Barbara Smith Stoff

Barbara Smith Stoff
California, usa
April 17


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JANUARY 18, 2012 7:13PM


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 By Sheldon Stoff


Approximately twenty-five years ago The New York Times Magazine published an article about marriage.  It pointed out two items which have stayed with me.  First, people were marrying later in years.  Second, more people were beginning to see a marriage as a very sterile relationship.  I wondered at the thought that marriage could become a “sterile relationship”  rather than an opportunity for joy and growth.  Personally, I do find that marriage is an opportunity for deep joy and growth, and finally now,  I think I want to share my personal reflections.  


It does seem to me that marriage, or any real partnership, in order to approach that “reality,” must have the depth of a wholistic encounter which includes the body-mind-spirit concept, as well as a sustained commitment.  One thought that occurs to me is that marriage (however defined) offers a huge step forward in our evolving humanity if we view modern marriage within the frame of the patriarchy moving forward to a time of acceptance of gender equality,  and how that might foster and nourish our evolution as humankind.


Many today consciously consider religion as a supporting scaffolding in the overall process of the evolution of human consciousness and self awareness. If we go back 2,000 or even 3,000 years ago, to the time of the ascending and unchallenged patriarchy throughout much of the world, we find male leadership and male domination. We find this practice even applied to our religious leaders, for example Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and the Gautama Buddha.


Though there are outstanding females in all of the above mentioned religions, it is made clear, that at the top, the individual is always masculine. Think of only a few examples, Moses and Zipporah, Jesus and Mary Magdalene and Muhammad and Khadija, and even Jehovah and Asherah. For additional information on the place of the feminine under patriarchy please consult a book which I co-authored with Barbara Smith Stoff—Conscious Evolution: The Dance of Intuition and Intellect—see especially the middle section “Looking Backward.”  


My understanding of the major religions cited above is that they were conceived in order to provide an insight into spirituality by answering current needs and pointing to further spiritual understanding for growth in the maturity of persons in future ages. In no event were they meant to be the final answers in an age unable to contemplate an ultimate reality or spirituality. If we want to continue to look to religion for guidance in growing the whole human race toward benevolence and advanced knowledge and understanding of what it means to be human on this planet, we might provide some examples of the shifting thought forms at the time when the pendulum was shifting from matriarchy to patriarchy.  So, looking at scriptural preserves, we find:


“Simon Peter said to them, “Let Mary leave us, for woman are not worthy of life.          [The Gospel of Thomas, 49:114]


“There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion (also translated as wife). His mother’s sister and his mother and his companion (wife) were each a Mary.

[The Gospel of Philip,(II,3) 59:7]


 “And the companion of the (Savior is) Mary Magdalene (But Christ  loved) her more than (all) the disciples (and used to) kiss her (often) on her (mouth). The rest of (the disciples were offended) by it (and expressed disapproval). They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?

[The Gospel of Philip, 63:32-64:5]


Even a cursory reading of these statements, (many more could have been provided) gives us insight into why these materials (Gospels) were buried at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in order to avoid church destruction for offering alternatives to the “party line” of the time. We are fortunate that much of this material was dug up in 1945. These inclusions in the Church Canon would have drastically changed much of history. There might have been fewer wars, less aggressive behavior and no Inquisition.  Indeed, we might pray for results like these.


Fortunately, one called Carl Jung came along and began to encourage us to take a deeper look at the deep consciousness functioning of what he termed the anima and the animus. He pointed out to us that the intellectual function is strategically associated with the animus factor, while the anima factor is strategically associated with intuition.  Ah so! We begin to see a kind of whole brain functioning withing humanity in general—as played out in the personal identity characteristics of men and women.  The relative balancing of the two functions would be somewhat fluid in the actualization of development and activity, and so on.


Now here, in the twenty-first century, we have finally realized that in a partial cognition, using only our intellect, we have placed limits on our ability to “know” and have called it “scientific materialism.” With the growth of a more advanced age and with the addition of an understanding intuition, we have burst through the parameters into a no limits, no boundaries integration—some would term this developing  integrated spirituality. It was always within us but was awakened in only a few. Now, with a disciplined pathway it is the province of the many.


Our current pathway toward an expansion of consciousness can be found in several ways. I find that contemplation and meditation allow us to reach through the “veil” into the Akashic Field (quick explanation: the hidden universe).  As stated above, we are quickly reaching beyond the patriarchal age into one of gender equality—Venus AND Adonis on the Sunrise Shell, if you will. As there is both light and darkness under patriarchy it is inevitable that we find the same under matriarchy, but in gender equality may we look for more “balance.”  Let us look for a more complete and wholistic cognition, denied to us under one-sided patriarchy, into this new era of gender equality.  Could we not see a balancing of patriarchal and matriarchal energies as we go forward? In our above mentioned book on conscious evolution, we say:


A balanced gender equality is necessary for material and spiritual growth in a just society. This is an important point to emphasize if we want a humane and democratic society.  We are not writing about a “genderless” society.  Rather we seek a balanced blend between the masculine energy, and feminine energy, where the finest aspects of each come together in respect and cohesion.  This would be a hallmark of a true partnership society, a vibrant civilization, and an evolved spirituality.  As Carl Jung, eloquently and at length, treats of the balancing of the anima and animus within the individual and within society, we are, of course, talking about wisdom, leadership, rationality, and analysis being balanced by intuition, compassion, inclusion and understanding.  We now focus our attention keenly upon the concept of partnership and how we may work toward development of such awareness and maturity.


