Erick DuPree is an award winning writer and editor whose work is described as evocative, intimate, graceful, and deeply transcendent. His writing has been featured in Huffington Post, Shakespeare!, Tricycle: A Buddhist Review, NY Magazine, and The Wild Hunt, where he is a featured columnist. When not writing himself, Erick edits other's writing, curates content for big companies, and hosts writing workshops. He is based in Philadelphia.

Caitlyn Jenner: And Still Knowing Godess

I whispered the mantra, Om Hreem Sri Lakshmi Bhyo Namaha softly to myself and then in cadence with my peers, each of us on a journey of discovery. As we chanted, my teacher directly across from me, I felt her breath with mine, the beating pulsation of prana, as she guided the mantra to the faintest whisper. It was in that whisper that my voice faltered and my tears began.


In my book,  Alone In Her Presence: Meditations on the Goddess, is a chapter Knowing Goddess Or Just Wishful Thinking, and a line: “I whisper words to Her endlessly, often to myself because always I know that no one will ever love be like She does."


I’ve thought about that line a lot lately, as I’ve stepped back from this column and my writing. I’ve been teaching in a local community more and more, less online and consciously declined several offers to teach at national conferences.  I simply haven’t had much to say.  But when Caitlyn Jenner appeared today on the the cover of Vanity Fair, and my first thought was “This too, is Goddess” and my Facebook post was “For those who question…this is the Goddess. All Goddess. In all ways, Always, a Love Divine.” I knew I had something to say
In the course of a life time of learning, exploring, seeking and trying new things, nothing has ever been more true, and as steadfast, as knowing the Goddess. The Goddess is the one promise that has never failed me. I don’t mean that in the messianic way in which Christian’s espouse Jesus, because I don’t see the Goddess in an attainment prophecy. I do not revere Her, or bow before Her. In reality, I do not even ‘worship’ Her. Because I am Her. That is part of the Goddess paradox that probably confuses people the most, called divine immanence. I am Goddess, You are Goddess, All is Goddess.


There isn’t a moment of my day that at some point isn’t reflective of the Goddess. This isn’t a purposeful ritual or daily practice, but simply reframing myself away from the patriarchy that is constant, and taking the time to know Her and come into the presence of still knowing a Goddess that dwells within each of us when we get quiet, get intimate, and we begin to whisper to Her endlessly.


For me that is matriarchy. Matriarchy is a place that gives the Caitlyn Jenners of the world a womb to be born from, because matriarchy is generative and is the nexus of creation. Matriarchy teaches us to give ourselves permission to express spaciousness in the body and honor a surrender which is empowered. Or use that same spaciousness to ignite the fires of commitment with a passion put to use. Matriarchy is a pulsation that is active and receptive, shadow and light, ferocity and innocence. A place where saturating the heart with emotion, either joy or sorrow, is celebrated and not shamed. A communion that lifts up interconnected and interdependent magic that weaves fertile harvests of all kinds; mind, body, and spirit. Goddess is a salutation to knowing a life that doesn’t divide and conquer, but instead celebrates the witnesses that everything as Goddess, all that we see, flowing in, among and around us.


Some may argue that celebrity and privilege provide Caitlyn Jenner opportunity that other transgender women and men do not have. And perhaps that is true? However, what I see is platform, awareness, and unlimited potential that is known as Shri. The more face that is given and the more name that something has, the more awareness and more breath for growth something has to foster change. The Goddess breathed new life into a woman, and I find that unbelievably courageous and empowering.
 
The tears that flowed from my face during the mantra that evening were many. In weeks prior, I had taught Goddess mysteries from the Reclaiming tradition, of my first initiations to several women in my public meditation class on Mother’s Day. Those women let me know later they had never heard the Charge of the Goddess, let alone their name called out among the names of Goddesses of ancient times. I taught that theme several times in May. Some may say it is not my place to teach Goddess Mysteries to women, since I am not a woman myself. (I’m sure my readers can deduce my opinion of such thoughts, it’s in paragraph three, where I say ‘I am the Goddess.’)


I also cried because for all my “knowing” there is still more work that needs to be done. More healing, more space to be made, more empowered surrender. This is the wisdom of living, loving, and learning in the lap of the Goddess. She protects, She transmutes, She invokes, and She beautifies and more, endlessly.


Here we are on this day. Caitlyn Jenner has been born. Let me be the first to add her name, “Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Caitlyn…”


The Goddess as torn away one shadow to reveal a new light. But Caitlyn is just one one many faces. Names spoken and silent, those whom are victories are public and those we may never know. Love is the spirit of the matriarchy that is All Goddess. The Great Mother who mother of All knows all names, She is the one who devours time because She is time. She restore the order, and gives balance back to the universe, and welcomes us to know her, be it in the lion’s roar or the faintest whisper.


And so the invitation is yours? We each have a choice, to stay caged to the patriarchy that invites ignorance and fear, or come into presence and get to know Goddess, it’s not just wishful thinking. I promise.


This post originally appeared at Patheos.com in the column, Alone In Her Presence

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