By Sharon Gittleman
While our holy books tell us the creator fashioned human beings in the divine image, many women notice something missing – their own reflections. Dr. Charlene Proctor hopes to inspire men and women to recapture that long-lost feminine likeness.
“Thousands of years ago, men and women were seen as an expression or manifestation of the Goddess,” said Proctor, who holds a Ph.D. “Our organization is meant to spread awareness on the divine feminine principal.”
Proctor’s Birmingham-based organization, the Goddess Network, will soon be offering lectures, discussion groups and classes designed to help attendees discover the feminine aspect of holiness. Drumming, teen empowerment and spiritual cinema are just a few of the courses currently in the planning stages. Proctor said she’s also interested in hosting lectures and classes created by other similarly-minded individuals in the community at her center.
“The whole idea about the Goddess is everything that is physical in the world around us is a sacred experience. That is why in ancient religions, they connected with the idea. They included her in their model of spirit,” she said. “Over the course of time, we eliminated that part of our self-model in our religious practice.”
At Proctor’s web page, www.thegoddessnetwork.net, visitors will find everything from articles about the images of divine femininity throughout time to “soul cards” you can send to inspire your friends. There’s also a chat room where you can share your feelings online with other like-minded individuals.
Proctor said she’s not trying to start a new faith. Instead, she hopes she can inspire men and women to bring back a sense of balance to our ideas about the divine and ourselves by taking a second look at the myths, rituals and symbolism of Goddesses from past days.
“We distilled the Goddess out of all our religious formats,” she said. “The sacred feminine principal is an expression of the Mother God spirit.”
By restoring the feminine principal – a concept Proctor said has been “squashed and reformatted over the past few thousand years,” she hopes to “make men and women more aware and in tune with their feminine side.”
Proctor has written two books to help reinvigorate this feminine principal, “Let Your Goddess Grow: Seven Spiritual Lessons on Female Power and Positive Thinking” and “The Women’s Book of Empowerment: 323 Affirmations that Change Everyday Problems into Moments of Potential.” Both volumes will be published next spring by The Goddess Network Press.
“The books I write and the lectures I’ve given and the workshops we’ll do at the Birmingham location are about how we can empower ourselves,” she said. “The way I help women and men is they need to understand they must embrace themselves as divine individuals.”
Proctor said because our culture has distilled the whole concept of the sacred feminine out of our religious structures, women no longer feel empowered.
“Society and religion tells women they are not divine individuals,” she said. “My work is designed to tell women they are as equally designed as man – that’s why we talk about the Goddess.”
This deficiency has led to a sense of depression and low self-esteem for many women, in Proctor’s view. Women aren’t the only victims of a feminine-free divinity – the resulting imbalance in relationships affects men, too, she said.
“You can’t be an empowered individual unless you understand the feminine side of your psyche,” she said. “That transfers into a better and more balanced model for living.”
Proctor said she’s not interested in reviving old faiths which offer what she describes as an “ancient mindset” from the past.
“We are in the need of something so radically different,” she said. “We can’t perform surgery on religions of the past and make them applicable to today’s world. We need to look at religion from a really broad perspective.”