Why Do We Have Feminist Spirituality? (Correct answer)

What does the Bible say about feminism?

  • Summary: What the Bible says about feminism. In matters of standing before God, both man and woman are equals: Gen 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Both men and women are in the image of God: yet God has created order in his creation. 1 Cor.

What is feminist spirit?

Gender and God Feminist spirituality may also object to images of God that they perceive as authoritarian, parental, or disciplinarian, instead emphasizing “maternal” attributes such as nurturing, acceptance, and creativity.

What are the characteristics of women’s spirituality?

Characteristics of spirituality included belief in God or Greater Source, prayer/meditation, and a sense of relationship or connectedness with others, nature and oneself. The dominant theme which emerged relative to these relationships was that of self-reliance or inner strength.

Why do we have spirituality?

Spirituality recognises that your role in life has a greater value than what you do every day. It can relieve you from dependence on material things and help you to understand your life’s greater purpose. Spirituality can also be used as a way of coping with change or uncertainty.

What is the feminist perspective on religion?

Feminists regard religion as a patriarchal institution which reflects and maintains the inequality in society where men dominate. Religion acts a patriarchal ideology that legitimates the oppression of women. Feminists view religion as patriarchal; Within religious organisations.

What is feminist mysticism?

In short, feminist mysticism is a ploy to make women feel. there is a special need for them.

What is feminist Christology?

Feminist christology, like many contemporary theologies, assumes that one must abandon in advance the search for certainty. It regards the question itself as inherently valuable, worthy of pursuit, and one to be lived with.

Where does spirituality focus?

Spirituality involves exploring certain universal themes – love, compassion, altruism, life after death, wisdom and truth, with the knowledge that some people such as saints or enlightened individuals have achieved and manifested higher levels of development than the ordinary person.

What are the characteristics of a woman of faith?

She is a woman of faith who trusts God and is confident and fearless.

  • A woman of faith trusts God and faces adversity with hope. She knows of His interest in her life.
  • A woman of faith is confident because she understands the divine plan of our Heavenly Father and her role to bless lives.
  • A woman of faith is fearless.

What are the 3 elements of spirituality?

The shamans, healers, sages, and wisdom keepers of all times, all continents, and all peoples, in their ageless wisdom, say that human spirituality is composed of three aspects: relationships, values, and life purpose.

What are examples of spirituality?

Spirituality is the state of having a connection to God or the spirit world. An example of spirituality is praying every day.

How is a spiritual person?

People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness. Some may find that their spiritual life is intricately linked to their association with a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue.

What does feminism stand for?

So what does feminism mean to us? Quite simply, feminism is about all genders having equal rights and opportunities. It’s about respecting diverse women’s experiences, identities, knowledge and strengths, and striving to empower all women to realise their full rights.

How does religion affect gender equality?

The effects of religion on development in the area of gender equality have been considered substantial in academic work as well as in popular and political discourse. A common understanding is that religion depresses women’s rights in general and reproductive and abortion rights in particular.

How did feminist theology start?

Feminist theology was one of several new theologies that began in the 1960s through participation in social movements seeking radical change. Among these were Black Theology in the United States and Liberation Theology in Latin America.

Feminist Spirituality

Feminist spirituality is a grassroots religious movement that exists both inside and outside of established faiths that seeks to restore the power, value, and dignity of women. That commitment is to bringing about in oneself and the world a different vision of justice and equality for all people. In particular, it concentrates on the women’s ancestors, women’s bodies as loci of the divine, and women’s efforts to replace patriarchal and kyriarchal cultures with society that promote equality for everyone.

It is centered on the Earth, is embodied, and is directed toward achieving global justice.

It consists of feminist knowledge, ceremonies, religious practices, prayers, and beliefs, as well as other elements.

Feminists asserted that Judaism and Christianity were sexist faiths, with a male God and male leadership, which legitimized the supremacy of males in family, church, and society, and that they should be abolished.

Some convened in consciousness-raising groups to express their own experiences, critique patriarchal culture, and fight to reform it.

Some women were able to reclaim a Goddess-centered religion that anchored them in a holy, embodied selves.

It was both challenged and enriched by a diverse range of voices, contents, methods, and perspectives, including those drawn from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American traditions, and African cultures, as well as twelve-step programs, self-help programs, and the New Age movement, to name a few influences.

