The Goddess in Every Person?
by Berit Kjos
"The conventional notion of the self ... is being replaced by wider constructs of identity and self-interest - by what you might call the ecological self or the eco-self, coextensive with other beings and the life for our planet. It is what I will call "the greening of the self." (Joanna Macy, "The Greening of the Self")1
Natural evolution [is] part of a deeper spiritual evolution of consciousness ... divinity within all of us emerging more fully into manifestation, resulting in a broader, deeper sense of Self. (Mike Wyatt, Green Synthesis)2
"Pride is their necklace... Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance." (Psalm 73:6, 9-10)
A CHARMING LITTLE BOOK called The Magic Locket has touched the hearts of millions of little girls with the seductive message of the Goddess. On its peach-colored cover is a heart-shaped locket, and inside the golden heart hides a wonderful surprise. Through this surprise, a clumsy little girl learns the secret of her human potential. And what is it?
"It is a magical locket," says Aunt Emma. "If you wear it, it can help you do whatever you want. That is, if you believe in it.”3
The little girl believed. "I believe in you," she said as she held the locket tight the next morning - and the next - and each day after that. Her faith transformed her life. Now she could do anything - perfectly.
One day the little locket flew open and revealed the magic formula: A tiny mirror which reflected her own image. The message? "Why it’s me!" thought the little girl "It’s really me. I'm the magic in the locket.”4
In his book The Finale, Calvin Miller tells a similar story - but from a Christian perspective. The main character is called Dreamer, the earth is Terra, and Satan is the World Hater alias The Prince of Mirrors. This Dark Prince comes to tempt Dreamer:
"I am the only hope for days ahead. I've come to turn the world from war and bless Elan's pursuit of ore that promises to keep our planet strong and free ... I guard and shall redeem the universe that slumbers just above the waiting curse."
The magnetism of his words of warlike peace drew Dreamer. He wanted to believe, yet knew he had to ask, "But how do you redeem?" The giant lowered kind eyes and extended a massive arm in warm entreaty: "I show you now the portrait of my hope."
He drew a silvered mirror from his tunic and held it up to Dreamer's face: "Here, Dreamer, is the face of him who sets the planet free.”6
“I go now into Terra, to tell all of her people my good news! I'll preach to every creature the doctrine of the glass. Terra shall be saved by this dear, final image of herself."
.... The Prince of Mirrors returned from preaching through the Empire. On every continent, men stood enthralled, staring at their images. "We wear one face, behold a common glass,” they sang...
"Where is your book of truth?" [asked Elan.]
"'Here!"' the Hater said, pulling the mirror from his Pocket. "Here is the doctrine by which men most bend to our control -- man's fascination with himself. In this small glass is subjugation so complete it wipes away the universe. As long as men behold themselves, they will look no higher."7
One day, as I browsed through the special displays in a bookstore, The Pregnant Virgin by Marion Woodman caught my eye. Reading from its back cover, I learned that it told "about becoming conscious ... about the wisdom of the body, initiation rituals, dreams ... about relationships and the search for personal identity. It is a celebration of the feminine, both in men and women. It is about becoming free."8
"A thinking heart," it said, "can bring us closer to our inner Virgin, 'one-in-herself,' forever open to new life, new possibilities - our own unique truth."
This philosophy fits today’s mindset, I thought. There is no absolute truth; each person selects his own favorite myth.
A woman noticed what I was holding. “That’s a great book,” she exclaimed.
I looked up. "How did you hear about it?” I asked.
“My psychologist told me to read it. It showed me that codependency and my addictions all stem from not getting in touch with my feminine spirituality." She explained how “our male-dominated society" had blocked her awareness of her true self and her power as a woman.
I thanked her for informing me, replaced the book and prayed, "Lord, what is happening to this world? How did we wander so far away from your truth? Everything seems upside down, and people don’t know You anymore. How can we communicate Your love to people who want their own way?”
Knowing the Goddess-Self
"It is time to begin writing a new psychology of the feminine, a psychology that returns women to their ultimate roots -- a Goddess psychology."9 In their article, “The Wounded Goddesses Within," Roger and Jennifer Woolger show how this emerging feminine consciousness can lead to the coveted prize, self-actualization: "To know oneself more fully as a woman is to know which goddesses one is primarily ruled by and to be aware of how different goddesses influence the various stages and turning points of one's life."10
The Woolgers give Carl Jung credit for discovering the healing and empowering archetype of the Great Goddess - the answer to the yearnings of women today.
