The Bride of God; The Sabbath Queen; Mother Zion

In traditional Judaism, God is not male; instead the Creator encompasses a male and a female side. The name Shekhina derives from a root word meaning “to dwell.” The Shekhina is the indwelling divine presence. She may be simultaneously understood in several ways:

• She is the female aspect of the Creator.

• She is the bride of God.

• She is an independent Goddess.

In esoteric Judaism, the Shekhina was the bride of YHWH. The Jerusalem Temple was their home, the Holy of Holies their bedroom. The union of the male and female principles sparks and fuels a continuous Creation. The Shekhina put motherhood before marriage. After the Roman destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, the Shekhina separated from her husband and went into exile with her children, the Jews expelled from Judea. She intends to remain in exile until the coming of the Messiah. Thus the destruction of the Temple did more than destroy a building: it severed the unification of the divine female and male, throwing the world out of balance and hindering Creation. The Shekhina is the compassionate, nurturing side of the Creator, and she is not in Heaven; she is in exile in the world.

The Shekhina is now present in the human realm and may be invoked for blessings and protection. She understands all languages. Sometimes she makes herself visible. The famed Kabbalists of Safed reported visions of her. She is a healer and may serve as a psychopomp. The Shekhina hovers at the head of the bed of one who is sick. Don’t stand or sit there because you obstruct her. If you pray on behalf of an ailing person at their bedside, then you pray directly to the Shekhina because she is there.


The Shekhina generally appears in several basic manifestations:

• As a mourning dove

• As a bride dressed in white (especially on Friday nights)

• As a bereft woman dressed in black who mourns the destruction of her home (the Jerusalem Temple) and the scattering and persecution of her children. A veritable ocean of grief emanates from her. She weeps, moans, and wails or is sunken in silent grief.

• As a joyful, ecstatic woman cloaked in robes woven from light; she is more vivid than the sun.


Anat-Bethel; Anat-Yaho; Asherah of the Sea; Hochma; Lilith; Llorona, La; Silibo; Sophia


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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