Monday, 12 February 2018

Wise Words: Feminist Spirituality

… In a true reliving of the world’s first religion, we can make no distinctions between “the life of the spirit” and “the life of the flesh,” for they are one. And so, we can make no separation between “spirituality” and “politics.” We are this world, we cannot leave it. We can only work to transform it as we transform ourselves, in acts of evolution and revolution … On earth, mind and spirit are definitively embodied. The notion that “mind” and “spirit” can be abstracted from the body is a patriarchal lie; and a continuance of this lie is the notion that we can indulge in a “spirituality” that is “above politics”—that somehow floats above the agony of this present earth like a little blissed-out cloud. The spirit is within a body—it is the conscious experience of process within that body—and the spirit evolves, or is obstructed in its evolution, depending on the body’s experience of its material environment. It is patriarchy that devalues and disconnects the body from the spirit in order to make that body’s energy accessible for exploitation. A feminist spirituality must begin with the fact of being alive as a biological body, on a living and conscious biological planet. This is the human ontological condition; this is the condition of all human evolution and all creative human activity. Those who embrace “spirituality” as an escape from politics, as a “transcendence” of political exigencies, simply do not understand what feminist spirituality means at its root: The joining of the conscious body and the conscious spirit in the ongoing epiphany of experienced evolution. Whatever represses or deforms the body’s experience of itself, also represses and deforms the spirit’s self-experience.

(Monica Sjöö & Barbara Mor, The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth, Harper One: New York, 1987/1991, p. 417)


  1. "We are this world, we cannot leave it." I find it heartbreaking when I see how our only home is devalued and dismissed as "less than" technology, that people can even contemplate leaving it behind. When this separation of body, mind and spirit plays out, willfully ignoring, throwing away or feeling ashamed of our lived experience: the travails and incredible gifts of being embodied on this precious blue planet. xo

  2. surely two of the silliest and most harmful concepts humanity ever came up with are "transcendence" and "hierarchy"... the runner-up being, probably, linear time... I'll take immanence and parity, and circular time, any day.

    "whatever represses or deforms the body's experience of itself, also represses and deforms the spirit's self-experience." YES.

    1. Thank you. I've been struggling with the idea of 'transcendence', so your comment makes me breathe a sigh of relief.

      I read this from Charlene Spretnak just the other day: 'The transcendent nature of creativity in the cosmos, or the divine, lies not above us but in the infinite complexity of the sacred whole that continues to unfold.' So perhaps, if we must speak of transcendence, it is, paradoxically, immanent. I also love Thomas Berry's concept of 'inscendence'. I think that is what we need now—not escaping reality or the earth, but diving down into it, listening to what our bodies, and even our genes, tell us.


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