Neela Bhattacharya Saxena

Sep 22, 2020

Absent Mother God of the West

A Kali Lover's Journey into Christianity and Judaism

Rowman & Littlefield 2015

purchase at bookshop.org In Absent Mother God of the West: A Kali Lover's Journey into Christianity and Judaism (Rowman, 2015) Neela Bhattacharya Saxena draws on her personal religious experiences and devotion to the Goddess Kali as a starting point to reflect on the absence of a Divine Feminine in Christianity and Judaism. We discuss the psychological and spiritual implications of that absence, along with discussing phenomena such as the Black Madonna and the Shekhinah in Jewish mysticism. This book about the missing Divine Feminine in Christianity and Judaism chronicles a personal as well as an academic quest of an Indian woman who grew up with Kali and myriad other goddesses. It is born out of a women's studies course created and taught by the author called The Goddess in World Religions. The book examines how the Divine Feminine was erased from the western consciousness and how it led to an exclusive spiritually patriarchal monotheism with serious consequences for both women’s and men’s psychological and spiritual identity. While colonial, proselytizing and patriarchal ways have denied the divinity inherent in the female of the species, a recent upsurge of body-centric practices like Yoga and innumerable books about old and new goddesses reveal a deep seated mother hunger in the western consciousness. Written from a practicing Hindu/Buddhist perspective, this book looks at the curious phenomenon called the Black Madonna that appears in Europe and also examines mystical figures like Shekhinah in Jewish mysticism. People interested in symbols of the goddess, feminist theologians, and scholars interested in the absence of goddesses in monotheisms may find this book’s perspective and insights provocative. Saxena draws on her personal religious experiences and devotion to the Goddess Kali as a starting point to reflect on the absence of a Divine Feminine in Christianity and Judaism. We discuss the psychological and spiritual implications of that absence, along with discussing phenomena such as the Black Madonna and the Shekhinah in Jewish mysticism. Dr. Neela Bhattacharya Saxena is professor of English and women's studies at Nassau Community College. You can visit her blog “Stand Under the Mother Principle” here.
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