  • The holy writings and practices of established faiths have long been a source of inspiration for feminists who have a religious background.
  • Christian women resurrected the biblical and apocryphal characters of Sophia and Mary and campaigned for women’s ordination in the Church of England.
  • The Reimagining movement was begun by a group of Protestant women.
  • Mujeristas offered a voice to the liberation efforts of women across the world.
  • Native American feminists resurrected memories of cultures that were centered on women and based on Mother-rituals.
  • From covens to sacred circles, women’s church base communities to envisioning communities, living rooms to farmlands, city centers to country corners, feminist spirituality organizations may be found in a range of locations.
  • They also increase feminist consciousness, serve as a community, aid in women’s spiritual search, and call for action to promote social justice.

Common themes in group discussions include shared leadership, personal stories, equality, affirmation, and ritual celebration.

Since the 1973 publication of Mary Daly’s Beyond God the Father, in which she said, “If God is male, then God is male,” feminists have publicly questioned primarily masculine depictions of God and suggested female goddesses as alternatives.

North American women have resurrected the adoration of ancient goddesses from throughout the world, including Europe, the Near East, Native America, Shamanism, Buddhism, and Celtic mythology, among other traditions.

They make use of symbols and tales, pictures and language, ritual components, and creative forms that have emerged as a result of women’s lived experiences, among other things.

Healing rituals provide assistance for women who have survived rape, incest, domestic abuse, addictions, breast cancer, hysterectomies, and HIV-AIDS.

The Wheel of the Year festivities restore the sanctity of the biological cycles of spring, summer, autumn, winter, and the four equinoxes, as well as the four seasons of the year.

They give a communal space in which women’s methods of knowing—thinking, feeling, reacting, and living—become accepted as the accepted way of knowing.

Religion; Ecofeminism; Feminist Theology;God; Goddess;Mary; Masculine Spirituality;Matriarchal Core; Matriarchy; Names and Naming; New Age Spirituality; New Religious Movements;Ordination of Women;Patriarchy;Priestess;Religious Communities; Spirituality;Womanist Theology;Women’s Studies;Womanist Theology;Women’s Studies


Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow are the editors of this volume. WomanspiritRising: A Feminist Reader in Religion was first published in 1979. Cynthia Eller is a writer who lives in the United States. Living in the Lap of the Goddess was published in 1995. Judith Plaskow and Carol P. Christ are the editors of this volume. The book Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality was published in 1989. Winter, Miriam Therese, Adair Lummis, and Allison Stokes are among the characters in this story.

Diann L.

Why Feminist Spirituality Is Best Called ‘Lived Religion’

Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow are the editors of this book. In 1979, WomanspiritRising: A Feminist Reader in Religious Studies was published by the University of California Press. Cynthia Eller is a writer and editor who lives in New York City. It was 1995 when I was living in the lap of the goddess. Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow have edited a book titled Feminist Spirituality: New Patterns in Weaving the Visions. New York: Free Press, 1988. Allie Stokes and Miriam Therese Winter are among the writers who have contributed to this collection.

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Diann L.

Why do we need feminist spirituality

NAUSICAA was invited to give the following talk. At the International Center of Photography on March 30th, 2016, Giulia Bianchito gave a presentation about her documentary work as part of the panel “Women in Photography.” You may watch the lecture here. (Begins at around 50:20 minutes) Rev. Dorothy Shugrue (she’s the tallest girl in this old portrait; she’s the tallest girl in this old shot) I understand why all of the young ladies are here, and I thank you for coming. I believe you are frightened about the future.

“You must concentrate on endurance, speed, and breathing.” I was under the impression that he was referring to this presentation, but he later clarified, saying, “I’m jogging tonight.” But it wasn’t until later in the day that I understood this piece of advice was applicable to my whole professional life.

  • Or, to put it another way, strength, patience, and spirit.
  • Alta Jacko in Chicago, Illinois, in 2013.
  • In order to do my study, I sent out a large number of letters to various experienced women in the sectors of art, religion, and politics.
  • Diane is an Irish-American woman who lives in Atlanta.
  • In reality, she was expelled from the church because she was ordained.
  • Giulia, “Could you possibly be damned to Hell for what you’ve done?” And I pondered how a pious woman could go against the teachings of her own faith.
  • Diane was not the only one who felt this way.
  • I inquired as to their background and motivations.

