"Where does the word come from?
What do you mean by
"The Divine Mystery?"
We use "Yo" to refer to the Divine Mystery, the awe and wonder we experience when we contemplate the infinite universe or the paradoxes of human experience. When used in this way, as a placeholder representing the infinite mystery, we capitalize the word, Yo.
yo, The Gender-Free Pronoun
Yo, The Infinite, Unknowable, Divine Mystery of Existence
All forms of human liberation and dignity are sacred in Yoism. So, we originally chose the syllable "yo" after searching for a word to use in place of "he" and "she," with their occasionally problematic gender bias. Sexism, as we know, has been rampant, at times extreme, and too frequently, very destructive.
In the Sixth Century, in Lyon, France, there was a debate among 43 bishops and the agents sent to represent another 20 bishops at the Council of Macon. The issue was whether women were human (i.e., like men having souls), or were without souls (like the lower animals). Eventually, a vote was taken. The result? Women are human; women do have souls. But the learned agents were actually almost perfectly evenly split; it was only by a vote of 32 to 31 that the Church concluded that women were human! [Note: see comment below.]
“Saint” Thomas Aquinas (1225– 1274) was a Dominican theologian.
After his death, his ideas were declared to be the official philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church. In his main treatise, Summa Theologica, he wrote:
Marion Gordon (aka "Pat") Robertson On Feminism
Woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence, such as that of a south wind, which is moist. (I q. 92 a. 1)
Good order would have been wanting in the human family if some were not governed by others wiser than themselves. So by such a kind of subjection woman is naturally subject to man, because in man the discretion of reason predominates. (I q.92 a.1 reply 2)
Sobriety is most requisite in the young and in women, because concupiscence of pleasure thrives in the young on account of the heat of youth, while in women there is not sufficient strength of mind to resist concupiscence. (II-II q.149 a.4)
The reliability of a person's evidence is weakened, sometimes indeed on account of some fault of his . . . sometimes, without any fault on his part, and this owing either to a defect in the reason, as in the case of children, imbeciles and women, or to personal feeling . . . (II-II q.70 a.3)
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians." (Pat Robertson, fund-raising letter, 1992)
"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period." (Pat Robertson again, The 700 Club, 1/8/92)
And let's not forget the late, looney Jerry Falwell.
And Here's the Poop from a Prior Pope
As the quotations above show, even in the United States, this is obviously not just ancient history. The fact is that there are people alive today who remember when women were fighting for the right to vote in modern day America. Clearly, many people still promulgate the idea that women are either innately inferior to men or are ordained by God to have an inferior, subservient position.
And as we know, in large parts of the rest of the world, violently repressive, sexist attitudes still prevail. So, in order to hasten human movement into a more enlightened set of attitudes that are more fully consistent with the "dictates of Yo," it seemed sensible to change vestigial, sexist language that was developed in a time when only males were unequivocally considered fully human.
In contrast, Yoism is built, in-part, on Yoni "Worship" (so to speak), as women comprise half of all sacred human divinity.
When we struggle to understand Reality (i.e., the "dictates of Yo") without the biases introduced by sexist socio-religious ideologies, what we see is that people are people: Despite any differences that may exist between the sexes (or other groupings of humanity), the deepest core truth of Yo is that each of us is a divine human being. From this central belief comes the first of the 10 Sacred Principles of Yo: That all humans are sacred beings that come into the world with equal unalienable Rights.
Though any new word seems strange at first, we were looking for something that would not be too strange when used to refer to a person. Indeed, in the two most commonly spoken languages with which we had familiarity, yo has very clear associations to persons. In Spanish, "yo" means "I." In English, "yo" can be used as a way to call out to an other, as slang for "hey, you" (in Lingala, a Bantu language, it means "you"). And, in both a linguistic and spiritual sense "You start with 'yo.'" So "yo" is a single syllable that simultaneously refers to both you and I, to "us." And in the language spoken by more people than any other, Chinese, "yo" is used to refer to the sacred bond between us, friendship.
On May 16, 2007, The Hun wrote: In the country that I come from, 'jo' with an acute accent (pronounced: yo) means 'good' -- the language spoken here is Hungarian. Take care Yo'll!
According to some scholars, the Cherokee's (a native American
people) primary deity, the creator, was called Yo wah or Ye ho waah. [We do have to note, however, that others dispute this as coming from an attempt to show that the American "Indians" were the 10 lost tribes of Israel (a Mormon belief) and thus knew the name Yahweh.]
Yo is the Japanese version of "yang" of the famous yin-yang (Japanese: "in-yo") relationship of opposites comprising reality. Yo is the active/positive (light)/male principle and in is the passive/negative (shadow)/female principle. Though yo is associated with the male principle, in Japanese first names ending with yo are typically female. In Japanese, "yo" also means "world, society."
