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The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul
     

The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul

5.0 1
by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
 

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The feminine holds the mystery of creation. This simple and primordial truth is often overlooked, but at this time of global crisis, which also carries the seeds of a global transformation, we need to reawaken to the spiritual power and potential of the feminine. Feminine qualities belong to both men and women, and they draw us into the depths within us, into the

Overview

The feminine holds the mystery of creation. This simple and primordial truth is often overlooked, but at this time of global crisis, which also carries the seeds of a global transformation, we need to reawaken to the spiritual power and potential of the feminine. Feminine qualities belong to both men and women, and they draw us into the depths within us, into the mysteries of the soul whose wisdom is called Sophia. Without the feminine nothing new can be born, nothing new can come into existence—we will remain caught in the materialistic images of life that are polluting our planet and desecrating our souls. We need to return to the core of our being, to where the sacred comes into existence. And the mystical feminine holds the key to this work of redemption and transformation.

Over the past two decades Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee has given different teachings on the feminine and the anima mundi, the World Soul. They are compiled here for the first time.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A vital contribution to the Great Work of rescuing the human soul . . . Few are able to define and evoke the Feminine in the way that Vaughan-Lee does; Women and men alike will welcome and treasure this book."  —Anne Baring, coauthor, The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image

"A deeply thoughtful message (which) calls us all, each in our own way, to contemplate the Divine Feminine, to encounter the realm of Sophia, and thus discover the nature of our souls and Knowledge of the Truth that passes all understanding."  —Peter Reinhart, author, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and Brother Juniper’s Bread Book

"Vaughan-Lee has listened deeply and transcribed for us so we can awaken to the true feminine, which so urgently needs to be understood and embodied at this time in human history."  —Lama Palden, sukhasiddhi foundation, www.sukhasiddhi.org

"Vaughan-Lee’s profound yet easily accessible exposition of the Divine Feminine will appeal to anyone who yearns for greater wholeness in life. A beautiful formula for the healing of a world which has developed masculine principle competency to the point of self extinction."  —Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, author, Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings, clinical professor, UCSF school of medicine, and founder and director of the Institute for the Study of  Health and Illness at Commonweal

"This beautiful book celebrates our interconnectedness in Her eternal web of life."  —Meinrad Craighead, artist, scholar, and visionary

"Taps into what may be the most important message of our time—the need for the re-emergence of the feminine . . . a must read for all seeking to understand the global transformation now underway."  —Dena Merriam, founder and convener, Global Peace Initiative for Women, www.gpiw.org

"Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee presents us with a clear picture of the Feminine which is now essential to building a new vision and value for our dear planet Earth."  —Marion Woodman, PhD, Jungian analyst and author

"Everyone interested in exploring how we must now learn to live in our new world, a world in which we know that ‘everything is connected to everything else,’ will find something inspiring and productive in this book."  —Frederick Kirschenmann, distinguished fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

Anne Baring
A vital contribution to the Great Work of rescuing the human soul ... Few are able to define and evoke the Feminine in the way that Vaughan-Lee does; Women and men alike will welcome and treasure this book.
Library Journal
Vaughan-Lee (Love Is a Fire: The Sufi's Mystical Journey Home), a teacher in the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Order of Sufism, here collects some of his more provocative writings. Sufism, neither well known nor well understood in the United States, is a mystical offshoot of Islam, sometimes called the inner dimension of Islam; especially in the West, it is often practiced with the loosest kinship to traditional Islam. Vaughan-Lee's insights mix modern psychology of a sort with mystical apperception. His sensitivity to spiritual experience and the poetry and psychology that illuminate it is engaging, but his work depends on the now-problematic and perhaps stereotypical notion that there are essential feminine qualities. VERDICT Although traditional gender-role assumptions slightly weaken this fascinating volume, it should be considered where the author's other books circulate.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781890350147
Publisher:
The Golden Sufi Center
Publication date:
11/01/2009
Pages:
248
Sales rank:
1,171,442
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Return of the Feminine and the World Soul

A Collection of Writings and Transcribed Talks


By Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

The Golden Sufi Center

Copyright © 2013 The Golden Sufi Center
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-890350-22-2



CHAPTER 1

Reclaiming the Feminine Mystery of Creation


"Then creation recognized its Creator in its own forms and appearances. For in the beginning, when God said, 'Let it be!' and it came to pass, the means and the Matrix of creation was Love, because all creation was formed through Her as in the twinkling of an eye."