As defined by the Vatican, this is a major crime: Pope Benedict XVI’s Canon Law 1024 (also known as Vatican law) stipulates that “only a baptized man has the right to obtain ordination.” Order of excommunication issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (in Rome), according to the Vatican.

  • In 2010, the Vatican classified the crime of female ordination in the same category as the crime of pedophilia committed by priests.
  • However, they were not excommunicated and were not even penalized.
  • Pastoral Associates, Professors, Chaplains, nurses, and even nuns who work for any Catholic organization, including schools and hospitals, may lose their pensions, assistance, and housing if they are fired.
  • So, what would be the point of going through this?
  • They operate in the areas of social justice, ecological, education, and refugee help, to name a few.
  • They are putting forth significant effort to make this society more caring and just.
  • There are currently over 215 ordained women priests and 10 bishops in the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement worldwide, with the number increasing all the time.


So, what is the point of this narrative in the first place?

Female genital mutilation has been performed on approximately 200 million women alive today.


Women and girls account for two-thirds of the world’s poorest population.

Women account for half of the population, but their agendas, wants, experiences, and gifts are disregarded and neglected on a daily basis.

So, tonight, I’m here to ask you a question: Is it possible for a woman to really symbolize the divine?

And… Is it possible for a woman to be elected President of the United States?

The question is, how did we come to tolerate the natural denigration of women that is inherent in the rituals of global religions?

We, as women, have no idea what religion would look like if men and women worked together in meaningful cooperation to achieve equality.

In a world where God is portrayed as all masculine and macho, a warrior who is dictatorial and perfectionist and who is distant and all knowing, all rational and all powerful, this narrow image shapes our understanding of the entire world as one that is founded on power and punishment, and as a result, on inequality and violence.

  • This is a God who ensures that everyone remains under the authority of the one percent.
  • Is it necessary to have a feminist understanding of God?
  • The dreaded F-word.
  • God as mystery, presence, spirit, pure energy, pure life, pure love for life, ungendered, present in all creatures, including girls and boys and animals, and unable to be defined or quantified in any way.
  • This is not the end of the story: women are humans, as are blacks and Hispanics, as are the elderly and the ill, as are blind people, disabled people, children, homosexual people, and every other minority and every individual under the sun who isn’t in power is a human being as well.
  • As a result, a feminist spirituality must be established on equality and inclusivity, rather than hierarchy, and must not be centered on power but rather on collaboration and compassion.
  • When many people are unable to speak out against injustice for fear of losing their privileged positions in corporate, religious, or governmental systems, someone else, perhaps you and me, must be willing to advocate for justice and equality on their behalf.

Denise Menard in her New York City bedroom in 2015.

I believe you are frightened about the future.

Someone needs to invent a new way of thinking about the future, and art is a great way to do so.

Someone has to do it, and it might as well be you and me.

However, there are two things that you require the most at this time: the first is patience, and the second is faith.

Don’t give up on your dreams.

Don’t give up, just don’t give in.

Caitlin, costumed as a dead bride, in San Francisco, 2015.

Note: I would like to express my gratitude to sister Joan Chittister (whom I will quote several times throughout this lecture), the associations of Roman Catholic women priests, and all the other individuals who assisted me in my research for the project You Gave the Virgin a New Heart.

Future of Feminism: Shaping Feminist Spirituality

Despite (or perhaps because of) the patriarchal nature of many organized religions, feminism and spirituality have long-standing–if not universally-accepted –connections, ranging from ancient goddess worship to contemporary Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Wiccan/Pagan, and Muslimfeminisms, to name a few traditions. Today, I’d like to highlight a few of the many and varied intersections of feminism and spirituality that exist in our contemporary world. A great example of how non-denominational religious and spiritual practices can be marshaled for social justice is the Women Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER), which was founded in 1998.

