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Matriotic Musings on Jefferson, Kucinich and The Divine Feminine

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Matriotic Musings on Jefferson, Kucinich and The Divine Feminine

Meryl Ann Butler



As the Easter season blooms, and April of 2004 emerges as the month with the greatest loss of American lives since the Iraq war began, two of Thomas Jefferson’s quotes invite reflection:


A little rebellion now and then is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.


I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.


Jefferson, America’s third president, was born April thirteenth, 1743. The number thirteen [1] has figured prominently in American symbolism. In the original flag, the thirteen colonies were represented by thirteen stars forming a circle.  Our current flag has thirteen stripes.


On both the obverse and reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, (which can be seen on the back of a one dollar bill) the number thirteen is seen in abundance. There are thirteen stars in the crest, thirteen stripes in the shield, thirteen letters in Annuit Coeptis, thirteen letters in E Pluribus Unum and thirteen courses of stone in the pyramid. The eagle holds an olive branch with thirteen leaves and thirteen olives in its right talon (representing peace, and the feminine), and thirteen arrows in the left (representing war, and the masculine). The gaze of the eagle, however, is firmly upon the olive branches, indicating America’s focus and destiny toward peace.


Thirteen is also the number traditionally associated with the Divine Feminine. In ancient times there were thirteen “moonths” in a year, since there are thirteen full moons, and therefore thirteen menstrual cycles annually. The thirteenth letter of the alphabet is “M,” a letter associated with many things feminine, including mother, mom, mama, mammary glands, menstruation and one of the most powerful feminine archetypes in the world, the Virgin Mary.


In its purest sense, American democracy is a reclaimation of the balance in the masculine/feminine dance, a waltz which has suffered from the imbalance of patriarchy for the past 5,000 years.




Keeping in mind that everyone, man or woman, has both a right brain (feminine) and a left brain (masculine), duality pairs meriting consideration include:















Oral tradition/herstory – Written tradition/history

Formlessness-Form and Order

Horizontal path of power-Vertical path of power

Compassion for others-Focus on self

Appreciation- Analyzation

Nurture- Critique

Process Oriented-Goal Oriented


Win/win paradigm – Win/lose paradigm


None of the individual components in each pair is right or wrong. However, the dynamic dance between the two is required for fruitful balance. A pendulum cannot swing in only one direction, nor can we clap with just one hand.


In viewing the competitive, hierarchical, technological and war-focused direction of America, the imbalances caused by the overzealous glorification of masculine attributes are apparent. The dawning of understanding of the tragic loss of the feminine in our culture is underscored by the custom of skipping thirteen in the numbering of floors in skyscrapers, hotel rooms or racecars.


In the imbalance of patriarchy the dance and the dancers suffer, and both the feminine and the masculine ache for wholeness.


The architects of America crafted a foundation of government with the built-in potential to reclaim the masculine/feminine balance. The Declaration of Independence authored by Jefferson is a stunning break from patriarchal rule and vertical power. It includes such right brain/feminine concepts as “liberty for all,” “equality” and the inalienable rights of all persons to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It rejects the hierarchical claim to power subscribed to by England’s George lll who declared that his power to rule came directly from God through the “divine right of kings.” (Deja-vu, anyone?)


The Declaration of Independence embodies the seeds of the feminine attributes of inclusivity, compassion and union. In a radical assertion for the times, the Declaration of Independence states that the American government receives its power not from God but from its people. It also decrees that a government that does not live up to the purposes for which it was created can and should be changed or abolished by its citizens.


Jefferson’s sentiment that “a little rebellion now and then is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government” is echoed by Thomas Paine, who penned some of the most stirring words of the American Revolution by the fading light of a campfire, beside his compatriot, George Washington. Upon reading Paine’s essay, Washington commanded that it be read to all of the troops. Paine’s words still stir American hearts today: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Paine’s words, referring to the American Revolution, are just as meaningful in describing the current revolution by the Americans who are in the “service of their country,” passionately reclaiming a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”


The Constitution [2], penned primarily by James Madison, also abandons the patriarchal view of “power over” in order to empower its citizens. One example of the feminine qualities of compromise and creating a win-win outcome occurred when systems of representation were debated in the Continental Congress. The larger states wanted Virginia’s proposal, which would allow representation based on population. The smaller states naturally preferred New Jersey’s plan of equal representation by state. The “Great Compromise” was a paradigm shifting, win-win solution, which birthed the concept of two houses in Congress: the Senate and the House of Representatives.


In another example of a conscious shift toward more inclusivity, the preamble to our Constitution was changed. It originally read, “We the States…” but was changed to “We the people of the United States…” Our founders wanted to punctuate the fact that the government was instituted in order to be in service to the citizens, not the other way around.


