The Divine Feminine

The valley spirit never dies
It is the woman, primal matter
Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth
It is like a veil barely seen
Use it, it will never fail.

From Lao Tsu: Tao Te Ching, transl. Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English

What is this Divine Feminine?

We all partake of it, and yet, it remains a mystery.
These pages are offered as a way to open up an enquiry.

Insights by Ibn'Arabi

'...we are [all] female because of what is engenderd in us...[In reality] there is not in creation (kawn) a man (rajul). Men who know their own essence ('aynahum) [know that they] are really female...'

Futuhat III, 297, excerpt from a talk by Jane Clark
MIAS seminar series "Ibn Arabi, receptivity and the idea of the feminine" November 2022

More than eight hundred centuries ago Muhiddin Ibn 'Arabi, this giant among scholars and mystics, declared not just that woman and man are absolutely equal in terms of human potentiality, but that in fact the whole of creation including ourselves, is female ‘… because of what is engenderd in us...'
An article by Souad Hakim, and a talk by Jane Clark, both facilitated by the Ibn ‘Arabi Society, explain the esoteric meanings in these statements.
They further discuss in great detail the meaning and reality of Eve, the mystery of Mary, the place of female saints, mystics, leaders (imams) and that of the Pole (qutb), introduce Ibn ‘Arabi’s numerous female teachers and the woman Ibn ‘Arabi calls 'his own Divine Mother'.

Ibn 'Arabi's twofold Perception of Woman: Woman as Human Being and Cosmic Principle
an article by Souad Hakim

Receptivity, Activity and Gender in Ibn 'Arabi's work
a talk by Jane Clark
MIAS seminar series "Ibn Arabi, receptivity and the idea of the feminine" November 2022

Inspirations from Rumi

Pain the Midwife

Do not run toward pain, but do not run from it either. Pain is your guide. Pain is what guides a person in every serious undertaking. Unless an aching longing and passion arises in some-one to get or achieve something, he will never get or achieve it. This is true whatever he may want – whether he wants to be successful in this world or to be saved in the next, or whether he wants to be a king or a powerful banker, a scientist or an astronomer.

Mary only made for the Tree of Blessing when she started to feel the pangs of childbirth. As the Koran tells us,
'And birth pangs seized her by the trunk of the palm tree.'
The pangs that were rending her brought her to the tree, and the tree which had withered became rich with fruit.

This body is like Mary. Everyone of us has a Jesus within him, waiting to be born. If pain appears to be our midwife, our divine child will be born. If not, our inner Jesus will return to the Origin by the same secret way he came, and we will be deprived of his mystic joy and splendour. See to the healing of your soul while your Jesus is still here; if he goes back to heaven, all your hope will go with him.

'Pain the Midwife', from'Light upon Light', Inspirations from Rumi; Andrew Harvey North Atlantic Books 1996 (p110):

Turning - the movie

In this exquisitely beautiful film by Diane Cilento and Bulent Rauf, the mystery of the feminie is explored and given expression through image, colour, music and word.
It traces an unfolding of Wisdom, from the early neolithic fertility goddess of Çatalhöyük, later to Artemis and Diana and then to the Virgin Mary. This is followed by a poignant transition to Jelaluddin Rumi. The film concludes with the ritual Sema, the ceremony of the Mevlevi Dervishes in which the realised human person is seen as the link between the One, and Creation.

Watch the film here:

Exploring the mystery of Mary

Mary as the Matrix

...You must first of all understand that although I seem to be talking about an historical event, everything of which I speak is within you and is happening at this moment. There is no other; and what happened, in our world, two thousand years ago is part of the unfoldment of this moment, not that moment but this very instant. It is neither a question of looking back two thousand years nor of trying to recapture the moment in your imagination. All you have to do is to be awake.
Read whole text

'The Last Barrier' by Reshad Field, ChaliceVerlag 1976. The text is an excerpt from the book (p 89–91), as spoken by his teacher Hamid, who is a clear reference to Bulent Rauf.

Chartres Cathedral: Mary, Seat of Wisdom and Mercy

The reality of Mary is expressed in the architecture and stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral. She is the completely receptive place in which wisdom appears. This world, known to be no other than the external appearance of the One Truth, is the place in which the knowledge reveals itself. She is Universal Nature, the materia prima in which knowledge is revealed.
See article by Jane Carroll, Beshara Magazine 2019

The Divine Feminine in contemporary mysticism and science

The word Feminine stands for the Soul, and the unseen cosmic web of life that connects each one of us to all others and to the life of the planet and the greater life of the cosmos.

It stands for the recognition that we live within a Sacred Order and that we have a responsibility to protect the life of the planet and all the variety of species it embraces, instead of exploiting them for the benefit of our species alone. In sum, the word Feminine stands for a totally different [to our current] perspective on life, a totally different worldview of reality and for the feeling values which might reflect and support that worldview. It stands for a new planetary consciousness and the arduous creation of a new kind of civilization.
From a talk by Ann Baring: The Dream of the Cosmos

Today’s scientific community, in articulating its latest findings, is beginning to express the same truths that have been known by the mystics and sages for millennia. Namely, that existence is One, that essentially all matter is energy, (Spirit, Love), and that all life is conscious. For one such example see: Beshara Magazine: Consciousness as the ground of being


Discussing some of the great female saints and mystics throughout history, such as Eve, Rachel, Bilquis, Mary, Fatima and Rabia al Adawiyya.
A talk by Layla Shamash, Beshara School at Chisholme House, Intensive Course 1975-76

Indigenous wisdom

All life is sacred.
We come into life as sacred beings.
When we abuse this truth, we affect all of creation.

Native American council statement.

Indigenous people are the stewards of the land. And it is often the women who come together to learn, to protect and – when what is dear to them is threatened – to protest.

Braiding Sweetgrass, a book by Robin Wall Kimmerer is one among many excellent introductions to the subject. A PDF version of the book is available for free on the internet.
Here a link to a recent talk.

Daughters of the Earth: On the slopes of the sacred Mount Elgon, Kenya, a gathering in 2023 brought together over fifty Indigenous Peoples from across central and east Africa. Women, men, elders and young people gathered to share experiences about land defence, and learn strategies and mapping techniques from the women-led mapping team of the Chepkitale Indigenous Peoples Development Project, which works in partnership with Digital Democracy.

...and for more on Indigenous Wisdom, see:

Alan Ereira talks about the wisdom of the Kogi Indians and an important new UNESCO project in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia

Our Voice is Ours: 7 Amazonian Indigenous women storytellers and the right to self expression

A message from the Hopi Elders

Navajo Prayer

The Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address – The words that come before all else



Mary: The Container of the Uncontainable (Kariye Cami/Church of the Chora, Istanbul)