Archetype? It took awhile before I grasped the meaning of this word modem psychology has raised into prominence. The New Lexicon Webster's Dictionary (1989) defines it as "the model from which later examples are developed, or to which they conform, a prototype." That helps. Evidently Jung saw the Goddess - her forceful, creative, sexual, and spiritual nature - as a perfect model for men and women today: "How different was the former image of matter, the Great Mother, that could encompass and express the profound emotional meaning of Mother Earth."11
Becoming the Goddess-Self
Webster also classifies archetype (here it gets more complex) as "one of the inherited unconscious patterns which Jung held to constitute the fundamental structure of the mind." It can be observed through "images recurring in dreams, behavior patterns, etc.
Dreams and images were important to Jung. They have always been important to Goddess cults. Many believe that dreams and images flow out from some sort of a cosmic pool of knowledge, influence the psyche, and print ancient mythological themes on our subconscious. They say that the Goddess continues to exert her force, push our buttons, and pattern our behavior, whether we believe her or not, so we had better learn to work with her and enjoy the process. Jung called this pool of cosmic wisdom "the collective unconscious." Goddess worshipers call it the Goddess.
What does this mean? To those who follow Jung and the Goddess, healing comes from learning to know and accept yourself as the Goddess in all her various facets: compassionate, angry, loving, erotic, aloof, etc. To develop this selfconsciousness, you need to:
Look to the past: study ancient myths and images.
Look to the present: discover your potential.
Be creative: express your Goddess-self through art.
Always remember: you are the conscious and visible manifestation of earth’s creative energies.
These beliefs are gathering force and becoming a swelling tide. The camouflaged spirit of Babylon has awakened the West to its pagan past. As Elinor Gadon tells us:
Feminists are turning to the Goddess as a model for self-transformation and empowerment. Women experience power as rooted in their biological selves, an enabling life force in contrast to the authoritative, hierarchical "power over" now so widely intrusive in our society.12
To put Jung's teaching into a Christian perspective, we need to remember that much of it came to him through Philemon, his spirit guide (what the Bible calls a familiar spirit). Jung’s childhood fascination with the supernatural had bone fruit.1
In Revealing the New Age Jesus, Doug Groothuis tells about Jung’s encounter with another deceiving spirit: "In 1916, after experiencing some bizarre paranormal events, Jung wrote in three days a mystical piece called The Seven Sermons to the Dead, which he ascribed to Basilides, a Gnostic teacher of the second century in Alexandria."1
It is not surprising that Jung, who tapped information from the vast reservoir of demonic knowledge, coined the concept of a collective unconscious. Nor is it surprising to see a bond of understanding between Jung and goddess psychology which views the Goddess as a similar source of universal knowledge. Occult formulas (some are described in chapters 2 and 4) open willing minds to both sources of information. In other words, both the Goddess and Jung's collective unconscious provide pleasing facades for the vast storehouse of demonic deceptions.
Remember, there are only two sources of supernatural information: God and Satan. Jung rejected the God of the Bible. What he and other pagans heard were the "doctrines of demons" (I Timothy 4:1) that characterize end times. These are the counterfeit promises and distortions of truth which deceive those who don’t know biblical truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). "Deceitful spirits" whisper these lies into the dreams, thoughts, and meditations of anyone seeking "higher" or mystical knowledge apart from God.
Empowered by the Goddess.
"Dreams and wishes go together,"15 wrote Virginia Satir, family therapist and founder of Avanta Network, an international organization dedicated to developing techniques for teaching family and professional communication. Satir, whose books have found amazing acceptance among educators, has developed her own blend of empowering imagery, Eastern pantheism, and Goddess spirituality:
Dreams and wishes can be manifested. Use the power of a golden wishing wand to make it happen. Picture your golden wishing wand in your hand. Endow that wand with the ability to remove your fear of risktaking... Feel the texture, look at the form. It’s yours, for the rest of your life, to use in whatever way you want.16
In Meditations and Inspirations, she guides her students into a dreamy state of consciousness where they build their own psychic workshop and redesign their lives. How? Through centering, deep breathing, affirmations, focusing, visualizations -- the magical formulas of earth-centered spirituality. "I own me," she writes, speaking for the multitude of school children, educators, church leaders, and modem therapists who love her books and teach her message. "'I therefore, I can engineer me."17
The Creator counters the lie with truth: "You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body" (I Corinthians 6:19-20). And how do we honor God? By allowing Him to fill and lead us, not by engineering ourselves.
