At the Crossroads

An excerpt of Chapter 1 from Goddess Matters: the Mystical, Practical, and Controversial , copyright 2011 by Judith Laura.

Goddess MattersIf you told me in the mid-1970s, when I first started exploring the ancient reverence for female deities, that less than a quarter of a century later there would be hundreds of thousands of people in the United States whose spiritual lives were Goddess-centered,[1]  I wouldn’t have believed you.

At that time, as I made my way though Mothers and Amazons by Helen Diner and Women’s Mysteries by Esther Harding, I felt very alone. Then an article in Ms Magazine put me in touch with the journal, WomanSpirit. In the 1980s, I discovered the journals Woman of Power and The Beltane Papers. How thrilling to find that there were probably at least a few hundred women out there, exploring this new way to think about religion. Continue reading "At the Crossroads"

Women’s Spirituality – Ushering in the Sacred Feminine

From an address on the future of Goddess Spirituality in Australia given by Shekhinah Morgan at the opening of the 'Goddess In Australia' Conference 2006*– ‘Women Remembering'

The Cyclical Nature of Life

Because I’m a woman and my body has taught Sunrise over the Pacificme this, I take the view that life on this planet moves in cycles. There are Lunar cycles, Solar cycles and cycles that take thousands of years. We have our own personal development cycles and we are also always involved with the collective cycle.In modern Western culture, I believe, we are at a stage in the present cycle where weare once again ushering in the Sacred Feminine. In a culture where spirituality (if it’s considered at all) is still only equated with masculine values, we are being asked to be the birth canal for Women’s Spirituality in this country.

To me, spirituality is about wholeness/holiness/alignment in the emotional, intellectual, psychic and physical self. And Women’s Spirituality is that which comes of being within the body of a woman. It values life, creativity, empathy, receptivity, diversity and the natural cycles that ensure constant change. It values the ordinary daily rhythms of living. Above all, as with the nature of a woman’s body, the most valued and important focal point, the source of all power and life, is hidden deep within. For this very reason Women’s Spirituality brings a totally different perspective from that of all the mainstream spiritualities. As women, we need to reclaim what has always been our birthright - our own spirituality. As we reclaim this we can envision a world where we bring a way of being that redresses the balance in a very out of balance world.

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Matriarchal Spirituality, Past and Present

by Heide Goettner-Abendroth

Introduction

The meaning of “matri-archy”

Non-patriarchal societies have different social structures than patriarchal ones; these structures distinguished by certain characteristics that are called “matriarchal”. In no way do they validate the common misapprehension that women have the last word in matriarchies, or that they rule over others. No serious researcher has ever expressed anything like this. Instead, these prejudices reflect the unexamined assumption that matriarchal societies would be organised just like patriarchal ones, but with women, instead of men, in the central roles.

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My Church

by Jan Foster-Bartlett

Loch ViewMy church has many doors. I open my front door and I am there. I access my place of worship from the door of a shop, door of my car, door of my neighbours’ house, my friends’ house, even the dentist has a door that leads out into my huge and beautiful church.

There are no medieval tiles on the floor but soft damp turf, sometimes shingle, pavement or scrubland. My favourite flooring is the crumbly soil mixed with leaf mould. The roof of my church goes on and up forever, blue with exquisite patterns painted in white, cream and grey. It changes colour constantly. There are times when it is black and dark and then it is illuminated with an array of sparkling jewels. Continue reading "My Church"

Pythia’s Warning: Women’s Spirituality and the Oracular Tradition

by Patricia Monaghan

Priestess of Delphi (1891) artist: John CollierWhen, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course.

Do these words sound familiar?  American readers probably guess that it’s part of The Declaration of Independence.  European readers might think of Mary Wollstonecraft or another early feminist.

Both wrong.  Now read a little further:

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. 

“He allows her in church, as well as State, but a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church. Continue reading "Pythia’s Warning: Women’s Spirituality and the Oracular Tradition"

Spiritual Highs and Lows

by Rachael Clyne

Cave of the Goddess, by Rachael ClyneMany and varied are the ways we connect with spiritual experience; whether through meditation, ceremony, service, childbirth, lovemaking, sport, moments of wild wonder in nature, losing oneself in acts of creativity or simply whilst standing at the kitchen sink. We can also experience deep connection in times of pain, loss and extremis.

Some of the most powerful spiritual times of my life were witnessing the death of my sister and later my parents; especially afterwards when I felt their presence communicating the mystery of passing over that particular threshold. There are endless interpretations of what is meant by spiritual experience and this article does not pretend to answer such questions, only to share with you a small piece of my own.

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Re-Visioning Mythologies of Gender/Sex

by Glenys Livingstone

Orestes at Delphi flanked by Athena and Pylades Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen“Gender” might be described as “one’s perception of oneself” as being either female or male, and “sex” as “the physical appearance of one’s body” as either female or male1. The “sex” of a body is commonly understood necessarily to be able to fall into one or the other designation, and if it does not then life, within many cultures, is almost certain to be traumatic for the being involved.

Within Western culture of more recent centuries at least, and within many other global social/religious contexts, no shades of “grey” have been allowed in this matter, no kaleidoscope - as is allowed in almost all other dualities. This rigid polarization of sex has not been so for many indigenous traditions - even still today: there is often much more fluidity about the significance of sexual physical appearance. Within my own Western culture, “gender” is commonly understood to “ideally” be in alignment with the “sex” of one’s body, and that’s where categories such as “feminine” and “masculine” are entered into.

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