The Goddess awakens in infinite forms and a thousand disguises. She is found where She is least expected, appears out of nowhere and everywhere to illumine the open heart.’
(Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, Harper and Row, NY, 1989 edition)
Women’s spirituality is one of the richest and most dynamic forces in modern paganism. Women are widely respected in pagan religions and have enriched paganism with a powerful vision of the goddesses – the long-ignored feminine aspect of the divine. In many pagan religions, women may be priestesses in their own right, strong and proud, with their own vision.
As well as working in the various traditions of paganism, women have established their own traditions. These traditions have many forms and are often deeply entwined with the aspirations of the Women’s Movement.
Drawing upon the inspiration of the image of the Wiccan Goddess, women explore their own feminine mysteries. For some women, this involves a denial of all things seen as patriarchal; for others it is a spiritual calling to throw off the conditioning chains of society’s stereotypes of women. These women see themselves as reclaiming or creating a new understanding of what it is to be female. They explore the mythologies of the world to discover the deeper meaning of what it is to be a woman. They seek to bring their discoveries to life in their own lives, sharing this new found knowledge by way of myth, song, dance and, where needed, political action.
Women’s traditions are often eclectic and loosely-structured. They tend to be highly creative with many spontaneous elements. Some women’s traditions are modeled on Wiccan practice and use rituals and celebrate seasonal festivals in a similar way. Other groups are more Shamanic. Others have blended aspects of different traditions to create new unique pathways.
Women’s traditions have an especially powerful vision of the Earth as the Goddess and are deeply involved with caring for the Earth and protecting her from the ravages of modem civilization. They are concerned with the healing of the Earth and with the healing of the image of women.
Starhawk: THE SPIRAL DANCE.
Diane Stein: DIANE STEIN’S GUIDE TO GODDESS CRAFT (also published as THE WOMENS SPIRITUALITY BOOK).
Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki: DAUGHTERS OF EVE – THE MAGICAL MYSTERIES OF WOMANHOOD.
Diane Mariechild: MOTHERWIT: A FEMINIST GUIDE TO PSYCHIC DEVELOPMENT.