  4. barefootgal9

    barefootgal9 Baha'i

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0
    I definitely agree with Brian on that! I have learned more from reading (intelligent) Jewish threads than most others. Thank God (seriously!) that scholarship has had such an honored place in Judaism. How much we would have lost without it!

    bananabrain:
    could you expand for us what is meant by "Shekhinah" and "interface"?

    "the Shekhinah is more of a specific interface."

    Last night I took a look at a Christian feminism website which had found texts to support a feminine aspect of spirit which revealed G!d to the Prophets. And I have found more texts by Baha'u'llah indicating that His "interface" with the Divine was "the Maid of Heaven." Some of the poetic imagery very reminiscent of the Song of Solomon!

    (I wonder, if the world were to have a female Revelator -- would Her "interface" be a male figure?)
     
  5. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
    You may find "The Meri" series by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff interesting for this and other reasons. She is a Baha'i author who encorporated quotes and issues from the Baha'i Faith info a fantasy series with a female Revelator. The first book is called "The Meri" and you ussually find the whole (3 book) series through Amazon as used books for less than it costs to ship. She also has other books,.
     
  6. barefootgal9

    barefootgal9 Baha'i

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0
    Steven, hmmmmm...

    I'll have to check that out. Are they good?

    Did you know the young folks at Baha'iGear are creating an RPG game of "The Seven Valleys"? (spiritual warriors outfit themselves in virtues...)

    getting creative, here, aren't we?!?
     
  7. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bohnhoff books

    I think they are quite good. I bought two sets and share one around.

    HA! Neat idea! I think _Conference of the Birds_ which is the origin and archetype of the idea of _The Seven Valleys_ is almost like a comic book sometimes.
     
  8. mahogan

    mahogan tgyhuj

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    holy spirit and the feminine

    The definition of 'the feminine', or of 'female, has changed greatly over the centuries. Some cultures do not understand the concept at all (the introduction of 'In Pursuit of Gender' (Altamira 2002), there is a discussion of the difficulty of defining gender). Perhaps Michel Foucault is most famous for postulating these questions.

    My own theory is that, in a culture where literacy was uncommon, where social structures were in flux (disease, famine, war, nomadic lifestyles), the function of a person, that is, the role they fulfilled within their social group, was of more significance than the gender (women warriors, male farmers are not unknown). I think we need to draw on a great deal of sociological data for this area and even some biological/ genetic, as the West finally realises that there are not just 2 genders but a whole range in between.

    Regards

    Martin Hogan
     
  9. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
    somewhere inbetween

    While not wishing to dismiss scientific input to the question of the current and future trends in the balance of the sexes I would not give up on religious sources for consideration. "The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged prerequisites of peace. The denial of such equality perpetrates an injustice against one half of the world's population and promotes in men harmful attitudes and habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to political life, and ultimately to international relations. There are no grounds, moral, practical, or biological, upon which such denial can be justified. Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavor will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge. See also In all the Ways that Matter, Women Don't Count

    "The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting; force is losing its dominance, and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine and more permeated with the feminine ideals, or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced."
     
  10. StrangeQuark

    StrangeQuark Wannabe Scholar

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    Female Revelator

    Interesting that you should mention that! This may be only loosely related to the thread, but it has something to do the "female Revelator" idea.

    I apologize if this is a terrible derailing of the thread. (Admin, feel free to move it if you wish).

    (I forget the proper WARNING, but . . .) I'm about to reveal part someone's story . . .

    It's fiction, I know, but Mercedes Lackey has such diversity of culture and religion in her Valdemar series that I can't help mentioning it. In *The Mage Storms* there is a character from the land of Karse known as "the Son of the Sun."

    The Karse religion, in all the stories preceeding *Mage Storms* had a very fundamentalist flavor to it, very much like some Christian or Islamic traditions. The priests and their ruler/prophet, the Son of the Sun, hated the Heralds of Valdemar and their spirit Companions (which looked like horses), and were relentlessly starting wars. Before *Mage Storms* there had never been a woman Son of the Son. Ironically, somehow a woman rose to that position in this story and still called herself *Son* of the Sun.

    She was also the only one to accept peaceful relations with Valdemar!

    (Now that I think of it, from now on I will try to look for ways to start a new thread before I do something like this).
     
