Who and what is the Goddess? The Goddess is the beacon of female power. What is female power, you may ask? Female power is the power of love. This power of love is not limited to women or even to humans. Love is an energy field. When we choose to incarnate in a female body we are born to be the representatives of the living Goddess. Women are the ones who bear the children and hold the family together. They are the ones who nurture and heal and who grow the seeds of our creativity into manifestation. Men may also live this Goddess power. Now, many more of them are doing so every day through celebrating their ability to nurture their children, showing their emotions, and freely expressing their creativity.
The Goddess is the Great Mother. She is also known as Lady Gaia or Mother Earth. We are all her children and for many eons we have lived upon her body. Once, when we were “primitive”, we worshipped her and now that we are “civilized,” we have tried to conquer her. But how does one conquer the power of love? How can one capture an energy field or limit an invisible force? The Goddess has been calling and some of us have been listening. The Native Americans have held Her vigil since the conquest of “civilized” man. Now, there is a growing group that is beginning to celebrate Her reemergence. Some of us are women and some of us are men. Listen now. Can you hear her? Can you feel the power of her love?
My name is Suzanne and I am a Baby Boomer. I was born in 1946, among the first of the post World War II babies. The United States had just rescued the world, at least according to our story, and we were Number One! I grew up in the fifties as the good daughter of a good wife. I watched Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, and I Love Lucy. I knew that a “good woman” put her husband and children before her self. A “good woman” always looked beautiful, even when washing the dishes, and never got angry. The man was the king of the household and the woman manipulated him to get what she wanted. A good woman found a good man to take care of her and then, and only then, would she be “happy”.
Then came the sixties, and a “good woman” was fun, adventurous, free, and sexually open. In the sixties I became a maiden. I started my “period” and began the process of becoming a woman. I grew up in a very conservative environment and didn’t even know what marijuana was until the late sixties and I got married before I could really learn what “free love” was. My first child was born when I was 23 and I was a maiden at the same time that I was a mother, at least at first.
In the mid-seventies, I started graduate school and the fun-loving and angst-ridden Maiden went down into the depths of my psyche to be summoned forward when the stresses of life became too much to bear. In the eighties, the Maiden was released when true love entered my life.
Now, in the late nineties, I have completed menopause (for several years now), I am a grandmother, and I am celebrating my fiftieth birthday before the close of 1996. I think I am officially a “crone”. Since the term crone has become associated with age and ugliness, I will use the term mentor.
MY EXPERIENCE OF THE AWAKENING GODDESS AS A MAIDEN
When I was a maiden I saw a great transformation in the social view of women. In the environment in which I lived, the Goddess was never spoken of. We were Methodists and God was a man, Jesus was a man, and all of our Spiritual leaders were men. I never saw a female spiritual leader unless she stood behind her husband and “helped” him.
Then, in the late sixties, women began to have something they had never had—freedom and independence. Gradually, a woman became defined, not by the man she stood behind and supported, but by her Self. I, however, missed that “bus” because I got married in 1968 and became the wife/woman I had been trained to become in the fifties. Still, there was no mention of the Goddess in my world. Then the hippie movement entered my consciousness. I was a conservative hippie in that I owned my home, and my husband worked. I started gardening, grew some of my own food, and experienced the growth of the Goddess within me.
It was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and we were beginning to remember that there was more to life than making money. We began to remember LOVE and PEACE. The Goddess was awake. She told us not to kill strangers in a far-off jungle just because our Uncle Sam told us to. She whispered to us, “What if they had a war and no one came.” She covered Her poster with flowers that looked like children had drawn them. The Goddess did not care where in the world the children were. She only knew that she must protect them.
In the sixties, women began to go to college to find a career and not just to find a husband. We began to think for ourselves and we found men who wanted us to do so! The Goddess smiled! We liked thinking for ourselves, and when we graduated, a lot of us pursued a career. This was not a “job” like our mothers may have had until they got married or until they had children. We wanted careers that would last while we were married and when we had children. The Goddess was gaining power.
However, we became guilty that we were neglecting our men and children and so we did everything. We did all the work our mothers had done and all the work our fathers had done. The Goddess got tired and so did we. But—we felt too guilty to ask our husbands for help. Did we ever see Father Knows Best, or Desi Arnaz doing dishes?
But some of us didn’t feel guilty! Some of us believed that if we helped raise/earn money, that the man could help in the house and with the children. Some men were happy to help. While we were awakening our masculine selves—they were awakening their feminine selves. The Goddess was very happy about this arrangement. Women began to have more power in the world and men began to respect women for having power in the world.
