Some newly restored frescoes in the Catacombs of Priscilla show what many see as evidence that the early Christian church had women priests. But The Vatican quickly dismissed the claims of the Women’s Ordination Conference and the Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests that these pictures prove there were women in the 4th century who said mass and celebrated the Eucharist.

For me, it’s impossible to imagine that any concept of God is limited to one sex.

Years ago, I practiced what some call automatic writing. I can’t say for certain whether I was communicating with Jesus and Mary or with higher parts of my own self. I’ve reached a point in my life where it doesn’t matter… or perhaps more accurately, the boundaries between the gods and goddesses and my own self have blurred.

But in those admittedly personal automatic writings, Jesus spoke to me of Mary’s vital presence. I had asked, in the writing, what he really looked like and he answered that he was swarthy and short and didn’t look anything like the feminine images of him, à la Jeffrey Hunter, so common today. My writing said that people had needed to make Jesus’ physical appearance more feminine because his female counterpart, Mary Magdalene, had been relegated to a lesser role.

I don’t do automatic writing anymore. And I lost the writings I did in an office fire some years ago. I regret that because the pages contained ideas and images that truly did seem to come from “beyond” me.

But it is oh so easy to still see how rampant the exclusion of the truly feminine is in our culture.

It can be seen in the objectification of women’s bodies as objects of lust rather than sacred temples of whatever we see as divine. It can be seen in the aggressive posturing so common in politics, war, and the corporate world. And it can be seen in the lopsidedness of our own lives when we live too much from our masculine side.

I don’t have an answer to change the culture. But my friend Jude Rittenhouse, a fellow poet and fellow student of Jason Shulman’s A Society of Souls, has created a workshop called Exploring the Divine Feminine which I know will take a very wise and helpful look at this increasingly important issue.

In Jude’s words, “Throughout our lives, our bodies and earth’s teach us life’s greatest truth over and over again: the nature of life and creation is change. In earlier times, humans recognized this creation-destruction-recreation aspect of the Divine and often gave it a feminine face.”

Using the tools of creativity, connection, and experience, the women and men who choose to work together with Jude will be able to experience a deep, immediate connection to the Divine Feminine. Her course – available to anyone with a computer – begins January 7. I highly recommend it. You can learn more here:

The quick and perhaps unreflective dismissal of even the possibility that the images found in the frescoes underneath Rome doesn’t sit well with me. One representative of the Vatican called it “a fairy tale.” And the absence of the Divine Feminine in so much of our modern culture doesn’t either.

What heartens me though is a recent quote I saw from Pope Francis I: “A church without women would be like the apostolic college without Mary. The Madonna is more important than the apostles, and the church herself is feminine, the spouse of Christ and a mother.”

This is a profound statement and deserves much attention.

In the meantime, you can learn more about Jude’s course and register here: You can learn more here:

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  1. the Female Principle is indeed divine, for it is the Womb of all Creation <3

    And Woman is divine , when she expresses her Divinity in action . . . forgiving. loving, giving,
    . . . . wanting No Thing for herself from any one , because God makes available to her, all she ever needs !

    A Very well researched Article, dear Donna . . .


  2. While I don’t believe that the ordination of women to the priesthood is the “crowning” of women’s role in the church, I am baffled when Frances proclaims truths such as these and yet seems to shut off further dialogue of the ordination matter. I myself believe ordination opens a gate for a small number and “presence” is the movement we want to be part of (and not just role) – but it seems that words would beg some sort of action on his part. So I still hold my breath.

  3. Dear Kelly, I share your mystification. When I first read the following quote from the Pope — “A church without women would be like the apostolic college without Mary. The Madonna is more important than the apostles, and the church herself is feminine, the spouse of Christ and a mother.” — I think I assumed that this would translate into a real role for women in the church. It is hard, in my mind and heart, to understand why it does not. Thanks for writing.

  4. Carl Jung believed that the feasts of the Assumption of Mary and the Immaculate Conception was the church’s unconscious realization of God’s feminine nature. Maybe one day my church will come into a much better understand of that.