By the Rev. Canon Susan Sims-Smith
Canon for Special Ministries, Diocese of Arkansas
As a former Jungian-oriented psychotherapist, I have been personally and professionally guided by my nighttime dreams for many years. They are the portal to my center, my core, my essence. After 25 years of practicing as a clinician in Little Rock, Arkansas, the dream process helped show me that I was being called in to the priesthood.
Two years of beckoning from the Sacred Feminine through dreams, a year with a discernment committee, and time in seminary, have led me to my present work as an Episcopal Priest. One aspect of the priesthood involved helping men and women have a more personal relationship with the Divine. Dreams and meditation are pathways to the Divine. My assignment is to join with others who are working to make dreams and meditation and prayer accessible to people who are drawn to that journey. The Sacred Feminine beckoned me toward ordination. I listened and I followed.
What is the Sacred Feminine and how do we get a beginning sense of this facet of God?
The Divine Feminine is a mystery too vast to be defined by human words, cute acronyms, or a short article. The Sacred Feminine is an aspect of God that exists both outside our everyday reality in the Spiritual dimension, as well as in our everyday reality. In our everyday life, the Sacred Feminine is found in our own bodies and in the natural world around us. This Feminine seeks to reveal the Divine to men and women of all ages through intuition, dreams, meditation, relationships, nature, the body and countless other avenues for connection.
The Sacred Feminine comes to us through intuition. Intuition is our way of gaining insight from a receptive mode. When we are quiet, intuition may come to us in a still small voice, in a knowing in our bodies, or in the insight that comes from a synchronistic event.
Dreams come to us through this receptive mode. In our dream life, we receive movies designed to awaken us, guide us, teach us. To collect the wisdom from intuition, we need to allow the mind and body to shift into this receptive gear, a quiet gear. Without time for reflection, dream work, and body work, the Feminine, who is so eager to feed us, is left without a way to serve us from the Divine banquet.
In addition to intuition as a modality, the Feminine often becomes conscious as the body becomes conscious. Listening to the body is an important avenue for consciousness to emerge. The Sacred Feminine lives in the cells of the body and is awakened when we pay attention. Heightened consciousness in the body may lead to an awareness of the energy centers in the body (Hindus call them chakras). These energy centers are warehouses for the diversity of energies that make us fully human and fully spiritual. These centers include our connection to the earth, our sexuality, our instincts, our compassion, our creative self-expression, our intuition, and our connection to spirit. As the body becomes more conscious, the Sacred Feminine comes into our awareness in a fuller way.
With intuition as the modality and the body as the vehicle, the Sacred Feminine seeks to plant the bulb of our true self in the soil of our deepest being. This separates us from the culture and from all our pre-conceived ideas of who we thought we were and who we thought we were becoming.
Planted in the soil of the Sacred Feminine, our lives are lived from the inside out. Our choices come from what Jung called the deep inner feeling function. Our values, our bodies, our dreams all emerge from our core, and decisions about daily life reflect this inner grounding.
The Feminine is more like a moist clay-colored tunnel leading us into the earth than a tall skyscraper surrounded by mirrored glass. It emanates more from the lower abdomen in the body than the head or the intellect. It is more connected and relational than detached. It is process rather than product oriented; it tolerates the paradox of opposites; and it moves more to the slow rhythm of nature than the frenetic pace of modern life.
Learning more about the mystery of the Sacred Feminine means that we approach our dreams, our bodies, and our quiet time with a growing reverence, curiosity, and the respect that they deserve. As we are transformed by these processes, we are surrounded by Christ’s presence. His guidance leads us toward this mystery. Without even asking, His illuminated cross accompanies us on our journey toward the Sacred Feminine.