mad in pursuit notebook


Tweaking the Holy Trinity

Dietrich BonhoefferChallenge: how much tweaking of the metaphor do I need in order to get past my dissatisfaction with “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” but still be consistent with a kind of universal trinity mythology? I’m cool with the 3-in-1 paradox, but, at the risk of sounding like a grumpy rationalist, you can’t have a “father” or a “son” without a mother. But the metaphor would fall into place if we thought of the Holy Ghost as female.

The world-generating spirit of the father passes into the manifold of earthly experience through a transforming medium — the mother of the world. She is a personification of the primal element named in the second verse of Genesis, where we read that “the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” In the Hindu myth, she is the female figure through whom the Self begot all creatures. More abstractly understood, she is the world-bounding frame: “space, time, and causality” — the shell of the cosmic egg. More abstractly still, she is the lure that moved the Self-brooding Absolute to the act of creation. [Joseph Campbell, Hero With A Thousand Faces]

But is it a mistake to to overdo the gender thing? I’ve been working on a version of the Shield of the Trinity* — with my own substitutions, which I don’t think are too whacko. Basically, Out There, Within Us, and Everywhere.

Encircling my Shield is a quote I like, from the 12th-century hermetic Book of the 24 Philosophers.

Am I beating this to death? I enjoy thinking about it… maybe this is what prayermeditation is.

*The “Shield of the Trinity” or “Scutum Fidei” diagram of traditional Western Christian symbolism.

Another interesting source:

Christian Mythology 3. Provides some background on trinities in other religious traditions.