It makes sense to us to believe that the Jesus-Mary Magdalene coupling (so emphatically unrecognized by many interpretions within Christian dogma) was one of the chief reasons for Jesus’ entry into history at that time. It was a graphic demonstration of gender equality. For their own reasons, church leaders would have none of that. This would have contradicted much of their power base agenda and would have flown in the face of much of the accepted mores of much of the times.   


In an era of full gender equality our very educational definition of cognition will be the equal blending of masculine (animus) and the feminine (anima) understanding spoken of by the “teachers of tradition” (500 B.C.E.) with the result of   a perfected knowing and doing. Above all, it will bring about the realization that all knowledge must be consummated in inner experience. To be actualized, knowledge must be experienced as a full, internal knowing, the blending of the two hemispheres of the brain (maybe think head and heart together). With that expansion of consciousness we enter into a new world of rich insight and harmony.


In our time we view our current education system, based on a distortion of cognition, with the emphasis on left-brain intellect as hopelessly incomplete and outdated. It is simply obsolete in a world moving forward toward peace and harmony. (Realize that the abstract terms of masculine and feminine are simplifications denoting either of the two as basic patterns in cognition—however embodied and played out in the individual person.)


As the philosopher Martin Buber so passionately tried to point out to us in our essential need to partner with the world of body, mind and spirit—society is finally (and we owe much to modern technology here} outgrowing the primary intellectual, dominating thrust of the “I-It“ to that of the full and complete “I-Thou” of intuitive-intellectual understanding in perfect balance and harmony.


In every sphere in its own way, through each process of becoming that is present to us, we look out toward the fringe of the eternal Thou; in each we are aware of a breath from the eternal Thou; in each Thou we address the eternal Thou.

–Martin Buber       


A balanced and full cognition brings us to a new awakening which has serious religious implications. No longer do we simply assume that our religions need have male leadership. No longer do we honor celibacy as a requirement for our holy men. The new awakening almost demands married leadership, living proof of the balance that marriage can support in the growth of harmony and deep knowing.


It seems that we come full circle. Our early, foremost spiritual leaders were in a holy, balanced relationship.  Following the custom of the time, the Gautama Buddha left that relationship in his adulthood.  We know better now. Jesus, without the distortions of the church, showed us the way through his bonding with Mary Magdalene as did Muhammed with his wife Khadija.  Although barely noticed under patriarchy, Moses had his Zipporah.


The new norm, incorporating some of the ancient norms, demands a balanced cognition of both facets, or aspects, of knowledge. Meditation, a right brain function which develops the intuition, is again becoming honored. The time of patriarchy is being eclipsed by the fullness promised by a partnership of intuition and intellect. 

Leadership for the benevolent evolution of humankind can blossom out of the rich soil of the spiritual integration of both…the dance of intuition and intellect can provide lovely blossoms on our spiritual journey.



Dr. Sheldon Stoff, Professor Emeritus at Adelphi University, now co-author  with Barbara Smith Stoff, of six books, including:

    The Pumpkin Quest

    Conscious Evolution: The Dance of Intuition and Intellect

    The Western Book of Crossing Over: Conversations With The Other Side

    The Akashic Field:It Makes Every Place in The Universe Part of the Neighborhood

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Keeper. Mennonites visit the farm for a hymn sing every other week. My family ask me questions. I don't attend. I love the community. I choose to not be there.

One eve they wondered?
Why doesn't (me) come?
I told my son to say`wine.
He actually said that. Oho.
I stay aloof for a reason.
I thought of Rumi as I read.
That Persian makes me grin.
He writes of non-wine brews.
Natural intoxicants is a`Love.
Words often confuse people.
I was gonna quote a poem:
Twi Kinds of Intelligences:
I changed my thought idea:
A candle is mad to become entirely flame.
In that annihilating moment
it has no shadow.

It is nothing but a tongue of light [cloven fire]
describing a refuge.

Look at this
just-finishing candle stub
as someone who is finally safe
from virtue and vice,

the pride and the shame
we claim from those.
Persian Rumi cheers me.
I'll spend time pondering.
I felt a bright lightness.
Thanks . . . There is so much.
You a light at the candle wick.
You etc., guide on a dark path.
Your Guide sent to lead others.
I'm just popping off from heart.
Oops. typo. Oh we are so human and imperfect.
not mad - made. Amish think I's 'saved' but thee
Mennonites think I may be a friendly wino bum.
In DC on Monday I got a free lunch. I bum. Oho.
I DC nice Bum bummed from me `$1.98. huh?
The code`$1.98 means something `Precious.
He and I got face-to -face as in a wagon wheel.
He needed cash for `Alka-Seltzer? He's `holy.
He wasn't a Wall Street hobo-bum? Nope.
He wasn't gonna purchase white-rat-coke.

He wasn't on a ruin path - HAMARTIA.
A spiritual path wasn't snorting powder.
He has risen beyond the derelict DC ilk.