The Holy Spirit as Sapientia St. Hildegard Von Bingen


THE MATRIX OF CREATION


The feminine is the matrix of creation. This truth is something profound and elemental, and every woman knows it in the cells of her body, in her instinctual depths. Out of the substance of her very being life comes forth. She can conceive and give birth, participate in the greatest mystery of bringing a soul into life. And yet we have forgotten, or been denied, the depths of this mystery, of how the divine light of the soul creates a body in the womb of a woman, and how the mother shares in this wonder, giving her own blood, her own body, to what will be born. Our culture's focus on a disembodied, transcendent God has left women bereft, denying them the sacredness of this simple mystery of divine love.

What we do not realize is that this patriarchal denial affects not only every woman, but also life itself. When we deny the divine mystery of the feminine we also deny something fundamental to life. We separate life from its sacred core, from the matrix that nourishes all of creation. We cut our world off from the source that alone can heal, nourish, and transform it. The same sacred source that gave birth to each of us is needed to give meaning to our life, to nourish it with what is real, and to reveal to us the mystery, the divine purpose to being alive.

Because humanity has a central function in the whole of creation, what we deny to ourself we deny to all of life. In denying the feminine her sacred power and purpose we have impoverished life in ways we do not understand. We have denied life its sacred source of meaning and divine purpose, which was understood by the ancient priestesses. We may think that their fertility rites and other ceremonies belonged only to the need for procreation or a successful harvest. In our contemporary culture we cannot understand how a deeper mystery was enacted, one that consciously connected life to its source in the inner worlds, a source that held the wholeness of life as an embodiment of the divine, allowing the wonder of the divine to be present in every moment.

The days of the priestesses, their temples and ceremonies are over, and because the wisdom of the feminine was not written down but transmitted orally (logos is a masculine principle), this sacred knowledge is lost. We cannot reclaim the past, but we can witness a world without her presence, a world which we exploit for greed and power, which we rape and pollute without real concern. And then we can begin the work of welcoming her back, of reconnecting with the divine that is at the core of creation, and learning once again how to work with the sacred principles of life. Without the intercession of the divine feminine we will remain in this physical and spiritual wasteland we have created, passing on to our children a diseased and desecrated world.

The choice is simple. Can we remember the wholeness that is within us, the wholeness that unites spirit and matter? Or will we continue walking down this road that has abandoned the divine feminine, that has cut women off from their sacred power and knowledge? If we choose the former we can begin to reclaim the world, not with masculine plans, but with the wisdom of the feminine, the wisdom that belongs to life itself. If we choose the latter we may attempt some surface solutions with new technology. We may combat global warming and pollution with scientific plans. But there will be no real change. A world that is not connected to its soul cannot heal. Without the participation of the divine feminine nothing new can be born.


RECLAIMING HER SACRED WISDOM

If the knowledge of the sacred feminine has been lost, how can we know what to do? Part of the wisdom of the feminine is to wait, to listen, to be receptive. A woman does not consciously know how to bring the light of a soul into her womb and help it to form a body. And yet this mystery takes place within her. Nor does she consciously know how to nourish this light with her own light, in the same way that she gives her blood to help the body to grow. She is the mystery of light being born into matter, and her pregnancy is a time of receptivity, waiting, listening and feeling what is happening within her. She and the Great Mother are one being, and if she listens within she is given the knowledge she needs.

We may have forsaken this simple feminine wisdom of listening, and in this information age awash with so many words it is easy to undervalue an instinctual knowledge that comes from within. But the sacred principles of life have never been written down: they belong to the heartbeat, to the rhythm of the breath and the flow of blood. They are alive like the rain and the rivers, the waxing and waning of the moon. If we learn to listen we will discover that life, the Great Mother, is speaking to us, telling us what we need to know. We are present at a time when the world is dying and waiting to be reborn, and all the words in our libraries and on the Internet will not tell us what to do. But the sacred feminine can share with us her secrets, tell us how to be, how to midwife her rebirth. And because we are her children she can speak to each of us, if we have the humility to listen.

