Shekinah, Shechinah, Shechina, or Schechinah – The Hebrew Goddessby Rosaline Temple on 03/29/13
the time of this writing it is both Passover and Easter. There are some who believe that the
name Easter stems from a Canaanite Goddess, whose name was Oestre. She was known as the Goddess of
In ancient times they
would have a feast in her honour to celebrate the coming of Spring, which was
the time of the earth’s renewal.
The name is only one version of the ancient Goddess who was known
amongst the Phoenicians and Assyrians as Ishtar or Astarte.
She was also associated with the Dove,
as was the Canaanite Goddess Asherah.
The Swan was associated with Aphrodite. Some people believe that all of the Goddesses: Isis, Ishtar,
Mary, Quan Yin, Aphrodite, White Buffalo Calf Woman, Saraswati – to name a few,
are one and the same, and that the Swan and the Dove are at times used as their symbol, along with the White Rose. I believe
that all are a “Divine Essence” of Mother Earth, who chooses to show herself in such a way, that the person
she interacts with will recognize her.
I have to say I was quite surprised and excited to learn that the ancient Hebrew mystics also believed in a Goddess. I found this quite amazing, because even though I was raised Jewish, I was not aware that the Hebrew people believed in a Goddess. To
the Hebrew Mystics She is known as the Shekinah.
According to the ancient Mystical teaching known as Kaballah, the Shekinah is our connection between humanity and the Divine. She is the expression of G-d that is here on earth with us. She experiences all of our suffering with us, and She is here to assist us with all of life.
She is the Holy Spirit, the Bride of God. She comes into our lives to dwell within us, bringing joy and comfort. If we are so blessed, her radiant light will shine through us.
Within the secret
teachings of Kaballah, there is a book called "The Zohar" or "Book
of Splendour" as it is known in English. It is considered by some, the most sacred book of all. It is about our Light Body known
as the Merkabah and the Divine Feminine Shekinah, and she herself
is called "Divine Splendour", "Radiance" or "Shekinah Glory". The book has been the
subject of contraversy among philosophers for centuries.
The Zohar was to remain hidden until the time known as "the return of the Messiah". It was created to assist humanity to regain their spirituality. I believe that time is now.
The stories written in the book were dictated by Rabbi Shimon to Rabbi Abba, in a very secret way, so that only those who had reached "a certain level of spirituality" would be able to comprehend them. But "The Zohar" can also be received directly from God! The word Kaballah in Hebrew means "to receive" and in ancient times, it was a secret teaching. It is considered sacred knowledge, which was received directly from God. It was first given to Abraham, and then Moses. In ancient times, it was originally passed on verbally from one priest to another, until it was finally written by Rabbi Akiba.
Interestingly, these pages were hidden for over eight hundred years inside a cave near Meron. It was found by an Arab and taken to a market where it was eventually sold to be used as wrapping paper! Luckily, a few sheets fell into the hands of someone who recognized the value of this knowledge. Within the Hebrews texts, the word Shekinah, is often used as a representation of G-d. She was considered to be the feminine aspect of God, or "the God who dwells within".
When the Israelites left Egypt, she was the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night that led them through the wilderness of the desert. The word Shekinah is a feminine noun, and it stems from Shakhan which in Hebrew means "to dwell" or "to live with". It can also mean "to pitch one's tent." In the biblical story of Abraham, it is said that the Shekinah lived with his wife Sarah inside her tent.
When Moses received the commandments he was also given instructions to build an Ark that was to house the Divine Shekinah, and it was carried with them wherever they went, until the first temple was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem. The Ark was brought into the Temple by King David and placed inside the area known as the "Holy of Holies."
The temple was eventually destroyed, but a second one was built, which was also destroyed. It was during these times that the Ark was stolen, never to be seen again. It is the lost Ark that many movies and stories have been written about.
The Hebrew people were forced to flee the land that had been given to them. They dispersed to many different countries, and during these times, the presence of the Shekinah came to comfort them.
The Talmud says: "They were exiled to Babylon, the Shekinah with them. They were exiled to Egypt, the Shekinah with them." On Friday nights, when the Sabath begins, the Shekinah is invited to come in, She is considered to be the "Bride of God".
She is here to come into our lives, to live within us, and to bring us comfort and blessing.
The term Shekinah is used to describe the divine presence in the world. “If two sit together and speak of Torah – the Shekinah is among them” Similarly “When a man and a woman are worthy, the Shekinah is among them” (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 17a).
"Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, for the cloud rested upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle” The Cloud they were speaking about was the Shekinah.
The Tent of Meeting, the Mishkan, or Tabernacle are the Dwelling Place for the feminine aspect, Divine Presence of G-d. She lives amongst us and can show herself in many ways. Most often as a mist, or a cloud, and a pillar of fire. As stated above, She can appear as a Dove or a Swan. She is the Holy Spirit. It is written that the Shekinah lives amongst us, even in a time when we are impure. But She does show herself during times of joy – not sorrow!
She is associated with the transformational spirit of G-d regarded as the “source of prophecy”.
It is customary for the orthodox men to open their doors to invite the Shekinah into their homes on the eve of Shabbat. It is written in the Zohar:
"One must prepare a comfortable seat with several cushions and embroidered covers, from all that is found in the house, like one who prepares a canopy for a bride. For the Shabbat is a queen and a bride.
“…one must receive the Lady with many lighted candles, many enjoyments, beautiful clothes, and a house embellished with many fine appointments ..."
This Goddess is the force that unifies all that is. When She reveals Herself, each moment reveals a miraculous event. She brings forth synchronicity, harmony and pure joy. When the Shekinah is within our heart, everything is in the flow. Her Presence opens the door for infinite possibilities.
She is the “Eternal Soul” that will show her radiance once you have opened your heart to acknowledge her. It is through love and forgiveness, as well as generosity, giving to the poor and opening our homes, that we build the dwelling place of the Shekinah. By opening completely to the Divine, we will bring forth a much higher creative blessing, which is quite an adventure! The Shekinah longs for us as we long for Her. "Build for me a holy place," she calls, "so that I might dwell within."
The encounter with the Shechina can bring forth many wondrous experiences. She is the presence of the divinity in the world, and She has multiple manifestations – expressing herself in many ways. Therefore she is believed to be multi-dimensional. Her face is like a multi-faceted diamond. Allow yourself to be of service to her, and discover the magic that will change your life and the lives of others.
The ancient sages describe her presence as an expression of divinity. In some of the Kabbalistic books, it is written that the Shekinah is described as the divine figure closest to earthly life, to history and to the soul.
It is our duty as women to embody the Shekinah. We prepare our “Miskan” and when we are ready, we invite her by saying the following: "I fill myself with Love, I fill myself with Light, I fill myself with God's Holy Spirit, Shekinah". Kadoish, Kadoish, Kadoish, Adonai, Tsaboyoth.