Mother God: The Feminine Principle to Our Creator

It Matters

– Father Johann G. Roten, S.M

A recent book by Sylvia Browne (Mother God. The Feminine Principle to Our Creator, 2004) celebrates the retrieval and reawakening of the divine feminine principle, a "counterpart to the male creator." Browne, the founder of "Novus Spiritus" which understands itself as "a Christian society for spiritual awareness" is a self-declared Gnostic. It is one of her aims to return the people to a "true, gentler Father God," and to resurrect "the long-buried but very much present Mother God." It is Browne's belief that "the Mother God as Goddess has played a major part not only in creation, but also as the great interceptor. In fact, she takes on "many different roles and appears to us in many different ways" (52). The name and profile of "Mother God" are without boundaries or specific identity. You name it, she is, and has, it all: Goddess of the underworld (Ereshkigal); Mother Goddess of Siberia who brings our souls to earth for birth (Ajysyt); killer goddess here; love goddess there; the hope of retribution and fertility, not to mention Asherah, "considered by many to be the bride of Yahweh," and, of course, Mary. Browne's personal preference goes to Azna, because by that name she is known "on the other side," as the author was told by her "spirit guide." Names don't matter, and Azna may become Astarte or Demeter under different circumstances, for example, in a new book.

A mother who wrote to her about a Marian apparition received the following comment: "She says Mary visited her, and I'm convinced that she did. Here again, what does it matter what we call her?" (55) There is another striking example of this "holy indifference" when it comes to identify the "Mother Goddess." Another correspondent, D., wrote:

I was pregnant, and my ex-boyfriend was trying to bully me into getting an abortion. Since I'm Catholic (perhaps not in the strictest sense of the term), I stopped and prayed as I was passing the church and the beautiful statue of the Virgin Mary. I begged her to save my baby. Almost immediately I was full of peace and realized how ridiculous it was to let myself be bullied into doing the wrong thing. Now I have a beautiful daughter named Maria. Is petitioning Mary the same as praying to Azna?

Browne doesn't see a problem. "Yes, D," she answers, "petitioning Mary, Sophia, Asherah, or Azna is all the same, and your feeling of peace was your answer. No matter what happens, ask for help and then accept your feelings; they'll show you how she answers you." (55-6)

This is where New Age meets Gnosticism to generate a typical example of so-called new religiosity, all pink and pop. Your feelings are judge of your metaphysics. Everything and anything goes as long as there is a pleasant rush of supernatural shudder and the sound of angels' wings in one's ears. The answer is in the feelings; but where is the answer when it comes it comes to identify what elicits these feelings? Browne would most probably throw the question back at you and say: It is whatever you want it to be. One of the strengths of the author is to circumvert and circumnavigate all hard questions, to include everything and exclude nothing to be the paramount defender of tolerance "total." The dosage of words is such that there is always enough to trigger a mental association with familiar Christian and Catholic prayers, but diluted enough to fit any creed under the sun. Take, for example, the following prayer to Azna: "Bring the hosts of heaven with you and God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Attend me now in my hour of need ... At my hour of death, let me just step over the threshold easily and be with you and my Divine Father and all my loved ones." (155) The similarity with the Hail Mary is unmistakable.

It is not indifferent whether Mary is mixed in with other feminine figures to form a smorgasbord of Mother God. Here are some of the major reasons.

1) Mary is a historical figure and not just a Gnostic entity. Catholic theology considers her to be, first of all, a creature of God, and not a divine feminine principle. To promote her to "Mother God" means to void her of her existential reality and density.

2) Catholicism and all authentic Christian traditions are incarnational in origin and essence. Jesus Christ is real. He is part of history, in everything like us ... except sin! His divine origin and nature does not squash his humanity. He is the God-Man, true God and true man. He had a mother, a mother of flesh and blood, young, nubile, Jewish, with the name, Mary, and from Galilee. In Christianity, salvation begins with Incarnation, because as perennial theology states: What is not assumed cannot be saved. Jesus Christ is a savior of flesh and blood saving humanity, not as abstract entity, but as countless individuals of flesh and blood.

3) None of the beautiful titles of Mary, from "Mother of God" to "Queen of Heaven" are license to consecrate her as "Mother God." The praise given to Mary magnifies God and not her person, in the first place. The grandeur of God becomes visible in her life and mission. She does not absorb divinity. On the contrary, her being is transparent unto God.

4) Mary is not the "divine interceptor" of Sylvia Browne's "Mother God." There is only one mediator, Jesus Christ, and no "interceptor" between Him and us. Mother of her son, Mary shared his life, mission, and Passion. She is still involved, and will be up to the end of time, in Christ's mission of salvation: not as the one who gives redemption, but as the one who leads to the redeemer.

5) Proper naming matters. It shows that the omnium-gathering of Browne's "Mother-God" is either a non-entity of voided mythological figures or an invitation to pandemonium. Indeed, where killer and love goddess cohabit, where East and West, past and present, Gnosticism and Orthodoxy, New Age and Christianity are poured into a single and uni-dimensional mold of "Mother God," the result can't be but one of hilarious pandemonium.

It matters. It really matters. We want a Mary of flesh and blood, no empty symbol. We don't want a "Mother God." We want the mother of Jesus Christ--mother according to His humanity--to be our spiritual mother.

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