YOGA

When unconscious became conscious this is Samadhi

God’s Wife Edited Out of the Bible — Almost August 25, 2011


http://news.discovery.com/history/god-wife-yahweh-asherah-110318.html

God’s wife, Asherah, was a powerful fertility goddess, according to a theologian.

  • God, also known as Yahweh, had a wife named Asherah, according to a British theologian.
  • Amulets, figurines, inscriptions and ancient texts, including the Bible, reveal Asherah’s once prominent standing.
  • Asherah’s connection to Yahweh, according to Stavrakopoulou, is spelled out in both the Bible and an 8th century B.C. inscription on pottery found in the Sinai desert at a site called Kuntillet Ajrud

God had a wife, Asherah, whom the Book of Kings suggests was worshiped alongside Yahweh in his temple in Israel, according to an Oxford scholar.

In 1967, Raphael Patai was the first historian to mention that the ancient Israelites worshiped both Yahweh and Asherah. The theory has gained new prominence due to the research of Francesca Stavrakopoulou, who began her work at Oxford and is now a senior lecturer in the department of Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter.

Information presented in Stavrakopoulou’s books, lectures and journal papers has become the basis of a three-part documentary series, now airing in Europe, where she discusses the Yahweh-Asherah connection.

“You might know him as Yahweh, Allah or God. But on this fact, Jews, Muslims and Christians, the people of the great Abrahamic religions, are agreed: There is only one of Him,” writes Stavrakopoulou in a statement released to the British media. “He is a solitary figure, a single, universal creator, not one God among many … or so we like to believe.”

“After years of research specializing in the history and religion of Israel, however, I have come to a colorful and what could seem, to some, uncomfortable conclusion that God had a wife,” she added.

Stavrakopoulou bases her theory on ancient texts, amulets and figurines unearthed primarily in the ancient Canaanite coastal city called Ugarit, now modern-day Syria. All of these artifacts reveal that Asherah was a powerful fertility goddess.

Asherah’s connection to Yahweh, according to Stavrakopoulou, is spelled out in both the Bible and an 8th century B.C. inscription on pottery found in the Sinai desert at a site called Kuntillet Ajrud.

“The inscription is a petition for a blessing,” she shares. “Crucially, the inscription asks for a blessing from ‘Yahweh and his Asherah.’ Here was evidence that presented Yahweh and Asherah as a divine pair. And now a handful of similar inscriptions have since been found, all of which help to strengthen the case that the God of the Bible once had a wife.”


Also significant, Stavrakopoulou believes, “is the Bible’s admission that the goddess Asherah was worshiped in Yahweh’s Temple in Jerusalem. In the Book of Kings, we’re told that a statue of Asherah was housed in the temple and that female temple personnel wove ritual textiles for her.”

J. Edward Wright, president of both The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies and The Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, told Discovery News that he agrees several Hebrew inscriptions mention “Yahweh and his Asherah.”

“Asherah was not entirely edited out of the Bible by its male editors,” he added. “Traces of her remain, and based on those traces, archaeological evidence and references to her in texts from nations bordering Israel and Judah, we can reconstruct her role in the religions of the Southern Levant.”


Asherah — known across the ancient Near East by various other names, such as Astarte and Istar — was “an important deity, one who was both mighty and nurturing,” Wright continued.

“Many English translations prefer to translate ‘Asherah’ as ‘Sacred Tree,'” Wright said. “This seems to be in part driven by a modern desire, clearly inspired by the Biblical narratives, to hide Asherah behind a veil once again.”

“Mentions of the goddess Asherah in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) are rare and have been heavily edited by the ancient authors who gathered the texts together,” Aaron Brody, director of the Bade Museum and an associate professor of Bible and archaeology at the Pacific School of Religion, said.

Asherah as a tree symbol was even said to have been “chopped down and burned outside the Temple in acts of certain rulers who were trying to ‘purify’ the cult, and focus on the worship of a single male god, Yahweh,” he added.