How can we listen to what we do not know? How can we reclaim what we have lost so long ago? Every moment is new. The present moment is not just a progression of past moments, but is alive in its own way, complete and perfect. And it is the moment that demands our attention. Only in the moment can we be fully awake and respond to the real need. Only in the present moment can we be fully attentive. Only in the present moment can the divine come into existence. Men may make plans, but a mother attentive to her children knows the real need of the moment. She feels in her being the interconnectedness of all of life in a way that is veiled from the masculine. She knows one cannot make plans when there are so many variables, but one can respond with the wisdom that includes the whole and all of its connections. The divine feminine is asking us to be present in life in all of its wholeness, without judgment or plans. Then she can speak to us, reveal the mystery of her rebirth.

And because this is a birth, the feminine has to be present, not just as an idea but as a living presence within us, within both men and women; because although woman most fully embodies the divine feminine, part of her secret is also shared with men, just as a son carries part of his mother in a way hidden from her daughters. Yet to live the feminine is something we have almost forgotten: our patriarchal culture has denied her power and real wisdom, has sanitized her as much as it has divorced her from her magic that belongs to the rhythms of creation. But we need her, more than we dare realize.

However, to fully encounter the divine feminine, the creative principle of life, we must be prepared for her anger, for the pain that has come from her abuse. For centuries our masculine culture has repressed her natural power, has burnt her temples, killed her priestesses. Through his drive for mastery, and his fear of the feminine, of what he cannot understand or control, the patriarchy has not just neglected her, but deliberately tortured and destroyed. He has not just raped her, but torn the very fabric of life, the primal wholeness of which she is always the guardian. And the feminine is angry, even if her anger has been repressed along with her magic.

To welcome the feminine is to acknowledge and accept her pain and anger, and the part we have played in this desecration. Women too have often colluded with the masculine, denied their own power and natural magic, and instead accepted masculine values and ways of thinking. They have betrayed their own deepest self. But we must also be careful not to become caught in this darkness, in the dynamics of abuse, the anger and betrayal.

It is especially easy for women to become identified with the suffering of the feminine, her treatment by the masculine, to project their own pain and anger onto men. Then we are caught even more securely in this web that denies us any transformation. If we identify with the pain of the feminine we easily become an agent of her anger, rather than going deeper into the mystery of suffering, into the light that is always hidden in the darkness. Because in the depths of the feminine there is a deep knowledge that the abuse is also part of the cycle of creation. The Great Mother embodies a wholeness that contains even the denial of Herself, and we need Her wholeness if we are to survive and be reborn.

Real transformation, like any birth, needs the darkness as much as the light. We know that the feminine has been abused, just as the planet continues to be polluted. But the woman who has experienced the pain of childbirth, who knows the blood that belongs to birth, is always initiated in the darkness; she knows the cycles of creation in ways that are hidden to the masculine. She needs to give herself and her knowing to this present cycle of death and rebirth, and in so doing honor the pain she has suffered. Then she will discover that her magic and power are also being reborn in a new way, are being returned to her in ways that can no longer be contaminated by the masculine and its power drive. But without her full participation there is the danger of a stillbirth; then this present cycle of creation will not realize its potential.

First we need to acknowledge the suffering of the feminine, of the earth itself, or the light within the feminine will be hidden from us. We have to pay the price of our desires to dominate nature, of our acts of hubris. We are not separate from life, from the winds and the weather. We are a part of creation and we have to ask her forgiveness, to take responsibility for our attitude and actions. We need to go consciously into the next era, recognizing our mistakes. Only then can we fully honor and hear her. But there is always the possibility that we will not take this step. That like defiant children we will not acknowledge the pain we have done to our mother, and will not reclaim the wholeness that she embodies. Then we will remain within the darkness that is beginning to devour our souls: the empty promises of materialism, the fractured world of fanaticism. To take a step into maturity is always to acknowledge our mistakes, the wrongs we have done.


GIVING BIRTH TO OUR OWN WHOLENESS

It is a real challenge to step into this matrix of the feminine, to honor something so sacred and simple as the real wisdom of life. But as we stand at the edge of our present global abyss we need this wisdom more than we realize. How many times has this world been brought to the edge of extinction, how many times in its millions of years has it faced disaster? Now we have created our own disaster with our ignorance and greed, and the first step is to ask for the help of our mother and to listen to her wisdom. Then we will find ourself in a very different environment from the one we presently imagine. We will discover that there are changes happening in the depths of creation of which we are a part, and that the pollution and pain we have caused are part of a cycle of life that involves its own apparent destruction. We are not isolated, even in our mistakes. We are part of the whole of creation even as we have denied the whole. In our hubris we have separated ourself from life, and yet we can never be separate. That is just an illusion of masculine thinking. There is no such thing as separation. It is just a myth created by the ego.

