Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The Divine Shekina
the Cosmic Shekina
Sorita d'Este & David Rankine
Avalonia Publishing, 2012
The divine feminine, it is contained albeit on a quiet level in all three of the major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, although they are male dominated. In the kabbalistic works of Jewish mysticism this is commonly known as the Shekina, or the divine presence. In gnostic Christianity it is known as Sophia, considered the Goddess of Wisdom. In Islam the Shekina is called Sakina.
THe book traces the very beginning of the feminine divine from the early pagan goddesses of the Middle East all the way to the development of Sophia the Wisdom Goddess. The Hebrew God had a wife. Jewish theology developed from strains of influence stemming from surrounding cultures like the Egyptians, Sumerians and Canaanites. In the Canaanite Pantheon, El , the head Canaanite God had a wife Ashera. In the Hebrew bible God's wife was also called , Ashera.
Ashera would later give way to the Wisdom Goddess. The wisdom Goddess drew from such influences as Isis, Inanna, Maat and Ashera. They were Goddesses who taught mankind wisdom. The Wisdom Goddess would later transform into the Shekhina. The Shekhina drew primarily from the Near Eastern Wisdom Goddess. Many symbol associated with the Shekina were the dove, light, Trees, incense smoke and the burning bush. The Shekina is mentioned several times in Kabbalistic literature. By the way the authors make excellent references to the Kabbalistic literature and Near Eastern Sources.
An examinatination of Jewish sources show that there are two Shekinas, an earthly and a heavenly one. The heavenly Shekina is wrapped around the male counterpart like a blanket of fire. The Earthly Shekina hovers in the earth and is the planets soul. It is the earhtly Shekina that is in exile with the Israelites.
Sophia, the Christian divine prescence drew heavily from Greek, Jewish and other Christian souces in her creation. There was a concept of Gaia ingreek theology that was likened to the soul of the world. The Sophia was often equated with the Holy Spirit, The Virgin Mary and sometimes even Jesus himself.
The divine feminine is considered the mother of angels and planetary forces. The Shekina's role in creation is amply explained in the final part of the book. This final part gives an excellent over view on Kabbalitic mytholgy. This is the first book I have read by Soritia d'Este and David Rankine and I must tell you that I am thoroughly blown away by this book. It is excellent and understandable. I defeinitely plan on reading mkre book by this team of scholars.
The book has excellent sources in their bibliography for further research.. Everything is well documented. They make comparison to other Goddesses and give great background and periphery information. This book get five stars out of five stars.
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