Return of the Light: the Indwelling Presence

Shekinah, the Christed Female by Mary Angelico

‘Shekinah, the Christed Female’ by Mary Angelico

The return of the light is the return of the light in us through renewal, regeneration, letting go of the old ways of being, understanding the darkness, recognizing with compassion the places we have obscured our innate light, permitting ourselves to begin again… forgiving ourselves and others. Making choices about how we move in the world. Opening to receive the light and surrendering the ways that make us sick.

In the Jewish trajectory that developed after the close of the biblical canon, the Spirit of the Divine came to be spoken of in the feminine symbol of the ‘Shekinah’.

Shekinah, The Holy Spirit, is not a far removed abstract ideal of light, she is the indwelling light… light manifest in the material world, our bodies, our cells- she is the connection with Spirit and she dwells within.

The name Shekinah derives from the Hebrew verb ‘shakhan’, “to dwell” or ‘indwelling” a synonym for divine presence among the people (in contrast to male gods who ruled from the mountaintops or the high heavens).

Manifestations of the Shekinah as the source of vitality is often described by expressions of movement: “covering the earth like a mist or fire, radiant light that descends, radiance that flashes out in unexpected ways in the midst of a broken world. She was before the beginning, she moved throughout creation” (From Iris Stewart, Sacred Woman Sacred Dance).

Like the priestesses of Vesta (whose name also mean ‘to dwell’), whose feminine nature was dedicated to the purpose of bringing the fertilizing power of the goddess into effective contact with the lives of human beings, Shekinah sent her priestesses out to invite the people to come to her. (Nancy Qualls-Corbett).

In ancient Sumer, the first recorded writer, Enheduanna, a woman born over two thousand years before Christ, speaks of a deity who infuses the earth with her light:

“Lady of all essences, full of light,
God woman clothed in radiance
whom heaven and earth love,
you wear great ornaments”.



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