  • Hunt and Dianne L.
  • According to Hunt, who spoke to the Ms.
  • While postmodernity is well on its way to displacing patriarchal faiths (albeit not at a fast enough pace), there is still a widespread desire for spiritual sustenance and a desire to make sense of the world’s complexity in the contemporary world.
  • The Girl God, a planned children’s book by Trista Hendren, will appeal to the next generation of spiritual feminists.
  • However, when I inquired as to whether she may have a Girl God residing inside her, she had an awakening to spirituality that she had never experienced before.
  • She hopes that, in addition to assisting girls in their relationship with religion, she will also encourage them to question patriarchy: In writing The Girl God, I want to bring spirituality back to my daughter in a way that she could comprehend while also introducing her to feminist ideas.
  • It is far too late now.
  • A variety of spiritual approaches are available for women through groups such as the YIN Project, The Goddess Collective, and the online courseKey to Feminine Power.

A Women’s History Month series recognizing groups and ideas that reflect the future of feminism is now in its twenty-fourth installment. Photo courtesy of Flickr userTemari 09 and used under Creative Commons 3.0 license.

Feminist spirituality

The focus of this chapter will be on feminist spirituality and its importance in the context of healthcare. That is to say, the manner in which women care for themselves and others will be influenced by their lived experiences and thoughts on their spiritual lives. Female spirituality maintains that women’s neglected experiences and ideas must be brought to the forefront of not just their religious lives, but also their personal and social lives, according to feminist spirituality. The healthcare industry is no exception.

  1. To be bold, I’ll assert that a lot of what distinguishes feminist spirituality in Judaism and Christianity is also relevant in some manner to other religious traditions, regardless of their origins.
  2. With an emphasis on themes that are particularly relevant to healthcare, the chapter provides examples of the ways in which these themes have been developed by spiritual and religious feminist thinkers, including those who are spiritual and religious feminist thinkers.
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When Feminism Becomes a Religion

Many readers have written to Sophie to express their dissatisfaction with the fact that an increasing number of female celebrities are eschewing the “feminist” label: I’m a man, and I used to believe that feminism was out of date since women had already gained the right to vote and to work. As time went on, I realized that feminism was still relevant, particularly in the battle against sexual assault and slut-shaming. But do I consider myself a feminist? Some individuals believe, as Sophie hinted in her remark, that being a feminist simply means supporting gender equality in all aspects of one’s life, including the family, the workplace, and the public sphere, and that it would be insane not to identify as one.

  • I believe that the government should not monitor pay discussions, for example, even if it would be ideal if women and men were paid the same for the same amount of labor.
  • I’d want to be, but I’m not the one who gets to define what the word means in the final analysis.
  • You do not have the authority to declare me or anybody else to be an afeminist just because they agree with a particular goal or set of beliefs.
  • It contributes to the fact that there is so much misunderstanding in the world.
  • Several more readers weigh in: “One of the most significant obstacles to more individuals identifying themselves as feminists is a lack of clarity on what the term truly implies,” says one.
  • Charlotte Proudman, the British attorney who has been at the center of the current LinkedIn sexism scandal, describes herself as a radical feminist who seeks emancipation rather than equality in her work.
  • This is why I identify as a feminist rather than an equalist.
  • Once women accept the rules of masculinity in our culture, our civilization will become even more terrible than we could have imagined.
  • Intersectionality is the dominant feminist worldview in today’s society.
  • Lena Dunham, Caitlin Moran, and Taylor Swift are just a few of the well-known examples.
  • Even when the tone is purported to be satirical, many women find the tone offensive.

Another reader writes: It’s important to recognize that when a large proportion of your natural allies—younger educated women in particular—reject what they perceive the term has come to mean, and you tell them that they’re wrong because it only means this other thing (that you know they support), you must acknowledge that the term no longer means only what you’d like it to mean.

(At the very least, “feminist” hasn’t amassed a poisonous penumbra on the scale of its equally innocuously-named adversary, “Men’s Rights Advocates”!) This conclusion, that language is not only not rule-bound but is also inextricably linked to its lived usage, is essentially what Ludwig Wittgenstein came to later in his professional life.