THE AWAKENING GODDESS’ INFLUENCE ON
MY MAIDEN’S PERCEPTION OF GOD
It was 1970 when I became a mother, but I still had all the naiveté of a maiden. I had grown up hearing that God was a man and He lived far away in Heaven. With the Hippie Movement, I began to think that the Goddess might also be important. We wanted to live in Nature and we thought about ecology. It was when I was about age 28 that I began my Spiritual path in earnest, and I began thinking about God as Father/Mother God. The female was no longer behind the man. Now she was beside him. However, she was still attached to a man. It wasn’t until I was in my Mother phase that I began to allow the Goddess to have the importance of standing on her own. This was, coincidentally, after I had left my husband and began to learn to stand on my own.
MY EXPERIENCE OF THE AWAKENING GODDESS AS A MOTHER
The process of being pregnant and having a child was the primary experience in my life that awakened the Goddess within me. When I was only a few weeks pregnant, I contracted Rubella which is a form of measles and very dangerous to the fetus. I had just finished my degree in Speech Therapy and I was completely aware of the ramifications of my situation. Abortion was almost impossible in those days, but it didn’t matter. I wanted the child completely. My only concern was that I would not be up to the task of raising a child with special problems. I put my life in God’s hands. My conception of the Goddess at that time was that She could help women, but that She did not have the power to assist me in such a grave situation. The Goddess could only help with matters of the Earth, but matters of Spirit had to be left to God. Even then, the woman was only powerful in the home (Earth) and the man had the primary power over everyone’s destiny.
While I was pregnant, I experienced the Goddess in my daily life. I found a baby bird and raised it to adulthood, rented a house (a complete disaster) and made it into a home, and taught my new dog enough tricks to be in the Circus. There were many problems in my life, but I pushed them away while I focused on making a body for my baby who had much to deal with before she was even born. God answered my unspoken prayers. I dared not ask Him that the baby be normal and healthy as I believed that was too much to ask for. However, the baby was completely normal, but when she was only three weeks old, disaster struck again. My husband had a serious accident and was laid up for three months. I had to do everything, inside and outside of the home. This was the beginning of finding my power. The Goddess was still confined to the home. But she was much stronger, as was I, and she was peeking her head out of the door and into the world.
It was at this time that the Hippie Movement was coming to conservative Glendale, California. My husband’s near-death left him 1Y with the draft board and we finally took a deep breath. We had honestly considered moving to Canada to avoid the draft. Neither one of us felt that the Vietnam War was morally correct, and we did not want to participate in it. However, we held no contempt against those who went to fight in the war, as many of them were our friends. Too many failed to return and the ones who did were forever different.
Among our age group, there was the usual desperate seeking of fun and adventure that happens during a time of war. “Live to the fullest for tomorrow you may die.” When we learned that we would not have to face the decision of “fight or flight,” we relaxed, but we still lived the desperate and wild energy of our early twenties. We had many parties, at least two to three a week. I was happy because the energy from our wild partying distracted me from my recurrent depression. The parties also offered many wonderful discussions filled with the hope and idealism of the hippie mentality.
With the birth of my second child we moved into our own home and the Goddess fully awakened in me. I landscaped the entire house and made all the curtains, quilts, pillows, etc. and many of our clothes. I had a flower garden in the front yard and a vegetable garden in the back yard. I shopped at Albertson’s’ market, which was known for marking every item for its ecological impact on the Earth. The Goddess had finally stepped outside of the house in our consciousness. The Hippie Movement made us think about the land, and the war had made us think about peace. However, there was only peace in my home if I ignored the many things that were happening in my marriage. Therefore, I ignored them! The Goddess told me to raise my own children and I heard her very clearly.
THE AWAKENING GODDESS’ INFLUENCE ON
MY PERCEPTION OF GOD IN MY MOTHER PHASE
I was about 28, in the mid-seventies, when I finally began to integrate the Goddess into my concept of God. I had been married for about seven years. I had my two children, my own home, and my husband. I had achieved the same status as Harriet Nelson, Lucy Arnez, and the “wife” in Father Knows Best. Funny how I could never remember her name, even though that was my favorite show of the three. I guess that was because I could no longer remember my name. About this time I was at a party and someone asked me who I was. I rapidly replied—a wife and a mother. That was wonderful, but there was no ME! I know that I had been raised to totally surrender myself to my husband and family, but I was not enjoying that process. I loved my children deeply, but the “Good Man” was not taking very good care of me. I had been so ignored that I found that the only way that I could continue this coping mechanism was to ignore myself. All those years of perfect training did not work. I could not be a non-person and be happy. I could not define myself by others. I had to find a Self.
