Monday, April 2, 2018

The Divine Feminine in New Thought

"Hey Lady"

The Divine Feminine in New Thought

Aquarian Rebirth II Divine Feminine Consciousness Awakening Painting by Robyn Chance

After a church service one Sunday morning, I overheard a young girl in line announce to her mother, "Mom, I've decided to become a minister when I grow up."

"Great honey," her Mom answered, "but what made you decide that?"

"Well," said the little girl, "I have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell, than to sit and listen."

In honor of March's Women's History Month, I want to talk about the women of the New Thought Movement. As the Universe would have it, one of my best friends - Kathleen Freeman, the actress from "Singing in the Rain," many Jerry Lewis movies and so much more, introduced me to New Thought and the Science of Mind. She invited me to hear Dr. Robert Bitzer speak at the Hollywood Church of Religious Science and I was hooked. I had found a philosophy that I connected to and by which I felt supported. A faith, a way of life that saw me as the Divine Creative Force in the Universe individualized as Jay Willick. A teaching that taught me that my experiences were colored, flavored and filtered by my beliefs, which were developed by my thoughts and feelings, and through which I could change my life. So, you could say that I was introduced to and studied this teaching of which I have become an ordained minister in, because of a New Thought woman...I am the New Thought Guy because of a New Thought woman.

So, who were the women of the New Thought Movement's beginnings....the poets, teachers, thought leaders, magazine editors and publishers, writers, and developers of the Movement who used the Divine Feminine to create, nurture and forward this movement, who inspired the Science of Mind and other New Thought religions and philosophies and who taught us how to think and live in our magnificence? Who were these women that were also the influential and instrumental champions in the unfolding of women's rights, the abolition of slavery, enactment of child labor laws, and were active in the suffrage movement as well as in the mental and holistic healing practices? You might be very surprised as you recognize sayings and concepts we still use in metaphysics and New Thought today. You might have thought these sayings and concepts came out of the New Age or self-help folks of the 70's to early 2000's, but listen and learn their true beginnings. Let's check our Divine Feminines of New Thought by starting with...

Margaret Fuller
Margaret Fuller was a member of The Transcendentalists, the group whose most famous founder was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was also an unknowing founder or grandfather (you might say) of New Thought. Henry David Thoreau was also a member of the group. Ms. Fuller edited and wrote for THE DIAL magazine, the literary and philosophical journal of the Transcendentalists. Her book "Woman in the Nineteenth Century" profoundly affected the women’s rights movement and its first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York in July 1848. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, wrote in "History of Woman Suffrage" in 1881:
...Fuller possessed more influence on the thought of
American women than any woman previous to her time.
Fuller also fought for prison reform, abolitionism and educational and political equality. Although she did not teach New Thought principles directly, her association with Emerson, puts her on the list in my book.

Next, we have:

Annetta Seabury Dresser
Annetta Dresser, along with her husband Julius, were patients, students and teachers of Phineas Quimby's mental healing methods (Quimby is considered the father of New Thought for his work). They spoke the loudest in the claim that Mary Baker Eddy had stolen his methods in the creation of her books and the teaching called Christian Science. After his death, the Dressers continued to teach Quimby's methods. Their son, Horatio, wrote a famous biography on Phineas Quimby.

Speaking of Mary Baker Eddy, we next look at the works of:

Genevieve Behrand
A former student of Christian Science and Ms. Eddy, Genevieve Behrand became disillusioned by Eddy's work and wanted to study with Judge Thomas Troward (author of "The Creative Process in the Individual" and "The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science"), but she lacked the money to travel to Cornwall, England, where he lived. Every night and morning she visualized counting out twenty $1,000 bills, buying her ticket to London, travelling on the ship and being accepted as a pupil. She constantly affirmed “My mind is a center of Divine operations.” From her book, Your Invisible Power:
While these reflections were going on in my mind, there seemed to come up from within me the thought: 'I am all the substance there is.' Then, from another channel in my brain the answer seemed to come, 'Of course, that's it; everything must have its beginning in mind. The I, the Idea, must be the only one and primary substance there is, and this means money as well as everything else.'  My mind accepted this idea, and immediately all the tension of mind and body was relaxed.
In six weeks, she received the money and, from 1912 - 1914, Behrand studied with Thomas Troward. In fact, she was the only personal student he ever had. Later, she founded a New Thought school called The School of the Builders in New York City and, in 1925, she founded another one in Los Angeles while traveling throughout North America lecturing on mental science and New Thought for 35 years, as well as giving radio broadcasts. She wrote:
Your ability, at all times, to use the unfailing power which is yours
depends upon your recognition of its presence.
Doesn't that sound familiar? She's talking about the first and second steps in spiritual mind treatment:  Recognition and Unification, without which the rest of the affirmative prayer is, at best, lackluster in its effectiveness. Whereas, if we live these first two steps, be the vibration of this recognition / unification, the rest of the treatment work is assured to be a success.