  1. Wittgenstein was a pioneer in the controversial linguistic conception of meaning as use, which holds that words can’t be specified apart from the life practices in which they are used.
  2. Speaking a language is a part of an activity, or even a component of a way of life, to paraphrase Wittgenstein.
  3. Because they are concerned that they will be attacked by those who have co-opted the phrase and turned it into code for “I despise males,” they take this precaution.
  4. I’ve considered myself a feminist since I first discovered what the term meant, and I’m well aware that I’ve benefited from the work of generations of feminists who have come before me.
  5. Absolutely, with the most significant being the exclusion of women of color from mainstream whitefeminist organizations.
  6. The Public Religion Research Institute’s figure above shows that, in 2015, “less than half of millennial women identify as ‘feminist,'” to add some numbers to the discussion.
  7. In the case of “equality for women,” for example, 85% say they believe in it.
  8. Respondents to the poll identified themselves as feminists in 18 percent of cases.
  9. Another 8% identify themselves anti-feminists, with a further 63 percent claiming to be neither one nor the other.
  10. In addition, a Gallup survey conducted in 2002 gives a glimpse into a historical trend: You have to wonder if the 3 percent increase in 1992 was attributable to Hillary Clinton’s arrival on the national stage and her husband’s election to the presidency.
  11. If you have anything to say in response to any of these readers, please send an email to [email protected]

Also, take sure to read Becca’s postscript, in which she wishes that more male politicians and other influential persons would be asked the question “Are you a feminist?” If you are aware of any instances in which the press has done so, please send an email to the [email protected] address.

Oh My God(dess)! Feminist Spirituality in the Third Wave

One distinguishing feature of third wave feminism is the demand that society eliminate all scripts; however, one script that persists among mainstream feminists is an anti-religious stance. In her new book, Feminist Spiritualities: The Next Generation, religion scholar Chris Klassen argues that it is past time to put this long-standing divide behind us. The book brings together the work of eleven young women academics who have written about the intersection of these two seemingly incompatible disciplines.

“, among others.

Given your background as a religious scholar and feminist, this isn’t the first book you’ve written on the subject, but how did you come to write a book about it?

While I was constantly referring to the same texts and theorists while teaching feminist spirituality, Goddess religion, women and religion, and other similar courses, I noticed that some of my students were beginning to ask questions that were different from those being asked by these writers, most of whom began writing in the 1970s.

  1. I started looking for other recent contributions to the field, but had a difficult time locating any of them.
  2. As a result, I set out to produce a resource that would be useful to me in my own classroom.
  3. What is the significance of this distinction?
  4. Their dissatisfaction with the ‘women-centered’ philosophy that was popularized during the second wave has persisted since then.
  5. A broad notion exists now that women should be treated equally in society, which was not always the case in the 1960s and 1970s.
  6. Many women grew up with moms, and occasionally fathers, who taught them that they could do everything they set their minds to.
  7. Making this difference, I believe, is important because it reemphasizes the fact that there are many various kinds of feminisms, each of which asks different questions and comes to different conclusions.

There is a significant distinction in that, while some feminists in the new century remain affiliated with a specific religion, such as Christianity or Wicca, there is also a great deal of religious plurality within the person.

Female spirituality, like much spirituality in the new century in general, is a bit of a mixed bag, and it is vital for the person to establish a spirituality that is tailored to her particular life experience and requirements.

What is the source of these depictions’ persistence, and how are they evolving?

This has really been a recurring subject in some of the second wave’s work on religion throughout the years.

This is a fallacious notion.

However, I have not noticed a significant shift in the academic Women’s Studies literature; there is still a dearth of feminist scholarship that takes religion into account on a variety of levels.

Was it your intention for the book to be primarily concerned with newly formed Western versions of Goddess spirituality, witchcraft, and paganism, or was it something else entirely?

It is simply the way things worked out as a result of the response to my request for submissions.

Some people use the word ‘feminist spirituality’ to refer to ‘alternatives’ to orthodox religion, which is correct.

(That is, if there are people working on third wave feminism inside traditional faiths, which I sincerely hope is the case.) Nonetheless, as I previously stated, much of feminist spirituality in the new century seeks to blur the boundaries between faiths, thus it is possible that individuals most interested in third wave feminist spirituality are not very interested in conventional religions.

  • Why?
  • It should have been called Feminist Spiritualities instead.
  • We don’t typically think of the Internet as a place for spiritual practice, yet many young women are creating Web sites and blogs in order to foster community and participate in theological debate.
  • This is the most important question of the day for everyone who practices a religious faith and makes use of the Internet.
  • One of the most obvious ways in which the Internet has an impact on feminist spirituality is by increasing women’s access to information and resources.
  • However, it also stresses the importance of “my” spiritual practice rather than “our group’s” spiritual practice by focusing on “my” spiritual practice.
  • However, fostering individuality is not as straightforward as it appears.