Everything is part of the whole, even in its mistakes and disasters. Once we return to this simple awareness we will discover that there are changes taking place that demand our participation, that need us to be present. We will see that the axis of creation is shifting and something is coming alive in a new way. We are being reborn, not in any separate sense but as a complete whole. We do not have images in our masculine consciousness to think what this could be like, but this does not mean it is not happening. Something within us knows that the present era is over, that our time of separation is coming to an end. At present we sense it most apparently in the negative, knowing that the images of life no longer sustain us, that consumerism is killing our soul as well as the planet. And yet there is also something just beyond the horizon, like a dawn that we can sense even if we cannot see.

And this dawn carries a light, and this light is calling to us, calling to our souls if not yet to our minds. And it is asking for us to welcome it, to bring it into being. And if we dare to do this, to say "yes" to this dawn, we will discover that this light is within us, and that something within each of us is being brought into being. We are part of a shared mystery: we are the light hidden within matter that is being awakened.

For too many centuries we have been caught in the myth of separation, until we have become isolated from each other and from the energies of creation that sustain us. But now there is a growing light that carries the knowing of oneness, the oneness that is alive with the imprint of the divine. This is what is being given back to us. This is the light that is awakening. The light of oneness is a reflection of the divine oneness of life, and we are each a direct expression of this oneness. And this oneness is not a metaphysical idea but something so simple and ordinary. It is in every breath, in the wing-beat of every butterfly, in every piece of garbage left on city streets. This oneness is life, life no longer experienced solely through the fragmented vision of the ego, but known within the heart, felt in the soul. This oneness is the heartbeat of life. It is creation's recognition of its Creator. In this oneness life celebrates itself and its divine origin.

The feminine knows this oneness. She feels it in her body, in her instinctual wisdom. She knows its interconnectedness just as she knows how to nourish her own children. And yet until now this knowing has not carried the bright light of masculine consciousness. It has remained hidden within her, in the darkness of her instinctual self. And part of her pain has been that she has not known how to use her knowing in the rational and scientific world we inhabit. Instead of valuing her own knowledge she has played the games of the masculine, imitating his thinking, putting aside her knowledge of relationships and her sense of the patterns that belong to creation.

Now it is time for this wisdom of the feminine to be combined with masculine consciousness, so that a new understanding of the wholeness of life can be used to help us to heal our world. Our present scientific solutions come from the masculine tools of analysis, the very mind-set of separation that has caused the problems. We cannot afford to isolate ourself from the whole anymore, and the fact that our problems are global illustrates this. Global warming is not just a scientific image or concept but a dramatic reality. Combining masculine and feminine wisdom we can come to understand the relationships between the parts and the whole, and if we listen we can hear life telling us how to redress this imbalance.

There is a light within life, known to the alchemists as the lumen naturae, that can speak to us, speak to the light of our own awareness. There is a primal dialogue of light to light, which is known to every healer as she listens to the body of her patient and allows it to communicate with her, allows its light to speak to the light within her. Through this dialogue of light she comes to know where to place her hands, the herbs that are needed, the pressure points to be touched. This direct communication is combined with the knowledge of healing she has learned, allowing an alchemy to take place that can reawaken energy within the patient, realign the body and soul. This is how real healing happens, and what is true for the individual is also true for the world, except that we are both the patient and the healer. The world's wounds and imbalance are our wounds and imbalance, and we have within us the knowledge and understanding to realign ourselves and the world. This is part of the mystery of life's wholeness.