Speaking of success, our next Divine Feminine leader of the New Thought Movement is:

Elizabeth Towne
Elizabeth Towne was a successful publisher, editor, and writer. She was also a student of Emma Curtis Hopkins (who we will talk about later). In June 1900, Towne began publishing Nautilus Magazine. This publication went from a 4500 copy, four pager to an illustrated mag of 50 thousand copies, all of which were mailed from the Holyoke, Mass. home she shared with her husband. Many New Thought writers contributed to the Nautilus, such as Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Horatio W. Dresser and William Walker Atkinson (one of the leading New Thought writers of the time). In 1924, Elizabeth Towne was elected president of the International New Thought Alliance and assumed editorship of the INTA periodical Bulletin, in which she doubled its size and readership. She wrote over 30 books including:  "Experiences in Self-Healing," "Health Through New Thought and Fasting (with Wallace Wattles)," "How to Grow Success," and "Joy Philosophy." In her book, "The Life Power and How to Use It," she tells us:
Man is a magnet, and every line and dot and detail of his experiences come by his own attraction. To all who want to accomplish something I say, Go into the silence regularly for power and wisdom to accomplish.
In other words, the mental equivalent to your experience is the thoughts, feelings and beliefs you have, which attracted that experience like a magnet to steel. Another great quote, this time from her book (I love this title) "Just How to Wake the Solar Plexus" says:
The Solar Plexus, or sun center, is to the human body precisely what the visible sun is to the solar system.
It is the source of all life and light;
it is the manufacturer of life and light.
Every effort of the individual is for the one purpose of
freeing him to breathe; to inhale intelligent will; retain it until
it has rejuvenated every cell and become tinctured
with the essence of his being; and to EXHALE it as still more intelligent will for the accomplishment of his purposes. Man breathes in intelligent will; focuses it within; and radiates it in new and more powerful form.
I have to say it again, I love that title, Just How to Wake the Solar Plexus, and the quote reminds me
of that great affirming breathing practice of inhaling and saying or thinking, "God Is" and exhaling with the knowledge, thought or verbiage, "I Am." A powerful, calming, connecting and Divine-affirming practice.

Our next Divine Feminine New Thought leader is the multi-talented:

Florence Scovel Shinn
An illustrator of children's magazines and books, Florence's success was interrupted by the failure of her marriage in 1912. This disruption led her to a more intense examination of her life and its meaning. She turned to New Thought and became a New Thought teacher and writer. She wrote "The Game of Life and How to Play It," which she self-published (remember this is in the early 1900's, not as easy a task as today). She later wrote "Your Word is Your Wand" in 1928 and "The Secret Door to Success" which was published by her students using a compilation of her notes. In "The Game of Life and How to Play It", Ms. Shinn wrote:
The game of life is a game of boomerangs.
Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy.
What goes around, comes around. Thoughts are things, yes? And from "The Secret Door to Success" we find something similar that Dr. Wayne Dyer and others have had much success in writing about:
Change your thoughts, and in the twinkling of an eye,
all your conditions change.
Your world is a world of crystallized ideas, crystallized words.
Sooner or later, you reap the fruits of your words and thoughts.
Powerful, simple Truth.
Out next women, not only contributed to the New Thought Movement, they created a religion:

