Abstract: There is currently much talk of "feminine issues," particularly in social and political contexts. This growing awareness of gender-related matters was not something
ignored by the early Church and the writers of ancient religious texts. As we see in this article by Dr. Hurtak, the notion of femininity played an extremely important and
significant role in the thinking and belief system of the intertestamental authors. Far from being the overbearing patriarchal advocates as they are often portrayed, more
recent findings reveal an innate sensitivity and appreciation for the feminine aspect of Divinity than has been previously suspected. For this reason, this particular article becomes a
meaningful and insightful contribution to the current discussion of the role of the female in modern times. Once more we find a rich and profound history reshaping the future even as it unfolds before our eyes.
A new response to the "image" of the Holy Spirit is taking shape quietly in scholarly circles throughout the world, as the result of new findings in the Dead Sea Scriptures, the
Coptic Nag Hammadi and intertestamental texts of Jewish mystics found side-by-side the writings of the early Christian church. Scholars are recognizing the Holy Spirit
as the "female vehicle" for the outpouring of higher teaching and spiritual rebirth. The Holy Spirit plays varied roles in Judeo-Christian traditions: acting in
Creation, imparting wisdom, and inspiring Old Testament prophets. In the New Testament She is the presence of God in the world and a power in the birth and life of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit became well-established as part of a circumincession, a partner in the Trinity
with the Father and Son after doctrinal controversies of the late 4th century AD solidified the position of the Western Church. Although all Christian Churches accept the union of three
persons in one Godhead, the Eastern Church, particularly the communities of the Greek, Ethiopian, Armenian, and Russian, do not solidify a strong union of personalities, but see the
figures uniquely differentiated, but still in union. Moreover, the Eastern Church places the Holy Spirit as the Second Person of the Trinity with Christ as the Third, whereas the Western Church
places the Son before the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls the Holy Spirit was known as the Ruach or Ruach Ha Kodesh (Psalm 51:11). In the New Testament as
Pneuma (Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit was not rendered as "Holy Ghost" until the appearance of the 1611 Protestant King James Version of the Bible. For the most part, Ruach or Pneuma
have been considered the spiritual force or presence of God. The power of this force can be seen in the Christian church as the "gifts of the Spirit" (especially in today's tongues- speaking
Pentecostals). The Holy Spirit was also a source for Divine guidance and as the indwelling Comforter.
Likewise in Hebrew thought, Ruach Ha Kodesh was considered a voice sent from on high to
speak to the Prophet. Thus, in the Old Testament language of the prophets, She is the Divine Spirit of indwelling sanctification and creativity and is considered as having a feminine power.
"He" as a reference to Spirit has been used in theology to match the pronoun for God, yet the Hebrew word ruach is a noun of feminine gender. Thus, referring to the Holy Spirit as "she" has
some linguistic justification. Denoting Spirit as a feminine principle, the creative principle of life, makes sense when considering the Trinity aspect where Father plus Spirit leads to the
Divine Extension of Divine Sonship.
The Spirit is not called "it" despite the fact that pneuma in Greek is a neuter noun. Church
doctrine regards the Holy Spirit as a person, not a force like magnetism. The writings of the Catholic fathers, in fact, preserve the vision of the Spirit encapsulating the "peoplehood of
Christ" as the Bride or as the "Mother Church." Both are feminine aspects of the Divine. In the Eastern Church, Spirit was always considered to have a feminine nature. She was the life
-bearer of the faith. Clement of Alexandria states that "she" is an indwelling Bride. Amongst the Eastern Church communities there is none more clear about the feminine aspect of the Holy
Spirit as the corpus of the Coptic-Gnostics. One such document records that Jesus says, "Even so did my mother, the Holy Spirit, take me by one of my hairs and carry me away to the great
mountain Tabor [in Galilee]."
The 3rd century scroll of mystical Coptic Christianity, The Acts of Thomas, gives a graphic
account of the Apostle Thomas' travels to India, and contains prayers invoking the Holy Spirit as "the Mother of all creation" and "compassionate mother," among other titles. The most
profound Coptic Christian writings definitely link the "spirit of Spirit" manifested by Christ to all believers as the "Spirit of the Divine Mother." Most significant are the new manuscript
discoveries of recent decades which have demonstrated that more early Christians than previously thought regarded the Holy Spirit as the Mother of Jesus.
