By Cynthie Garrity-Bond
[Snip] Throughout my theological training as an undergrad and then graduate student, my childhood encounters with Mary took a back seat to Christological endeavors that sought to disentangle a Jesus of history with a Jesus of faith. Never would I have entertained a theological discourse that questioned Mary as anything other than Theotokos, until I began to see the trajectory of the Divine Feminine in sacred writings of the Wisdom/Sophia literature of the Hebrew Scripture and recently, the Kabbalistic tradition of Shekinah. . While I have always intuitively seen Mary as more than Theotokos, my training in orthodoxy came to overshadow my orthopraxis of Mary. But today I hold a different stance because I have come to view my Marian practice as indeed worship of the Divine Godd/ess. When the veneration of Mary, along with its rituals, prayers and intuitive desire for God as feminine is examined within the context of Sophia and the Shekinah as divine Co-creators, the nature of Mary is best understood as one with God and more than Theotokos.
The role of Mary has been a divisive one within Christianity over the centuries. Historically Church councils sought to clarify Mary’s role through dogmas as both eternal Virgin and Mother of God, becoming the female face of God. By so doing, Mary became the Great Mother (Magna Mater), with attributes of earth-mother goddesses mapped onto her, functioning as a female deity performing essential tasks for Christians once attributed to ancient goddesses.