"To worship one's self (in self-realization) ... is, in Christian terms, simple idolatry operating from the usual motive of unconscious egotism,"19 explains Paul Vitz in Psychology As Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship. Like the "broken cisterns" of Jeremiah 2:13, it eventually leads to emptiness and disillusionment
Self-Idolatry in Schools
The self-focused message of personal power and connectedness is spreading like wildfire through the educational system. Nationwide classroom programs such as Family Life Education teach students to become their own Persons -- to set aside parental guidelines and take charge of their own lives. Nobody can tell them what to do, other than those who teach this philosophy.
When schools prompt students to put their faith in an evolutionary process that began by chance, children face an identity crisis. Many lose their sense of worth and have no moral standard to guide them. Today educators are desperately searching for new ways to build self-esteem, instill some sort of values, and empower children to "take charge of their lives."
Lottie Beth Hobbs writes in The Family Educator.
All values clarification and decisionmaking Programs (drug and sex education, death education, etc., under a wide variety of titles such as Quest, Skills for Adolescents, Here's Looking at You 2000, Project Charlie, and many others) are based in NONDIRECTIVE EDUCATION. For several decades the principle has permeated not only secular education but has been embraced by some churches and religious schools from preschool to postgraduates.20
Nondirective education was developed by Dr. Carl Rogers, Dr. Abraham Maslow and Dr. W.R. Coulson. Maslow saw its dangers before he died and tried to correct the damages.21 His own experiments had shown him that when children learned "self-actualization” and broke loose from the safety of parental boundaries, two things happened: Freed to be independent decisionmakers who make their own choices, children become unreachable. And without the knowledge and experience to choose wisely, many show little resistance to the onslaught of tempting voices which lure them into dangerous forms of dependence. A contemporary version of Genesis 3:4-5 might sound like this:
"God didn’t say you shouldn’t do it. He wants you to be happy ...
“But my dad said ...
“Your dad lives in another world. If you listen to him, you’ll never learn to live. Listen, you need to find your Self. To get in touch with all your feelings. To express who you are. The choice is yours, not his."
"But it doesn’t seem right."
"You’re supposed to explore the alternatives. Find what fits you. It’s okay to feel good. You own your mind and your body.”
What happens when children accept no authority but their own? What kind of employees will they make? How will they affect the economy, churches, the family, and God’s ongoing work?
One visible result is a growing sense of frustration and futility bred by unrealistic dreams and unfulfilled expectations. Another is an addictive but futile pursuit of pleasure, which devastates both individuals and cultures. For when self-fulfillment becomes the goal, moral boundaries give way to uncontrollable self-indulgence, promiscuity, perversion, drugs, and violence.
In spite of Dr. Maslow's change of mind and Dr. Coulson's persistent attempts to expose the dangers and turn the tide, classroom promotion of self-actualization continues to spread. Educators like the message: It fits both humanistic ideals and earth-centered spirituality. Tobacco companies like it: The money they pour into programs like Quest multiplies through children set free to buy their products. Planned Parenthood likes it: Youth who had learned to make their own choices (independent of parental guidance or objections) are readily seduced by Planned Parenthood's promotion of free sex -- and the resultant abortions."22
The Deception Spreads
Many family therapists like the message of self-actualization. Some, such as John Bradshaw, disseminate it to homes and churches via televisions, books, and videos. "We come to know our being-ness -- our true self,"23 says Bradshaw, who calls himself a "Christian theologian" but endorses Virginia Satir’s occult beliefs. His "true self” deals with the "domain of higher or unity consciousness." Notice its similarity to Jung's collective unconscious and its distortions of biblical truth:
There is also evidence that this consciousness is connected to all created consciousness. The early work of J.B. Rhine at Duke in telepathy pointed clearly in this direction. The more recent work of Putoff and Targ at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) on Remote Viewing E.S.P. has offered powerful new data, suggesting that once in higher consciousness, we have a higher power available to us. Their belief is that this power results from being connected to all other created consciousness.
There are also ancient traditions supporting a higher power through expanded consciousness. The Indian Medicine Healers believed there was a greater power available through the use of meditation and the fusion with power animals. Jesus told His followers that there were powers available to them that were greater than the powers He manifested. His human powers were clearly powers of psychokinesis, clairvoyance, telepathy and precognition.24 (emphasis added)
Bradshaw's second paragraph joins his teaching to all the other current philosophies that draw power and wisdom from occult sources. His views on unity consciousness join it to the vast array of pagan religions based on belief in the one universal mind or force that fills and connects all things. His teaching is especially dangerous because it speaks to a genuine need in our confused, hurting post-Christian culture. It also presents a counterfeit Jesus.
Like Bradshaw, other contemporary teachers and therapists have incorporated a cosmic Christ into their all-embracing spirituality. They help others attain a state of being or becoming which befit Buddhism and Sufism but has nothing to do with our identity in Christ or with becoming conformed to His likeness (Romans 8.29). Many listeners are fooled into accepting their teaching as genuine Christianity.