The feminine can give us an understanding of how all the diverse parts of life relate together, their patterns of relationship, the interconnections that nourish life. She can help us to see consciously what she knows instinctively, that all is part of a living, organic whole, in which all the parts of creation communicate together, and that each cell of creation expresses the whole in a unique way. An understanding of the organic wholeness of life belongs to the instinctual knowing of the feminine, but combined with masculine consciousness this can be communicated in words, not just feelings. We can combine the science of the mind and the senses with inner knowing. We can be given a blueprint of the planet that will enable us to live in creative harmony with all of life.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Return of the Feminine and the World Soul by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee. Copyright © 2013 The Golden Sufi Center. Excerpted by permission of The Golden Sufi Center.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Rachel Naomi Remen
Vaughan-Lee's profound yet easily accessible exposition of the Divine Feminine will appeal to anyone who yearns for greater wholeness in life. A beautiful formula for the healing of a world which has developed masculine principle competency to the point of self extinction. (Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, author, Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings. She is a clinical professor at UCSF school of medicine and the director of the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal.)
Lama Palden
Vaughan-Lee has listened deeply and transcribed for us so we can awaken to the true feminine, which so urgently needs to be understood and embodied at this time in human history. (Lama Palden, sukhasiddhi foundation, www.sukhasiddhi.org)
Peter Reinhart
A deeply thoughtful message [which] calls us all, each in our own way, to contemplate the Divine Feminine, to encounter the realm of Sophia, and thus discover the nature of our souls and Knowledge of the Truth that passes all understanding. (Peter Reinhart, author, The Bread Baker's Apprentice and Brother Juniper's Bread Book)
Meinrad Craighead
This beautiful book celebrates our interconnectedness in Her eternal web of life. (Meinrad Craighead, artist, scholar, and visionary)
Marion Woodman
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee presents us with a clear picture of the Feminine which is now essential to building a new vision and value for our dear planet earth. (Marion Woodman, PhD, Jungian analyst and author)
Frederick Kirschenmann
Everyone interested in exploring how we must now learn to live in our new world, a world in which we know that 'everything is connected to everything else,' will find something inspiring and productive in this book. (Frederick Kirschenmann, distinguished fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture)
Dena Merriam
Taps into what may be the most important message of our time—the need for the re-emergence of the feminine ... a must read for all seeking to understand the global transformation now underway. (Dena Merriam, founder and convener, Global Peace Initiative for Women, www.gpiw.org)

Meet the Author


Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is a Sufi sheikh who has lectured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe and the author of more than 15 books, including Alchemy of Light and Spiritual Power. He lives in Inverness, California.

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Return of the Feminine and the World Soul 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here are some endorsements/reviews received for this book: "Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee presents us with a clear picture of the Feminine which is now essential to building a new vision and value for our dear planet earth."-MARION WOODMAN, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst and author, www.mwoodmanfoundation.org "... taps into what may be the most important message of our time-the need for the re-emergence of the feminine. As he so beautifully recounts, only through the Divine Feminine can the world, now so desperately wounded and degraded, begin to heal and transform itself. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee explains what our role is in this process, how we can bring the masculine and feminine into greater balance and bridge the unreal divide between spirit and matter. It is a collective enterprise, and we all must be engaged in restoring the feminine to her rightful place. Llewellyn's narrative explains so much of what we intuitively know but what so few can articulate as well.... One of the most inspiring spiritual books of our day and a must read for all those seeking to understand the global transformation now underway."-DENA MERRIAM, Founder and Convener of The Global Peace Initiative for Women, www.gpiw.org "... the sort of book that offers its readers new eyes. Vaughan-Lee's profound yet easily accessible exposition of the Divine Feminine will appeal to anyone who yearns for greater wholeness in life. A beautiful formula for the healing of a world which has developed masculine principle competency to the point of self extinction." -RACHEL NAOMI REMEN, M.D., author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather's Blessings; Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine, and founder and director of the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness at Commonweal, www.rachelremen.com "This beautiful book celebrates our interconnectedness in Her eternal web of life." -MEINRAD CRAIGHEAD, artist, scholar, and visionary, www.meinradcraighead.com "This book contains an important message for our time. It is an inspirational text to awaken the reader to the alchemical mystery of the Soul of the World (Anima Mundi)-an important aspect of the Divine Feminine and the mysteries of Sophia. This alive and accessible work deserves a wide readership." -ROBERT POWELL, Ph.D., Co-Founder of the Sophia Foundation of North America, author The Sophia Teachings (book and tapes) and The Mystery, Biography, and Destiny of Mary Magdalene "Attempting to express the beauty and magic of this book with words feels rather inauthentic and only skims the surface of what is a rich experience of the great warmth of connection. My words do not convey the deep feelings evoked-feelings that gently embraced me and opened up a dimension of receptivity, lightness and the very presence of the Feminine. I literally felt the sustaining nourishment of the energies of creation. All day I have been working in the masculine mode of getting things done and at the end of the day to melt my mind into the nurturing embrace of creation was nothing short of magical. I end up with nothing but gratefulness to Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee." -NANCY ROOF, Founding Editor, Kosmos Journal, www.kosmosjournal.org View More Online at: http://goldensufi.org/book_endorse_feminine.html