  11. barefootgal9

    barefootgal9 Baha'i

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0
    StrangeQuark

    HI! I want to get back to you and respond more fully to your post later - but tonight I am too tired and my brain doesn't want to work.

    I haven't read any of the Mercedes Lackey books - they sound interesting, I'll have to check them out.

    There is perhaps some remnant in history of a female Revelator -- I am thinking of White Buffalo Calf Woman - the Teacher of the Lakota (? am I remembering correctly?) Anyway, thanks for the reminder. I'll do some researching on Her -- there may not be a lot -- but I think there may be some insights/ideas in Her story that are relevant to the thread.

    My initial query arose from the thought that there is more "feminine aspect" in God/Revelation (especially in the West) than we generally assume ... largely just because of the processes of translation, and that those assumptions may induce us to miss some subtle ideas, or even important ones, that impact on our understandings and even some key doctrines.

    I don't mind a little "de-railing"! I'm glad to see the thread kept alive. I'm not really sure where it is going -- maybe wherever the participants take it! I thought we might go into an exploration of the poetic imagery of Song of Solomon, compared with Baha'u'llah's Ode to the Dove or... who knows? So why not fiction books? (comparing Lackey's Mage Books to Herbert's "Dune"?)
     
  12. StrangeQuark

    StrangeQuark Wannabe Scholar

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you, barefootgal9, for the reply.

    The White Buffalo Calf Woman sounds interesting too, and I think I will look it up myself.

    Since I am unfamiliar with the topic of your query, it would be difficult for me engage in any discussion concerning it. The only thing I can think of that might be remotely similar is the Holy Grail--which is a very contraversial subject anyway.

    Of course, I am always interested in feminine aspects of deity, and I do look forward to more discussion--at least when we've both had some rest! :)
     
  13. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
    the femine, divinity and science fiction

    I would suggest Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff's works. She has a series called _The Meri_ as well as a single book called _The Spirit Gate_ all published in the 90's. In the first series she describes the process by which a Holy-Spirit like figure is set for an age by the adoption of a female body and the life that person lead. In every case it is a woman and each has had to suffer through a culture which restricted the life of women in religion. However in the current case it seems the standard is changing, albeit too slowly for one young girl. The theology isn't strictly Baha'i based but she uses mostly Baha'i quotes for the scripture of the religion of this people. Thankfully there is also a male central (though not main) character who is struggling for the equality of women in the religion they practice ( so it is not just about men vs women.) He plays kind of John the Baptist role.

    You can buy the series for less than it costs to ship it.

    _The Spirit Gate_ is both similar and different. It takes place in approximately an historical place (turn of the last millenium between modern day Poland and Ukraine) in a context where Christianity and Islam are arriving more or less at the same time (not true historically.) Again women are repressed but this is seen as part of the result of the abuse of power of men causing a spiritual malaise and a woman is arising as part of that redress - and also dealing with how her pagan religion is relating to these incoming religions (not very theological as far as the incoming religions but an interesting view from a pagan pov about how they each presented themselves.) Very little explicit from the Baha'i Faith but I would say many of the attitudes communicated from the pagan pov are somewhat Baha'i influenced.


    Of course then there's Madeleine L'Engle's _Wrinkle in Time_ series - where I think all the angels are female or at least femine?
     
  14. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
    female leads in religion

    I beleive you are correct in that She manifested to the Lakota. However I doubt an serious content is available online because of the style of religion the Lakota practice in that they have had so much stolen that they share only with great care and in a way to preserve their standards.

    I would say that the only other religion that even comes close to this theological angle of the female being the main aspect of a religion (other than the Maiden of the Baha'i Faith) might be the Shinto religion - it's been many years and I learned this from a very derivative source but it seemed like the Lead god was female. Doing a little finger work brings up the name Amaterasu Omikami.....

    On a more modern scale we have the examples in the Baha'i Faith of Tahireh and Bahiyeh Khanum. Two very different figures indeed....
     
  15. barefootgal9

    barefootgal9 Baha'i

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for all those contributions, Steven. I have a friend who is a Lakota who may be willing to share some of the traditions about White Buffalo Calf Woman. I would have more confidence in anything he might offer. I just rediscovered his e-mail addy a couple of days ago. Hopefully it is still good.

    I think all the religious heroines would need their own thread! There are surely thousands!