It was in the process of finding my Self that the Goddess began to leave the house and stand on her own. It was at this time that I stepped upon my Spiritual Path. One of the first things that I read was that when one steps onto the Spiritual Path, they must do so ALONE! As I walked this path, I discovered that I had always been alone except for a few friends and my children. The real me, my spiritual self, was something that I had learned at a very young age to keep to myself. The Church had told me about God and Jesus, but it did not recognize the many Beings who had always inhabited my inner world. Now, as I advanced along my Spiritual Path, I discovered that there were also female Spirit Guides. I had not been raised Catholic and I did not have a relationship with Mother Mary. She was always portrayed as being in pain and suffering. How could I go to someone for help when they had the same problems as I?
It was at this time that I met my first spiritual teacher, Mrs. Reed. Mrs. Reed was over 84 when I met her and she was my first true Mentor. She lived in a wondrous house in the hills above my house. From the first moment that I stepped into her home, I realized that I had found a new beginning. Mrs. Reed had never had children and had been a widow for over fifteen years. She had had a long and happy marriage to a musician and she had been an opera singer. She had the same warmth that my dear Grandmother had, but she also emanated a personal power that was not a reflection of her husband’s or her family’s. She was her own woman and she was spiritual and powerful at the same time. The Goddess embraced me and welcomed me Home.
Through my studies with Mrs. Reed, I gained the courage and confidence to move beyond the female limitations that I had learned as a child. I was one of the few women in my entire extended family to go to college. Those who had gotten a degree “gladly” surrendered their careers when they became mothers. Now I was going to graduate school. “Who would feed my husband?” was the question. “Mac Donald’s!” was my reply. It was sacrilege to not feed your man. I gained my first glimpse of power. I could say “NO” to a man and to the social morays that I had been raised with.
However, even though I had gained enough power to stand up for myself, I still could not tell myself the truth because I was unable to see it until my entire world shattered around me. Then, I was cast into a “dark night of the soul” where even my deep faith in Spirit was threatened.
ON MY OWN
It was 1979. I had finished my classes, taken my comprehensive examinations, and found an internship. I had succeeded…or had I? Nixon had ended the war “with dignity”, but “HE” had failed. I remember when I watched him on the television, before the entire American population, failing. “How mortified and embarrassed he must feel,” was my main thought. The world had changed. Even Presidents could make mistakes, and get caught. Well, I got caught as well. I was captured by my fears. For the entire three years of my Master’s program I had said, “I am so afraid that I will fail my final exams” and “I am so afraid that my marriage will fail”. Well, I did fail, or maybe I succeeded. I succeeded in creating the very thing that I had feared. I had learned a powerful lesson—Fear Precipitates.
Just as Nixon had lied to the American people, I had lied to myself. I had told myself that I was going to get my degree so that I could save my marriage, and I had also told myself that I was “not smart enough” to get a Master’s degree. Those were lies. I actually wanted to get my degree so that I could get a good job and leave the marriage and I didn’t think that I wasn’t smart. That was my mother’s voice and the old social indoctrination of my youth. The 50’s and early 60’s message, at least in my world, was “you can be pretty or you can be smart.” I picked pretty and therefore I could not be smart. “You can’t have it all,” the social myth continued.
The truth was that I felt guilty. I felt guilty because I wanted more. I wanted my own identity and my own life. I had been afraid of that truth and created lies to cover it. I had been taught to see the world the way I should see it rather than how I actually experienced it. Therefore, I created an appropriate illusion to support my denial and when that illusion burst, I felt the deep pain of disillusionment.
The deepest pain, though, was not the failure of the marriage or of my education. It was the failure of my faith. I had been in deep communication with the Goddess throughout my entire three years of graduate school. My work with Mrs. Reed had given me the courage to expand my world and go to graduate school, but I had not yet gained the courage to rise above my fears. I obsessively clung to the message from the Goddess that I would complete my education and gain a profession, while I simultaneously sabotaged myself at every turn. When I failed my exams I felt as though the Goddess had lied to me. I was devastated – but – I was also free. I was no longer in an unhappy marriage and I was no longer in school. I was working and making more money working three days a week than I had ever made working full time.
However, I was living with my parents again. They had been wonderful and supportive, but once I had recovered enough, I was ready to face living alone. As it turned out, I never had to. Three weeks after my separation I met the love that I had always longed to find. Instantly, we fell in love and have stayed in love to this day. The Maiden reemerged. When, after about two months, I moved into my own place he moved in with me. I was not yet strong enough to face the world without a man by my side, but I was strong enough to face the responsibilities of daily financial survival. It was the materialistic 80’s and I was ready to join the ranks of the many hippies who had become yuppies.