In general, the impact of the Internet on feminist spirituality is not much different from the impact of the Internet on every other part of our life, including our personal lives.

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It, in my opinion, restricts the scope of feminism.

Even in the second wave, this was there, but in a less obvious manner.

Numerous women of color criticized early white second wave feminists for presuming that women of color and white second wave feminists would have more in common as women than white second wave feminists would have with males of color.

A large number of third wave feminists, as a result of their higher individualism, perceive their identities as distinct individual categories that only partially coincide with the identities of any other person.

In this case, being “female-oriented” would only be a small part of their life and would be of minor use—if at all.


Inner Space: The Spiritual Frontier by Margot AdlerExcerpted with permission fromSISTERHOOD IS FOREVER: THE WOMEN’S ANTHOLOGY FOR A NEW MILLENNIUM, compiled, edited, and with an Introduction by Robin Morgan (Washington Square Press, a division of Simon and Schuster, March 2003).The contemporary women’s spirituality movement was born in the early 1970s, after women confronted an uncomfortable truth: “God” was male.

The notion that “God” is considered male in the monotheistic religions dominating our present era “legitimates all earthly Godfathers,” to quote feminist philosopher Mary Daly-or, as she summed it up, “If God is male, then the male is God.” The Creative Force-God/Goddess, whatever we choose to call it-is, of course, beyond gender, perhaps beyond knowing.

This is particularly true for women who have grown up in the Abrahamic faiths or “religions of the book”: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

But they have also forged a spiritual movement emphasizing the sacredness of this world, the body, and the earth, one standing in stark contrast to extremist, proselytizing religious views-especially fundamentalisms, whether Christian, Hebrew, Islamic, or other.The women’s spirituality movement originated, in part, from insights gained in consciousness-raising (C-R) groups, in which women dared speak aloud their most intimate thoughts and feelings with no fear of being interrupted or silenced.

They talked about work, motherhood, sexuality, menstruation, lesbianism, childhood, men; their discussions brought about a sharing of insights from which a new vision of power and politics emerged.

Some feminists studied ancient civilizations to see if women had different notions of power; others examined the history of their own religious traditions and created female-centered liturgies; still others, despairing that traditions so entangled with patriarchy could ever be a source of liberation, created new, women-centered religions outside the mainstream.

At this writing, in 2002, Roman Catholic women still cannot become priests ; Orthodox Jewish women still cannot be rabbis; only recently have Conservative Jewish women been able to enter the rabbinate and have Episcopal women become priests and bishops.

Meanwhile, outside the mainstream religions, women’s spirituality has flowered.

For women whose notion of the feminine had been shaped in the 1950s, images of Athena, Hecate, Artemis, Isis, Kali, and Spider Woman (to mention just a few) have been healthful medicine.

Not only were the original myths and legends of almost every indigenous culture vibrant with strong, active women-often the creators of civilization, the arts, agriculture, industry, politics, and social life-but non-Western cultures also taught North American and European women new ways of perceiving humanity’s relationship to the natural world.

  • Many women and quite a few men were changed radically by the course.
  • New tensions sprang up between humanists and rationalists on one hand, and those who embraced this new, more passionate, ceremonial direction.
  • The original course had emphasized Europe (ancient goddesses of Greece and the British Isles).
  • But with the exception of the UU example, most women’s spirituality groups have grown outside of official religion: small groups of women creating meaningful religious life.
  • Barbara Ehrenreich and Dierdre English wrote a groundbreaking pamphlet, later a book, linking the persecution of women and witches with the rise of the medical profession.
  • Why would feminists identify with the word, given its negative connotations?
  • But it also evokes a person defined by herself, not by men.
  • Most major religions assume a hierarchy from a god on down through messiahs and prophets to gurus and disciples-with nature as a lowly servant.
  • The dichotomies characterizing our age-mind versus body, spirit versus material, sacred/secular, play/work, emotion/rationality, white/black, men/women-reflect religious and philosophical views mired in such dualisms and hierarchies.
  • Women’s spirituality encourages a pluralism and egalitarianism worthy of democracy at its best.
  • We maybelievein evolution, but we act as if the world began with the myth of Adam and Eve.