    Steven - do you have any thoughts on the natures of the Holy Spirit vs the Logos - are they expressions of the same thing? Would the "interface" - Maid of Heaven be either? or something else (the Spirit of Revelation?) Off the bat I can't think of any Baha'i texts that explain these terms explicitly - and won't be able to spare much time for searching. But the question intrigues me. I have no hard and fast answers on these terms.
     
  16. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
    Speaking of exaulted heights is prone to error. Fundamentally it is a rarified region that in itself we may never come to know well in this world. Still, the fact that it is mentioned at all must serve some purpose though who knows what will come of it.

    As the appreciation of God has grown in proportion to our growing knowledge of existence and the progression of Revelation there are few quotes in the Babi and Baha'i Scriptures which speak to such matters.

    "I am the Mystic Fane," the Bab thus proclaims His station in the Qayyumu'l-Asma', "which the Hand of Omnipotence hath reared. I am the Lamp which the Finger of God hath lit within its niche and caused to shine with deathless splendor. I am the Flame of that supernal Light that glowed upon Sinai in the gladsome Spot, and lay concealed in the midst of the Burning Bush. "In here .

    "The Holy Spirit Itself hath been generated through the agency of a single letter revealed by this Most Great Spirit, if ye be of them that comprehend. "In here

    and again

    "And when the appointed hour hath struck," He [the Bab] again addresses Bahá'u'lláh in that same commentary, "do Thou, by the leave of God, the All-Wise, reveal from the heights of the Most Lofty and Mystic Mount a faint, an infinitesimal glimmer of Thy impenetrable Mystery, that they who have recognized the radiance of the Sinaic Splendor may faint away and die as they catch a lightening glimpse of the fierce and crimson Light that envelops Thy Revelation."in here

    I think there is an escalating holiness as one approaches the direction of God and the limit of existence. Spirit upon Spirit until even that word may have no relevance. Exactly which does what may be like looking at a family of the closest trusted members and figuring out who does what even though to the family it is clear exactly who does what. But to outward seeming it is as good to honor one member of the family as the next, perhaps. Of course these are just my own thoughts.
     
  17. barefootgal9

    barefootgal9 Baha'i

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0
    I appreciate your thoughts. No doubt all these images are signs of Realities far beyond the reach of our perception.

    I seem to be way overbooked for a few days at least -- I'll try to post more on the weekend.

    blessings & peace!
    bfg
     
  18. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
    And I'm having a problem with a wireless link in my connection to the internet....

    Any word from your Lakota friend?

    Here's something that speaks to community -

    … On the other hand, consider the welding power of His Word. Observe, how those in whose midst the Satan of self had for years sown the seeds of malice and hate became so fused and blended through their allegiance to this wondrous and transcendent Revelation that it seemed as if they had sprung from the same loins. Such is the binding force of the Word of God, which uniteth the hearts of them that have renounced all else but Him, who have believed in His signs, and quaffed from the Hand of glory the Kawthar of God’s holy grace. Furthermore, how numerous are those peoples of divers beliefs, of conflicting creeds, and opposing temperaments, who, through the reviving fragrance of the Divine springtime, breathing from the Ridvan of God, have been arrayed with the new robe of divine Unity, and have drunk from the cup of His singleness! (Book of Certitude, pages 112-3.)
     
  19. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
    Another spirit (or two) in feminine form....

    From the Qur'an:

    In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

    When earth is shaken with a mighty shaking
    and earth brings forth her burdens,
    and Man says, ‘What ails her?’
    upon that day she shall tell her tidings
    for that her Lord has inspired her.

    Upon that day men shall issue in scatterings to see their works,
    and whoso has done an atom’s weight of good shall see it,
    and whoso has done an atom’s weight of evil shall see it.

    And mirrored in Baha'i works -
    This is the Day wherein the earth hath hold out her tidings and hath laid bare her treasurers…. (Tablets of Baha’u’llah, page 107.)

    This is the Day whereon the earth shall tell out her tidings. The workers of inquity are her burdens, could ye but perceive it….
    (Gleanings, page 40.)

    Then there is Mt. Carmel herself.

    The topic of Huri's

    Another reviews the theme of the feminine Holy Spirit as well.
     
  20. smkolins

    smkolins Bahá'í

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    531
    Likes Received:
    0
    I found this interview....from 1989 While mostly about other things it does mention details of the White Buffalo Calf Woman.
     

Share This Page