In the language of the Guatemalan Q’eqchí Maya, "yo’ yo" means "living"
Later, when we were trying to think of a good word to use as a placeholder to refer to what some people call God—and what others (who do not believe in or who do not use the word "God") consider the miraculous, the awesome, or the mind-boggling mysteries of existence—we looked at many possibilities. We could have referred to the Universal Field that emanates (or manifests as) All-that-Is, by using the word "It." However, "it" denotes something inanimate or often something that is emotionally separated from more personal human experience, something that is often relatively unimportant.
We eventually realized that we could again make use of that single syllable word that we were already using as a pronoun to refer to the divine manifestations called "humans." So, we were already using "yo" to refer to ourselves, and we knew certain things about the relationship between humans and the Divine Mystery of the larger Universal Field.
Have No Fear; Divinity is Here!
Before we express this relationship, actually a unity, between humans and The Divine Mystery, let us reassure you that there is no need "to fear Divinity." That is, you needn't assume that such a "religious" word indicates that we are slipping into magical thinking. We are not asking you to revere some authority's notion of something you cannot see for yourself. Divinity is your sentient, experiencing self, your consciousness in which the light of the world "shines."
As Saints John The Hairy-Nosed Wombat put it:
Much to our surprise, it was after we embraced "Yo" as a single syllable referring to The Divine Mystery that we learned that some scholars believe that "Yo" was one of the single-syllable pronunciations of the Tetragrammaton. And we later learned that, for centuries, the Bambara people of Mali had been using the word "Yo" in the same manner! It was a genuine miracle ;-)
The Divine Mystery and Yo-u (or "Yo and U make You")
We humans are the sentient beings in whose experience the Universe, itself, springs into textured existence; we (our psyches) create/construct the world of our experience. On the other hand, in a spiritual but completely empirical sense, humans are also products of Nature; if "God" refers to everything—or, if Yo refers to the mysterious way in which the "stuff" of the world manifests as our experience—then we are 100% pure, unadulterated "God" or "Yo-stuff." No additives or fillers.
Yothu Yindi, in aboriginal Australian, refers to the connection between the members of the clan/tribe. Another holy meaning coming from the Yo root.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world . . .
Wake now discover that you are the song that the morning brings.
(Grateful Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter)
Or as Yoans sing:
All is one so all as one.
Do not doubt your awesome power,
Yet bow to mystery.
(from the Yo Gathering Song)
We are composed of the material "stuff" of the Universe. This stuff was shaped into us by the Laws of Nature (the four forces acting in space-time on matter) over millions of years through a process we call evolution. The mysterious, self-manifesting universe (for those of us who don't use the word God) became us, or evolved into us.
There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people who "love Nature" while deploring the "artificialities" with which "Man has spoiled 'Nature.'" The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of "Nature"—but beavers and their dams are. (Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love)
Sentient human beings then are made up of this universal stuff, came out of, or were shaped out of the material substrate of the Universe. Furthermore, and a bit paradoxically, we are products of the very Universe that we produce (that springs into existence) in our experience.
We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. (Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot)
As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future. This cosmic self-awareness is being realized in one tiny fragment of the universe — in a few of us human beings. Perhaps it has been realized elsewhere too, through the evolution of conscious living creatures on the planets of other stars.
But on this our planet, it has never happened before. (Julian Huxley)
Or, as Robin Williamson and The ISB sang:
If you are comfortable with overtly religious terminology, we could be considered to be "Godheads," or experiencing "nodes" of the pantheistic "Universe-God." We also realized that, with or without the religious terminology, "Yo" could be used to refer to this whole, undivided Universal Field or Unknowable Essence that manifests as All-that-Is.
Yo, The I-Thou Relationship, and The Ground of Being
So, remembering that "yo" is Spanish for "I," in a single syllable, yo refers to the relationship between me and yo(u), the I-thou, self-other relationship. Thus, it functions as an ideal placeholder that refers to the necessary relationship between perceiver (self) and the perceived (other). After all, without a knower in relationship with that which is known, nothing would manifest as anything. No one to know and nothing to be known.
So, "yo," in a single syllable, could be used to embody this I-Thou, self-other, perceiver-perceived dimension of experience that is essential to any notion of something that manifests (in the psyches of sentient beings) as anything at all.
But, Wait! There's More.
Enough with the terminology. Enough etymology. Does this "Yo" have any deeper meaning? What's this "Divine Mystery" stuff? For that, Divine Reader, read on!
It's you! Your brain is evoking it all! An animated CAT scan of the human brain.