Is Proverbs 31 about women or about the Earth? If you think it’s the former, you probably think that women have to be perfect (especially if they’re wives or mothers) But if you think it’s the later, you might be encouraged.
I’m not a Christian anymore, but the Bible will always fascinate me. I will always respect the gut-wrenching stories and the powerful poetry. Once you get liberated from doctrine and dogma, you can really appreciate the symbolism and allegory.
Taking everything literally in the Bible can be painful. I used to think that Proverbs 31 was the Biblical standard for the perfect woman. Evangelicals use this passage to “encourage” women as wives and mothers all the time. But is this passage really about ideal Biblical womanhood? Or is it really about resourcefulness?
I would like to make the case that Proverbs 31 is actually about the Earth: the most resourceful female being we know. I am really enjoying learning everything about Gaia from astrology, Greek mythology, and geology… but when I discovered this, it definitely caught me off guard because as much as I appreciate the Bible, it’s not exactly the paragon of female empowerment; and the stories and passages that do show women as powerful are used as cheese on a string for women.
So looking at this passage in a new light gave me a sigh of relief. If the Earth is the woman that Proverbs 31 is talking about, it’s a call to honor her and to let ourselves off the hook.
Let’s go through the passage together, starting from verse 10:
10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her [h]hands [i]in delight.
14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
First of all, this woman is MARRIED. Marriage is eternal in the ethereal realm. In Greek mythology, Gaia’s first husband was Uranus, Father Sky. They had a passionate relationship that produced the Titans. But I also believe that Gaia is married to all of the elements, and the remarkable synergy between the four of them is what sustains life on earth.
Nobody lacks anything because Gaia holds everything together. She really is perfect. Her undying love, generosity and resourcefulness provides for everybody. I used to think that verse 14 was about buying groceries and cooking, but who makes it so that there are groceries we can buy? Gaia.
15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And [j]portions to her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From [k]her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds [l]herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her [m]hands grasp the spindle.
20 She [n]extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
This section of the passage gives us some profound insight into how Gaia allows the ebb and flow of the time of day and the seasons to sustain her home and those that depend on her. Rising while it is still night makes me think of birds chirping for food early in the morning. This planet mother nurtures all of her children. Examining the outer world of nature gives us insight into the soul that resides within.
We can tell from this Proverb, in addition to what we already know, that earth is very wealthy. Her home is a comfortable castle where everyone is welcome, including the poor and needy. No wonder life is so diverse here! You will be luxuriously provided for here, and you can stay as long as you can respect the rules.
Gaia is serious about her patterns, rhythms, and schedules. Nothing catches her off guard because she prepares for everything ahead of time and expects all of her inhabitants to do the same. This portion of the passage used to depress me because I can’t even do meal preps every week.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And [o]supplies belts to the [p]tradesmen.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the [q]future.
26 She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the [r]teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Remember, Gaia is married to the elements, so when it refers to the elders of land, I think of the trees. They are the original guardians of the earth: her standing ones and some of them are very, very old. Sunlight, water, air and soil all work together to produce the forests that clothe Gaia.
She is completely resourceful, so she has nothing to worry about. You don’t need to be afraid of the unknown when you believe in your manifestation powers. Gaia’s self-assurance is amazing because whatever she wants, she creates. This is true earth magic.
Now, I used to think that in order for me to be productive, I had to focus on guilt and obligation, but I’m learning from Gaia’s example that I’ll be more productive if I focus on what inspires me. Then, I will always have a project to either finish, start, and maintain. Women are master multitaskers right?
28 Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29 “Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who [s]fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her the [t]product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.
What does it mean to fear the Lord? It means to be spiritual. Spirituality is the gateway to a greater understanding of life.
I once asked Gaia why she was so special to the universe, and she gave me the word “ascension.” Our planet is not only a beautiful and nurturing place to live, but she is a way-shower of wisdom and courage; this is her powerful life purpose; this is why she’s excelled against countless odds.
While,there’s certainly nothing wrong with being beautiful, Gaia is both beautiful and strong. She takes pleasure in being vulnerable AND powerful; practical AND spiritual. She’s fine with the fact that she’s empathic AND cutthroat. Gaia doesn’t reject any aspect of who she is and that is real self-love. That’s what makes her perfect.
So how can we give her the product of our hands and praise her in the gates? We can do the same thing that she does: we can love ourselves unconditionally. There are many ways to help with environmentalism, but the little known secret is that your body is the earth. So to love yourself is to love her. That’s what she’s here to help us to do.