The Goddess was correct, after all. I did pass the test the next time I took it, and my new career did support my children and me. My fears no longer caused me to obsess about loneliness or failure. Now, I obsessed about money instead. Could I, alone, without the financial assistance of a man, support my children and myself? Unfortunately, I found that I hated my new profession. It was boring and I knew that I would not be able to spend the rest of my life doing it. So, back to school I went to get my Ph.D. I had not exactly planned that move, but the Goddess pushed me and before I knew it, I was enrolled. Now the money was really tight. Thank God for credit cards! Since I was in a Ph.D. program and actually making very good money, the banks were lining up to make me their creditor. I happily obliged. Free money!! My illusion that I had gone to school to save my marriage was replaced with the illusion that I had more money than I really had. But, illusions can and did help dissipate fear. That is, of course, until the bubble of illusion burst.
It was 1986 and I had done it all. I had finished my Ph.D. program, had obtained my license, and had been practicing psychotherapy for several years. So why was I so miserable? My second graduate program had been wonderful. I had learned to release my fears of failure, and I really did believe that I was smart. That is, with everything but money. And oh yes, with men, as well. My wonderful love story had turned into a real relationship with stepchildren, money worries, and lots and lots of anger. My new husband expressed all the anger that I had never expressed in my life, and there was a mountain of it. Because of that, I learned to express my anger and fight like a man and it almost did me in. But, the release of my anger allowed me to use my masculine energy in the world as well as in my home. I was running two successful businesses, caring for two adolescent children, managing a home, and paying the many bills that I had gathered around me. I did it all! I was superwoman. So why did I feel so weak? Maybe I was tired. The Goddess tried to tell me that I could be gentle and loving at the same time that I could be powerful, but I found the combination difficult, especially with my man. In order to be loving, I would have to trust. I could trust my children, my friends, and my clients. But could I trust a man?
MY EXPERIENCE OF THE AWAKENED GODDESS AS A MENTOR
Before I could trust a man, I would have to learn to trust ALL of myself. I had sabotaged myself with money because I could not release all of my beliefs about a woman’s dependence on a man. I had drawn a man into my life who was not of great financial assistance so that I would never again fall into the trap of staying too long in a relationship because I could not afford to live on my own. But now I was trapped by love. I could not leave him, not because I was afraid to be alone, but because I was afraid to be without his love. But if I loved him so much, why couldn’t I trust him? I realized that the old -“find a good man to take of you”- myth still echoed in my head. The fine print read that “take care of you” meant to take care of you financially. Could I trust a man who could not meet my financial needs? Or would I rather meet those needs myself?
I joined the ranks of the 80’s women who entered into and stayed in a relationship with a man who did not meet their financial needs but met their emotional needs. Women were looking at relationships differently. They could now express their own masculinity in the world and they needed a man who could express his feminine side in the home and care for them emotionally. But did he meet my emotional needs? Of course–except for his anger. Or was it my anger? Maybe it was our anger from being in a frightening world? And, because we were afraid, we magnified that social fear by continually frightening each other with our own anger.
I had grown up with the rule that a man could be angry because that meant he was brave and protective. But if he was sad or afraid, he was weak. A woman, on the other hand, could be sad or afraid because she needed protection, but if she was angry, she was a bitch. Now in the late 80’s the rules were changing. The Goddess was becoming more masculine and the God was becoming more feminine. Women were expected to be brave and protect themselves and men were expected to express their emotions. But how does one express anger without hurting the one they are expressing it to?
It was in helping others that I learned how to help myself with this problem. Many women came into my practice who were seeking their own power and who were unable to free it until they could release their years – and generations – of pent-up anger. As women, we had sought victim-hood to explain our entrapment. In order to release that trap, we had to release the concept that we were victims. We had to let go of the blame that we had “done it wrong” or had not been “good enough” and take responsibility for the lives that we, yes we, had created for ourselves. We had created these lives with the beliefs that we clung to and the emotion that we fed into those beliefs. Could we really believe that we were the masters of our own destiny? Could we really believe that we could have Power and Love at the same time and that we could be wise enough to join these two in our hearts? Before we could do that, we would have to heal our broken hearts. We would have to forgive everyone who had hurt us in our life and we would have to forgive ourselves for letting them hurt us. If we could take responsibility for our own participation in our pain, then we could free the victim who was deep inside waiting to be a Goddess.