In Against the Night, Charles Colson tells us "Those who claim to be Christians are arriving at faith on their own terms -- terms that make no demands on behavior."25 His statement is based on a study by sociologist Robert Bellah, who found that eighty-one percent of Americans agree that "an individual should arrive at his or her own religious belief independent of any church or synagogue."26 A comment by a woman named Sheila exemplifies this distortion of Christianity: "I believe in God," she said. "I can't remember the last time I went to church. But my faith has carried me a long way. It's a 'Sheilaism.' Just my own little voice.”27
Remember 2 Thessalonians 2:10, "They perish because they refused to love the truth." Without a love for truth and a mental storehouse filled with God's Word, people cannot discern error. Many are drawn to the self-focused empowerment of goddess-philosophy and its psychological-spiritual imitations. Like rudderless boats in the night, they cascade down the rapids trapped in a raging social current headed for destruction.
WHAT CAN FAMILIES DO?
1. The difference between self-realization and knowing Christ.
2. The difference between self-empowerment and God’s strength.
3. Our identity in Christ.
4. How to surrender to God and follow Him.
1. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELF-REALIZATION AND KNOWNG CHRIST. God warns us not to focus on self and feed its insatiable appetite. "Do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.... For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature" (Galatians 5:13, 17).
Nearly a century ago, Oswald Chambers described our natural tendency to idolize self in contemporary terms. "The disposition of sin is not immorality and wrongdoing, but the disposition of self-realization – I am my own god. This disposition may work out in decorous morality or in indecorous immorality, but it has the one basis, my claim to my right to myself."28
Isn’t that the issue we are wrestling with today? Who do we belong to -- God or ourselves? The Bible is definite. "Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord" (Romans 14:8). Do we have a better pattern for our lives than the one our Maker provides?
Those who follow the Goddess tell us that self-awareness and self-actualization lead to wholeness, healing, and empowerment. That sounds wonderful, but it's simply not true. This focus on self ignites a burning desire for self-fulfillment -- an objective a person can never attain and which God refuses to satisfy.
2. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELF-EMPOWERMENT AND GOD'S STRENGTH.
Can humans really create their own imagined reality? Do children have power to make their dreams and wishes -- even good ones such as saving the earth -- come true?
It is true that God occasionally spoke to His servants through dreams. But more often dreams brought counterfeit messages and false promises, and they were fulfilled through demonic, not divine, empowerment:
"If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods, and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep His commands and obey Him; serve Him and hold fast to Him." (Deuteronomy 13:14)
Israel didn’t listen. Ignoring God’s guidelines, the people followed Babylon's self-indulgent practices rather than the God who loved them. Still hoping to draw them back to Himself, God told them what would happen to those who identified with Babylon’s beliefs:
"Go down, sit in the dust, Virgin Daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne.... Listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, "I am, and there is none besides me.... Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you.... Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away." (Isaiah 47.1, 8-11)
David, God’s beloved shepherd, king, and friend, saw the cultural dangers or presumptuous pride, distorted identities, and counterfeit claims. Do you see these signs of a decaying culture today? Do you hear the subtle claims to ownership such as "I own my body. I own my time. I own my tongue…”? Might his prayer fit our nation?
Help, LORD, for the godly are no more;
the faithful have vanished from among men.
Everyone lies to his neighbor;
their flattering lips speak with deception.
May the LORD cut off all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue that says,
"We will triumph with our tongues;
we own our lips; who is our master?"
3. OUR IDENTITY IN CHRIST
Our true Master is our Maker Himself. He alone has the wisdom and power to solve earthly problems and satisfy human needs. This healing process begins when we come to Him and receive Jesus Christ as Savior. Joined to Him, we have divine life inside - the very life of God Himself. He makes us "new creations," children of the Father, His holy people, set apart for God (2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:9-12). As we immerse ourselves in His wisdom instead of our own feelings, He opens our spiritual eyes to see the unspeakable wonder of who He is - and how much He loves us.
Seeing ourselves through His eyes, we realize our own worth and can begin to break destructive thought patterns (2 Corinthians 10.3-5). To transform our way of thinking, most of us need the persistent prayers and encouragement of Christian friends as well as the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Some may also need Bible-centered counseling.
When I was a new Christian, I battled feelings of failure and worthlessness daily. A wise teacher suggested meditating on God's love promises "day and night" (Psalm 1) for one month. She gave me a list:
"I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine" (Isaiah 43:1).
"You are precious and honored in My sight and ... I love you" (Isaiah 43.4).