One text is the Gospel of Thomas which is part of the newly discovered Nag Hammadi texts
(discovered 1945-1947). Most are composed about the same time as the Biblical gospels in the 1st and 2nd century AD. In this gospel, Jesus declares that his disciples must hate their earthly
parents (as in Luke 14:26) but love the Father and Mother as he does, "for my mother (gave me falsehood), but (my) true Mother gave me life." In another Nag Hammadi discovery, The Secret
Book of James, Jesus refers to himself as "the son of the Holy Spirit." These two sayings do not identify the Holy Spirit as the mothering vehicle of Jesus, but more than one scholar has
interpreted them to mean that the maternal Holy Spirit is intended.
So far in Western traditional theology, the voices advocating a feminine Holy Spirit are
scattered and subtle. But for them, it is a view theologically defensible and accompanied by psychological, sociological, and scientific benefits of recognizing "the new supernature"
developing within vast consciousness changes happening in the human evolution.
The German theologian Jürgen Moltmann, a well-known thinker in mainline Protestantism, says "monotheism is monarchism." He says a traditional idea of God's absolute power
"generally provides the justification for earthly domination"- - -from the emperors and despots of history to 20th century dictators. Moltmann argues for a new appreciation of the "persons"
of the Trinity and the community or family model it presents for human relations.
According to Professor Neil Q. Hamilton at Drew University School of Theology, the Gospel of
John shows us how "the Holy Spirit begins to perform a mothering role for us that is unconditional acceptance, love and caring." God then begins to parent us in father and mother modes.
A Catholic scholar, Franz Mayr, a philosophy professor at the University of Portland, also
favors the recognition of the Holy Spirit as feminine. He contends that the traditional unity of God would not have to be watered down in order for scholars to accept the feminine side of God
. Mayr, who studied under the renown German theologian Karl Rahner, said he came to his view during his study of the writings of St. Augustine (AD 354-430) who saw that a significant
number of early Christians must have accepted a feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit such that the influential church father of North Africa castigated this view. St. Augustine claimed that the
acceptance of the Holy Spirit as the "mother of the Son of God and wife-consort of the Father" was merely a pagan outlook. But Mayr contends that Augustine "skipped over the social and
maternal aspect of God," which Mayr thinks is best seen in the Holy Spirit, the Divine Ruach Ha Kodesh. St. Jerome, a contemporary of Augustine's, and two church fathers of an earlier
period, Clement of Alexandria and Origen, quoted from the pseudopigraphic Gospel of the Hebrews, which depicted the Holy Spirit as a "mother figure."
A 14th Century fresco in a small Catholic Church southeast of Munich, Germany depicts a
female Spirit as part of the Holy Trinity, according to Leonard Swidler of Temple University. The woman and two bearded figures flanking her appear to be wrapped in a single cloak and
joined in their lower halves showing a union of old and new bodies of birth and rebirth.
In conclusion, we are living at a time of profound and revelatory discoveries of archaeology and
ancient spiritual texts that point the way to the future. Christ, himself, was said to have female disciples as disclosed in Gnostic literature and recent archeological findings of early Christian
tombs in Italy. A beginning has been made to reclaim "the Spirit" of the Ruach found in the mountain of newly discovered pre-Christian texts and Coptic-Egyptian texts of the early Church
. It is becoming clear in re-examining the first 100 years of Christianity that an earlier Christianity was closer to the "Feminine Spirit" of the Old Testament, the Ruach or the beloved
Shekinah. The Shekinah, distinct from the Ruach, was seen as the indwelling Divine Presence that activated the "birth of miracles" or the anointed self. Accordingly, the growth of
traditional Christianity made alternative adjustments of the original position of the "birth of gifts" as Christendom compromised for the privilege of becoming an establishment.
The new directions of spiritual and scientific studies are showing that it is now possible that the
Holy Spirit, Ruach Ha Kodesh, can be portrayed as feminine as the indwelling presence of God, the Shekinah, nurturing and bringing to birth souls for the kingdom. Spiritual insights recorded
in the Book of Knowledge: Keys of Enoch carefully remind us that we are being prepared to understand that just as the Old Testament was the Age of the Father, the New Testament the
Age of the Son, so this coming Age where gifts are poured forth will be the Age of the Holy Spirit. However, the Keys also tell us that the Divine Trinity is beyond the anthropo-morphic forms
of male and female. Here our own masculine or feminine natures are only symbols of the Divine and our Life's manifestation in the Universe. And herein we understand who we really are, as
we both male and female make our own preparation for the rebirth of our "Christed Overself," unified as the peoplehood of Light, the "Bride," for the coming of the "Bridegroom"- - the Christ.
© 1993 J. J. Hurtak, PhD