Thomas Jefferson set the cornerstone for freedom of religion in America as author of both the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom and the Declaration of Independence [3].  In his wisdom, he referred to spiritual influences in more inclusive terminology, such as “Creator,” “Divine Providence” and  “nature’s God.”


While all religions are tolerated in America (theoretically, at least), Christianity remains the religion of the majority. In its purest form, Christianity also represents a movement toward the recovery of the masculine/feminine equilibrium. Jesus himself exemplified this quest for balance. He embraced grace (right brain/feminine) over the left brain/patriarchal law of  “an eye for an eye,” in effect replacing karma with grace. In Luke, when Jesus healed the crippled woman on the Sabbath [4], which was forbidden by law, he showed that he followed a higher law - the law of the heart. And in Jesus’ predilection for teaching in parables, he quietly endorses the power of oral myth and story, a feminine mode of imparting knowledge, as the means to embody the greater Truths. (As Don Quixote noted, “Facts are the enemy of truth.”)


Jesus also distanced himself from the masculine concept of hierarchy, embracing a lateral distribution of self-empowerment with words such as “even greater things (than I) shall ye do. [5]”


Even the ways in which Jesus treated his mother and Mary Magdalene offer a glimpse into the way that he honored the feminine. He was radical in his inclusion of women in his ministry, although this isn’t always clearly seen through the eyes of the less visionary scribes who recorded his life.


Possibly the most feminine, heart-centered quote from Saint Paul is associated with the number of the feminine. “And now abides Faith, Hope, Love, these three— but the greatest of these is Love,” is verse thirteen of Chapter thirteen of I Corinthians. Thirteen is also associated with Jesus’ birth through Epiphany, the date when the Magi arrived with gifts, which occurs thirteen days after Christmas on January 6th. The circle created by Jesus and his disciples, numbers thirteen, as does the family of Jacob and his twelve sons, who formed the twelve tribes of Israel.


Even the knights of King Arthur and his Round Table, number thirteen. [6]


The fame of the knights of Camelot is based more upon their honor, integrity and spiritual values than upon their martial skills. The Knights of the Round Table were sworn to such feminine values as to be merciful, courageous, hospitable, faithful, to uphold integrity and to respect all women. They dedicated themselves to the quest for the Holy Grail. What more feminine symbol is there than the image of the vessel, the sacred womb of the mother? In patriarchal times, the Grail legends speak to the deepest parts of our souls in an archetypal quest for the feminine aspects of divinity.


Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is a modern day Knight of the Round Table who exemplifies the archetype of Sir Gawain, beloved of Camelot and champion of the divine feminine. In a trial-by-fire, Kucinich’s integrity was proven by his courageous response to the Enron-like attempted takeover of the municipal light company during his tenure as the young mayor of Cleveland in 1978[7].


Like Gawain, Kucinich knows that the path toward balance is through restoring feminine principles to its rightful place in society. Kucinich’s compassionate politics and heart-centered platforms on civil rights, health care for all, free education for all, jobs for all, respect for the environment, and the conservation of Social Security for our elders invite American citizens to engage in a more whole and balanced dance. He is the only presidential candidate who voted against the civil liberties-shredding Patriot Act. Ironically, though labeled a progressive, Kucinich is a conservative in the purest sense, completing the circle in his quest to conserve the rights of the Constitution for the American people.


Like the Round Table Knights, Kucinich believes in the appropriate development of defense, but is dedicated toward the primary pursuance of more honorable and peaceful measures. The 2003 recipient of the prestigious Gandhi Peace Award [8], Kucinich authored HR 1673, a bill that would establish a U.S. Department of Peace at the cabinet level. Designed to institute nonviolence as an organizing principal of American society, it would provide domestic and international peace-building policy options. This department was first proposed by none other than George Washington, who believed it was an essential component in American government. 210 years later, Americans are still waiting.


Certainly a Department of Peace is the fitting manifestation of the American eagle’s steadfast gaze toward the olive branch.


Kucinich offers the lone voice in the political limelight with a workable plan for getting out of Iraq [9] as a first step toward restoring peace. His well thought out exit strategy, detailed on his website, asks the U.N. to step in and then brings U.S. troops home. In a classic scenario of feminine versus masculine modus operandi, he demonstrates that he is wisely willing to stop to look at a map and consider directions, rather than just rage blindly forward.


It is interesting to note that Kucinich officially announced his candidacy for the president on the thirteenth of October [10], during the zodiacal month of Libra, the symbol of balance. And in his speeches Kucinich often word-paints an image of the American eagle’s need for both wings in order to fly,  the Left and the Right in balanced synchronization.