The ancient Israelites were polytheists, Brody told Discovery News, “with only a small minority worshiping Yahweh alone before the historic events of 586 B.C.” In that year, an elite community within Judea was exiled to Babylon and the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. This, Brody said, led to “a more universal vision of strict monotheism: one god not only for Judah, but for all of the nations.”

http://bgsahajayoga.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/ashera.gif

 

Eema – God the Mother November 29, 2010


Who is Eema, and what is Her status in the Christian Church now? This is a question that haunts each one of us, and a question that often goes unanswered. Basically, Eema exists in mainstream Christianity in two forms: the sterilized image of the Virgin Mary, and the watered-down secular image of “Mother Nature.” These images do nothing to reflect Her full nature, but we as Esoteric Christians should be thankful for them nevertheless – after all, better that the pistics have watered-down images of Eema than none at all!

The other pistic faiths, Judaism and Islam, also have Eema in their faiths – once again, only to a degree. Jews speak of the Shekinah and the Sabbath Bride, and sometimes of Sophia (Chokmah in Hebrew), Goddess of wisdom. Muslims place considerable honor on the figure of Mary but the Muslim Maacry is an extremely sterilized, sanitized, de-sexualized puritan character.

Within the catholic denominations – Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and Lutheranism – Eema has continued in the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, as stated, she has been sterilized. She is devoid of sexuality. The early church councils deprived her of all sexuality when they defined her as a perpetual virgin, denied the conception and birth of Yeshua’s siblings, and said the Blessed Virgin was above sexuality.

So while the catholic denominations do allow for some feminine presence, Her fertility is still very much denied. She is only allowed to give birth to the Son of God, who is also seen as celibate. Celibate God the Father, celibate Joseph, celibate Mary, and celibate Yeshua. It’s a wonder that humanity survived the wave of pistic Christian celibacy!

Within the Protestant denominations, there is little evidence of the Feminine Divine. Some Protestant denominations have feminist groups who honor Sophia and the Virgin Mary, but mainstream Protestantism does nothing to honor either of these images of Eema. A few Protestants know Eema as the watered-down, secularized “Mother Nature,” but still they recognize Her only as their masculine God’s creation and instrument. With only these few exceptions, Protestantism is basically devoid of Eema, Goddess the Mother.

There is one Christian denomination with the possibility of developing an egalitarian theology that includes Abba and Eema: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. Official LDS teaching states that human beings existed prior to their physical birth as spiritual beings, and that we as spiritual beings lived as the divine children of a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother. The doctrine of a Heavenly Mother was taught to a few members by LDS founder Joseph Smith.

One of these members was his wife, Eliza R. Snow, who wrote the first public declaration of belief in the LDS Heavenly Mother with the poem, “Invocation – or the Eternal Father and Mother.” This is now the hymn, “O My Father.” Unfortunately, the LDS is primarily run by men, and those men refuse to go much further with a thealogy of the Heavenly Mother. They cite an absence of scriptural evidence for Her (even though there are numerous references in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon). Citing lack of scriptural evidence is illogical, because according to the LDS, revelation is still coming to their church. The LDS refuses to allow private revelation on the subject however, issuing an order that no LDS member should pray to or about Heavenly Mother to obtain revelation from or about Her. Like most of Christianity, the LDS leadership has rejected Eema. Fortunately, however, there are many members of the LDS who are unhappy with this. Perhaps there will be a revolution in the LDS, which will allow for an egalitarian theology at last.

So we have seen that Eema is struggling to maintain Her presence in the pistic (mainstream lopsided) Christian churches. But what about in Esoteric Christianity?

She need not struggle with us! She is found in many forms within Esoteric Christianity. We see her as Asherah, the great Canaanite Goddess worshiped early on in the Hebrew tribe. We see her as Shekinah, the Feminine Presence of Godhead and Great Mother. We see her as Mary, the incarnation of Shekinah and Mother of Yeshua, the Queen of Heaven and Earth and our Mediatrix. Sometimes we see Her in the images of Sophia and Mary Magdalene, though They are most often associated with the Daughter Goddess. We see Her in Eloah, feminine counterpart of El, present and active at creation. We see Her throughout all time in many forms, but through past, present, and future She will always be simply, Our Mother.

Thanks to Soror Amber Satterwhite for her essay, God the Mother in Mormonism, which gave me much of the information about the LDS and the Heavenly Mother.

