Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World by Jean Benedict RaffaHealing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World by Jean Benedict Raffa

Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World

byJean Benedict Raffa

Paperback | June 16, 2012

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Healing the Sacred Divide is timely: As issues of faith and women drive our political dialogue at national and local levels, it offers a highly useful window into troublesome assumptions rarely recognized. Bringing these into the open can be enormously helpful for resolving conflict and promoting fruitful compromise between entrenched parties.Author Jean Benedict Raffa first explores eight common ways of thinking about God that create strife in ourselves and contribute to the rampant divisiveness in our world. She then helps us see (and work with) the emotional ignorance of this situation that spoils relationships-through distorting what we think "God" and others want of and for us.Raffa then invites us to entertain what she calls "an integrated God-image." She offers it as a basis from which to bridge differences and work creatively with fundamental dualities such as masculine/feminine, good/evil, relationship/individuality, heart/head, subjectivity/objectivity, experience/belief, mystery/clarity, etc. In the process she explores a variety of personal crises and political dysfunctions that arise from overemphasizing masculine ego-values in ourselves and our conception of God, and ways to overcome them by honoring feminine values equally. Doing so, she says, makes available "nine wisdom gifts" that offer a reprieve from unrelenting anxiety and guilt about never being good enough, and help us connect intimately with what feels truly sacred to us. From there, she suggests, we are in a much better position to make peace with ourselves and one another, and to contribute together to "humanity's noblest dream of universal peace, justice, and love
Jean Benedict Raffa is a former teacher, television producer, and college professor with a doctorate in Education from the University of Florida. In her late thirties she underwent a spiritual
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Title:Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the WorldFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.03 × 5.9 × 0.69 inPublished:June 16, 2012Publisher:Larson PublicationsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:193601260X