At the close of 1991, I turned 45 and my doctor told me to stop taking my birth control pills. When I did, I found myself in full-blown menopause. Young women and men told me that a healthy, balanced woman should feel no symptoms when in menopause. “Try it and then tell me that again,” I spit through my teeth. My nest was empty and had been so for about a year, but I had two children in college and their father said, “No one helped me so why should I help them?” “Good logic,” I said, “if you wish to teach them to be as selfish as you are.” I was on my own, again and still. Education had been my liberation and I was dedicated to the idea that my children would have one as well. Both the kids were helping with their education. My daughter took out loans and my son got a scholarship, but there were still expenses to be met. I was working two careers and was self-employed in both which gave me great freedom yet added responsibility. The hot flashes and lack of sleep were not helpful. I questioned, “Should I be healthy and natural?” I tried it. In fact, I tried everything. In the end, I said, ”Give me the hormones. I have to sleep and hot flashes are not pretty.”
In the final year of my kid’s college, my body gave out. The Goddess said, “Dear, you cannot continue running at this pace. Learn to enjoy life. I will help you.” Could I trust that advice? I sprained my ankle and my back went out. Superwoman was getting tired and needed a rest. I decided to trust the Goddess, and myself, and maybe even my man—maybe. The old belief, “you can’t have it all”, was still strong in my subconscious. But, I did stop running and started “enjoying” and “allowing”. I had “tried”, “struggled”, “suffered” and “worked hard”. As I healed my pain and fear, I could “deserve”, “allow”, and “accept”.
Often it is difficult to acknowledge how far we have come until we remember where we started. It had taken years for my self-esteem to catch up with my accomplishments, and it was the meeting of the two that consummated my mentor phase. It was during the pregnancy of my daughter and the birth of her son that I really reviewed the broken heart of my inner maiden and the pain and fear of my mother phase. When my daughter was about five months pregnant, she had a very bad car accident and almost died. They had to remove her spleen. The trauma was too much for the fetus and she began labor. They gave her medication to stop the contractions, but they could not be sure that it would work. It was that night in the intensive care unit, when I sat at the foot of her bed holding on to the ebbing life-force of the mother and baby, that I reviewed my own life. The Goddess welled up in me and together we used the force of Love to hold the mother and child in peace so that the healing could occur. I witnessed yet another miracle. They both survived and are doing well. Yes, it is the power of Love that heals. It heals our pain and heals our anger and fear. If we can allow the Goddess to live within our hearts, we can live the healing power of love.
THE AWAKENED GODDESS’ INFLUENCE ON
MY PERCEPTION OF GOD IN MY MENTOR PHASE
In my Mentor phase, the Goddess and the God have become God/Goddess/All That Is. As the polarities within myself have become more resolved, I no longer need “God” to have polarities. I see relationships with my man as a reflection of my relationship with myself. When I am getting along with me, I can get along with him. Now, he is also a part of the quotient so there are times when he is much more difficult to get along with than others. When I am at peace within myself, I can release his conflict as his problem and stay out of “his storm”. I no longer feel the need to “fix” or “mother” him although, I do occasionally forget. Maybe this time I can “make him be the way I need him to be.” Maybe this time I can “make him happy”. But, soon enough, I remember. I do not have the power to change another person. I only have the power to change myself. And as I change, my world changes in response.
In 1992, I started a three-year-long process of journaling, in novel form, the many personas inside of myself. As a result, the old pain of limitation and separation is gone. I have fallen in love with the man inside of me and can therefore truly love the man in my outside world. I see the young people around me and in the world freed from the old indoctrination of gender specific rules and regulations. People are being given the freedom to be complete beings. Two halves no longer make a whole. Instead, it is two whole, complete people that make a complete relationship.
Many Baby Boomers did not live by the limitations that were our childhood indoctrination. Women have learned to explore independence, without a man, in the Maiden phase and careers along with mothering in the Mother phase. As a result, men are now able to explore the freedom of an equal relationship with a woman and the joys of parenting. Couples now say, “We are pregnant!” and men are in the delivery room and very active in all parts of parenting. It is no longer emasculating for them to do the dishes nor is it selfish for a mother to have a career or creative endeavor.
The Baby Boomers now march into middle age with the same free spirit that we brought to maidenhood and motherhood. Men are no longer our rulers and therefore, they no longer need to be our enemies. We have learned to embrace and integrate both the male and female portions of ourselves and – Yes – we are holding our Power with the Love in our hearts as we assist those younger than we in the Wisdom of Mentorship.