Division is necessary for creation, referred to in ancient Greece as emanation (ἀπορροή), the diffusion of all things from the Godhead. In order for creation to come into being, Prajapati divided into two, man and woman. When she realized her lover was her own creator, she fled from him and assumed the shape of various animals. For each animal shape she assumed (such as a cow), he became the male counterpart (such as a bull) and they copulated, giving rise to all creatures. “Even Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu are Maya’s subjects, as the Gods themselves are enveloped by Maya” (in being in acts of creation, destruction, or preservation, and therefore on the divided plane of being). This is where the confusion between “monotheistic” and “polytheistic” religions often arises. Some believe that any religion which proposes multiple deities is polytheistic, meaning belief in multiple Gods, when actually such religions are extremely rare historically (if not, some scholars argue, completely a false concept. Originally, there was no such concept as well because all original religions were essentially what people now call “polytheistic”). Religions like Hinduism are, at their core, actually exploring the “One”, a non-dual being, who breaks apart into modes of activity (its Maya), its personifications as forces of nature that allow for the spinning of creation. “The One” or “The Source” inherently must be the concept of all forces united or it would be tainted, as it is the transcendent non-duality. Distinct forms of deities (in any cosmology, such as the Navagraha, 10 Mahavidyas, Greek divinities, male & female, yin & yang, and so on) are then “The One’s” split phases of action. Because we are enveloped in Maya, it is through these expressions that we can connect to the source, in “the One’s” prismatic dance through the glass of Maya, where it takes multiplicity and glimmers around us in every color (as all people, objects, situations, etc.). Without interacting with the forces of nature that are the Source’s division, it is similar to trying to do math with only the number 0 (fearing 1-9), or to write a book with only the letter A (demonizing B-Z). In this way, religious leaders that misinterpret the multiplicity of God present in all things as dualism or idolatry may actually disempower their devotees from being able to interact with God tangibly. They are not given tools to use to paint with Maya’s various colors through magic and ritual, or interpret such colors through divination, astrology, and so on. These are the palpable, practical experiences that allow us to acknowledge “God” within the material plane, and therefore harmoniously bridge together our spiritual and material lives.
Some schools propose that interaction with God in any divided form with a material function/expression is then evil. If they do not take it that far, it may be that they provide no traditional outline or tools for such pursuits. “Storm” or “Anger” or “Beauty”, for example, being worshipped as a God/Goddess does not mean in any religion that he/she is above or equal to the Source, but are acknowledged as a sacred, active emanation of it. A form of cultural or spiritual warfare at different times in history have even been accounted to take place in places like Alexandria or Rome, where a “pagan” religion containing the timeless secrets of spiritual energies is wiped away, replaced by teachings inspiring submission and inactivity, which is sterile and ineffective. The alien/replacement religious cult presents something antithetical to the nature of the people and demonizes such active pursuits of spiritualizing daily reality and working with God manifest in different forces around oneself. It weakens the people, removing them from the traditions they established that had allowed them to conceptualize, call, and appease or remove these different expressions of the creator within and outside of them. Instead, they often fall into a passive, inactive “fate” under God’s will, confusion on how to act, and cultivate only acceptance and “belief”. They fall into deeper fear and duality, often demonizing the material completely instead of finding Truth sparkling within it. The intuitive way they would’ve (as their distant ancestors did) connected to and celebrated God in their sexual energy, in the world around them, in nature and in women, they no longer do.
Yesod (the Lunar astral plane) and Malkuth (the material plane which is the astral crystallized, the lowest and densest sphere) are the primary manifestations of the feminine force of Maya. The latter can be correlated to Rohini nakshatra, presided over by Prajapati. It is the sphere of siddhi or perfection because it is the bounty of all results of creation manifest. Religious interpretations that separate the higher spheres, or “spiritual topics” from the material (the divide into Maya) in the name of non-duality, essentially make the actual realization of non-duality impossible to reach on an experiential level. The realization of the union of the two sides of the coin that are the highest (Kether) and lowest (Malkuth) can only arise through spiritualizing the material and finding the divine essence in every daily, mundane activity, and proving one can (as a magician) assert on spiritual energies to create material results, and vice versa. It is only through the conceivable, apparent, and very real expressions of the singularity that one walks towards it or has any capacity to comprehend it. Walking on the rainbow, studying it, being unafraid of it, enjoying ever color, one eventually reaches the glass and the single beam of light behind it. The danger is not in actively interacting with such forces, but rather being deluded, bewildered, and/or frightened by them with no consciousness or knowledge of where they come from, why they are there, or how to use them. Shakti is Power and is correlated to the feminine, so religious outlooks that largely split the spiritual and material often also demonize and shroud the feminine. In this way, they remove your ability to work with active forms of the divine and your own creative spark that only She stirs. Putting a shroud over her is the same as suffocating the flame of your own sacred life-force. The feminine manifestations of the Source are such things as Athena, Understanding & Knowing, and thus the emanations that allow for the greatest experiential comprehension of Truth. When She is obscured or diminished, it’s hinted that Truth, Beauty, & Understanding are being concealed— a trick is present. Taking away or veiling the active, dynamic, empowering (Shakti) component of a religion goes hand-in-hand with demonizing the feminine itself, & with pulling the power away from worshippers.
The world’s oldest religions emphasize (and spring from, out of necessity) rather than demonize such active manipulation of spiritual energies and the grasping of fate into one’s hands. This leads to the question of whether all religions are cults, and the answer is that they are not. Any sect/group of a religion that takes power and self-responsibility away from individuals, focuses on evangelization or violent overthrowing of other’s beliefs, erases a culture’s history and replaces it with one that has no connection to the people, demonizes sexual energy and the feminine, inspires thralls of ego-rooted emotion, as well as forces belief in any sense (urging one to deny empirical reality or irrationally wait until death for answers/rewards), is a cult. The cult-religion may even contain teachings which inspire passivity and make its worshippers easier to control in general, as one becomes when they are scared away or gate-kept from being able to feel and direct spiritual energies in their own hands. Like many cults, it may not have been founded in earnest belief but with ulterior or political motives for an individual or group. Any religion that inspires experimentation, inspires devotees to see the results of their own active worship and spiritual work, and does not rely on belief, is no different than a science, albeit a “spiritual” one. “Belief” was not inherent in the original purpose for spirituality flowing out of human hearts but was a reverse-engineering of the impulse. Rather, it was a way to understand, to discover and *know*, the abstract complexities of the Universe so deeply hidden in every facet of the material plane that you break into its “code”. Without being able to manipulate the material plane on a spiritual level, you are actually far more enslaved to it. In the same way, it’s through deeply knowing, tilling, and directing the feminine (material, Earth, Maya, which envelops all reality), not fearing or avoiding her, that you can reach the source-Unity.