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Shekina


The Jewish-Kabbalistic version of Shakti; the female soul of God. The idea was the God could not be complete, whole, until he was united with her. The Kabbalists believed that it was God’s lost of his Shekina which brought about evil. From the Hebrew Shekina means "dwelling place," giving the concept that God had no "home" without her. Like her Tantric counterpart Shakti, the Sh’kina was the source of all "soul" in the universe. The Gnostic Christians of the fourth century spoke of Sh’kina as a "spirit of glory" in who Beings of Light lived, as children in their mother’s body or home. Mani referred to the Aeons of sh’kinas or female spirits of the sacred year.

The Kabbalists taught that it was essential to bring the male and female cosmic principles together once more, which could possibly be achieved through sexual magic, signifying the union of the sun (man) and the moon (woman), which was graphically expressed by the hexagram. Philosophically the Kabbalists were saying the supernal mother Shekina is manifested in the earthly mother, with whom her husband should lie on the Sabbath, because "all the six days of the week derive their blessing" from this coupling. Rabbi Eliahu di Vidas said, "Who has not experienced the force of passionate love for a woman will never attain to the love of God."

Jewish mystics claimed the "outer garment" of the Shekina is the Torah, "Holy Law." Man becomes a Bridegroom of the Torah by study, symbolized in erotic imagery. He has to court her as he would a beautiful maiden. "She begins from behind a curtain to speak words in keeping with his understanding, until very slowly insight comes to him." The Shekina as the "Indwelling One" might be compared to the Latin I-dea, or Goddess Within. "She opens the door of her hidden chamber ever so little, and for a moment reveals her face to her lover, but hides it again forthwith…He alone sees it and is drawn to her with his heart and soul and his whole being."

As man requires his Shekina for his enlightenment, so God requires his Shekina for his wisdom and creativity. This is a crucial tenet of Kabbalism. A.G.H.


Source:

Walker, Barbara G, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, New York, HarperCollins, 1983, p. 932