The bald eagle has a deep, archetypal connection to this land, as it was sacred to the Native Nations long before America was conceived.  The “eagle eye” symbolizes vision, and the essence of this great bird is strength and courage.  Because the eagle flies higher than any other known bird, it symbolizes the quest toward the heights of spiritual excellence.


In an arrestingly symbolic incident on July 4th, 2003, the bald eagle at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. died as the result of an attacked by a fox. In addition to being the name of a major news organization, “fox” is the only three letter word in the English language in which the letters, numerologically, are 666. A provocative mix of archetypes, can this point to the renovation of America, a death to the old things that aren’t working and the exciting possibilities of birthing the new through the democratic, transformative process? Punctuating Independence day as symbolic of death and the promise of rebirth, America’s second and third presidents, John Adams and Jefferson [11], both died on July 4th, 1826, exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.


In the zodiac, death, transformation and the eagle are all associated with the sign of Scorpio. Although the exact birth time of the United States is subject to some conjecture, there is reason to accept the time of approximately 2 pm on July 4, 1776[12].  Several written accounts indicate that John Hancock signed his name to the Declaration when it came out of committee in the afternoon of the fourth. Synchronistically, the constellation Scorpio was just then rising on the American horizon. American elections in November, the pivotal point of democracy, fall during the annual zodiacal period of Scorpio, infusing the voting process with the archetype of transformation. And this is indeed a year that Wisdom beseeches voters to invoke that transformative spirit.


Jefferson said he trembled for his country when he “reflected that God is just.” And yet he had helped to put into place the wheels of progressive politics with a system that enables our government to transform, to ultimately regain its footing and rebalance itself. The glory of democracy is the organic nature of the system to “breathe,” bringing in fresh air and expelling the old, and with that inspiration comes the ability to mold itself as a better fit to its evolving citizenry. In that dance of balance, America has the opportunity to live in grace rather than karma; in appreciation and compassion rather than criticism, in wholeness rather than separation, and in a state of dynamic peace rather than war.


Can there be any doubt that this is the moment of transformation? That the eaglet born 200 years ago has grown into her wingspan and is poised to soar? She invites each one of us to follow the leadings of our deepest destiny, the passion of our soul, and the sacred Truth of our hearts to provide the wind beneath her wings. And in that syncopated dance entwining right and left, feminine and masculine, heart and head; finally Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam can be reunited in the dance of dynamic peace and rise to the celestial heights in the experiment of democracy.


We have received nothing less than an invitation to fly.


Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author and educator who counts First Lady Dolley Payne Todd Madison and patriot Thomas Paine among her ancestors, as well as James Payne and Thomas Wheeler, signers of the Articles of Confederation (the precursor to the Constitution.) She appreciates knowing that the blood of America’s matriots and patriots runs in her veins. To see gallery of Art for Peace & Spiritual Politics, (her currently under construction but open for visitors site) go to

[1] Thirteen is a fascinating number. It is the seventh number in the Fibonacci series. Thirteen is the smallest prime number that can be expressed as the sum of the squares of two prime numbers i.e. 13 = 22 + 32. It is the only prime number which, when you reverse the digits also forms a prime number (31.) “Eleven plus two” is an anagram of “twelve plus one.” More info on the mysterious number thirteen at these sites:,,


[2] The American Constitution is based largely upon the constitution of the Iroquois nation, a balanced system that had proven successful for 500 years.   However a fateful difference, is that the US did not include an essential safety feature of the Iroquois’ “checks and balances:” that in order to wage war, the blessing and permission of the Grandmothers’ Council was required.

[3] These two endeavors, along with “Father of the University of Virginia” are the three accomplishments that were inscribed over Jefferson’s grave according to his instruction. It is interesting to note that from Jefferson’s perspective, being president of the United States didn’t make the top three.

[4] Luke Thirteen:10-17, the woman is healed in verse thirteen.


[5] John 14:12

[6] Different sources cite different numbers of Round Table Knights, but  "Didot-Perceval"  (c.1225) says that there were thirteen., inclusive of Arthur Other estimates go as high as 1600, but presumably these were not of the “inner circle,” but simply knights of King Arthur’s court, and did not all sit at the Round Table. The Rosicrucians also indicate that there were twelve knights plus Arthur. There are thirteen Knights of the Round Table in Mallory’s list




[10] see the full speech at

[11] Jefferson’s last words were: “Is it the Fourth? Then I resign my spirit to God, to my daughters, to my country.” Ironically, Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives! Independence forever!”




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