Melinda Cramer and Nona Brooks
Ms. Cramer and Brooks were Ministers, authors, and most importantly for the Movement, founders of Divine Science. They explained their philosophy thusly:
The whole of Divine Science is the practice of the Presence of God.
Truth comes through the Bible, Affirmative prayer, contemplation
and meditation and the practice of the presence of God here and now.
It is important to note that both Ernest Holmes (author of "The Science of Mind") and Charles Fillmore (founder of Unity) were ordained Divine Science ministers before their more notable fame and successes were achieved. Which brings us to another Divine Feminine of New Thought:

Myrtle Fillmore
Along with her younger husband, Charles, Myrtle Fillmore founded the Unity Church of Practical Christianity. She was also a student of Emma Curtis Hopkins (as were her husband and Ernest Holmes). From one of her books, "From How To Let God Help You," written in 1897, is this poetic gesture of belief called MY FAITH:
I do not believe in evil. I believe in Good.
I do not believe in sin. I believe in Truth.
I do not believe in want. I believe in Abundance.
I do not believe in death. I believe in Life.
I do not believe in evil. I believe in Good.
I do not believe in ignorance. I believe in Intelligence.
There are no discords in my being. Being is peace.
My faith, understanding and love are becoming one.
"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Another Truth teller and organization leader was:

Annie Rix Militz
Ms. Militz was the founder of Home of Truth, an inclusive community in which to learn, practice and express ourselves as unique expressions of the Divine (they are located in Alameda, CA). Annie was another student of Emma Curtis Hopkins and later lectured and taught at Unity Churches. She moved to Los Angeles in 1911 and opened the University of Christ and a major metaphysical library to train New Thought teachers. Later, she started Master Mind Magazine, which was comprised of lessons and discussions on theology, the bible, prosperity, immortality, soul communion, planet healing, healing circles and much more. She continued publishing the magazine till passing on June 22, 1924. Annie Rix Militz wrote five books. In her address to the Boston class of 1918, she said:
The absolute truth is, that there is but One Being in the universe, and that one is God; that man is nothing of himself, separate from God; that it is a delusion, a false belief, that there is any separation that is real. The doctrine that destroys this delusion of separateness and proves the unity between God and Man; between God and His world; between God and the one Power, Good, is that called The Atonement. The word atonement defines itself, when it is divided into its syllables: the first syllable is "at," the second is "one," the last syllable is "ment," this Latin ending meaning "state of being." The whole word means "the state of being at one." This is the simple, direct definition of the word "atonement"-the state of being at one. 
Being at One with the Divine within was the logical, practical teaching of our next thought leader of which I could not find a photo of...

Mildred Mann
Ms. Mann lived from 1904–1971 and founded the N. Y. Society of Religious Pragmatism, which was later reorganized as the Society of Pragmatic Mysticism in Vermont. Her many books include, "Mind and Consciousness," "Pragmatic Mysticism," and "Become What You Believe" in which she defines her "Seven Steps in Demonstration:"

Desire. Get a strong enthusiasm for that which you want in your life.
Decision. Know definitely what you want and be willing to pay in spiritual values.
Ask...assuredly and enthusiastically in simple, concise language. the accomplishment with strong faith, consciously and subconsciously. it a few minutes daily, seeing yourself in the finished picture without outlined details.
Feel your heart and always remember to say, "Thank you, God." It is the most powerful prayer we can ever make, provided we really feel it.
Feel expectancy. Train yourself to live in a state of happy expectancy. Act it until it becomes part of you, as it must and will.
Sound familiar? And then there's this:
We train ourselves to think positively and constructively. Take any particular problem in your life, and face up to it. Don't deny that it exists, because it does, and has, through the sustenance your thought has given it. Now, you decide you are going to change your diet. You are going to put that problem on a starvation routine, by refusing to nourish it with thoughts which have fed it so far. You look through it; you realize it is but a shadow, because behind it lies the perfect pattern given you by your God. You make your mind dwell on that. When your thought slips back to the worry or fear patterns it has known, pull it back to positive thinking, and stick to it. Remind yourself that you are a child of God. Within you is locked the perfection of Divinity  and only you have the key to open it. No one can do that for you. You can only turn the key by turning your thought, and you can only keep the door open by keeping your thought turned in the direction of positive, constructive thinking.
Turning away from the condition does not mean denying or ignoring its shadow, it's looking at it from a different light, a Divine light in which the darkness loses its power over you and eventually goes away. How's that for being simultaneously pragmatic and metaphysical?

