Thank you for your honest inquiry and introspection. We need debates and discussions on such topics to make our current social challenges less toxic.
I would like to start by first separating a few things here that personally gave me better clarity as a reader for my better understanding of the questions in hand here and how we can move forward together with their possible answers.
-Mary referenced here, I think, is being seen in the light of politics of the religion. That is no different for Parvati. They have been made symbols by priests and pandits to sell their corrupted ideologies to oppress women for ages.
- Staying on the politics of religion point, if we research deep down these goddesses were not even intended by religion to become these manipulated symbols. They were just used by evil men by distorting religious texts. For eg some distorted views for Parvati would be that look at this woman who gave up everything, lived in a forest, didn’t eat and drink for thousands of years to find her a husband, a good man, and that every woman should be ready to sacrifice and worship to find her a good husband. This is a distorted view when really Goddess/shakti was looking for her way to Source/Shiva. The energy of and for divinity will always look for the source of energy. I am constantly looking for the guide and the teacher in me who points me to goodness and divinity. You can call him Shiva or a stone or Mary, doesn’t matter. But for my functioning in the world aka my Shakti, I look for my Shiva from whom all divine things(kindness, compassion etc) originate. I do think our sacred texts were spoiled by corrupted humans for their own evil agendas. Hence it is important we continue our personal research on the origins and intentions of religious teachings. Or if it is not convincing enough, then to give up religion entirely.
- I think if the goal here is to understand divine feminine, then we don’t need tools of one religion over the other, one eastern philosophy over western philosophy etc. Divine feminine for me is the most straightforward concept. When I am burdened by ego and all the negative traits of the world, I invoke the divine feminine in me to open my heart; that is the one in me who is kind, forgiving, loving, compassionate, receptive, tender in strength. Really in that case I dont even need Mary or Kali. It is just that its easier in many ways to find a form to meditate on and get those feelings in. I think if we reduce and contain divine feminism to church or temple, we are in major trouble.
-If we are hell-bent on comparing one religion or philosophy to another for investigation of the divine feminine, then I have to conclude they are no different. Mary is no different from Brahamacharini. They are both one of the many forms of the Goddess. One form is ascetic and sacrificing for the higher consciousness to take birth. Again these symbols of divine feminine need to be looked at in isolation of religious interpretations and personal biases. When I look at the image of Mary, I see the same forgiving mother as Mahagauri. They both calm my tormented heart immediately. Their forms remind me immediately of the same sacred feminism in me.