How's Your God-Image Working For You?


Our ideas about God come from us. For approximately the last 5,000 years the West and Near East have projected our masculine archetypes onto a male God who is a

1) King: superior, all-powerful and morally judgmental;

2) Warrior: partial to and protective of our particular tribe or culture while rejecting our enemies;

3) Magician/Scholar: supernatural and all-knowing; and

4) Lover: passionately in love with us, His Beloveds.

So what does this say about the status of the psyches and societies that envision God this way? An ego with a purely masculine God-image has rejected the sacred power of femininity because it is afraid of and hostile to the feminine side of the psyche.  Of course, this makes about as much sense as obsessing over the qualities of the left-hemisphere of our brains and repressing the equally valuable “God-given” qualities of the right-hemisphere.
Who in their right mind would deliberately do such a thing? This is the point, of course. The fact is, we’re not in our “right” mind because Western culture has essentially rejected the qualities of the right brain! Since the time of Aristotle, our egos have been so enamored of our left-hemisphere logos ability to process information with clear reason, discrimination of details, and logical, “objective” thinking that we’ve disdained the far more mysterious and uncontrollable processes of the right hemisphere.
The right hemisphere specializes in mythos. This analogical mode of thinking emphasizes seeing the whole picture instead of discriminating between details;  connecting instead of separating;  completing oneself through intimate relationships instead of proving oneself through perfected work;  finding meaning in images, symbols and intuitions instead of only words and provable facts; personal, subjective realities instead of objective ones;  inner events instead of outer ones; values and tender emotions instead of pure reason; and the physical, instinctual realities of our bodies instead of the traditional mental processes associated with intelligence.  As you may have guessed, right-brain attributes are generally associated with femininity.
But why does it have to be either/or for the ego? Why have we rejected these qualities—or at the very least seen them as “inferior” to left-brained qualities—for so long instead of simply accommodating both? It’s really very simple. Like all mammals, humans begin life as helpless, instinctual creatures. But we have egos, and our egos want to control our primitive instincts so we can stay safe and gain more control over the terrifying powers of Mother Nature. After all, if you can’t manage your hunger you’ll eat your entire fall harvest by Christmas; then what will you eat for the rest of the winter?
Poor little egos. We just want to be more conscious and in control so we can feel more safe in a terrifying world. The last thing we want is to fall back (backslide?) into unconsciousness and powerlessness. So we obsess over left-hemisphere (Western?) thinking and disown the more “primitive” right brain. We project masculinity onto a remote, separate, all-powerful spirit and project femininity onto physical women who we strip of as much power as we can. Thus have we created societies run by power-driven leaders who are afraid of their own shadows, can’t get along with each other, and use and abuse women and all who are weak, vulnerable or different from the things our egos identify with.
How conscious is that? How conscious are you? How integrated is your brain? How integrated is your God-image?

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0 Responses

  1. It has become desperately unbalanced and in some senses, the backlash of extreme feminist theology just makes it worse for me.
    I’ve worked with some animist ideas, whereby the Godhead is not portrayed as human in form but rather made up of various animal attributes, but that too becomes manipulated by the same duality. So-called strong, powerful animals are almost always either hunters or simply unstoppable juggernauts of towering strength(like Elephant)
    It was said that God created us in his own image; it’s probably fairer to say we portray him in ours.
    But beyond all duality, lies a God that is integrated and waits for us to dothe same. I hope….!

  2. I agree with all you say, Viv. Extremes of any sort are not the answer. Although we may never be able to completely transcend duality to enter the sacred space beyond it, we can make a concerted effort to connect, carry on dialogues, and create partnerships with the cut-off parts of ourselves. Uniting our inner opposites is a first step each of us can take toward bridging the divides that separate us from each other and the Great Mystery we call God.

  3. The constant visualization from our part to name this energy is nothing but our own way to understand the depths of the mind and its connection to the universe. We project ourselves onto this energy, coming from either deep seated cultural concepts or biological structures inside our mind. Ultimately, that which is “GOD” is shapeless, formless, and has no label or a particular people – religions and all these paraphernalia we have created around that concept as human beings are only but a way for humans to connect to this energy. Unfortunately, people have shamelessy abused religions; creating all these different, caricatures of God.

    1. I love the way you express this crucial concept, Miguel: “that which is GOD is shapeless, formless, and has no label or a particular people.” It simply is a Great Mystery, and one in front of which every naked soul stands in awe. My hope for our future is that as more of us connect with this inner energy, we’ll have less need to put labels on it and simply allow the walls between us to crumble. In fact, this is already happening. Insofar as outer events reflect inner ones, I see the falling of the Berlin wall as a very positive symbol pointing to a new era of consciousness emerging across the globe. Thank you so much for your comment.

  4. Instead of experiencing the power of femininity, man has fear it, which in turn has suppressed it. The left brain is extremely important to spiritual development beyond ideas of survival. One-pointedness and focus are essential to expanding consciousness. The same importance is given the right brain for functions of intuition and connectivity. But above all, the use of the entire brain as well as the heart is of paramount concern. As we watch the patriarchal age leave and return to a balance of energies, we’ll rise above duality. But most important is to learn from this age. It was deliberate and at one point the feminine energy agreed to be suppressed from her intuitive understanding that in doing so we would all learn from our mistakes and move forward in a way that could have never been achieved without her suppression. So I am thankful for this age, with all its “negativity”. I see all actions as furthering our consciousness, no matter what dualistic attribute we assign them.

    1. Dear Matthew,
      You bring up an excellent point: without the development of the left hemisphere of the brain humankind would still be living in caves at the mercy of our instincts. I have the same sense you expressed in these eloquent words, “at one point the feminine energy agreed to be suppressed…so we would all…move forward in a way that could have never been achieved without her suppression,” and have, in fact written a new myth about this very event in the inner universe. (It will appear at the end of my new book coming out in June.) There is profound wisdom in femininity’s receptivity and ability to flow with change. These qualities, when partnered with masculinity’s clarity and focus, are what will enable us to transcend duality! I too am thankful for this age, and for the opportunity to witness a growing global consciousness.
      Thank you for adding your insights to this post,

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