 

Mother Mary – Shekinah’s incarnation November 28, 2010


Shekinah: The Presence of Divinity
by Rev. Mark Raines

Shekinah – also spelled Shekhina, Shekhinah, Shekina, and Shechina – is known in the Qabalah, an ancient form of Jewish mysticism, as one of the emanations of God and the actual Presence of God. The belief was that one could not see God in Its fullness, but could see the emanation of God, Shekinah. When Moses asked to see God, it was Shekinah that he saw. Shekinah is also the consort, or Bride, of God. As such, she is Mother to us all, just as God is our Father.

In earlier times, God was seen as either dwelling in the clouds or in high places like mountains or very high hills. With the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, and then the construction of the Temple, a part of the Godhead came to dwell in the Ark and then in the Temple. This could not be the male God, the God of the Sky and of High Places. So Shekinah, formerly known as Asherah, a Goddess of Earth and Sea, came to dwell in the Ark of the Covenant and then in the Temple.

Originally it was Asherah who dwelled in the Temple as the Bride of God, His representative there. But after the “reforms” of King Josiah, Asherah worship was forbidden in the Temple. Still, the Jews knew that their Lady was still living there as their Queen and the representative of El, their God. So Asherah evolved. She began to be seen as the presence of God, and less as a separate entity. She became Shekinah, which means something like She who dwells (from the Hebrew shakhan, which means the act of dwelling). However, Asherah did not really change. She was always the representative of Her Husband, just as He was always HER representative. She, an Earth Goddess, was also Queen of Heaven. He, as Sky God, was also Ruler of Earth. This occurred only through Their marriage. So, it was not really that Asherah worship ever changed much within Judaism, or that Asherah Herself changed; only, it was made to look like it had changed to fool the patriarchal priests.

Unfortunately, Shekinah has been all but lost to Christianity. Elements of Her remain in Mother Mary, who was perhaps Shekinah’s incarnation. Mary Theotokos, as She is called, actually held the presence of God (Yeshua) within Her. She is known as the Queen of Heaven, but she is the representative of God to us and delivers our prayers to Him, according to Catholic tradition. Her apparitions are much more frequent than the apparitions of Yeshua, and the Father never appears. It seems that She is truly His representative to us, because (as we know) She is His Bride.

The union of Shekinah and El was never more evident than in the Sabbath. She is known as the Sabbath Bride, or the Sabbath Queen. Each week on the Sabbath, God and Goddess, El and Shekinah, act out the Song of Songs. One rabbi called that holy book the “Holy of Holies” of the Bible! Now take a look at this passage from the Zohar (the holy book of the Qabalah), called the Secret of the Sabbath, which tells us all about the Sabbath Queen:

THE SECRET OF SABBATH

The Secret of Sabbath:
She is Sabbath!
United in the secret of One
to draw down upon Her
the secret of One.

The prayer for the entrance of Sabbath:

The holy Throne of Glory is united in the secret of One,
prepared for the High Holy King to rest upon Her.
When Sabbath enters She is alone,
separated from the Other Side,
all judgments removed from Her.
Basking in the oneness of holy light,
She is crowned over and over to face the Holy King.
All powers of wrath and masters of judgment flee from Her.
Her face shines with a light from beyond;
She is crowned below by the holy people,
and all of them are crowned with new souls.
Then the beginning of prayer to bless Her with joy and beaming faces:
Barekbu ET YHVH ha-Mevorakh,
“Bless ET YHVH, the-Blessed One,”
ET YHVH, blessing Her first.

(*ET-YHVH is another name for ‘Shekinah’ (the feminine Divine Presence). In the Kabbalah, ET stands for Aleph to Tav, like our Alpha to Omega, or A to Z. Here ET refers to the song itself as the ultimate speech, hymn or prayer. According to the notes of Daniel Chanan Matt’s translation, this passage from the ZOHAR is recited in the Sephardic liturgy on Sabbath Eve.)

Sources:
1. Shekhina, from Encyclopedia Mythica
2. Wisdom of Shekinah, by WOW Institute (no longer on line)
3. The Secret of Sabbath From the Zohar, ancient Kabbalistic inspired writings — zohar.com. Daniel Chanan Matt also uses this verse in his book Zohar, the Book of Enlightenment

 

 
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