"We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).
"I am convinced that ... [nothing] in all creation will be able to separate [me] from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8.38-39).
I affirmed those truths each morning when I awoke, as often as I remembered them during the day, and before going to sleep at night. Within a week, I had memorized them, and they began to flow through my mind with little effort on my part. God’s Word was becoming part of me. By the end of the month, I was a changed person. Never again have I doubted God’s love for me or my worth in His sight. No man-made affirmation can compare with the effectiveness of God’s personal promises.
4. HOW TO SURRENDER TO GOD AND FOLLOW HIM. "I am the vine; you are the branches," said Jesus. "If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, italics added).
People today cringe at the word submission. After all, our natural tendency is to resist taking God at His word. We don't want to submit to anything. But there is no other way to inner peace and outer harmony. Only when He sees our willingness to follow His will, rather than our own, can He freely speak to our hearts. Then He begins to show us the wonders of a healing, fulfilling love-relationship with Himself. There, in the center of His will, we receive the needed strength and wisdom to accomplish His work - including the care of the earth. An old hymn I love expresses this victorious surrender well:
My Jesus, as Thou wilt:
0 may Thy will be mine!
Into Thy hand of love,
I would my all resign.
Through sorrow or through joy,
Conduct me as Thine own,
And help me still to say,
"My Lord, Thy will be done."30
Many of us come to Jesus scarred and broken from painful past experiences. From the world’s perspective, our wounds make no sense, for those who don’t know God
can't understand His deep and wonderful workings in our lives. But from God’s perspective, wounds and weaknesses are not all bad. They may be the very agents that He uses to draw His hurting ones to Himself, so that He can transform our lives, prove His sufficiency, and make us one with Himself.
"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest," whispers our Shepherd (Matthew 11.28). He understands our pain and longs to heal our souls as well as our bodies. But the path takes us through a process of self-dying rather than self-actualization. Jesus explains: "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it." (Matthew 16.-24-25)
If you or another member of your family are one of His wounded soldiers, ask that the Holy Spirit will lead you together on the path to healing which Jesus has outlined in Matthew 5:3-10. Take time to study and follow His steps together. Be sure to respond to each of His promises. Share your heart with Him.
Keep turning your mind to God, for He will accomplish the transformation, and prepare you to succeed in whatever He asks of you. Know who He is, what He offers you, and who you are in Him (Ephesians 1:1-2:10). "For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17.28).
No matter how inadequate we might feel, we know we can count on our Lord to lead and enable. He reminds us, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9)
1. Joanna Macy, "The Greening of the Self," Dharma Gaia, (Berkeley: Parallax Press, 1990), 53.
2. Mike Wyatt, "Humanism and Ecology - the Social Ecology/Deep Ecology Schism," Green Synthesis (October 1989): 8
3. Elizabeth Koda-Callan, The Magic Locket (New York. Workman Pub-lishing, 1988), 12
4. Ibid, 30.
5. Virginia Satir, Meditations and Inspirations (Berkeley: Celestial Arts, 1985),15,26, 29.
6. Calvin Miller, The Finale (Downers Grove, III: InterVarsity Press, 1979), 29-30.
7. Ibid, 60, 70-71.
8. Marion Woodman, The Pregnant Virgin (Toronto: Inner City Books, 1985), back cover.
9. Jennifer Barker Woolger and Roger J. Woolger, "The Wounded God-desses Within," New Realities March/April 1990): 11.
10. Ibid., 13.
11. Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1938),95.
12. Elinor W. Gadon, The Once and Future Goddess (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989), 230.
13. Brooks Alexander, "Mind Power and the Mind’s Eye," SCP Journal (Vol. 9:3, 1990): 15.
14. Doug Groothuis, Revealing the New Age Jesus (Downers Grove, M: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 76.
15. Satir, 23.
Virginia Satir, Self Esteem (Milbrae, Calif.: Celestial Arts, 1970), 41-42
18. Alexander, 9.
19. Paul C. Vitz, Psychology As Religion (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977), 93.
20. The Family Educator, "Who Would Build on a Crumbled Foundation" (March/April 1990): 3.
21. Cassette tapes of Dr. Coulson's messages can be ordered from the Research Council on Ethnopsychology, 2054 Oriole Street, San Diego, CA 92114.
23. John Bradshaw, The Family (Deerfield Beach, Fla.: Health Communi-cations, Inc, 1988), 229.
25. Charles Colson, Against the Night (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Servant Publica-tions, 1989), 98.
28. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1935), 279.
29. Ibid., 246.
30. Benjamin Schmolck, 1672-1737