form we are afraid to embrace, we experience as demonic.
Hecate was a Goddess. The three "weird sisters" of Shakespeare's Macbeth know the fate of the play's hero because, in fact, they are a demonized form of the Three Fates from Greek mythology.
Before the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, Gnostic Christian communities empowered women as leaders, even priests, and regarded the Holy Spirit as the feminine aspect of God. The following hymn is from one of these communities.
Throughout history, some women have been forced to use intimacy as a currency to regain their power: yet such "whores" may be as "spiritual" as any virgin bride. Hence we encounter the paradoxical image of the powerful temple prostitute in the ancient Near East, and the ambiguous mystery of Mary Magdalene in the Jesus stories. The Gnostic Christian hymn, 'Thunder of Perfect Mind,' reveals this paradox. In this hymn from the Nag Hammadi scrolls, we see the Western face of Kali, a vision of the divine Feminine that embraces all her forms, both beautiful and terrible:
- I am the first and the last.
- I am the honored and the scorned.
- I am the whore and the holy one.
- I am the wife and the virgin.
- I am the mother and the daughter.
- I am the barren one and many are her sons.
- I am she whose wedding is great,
- and I have not taken a husband.
- I am the bride and the bridegroom,
- and it is my husband who begot me.
- I am my mid-wife,
- and the solace of my labor pains.
- I am the mother of my father.
- I am the staff of his power in his youth,
- and he is the rod of my old age.
- I am the silence that is incomprehensible
- and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
- I am the one voice whose sound is many.
- I am the utterance of my name.
Why, you who hate me, do you love me?
- You who deny me, confess me,
- and you who confess me, deny me.
- You who know me shall be ignorant,
- and those who are ignorant know me.
For I am knowledge and ignorance.
- I am shame and boldness.
- I am strength and fear.
- I am war and peace.
- Give heed to me.
- I am the disgraced and the exalted.
- Give heed to my poverty and to my wealth.
- Do not be arrogant to me when I am cast out upon the earth,
- for you will find me among those who are to come.
- And do not look upon me on the dung-heap
- nor leave me cast out,
- for you will find me in the kingdom.
- For I am compassionate and I am cruel.
- Be on your guard!
Do not hate my obedience
- and do not love my self-control.
- In my weakness, do not forsake me,
- and do not be afraid of my power.