The so-called “great religions,” the monotheistic religions that dominate our time, are all quite recent in human history-and despite the beauty and profundity of many of their scriptures, they all contain foundational texts reeking with hatred of women and denigration of the body and the material world.

Alongside the poetry and wisdom in theTorah, theBible, and theKoran, are texts justifying human sacrifice, religious war, martyrdom, and a preference for an abstract heaven over a tangible earth.

There has rarely been a better (or more bitter) moment for us to grasp the toxicity of these scriptural texts’ impact than in the post-9/11/2001 reality.

They were based on the rhythms of celestial bodies, the movement of herds, the turn of the seasons; they emphasized ceremonies of birth, life, death, regeneration.

Each people had its own sacred places, its own rivers and mountains, so there was no assumption that there was (or should be) a single truth.

Being based on oral tradition instead of literal text, there was no scripture to fight over.

Earth-centered religions understand “god” or “gods” as immanent in nature, connected to all things, from rocks to trees to human creatures.

It’s perhaps no wonder that many women turned from beliefs that denigrated the body and the world, and looked to the earth-centered traditions for sustenance, sometimes recasting them in contemporary forms, seeking a metaphysics that might heal the split between material and spiritual.

Christian feminist writer Rosemary Radford Reuther has noted that hierarchy is not essential in the Christian tradition; God/ess is not merely mother and father but all roles and experience.

Moroccan sociologist Fatima Mernissi is one of numerous Muslim feminists who have done extensive studies reinterpreting Koranic and Shari’a texts and Hadiths to expose sexist, patriarchal interpretations and to encourage Muslim women to redefine Islam in more inclusive, humanist ways.

One is our scholarship.

We do not need to exaggerate the number of witches killed under European persecutions, nor need we inflate the existence of real cultures where women held power (or women and men held equal power) into notions of a single, ancient, universal age of matriarchy.

Women have founded a range of support groups, from spiritual families to forms of therapy.

But there have been abuses (perhaps unavoidably, in a world dominated by capitalism, some women have charged money for “goddess circles,” as if they were group-therapy sessions).

Furthermore, although there’s power in the idea that one’s knowledge of reality springs from personal experience, in spiritual work reality is not always clear, and “trusting one’s feelings” has lead many a spiritual leader down the road to self-delusion.

We also need to remember our politics.

It has a place for mystics-and for agnostics and atheists.

Moreover, some “NewAge” ideas are problematic for most feminists-e.g.

In the U.S., whence much of the contemporary women’s spirituality movement originated, both women and men must confront not only a liberation but also an impoverishment that comes with a lack of rooted traditions.

If our ancestors were Native American peoples, our traditions were decimated through colonialism and forced conversion.

If our ancestors came here as immigrants, fleeing authoritarianism, our traditions were lost in the desire to assimilate.

A crucial aspect of women’s spirituality involves the discovery, re-creation, and creation of stories and ceremonies that foster that sense of community-but one with a contemporary sense of democracy and egalitarianism.

Allowing ecstasy and intellectual integrity at the same time, the forms of such spirituality are many, but its coexistence with freedom and modern life is something that our whole world could use as a model.

Just as the health of a forest can be measured by the number of varied creatures who thrive there, so only by an abundance of spiritual and philosophical paths can human beings navigate a path through the murk of our epoch.

Yet women and men who embrace a sacred female principle can gain not only a new understanding of themselves as whole, sacred beings; they can envision a world complex enough to sustain-and evolve-humanity.Margot Adlerhas been a priestess of Wicca since 1973.

A graduate of the University of California (Berkeley) and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she was a 1982 Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

San Francisco: HarperRow, 1979.Gimbutas, Marija.

San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.

New York: HarperRow, 1986; second edition New York: HarperCollins, 1991.Spretnak, Charlene.The Politics of Women’s Spirituality.

San Francisco: HarperRow, 1979.Excerpted with permission fromSISTERHOOD IS FOREVER: THE WOMEN’S ANTHOLOGY FOR A NEW MILLENNIUM, compiled, edited, and with an Introduction by Robin Morgan (Washington Square Press, a division of Simon and Schuster, March 2003). Copyright © 2003 by Robin Morgan

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