ISBN - 13:9781936012602

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PrologueHealing the Sacred Divide, by Jean Benedict Raffa PrologueIn the dream I'm walking between railroad tracks that curve into a distant horizon. I see only earth, sky, and this hard metal road with rock-covered banks that fall away on either side into dark woods below.I know this place. I walked these tracks with Daddy when I was five and we lived in Tallahassee. He wanted me to feel the magical allure of trains, and also know their danger. There were hobos in tent camps in the woods. I should stay away from them. I should stay away from the tracks, too. Little girls could get crushed by metal monsters that rode them.Are there hobos in the woods now? Will a train come soon? Why am I here? Where am I going? Where's Daddy? I don't know. I only know I'm alone and must keep walking.From behind me a voice calls, "Jean!" I turn, and there is Tonto."Come," he beckons. "Lone Ranger wants you." I'm thrilled. The Lone Ranger is my hero and he wants to see me! I push away a shadow of apprehension and follow Tonto. The Lone Ranger stands in a clearing. Behind him his magnificent white horse, Silver, munches grass contentedly. Beyond them, the dark woods. I feel wonder, excitement, curiosity. Beneath these, that tiny knot of anxiety."Stand there." The masked man points to a spot on the ground in front of the steep embankment. I obey and wait for the words that will reveal his regard for me, tell me why I'm here, confirm my mission.The Lone Ranger pulls his gun out of its holster, aims at me, pulls the trigger, shoots. I feel the kick in my midsection, clutch my body at the point of impact, wait for the blood and pain. Is this it? Will I die now?I wake up screaming, "Nooooo!" between great heaving sobs, outraged by this inconceivable betrayal from a man I've admired second only to Daddy. Mama rushes up the stairs into my bedroom and holds me in her arms."Shhh, you're okay. You're okay. It was only a dream."Only a dream. That's when I tell myself, stunned with incomprehension but fierce in my determination, "This is important. I'm ten years old and I will never forget this dream!"Readers of my book, The Bridge to Wholeness: A Feminine Alternative to the Hero Myth, already know this story. In the book I wrote next, Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine through Jungian Dream Work, I mentioned the Lone Ranger again. Then, thinking I was done with him, I set him aside to address headier matters. I've been writing for years, hoping to round out those two books with a third that would complete them, but nothing quite gelled. I still had unfinished business with the Lone Ranger, Tonto, and Silver.Actually, the Lone Ranger did give me my mission: You want to know why you are here and where you're going? I'll tell you. These train tracks represent your spiritual journey. I've given you an experience that will shape it. Never forget the pain of being betrayed by the hero/god of your childhood-alone, remote, and mysterious masked man who doesn't value your significance and holds the power of life and death over you. Remember this dream and become conscious of its fullest meaning. This is your life's work.He was right. I've been on a pilgrimage for self-understanding and spiritual meaning since I was seventeen and I still track the mystery of God in my dreams and waking life. Despite the warning in my Lone Ranger dream, my childhood image of God as a powerful heroic male dominated my spirituality well into adulthood. As I grew more confident in my femininity I began to wonder about the feminine aspects of Deity, but I never considered abandoning God's masculine side. What I have always sought is a deity of fully empowered masculinity and femininity.Why does God feel so remote and impersonal? I wondered. Why am I still afraid of him? Does God have a feminine side? What is it like? How would I be different if I had grown up with a God-image of integrated masculine and feminine energies? How would the world be different?Years of searching and questioning have unearthed some answers. This book offers what I know so far. Part 1 entertains some common assumptions that prolong God's divorce, a devastating development that began thousands of years ago and is still the norm for much of the planet. We explore eight ways of thinking about God that contribute to the dysfunctions of our culture, and consider alternatives that may better serve our deepest needs. Part 2 unwraps nine gifts of wisdom that an integrated God-image offers contemporary seekers.Humanity's noblest dream is universal peace, justice, and love. We have pursued this dream throughout our history, but always we are stopped short by a vast chasm that separates us from ourselves, each other, and the world. As human life is sacred, so is this divide sacred. All physical life hinges on the tension between opposites-north pole/south pole, light/dark, summer/winter-and we are created in such a way that our psyches mirror this reality: in our left and right brains, conscious and unconscious selves, masculine and feminine sides.Bible scholar Dr. John Dominic Crossan said to me in a letter, "We are, I think, incapable of not thinking dualistically. "While this may well be true, it is also true that along with our thinking processes, our very consciousness is evolving. A primary characteristic of consciousness is that as we become more self-aware, we grow more aware of how significant "otherness" is. This ping-pong balancing effect whereby our growth in one area stimulates growth in another is hard-wired into our brains, and it, too, is sacred. Why? Because while we may never completely lose our dualistic perspective, we can establish mutually beneficial partnerships at every level, and these are our hope for peace, justice, and love.The consciousness with which we distinguish the two poles of seeming opposites can't entirely separate them. Though it seems they are split apart they actually remain connected by an area that synergizes them, where each has some power but neither rules. This "divide" is a holy place full of miraculous potential and can be represented by the almond-shaped space created when two circles overlap. This place where our power to set ourselves apart yields to a dawning awareness of what we share with "other" is a mandorla, a holy place of healing where miracles occur. As you read these words from Jungian analyst Robert Johnson imagine two people, or two groups or nations or worldviews, coming together like this.The mandorla begins the healing of the split. The overlap generally is very tiny at first, only a sliver of a new moon; but it is a beginning. As time passes, the greater the overlap, the greater and more complete is the healing. The mandorla binds together that which was torn apart and made unwhole-unholy. It is the most profound religious experience we can have in life. The mandorla is creative synthesis, a symbol of partnership, conflict resolution, healing, and peace-making. No symbol is more apt for the inner work that heals splits in oneself, one's relationships, and how we understand what God wants of and for us. Making a mandorla of my own life has brought so much joy and meaning that I know it is holy work, a life-giving spiritual path relevant for seekers and healers today regardless of religious affiliation.Please join me in weaving together life's opposites on a radical middle path to God.