Now let's find a bit about one of our best selling New Thought Divine Feminists:

Emilie Cady
Dr. Emilie Cady was a metaphysician and chiropractor. Also a student of Emma Curtis Hopkins, she was an avid reader of Emerson. She wrote for Unity Magazine and helped start the organization with the Fillmores. Her most famous book, LESSONS IN TRUTH, has sold over 1.5 million copies since its publication in 1896. In it, she wrote:
God is not only the Creative Cause of every visible form of intelligence and life at its commencement:  but each moment throughout its existence [God] lives within every created thing as the Life, the ever-renewing, re-creating, up-building cause of it. [God] never is and never can be for a moment separated from [Its] creations.
You might have noticed that the last few of our thought leaders were instructed by the same teacher, who also schooled Dr. Ernest Holmes, William Walker Atkinson and Charles Fillmore; known as the THE TEACHER OF TEACHERS:

Emma Curtis Hopkins
By now, there should be no questioning why Emma Curtis Hopkins was called "the teacher of teachers." This scientific Christian, also called an “inspired mystic,” can easily be titled “the mother of New Thought,” and “New Thought’s forgotten founder.” Emma was an ardent feminist who believed in the goodness and innate spirituality in women (as well as, not in comparison to men) and ordained over 111 of her advanced graduates, both male and female, as ministers and another 350 or more as healing practitioners at the Emma Curtis Hopkins College of Metaphysical Science in Chicago, Illinois. Note that Ernest Holmes studied with her in the last year of her life on this plain of action.

Whether reading her first book, "Scientific Christian Mental Practice," her magnum opus, "High Mysticism," or the other more than two-dozen works, every page is chock full of quotes from the Bible and the other sacred texts of the world, both Eastern and Western. She sought to reveal the Truth that runs through all of them by illustrating her translations, interpretations and commentary on the subjects of the Divinity of Man and our ability to use this mystic ability for healing. Here is a great example of this powerful and one of the most influential theologians and leaders of the New Thought Movement:
My god is working with me, for me, by me, and through me, to make me a living demonstration of the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient good, in the form of health, prosperity, success, and wealth! There is a sure helper in every man, woman, and child, who will give you and I the desires of our heart, if we turn to no other source but the spirit. Now for you, who have been so good and true, and
who have prayed and prayed ... Nothing seems to happen.
Get quiet. Sit down. Watch and wait . . .
There will come an hour when the tree of life will burst into flower and cast at your feet the most glorious shower of things far grander
than you ever knew!
Ye are above the wheel of matter and the net-work of mind. Ye are light of the world--free, flawless, immortal.
Powerful stuff from this no-nonsense, Divine knowing feminist and prophet.

I want to close with a poem by the woman who might be considered the poet laureate of the New Thought Movement:

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Another student of Emma Curtis Hopkins, in her 1902 book, "Poems of Power," she wrote:

Begin each morning with a talk to God, 
And ask for your divine inheritance 
Of usefulness, contentment and success. 
Resign all fear, all doubt, and all despair. 
The stars doubt not, and they are undismayed, 
Though whirled through space for countless centuries, 
And told not why or wherefore: and the sea 
With everlasting ebb and flow obeys, 
And leaves the purpose with the unseen Cause. 
The star sheds radiance on a million worlds, 
The sea is prodigal with waves, and yet 
No luster from the star is lost, and not 
One drop is missing from the ocean tides. 
Oh, brother to the star and sea, know all 
God's opulence is held in trust for those 
Who wait serenely and who work in faith.

Hey Lady....thank you for your blessings and Namaste!

I affirm my connection to the Divine Feminine in me. The creative essence that awakens my consciousness and life to the Source and Substance of my Supply:  my mind, body, spirit, pocketbook, relationships and all experiences – God. I ground myself to Sacred Mother Earth connecting to the Creative Medium, the very energy of giving birth to ideas, expressions, dreams, revelations and declarations; sanctifying my life in the pool of magnificence, prosperity and Love.

1 comment:

  1. I love this article and inspired by the many wise women of New Thought! Thanks for sharing this with all of us, I’ll be sharing this!