Excerpt from chapter six of my forthcoming book, Game of Gods: The Temple of Man in the Age of Re-Enchantment. This chapter documents my time at the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Thousands of exuberant voices filled the cavernous space of the main plenary hall. It was a time of worship, a place for introspection, a space for emotional release. Multitudes lifted their voices in melodic affirmation and the assembly room, with its 30-foot high ceiling and massive cement walls, pulsed with female energy.
It was going to be an interesting morning.
Speaker after speaker impressed upon us our sacred duty, swelling our sense of unity and shared spiritual purpose.
“What if the world were a place where it was effortless to recognize our common humanity, our shared virtues and concerns, and our collective devotion to the Earth?” asked Rabbi Amy Eilberg. “What if the whole world, all seven billion of us, were like this?”
Heads nodded in affirmation and voices shouted in solidarity.
Ojibwe “Grandmother” Mary Lyons told the multitude: “When you breath in, you breath in a breath of Mother Earth. And when you exhale, those are your ancestors.”
More heads nodded.
New York Times best-selling author and New Thought personality, Marianne Williamson, wowed the audience with her charisma: “Every woman here who is a healer is a priestess. Every woman here who is a teacher or an educator is a priestess.” Her call to sacred femininity energized the great crowd, bringing attendees to their feet again and again during her eight-minute speech.
“A Divine Goddess is not just beautiful, she’s fierce,” Marianne exhorted with a growl of intensity, leading to an emotionally charged call-to-action. “And when you mess with her babies… and you mess with her earth, she’s had enough of that sh*t. And we’re here on her behalf… you know what to do, go do it!”
The response to Marianne was more than a standing ovation. Women sobbed, danced, raised their hands, shouted and whistled and clapped. Someone yelled, “Marianne for President!” Drums around the room pounded in support. To my immediate left a woman was bowed low, weeping profusely, the wellspring of her soul cascading down her face. On my left a plain-looking, middle-aged lady was fist-pumping the air with grave intensity, lips pursed, face set like stone – a “Divine Goddess” ready to burst forth, fierce, and eager to battle for the sake of Mother Earth.
Following Marianne, Dr. Serene Jones, President of Union Theological Seminary, invited us to be “political actors” and reshape the world. More cheers rose in solidarity, the great crowd empowered to march as social justice warriors.
“We are strong,” bridged the moderator, building on the passion of the morning. “We are woman. Make no mistake of it – we are strong.”
The Women’s Plenary, titled Faith in Women was a rousing invocation to goddess empowerment. But it was not a stand-alone event. The day before was the Inaugural Woman’s Assembly, and I had attended this too.
“We are one with all life,” explained an Assembly speaker. “We are one with all people. We are one with the one.”
The masses responded back: “We are one with all life… We are one with the one.”
This article appeared originally on Carl’s Forcing Change website on August 19, 2016. It is available here.