Table of Contents

: Table of ContentsHealing the Sacred Divide, by Jean Benedict RaffaContentsAcknowledgmentsPROLOGUEPART 1: THE EVOLUTION OF OUR GOD-IMAGESONE A God of Unconscious OnenessTWO A Masculine GodTHREE A Child's GodFOUR A Tribal GodFIVE A God Like UsSIX A Gender-Biased GodSEVEN A Conventionally Moral GodEIGHT An Outer Other GodNINE A God of Integrated OnenessPART 2: NINE WISDOM GIFTS OF AN INTEGRATED GOD-IMAGE The First Gift: Holistic PerceptionTEN Seeing the Big PictureELEVEN Noticing OthernessTWELVE A Cosmic DialogueTHIRTEEN The Divine Feminine as Holistic PerceptionFOURTEEN My Encounter with the Mistress of the ForestThe Second Gift: Transforming LightFIFTEEN Becoming Conscious of the UnconsciousSIXTEEN Tempering the EgoSEVENTEEN A Cosmic DialogueEIGHTEEN The Divine Feminine as Holy SpiritNINETEEN A Manifestation of the Woman of LightThe Third Gift: Acceptance of the ShadowTWENTY Mining for GoldTWENTY-ONE Living in the QuestionTWENTY-TWO A Cosmic DialogueTWENTY-THREE The Divine Feminine as Dream Mother and Shadow ProjectorTWENTY-FOUR A Shadow Dream about ProjectionThe Fourth Gift: Emotional IntegrityTWENTY-FIVE Heart MurmursTWENTY-SIX Cultivating Emotional IntelligenceTWENTY-SEVEN A Cosmic DialogueTWENTY-EIGHT The Divine Feminine as Dragon LadyTWENTY-NINE Dragon Lady Breaks ThroughThe Fifth Gift: PartnershipTHIRTY Valuing RelationshipsTHIRTY-ONE The Soul's Yearning for UnionTHIRTY-TWO A Cosmic DialogueTHIRTY-THREE The Divine Feminine as Partner MakerTHIRTY-FOUR Serpent Mother AwakesThe Sixth Gift: BalanceTHIRTY-FIVE Our Deep InheritanceTHIRTY-SIX Balancing the WarriorTHIRTY-SEVEN A Cosmic DialogueTHIRTY-EIGHT The Divine Feminine as Changing Woman and Warrior TamerTHIRTY-NINE Dances with Changing WomanThe Seventh Gift: SovereigntyFORTY Honoring Inner RealitiesFORTY-ONE Following Internal GuidanceFORTY-TWO A Cosmic DialogueFORTY-THREE The Divine Feminine as Personal and Social SovereignFORTY-FOUR Empowering My QueenThe Eighth Gift: MeaningFORTY-FIVE The Brain's Role in Epoch II ThinkingFORTY-SIX Tracking BearFORTY-SEVEN A Cosmic DialogueFORTY-EIGHT The Divine Feminine as MeaningFORTY-NINE Trusting My WisewomanThe Ninth Gift: Mandorla ConsciousnessFIFTY Evolving Beyond BeliefFIFTY-ONE Awakening the BelovedFIFTY-TWO A Cosmic DialogueFIFTY-THREE The Divine Feminine as the Christ WithinFIFTY-FOUR Healing the Sacred Divide: A Modern Myth of New Beginning

Editorial Reviews

Raffa (Bridge to Wholeness), inspired, in part, by the writings of Carl Jung, attempts to show here how certain preconceptions about God (masculine, tribal, childish, "like us," gender-biased, external) have damaged us, our spirituality, and our relationship to the world. She suggests alternative understandings of God: holistic, light-giving, powerful, balanced, dialogic, and so on. Raffa's conception is powerful and subtle, and goes well beyond a simple female-based spirituality; her execution suffers a little from trying to be very accessible. VERDICT An important contribution to the continuing development of spirituality, bound to appeal to readers interested in gender roles, feminist approaches, and psychology.--Library Journal on-line Spiritual Living; July 16, 2012