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Awakening to the Godess
Many women and men are beginning to celebrate the feminine aspects of life that have long been ignored. In doing so they discover the possible seeds of a cultural transformation.
|By Marguerite Rigoglioso|
Like many people, I first heard about goddesses in elementary school when we studied the Greek myths. Such two-dimensional, petty, vain creatures they seemed! I never imagined their stories could offer anything more than light amusement, like sitcoms or soap operas. Then four years ago, I attended a seminar on women and self-esteem. A Boston-area therapist, Greta Bro, told us that for a woman to feel truly good about herself, she must come to understand how deeply she has been wounded simply by having grown up in a culture that considers God male. Living under the image of "God the Father," Bro explained, a woman never has her identity affirmed as a reflection of the divine; in some subtle way, that leaves her feeling inadequate and inferior to men. To reclaim a sense of entitlement and wholeness, Bro said, a woman must realize that divinity has a female aspect as well ñ that for thousands of years, in fact, ancient cultures worshiped goddesses. And a woman must begin to experiment with opening to the Sacred Feminine in her own life, seeing the divine in herself and herself in the divine
These ideas sparked a tremor inside me, as though a deep, hidden memory were stirring. A month later, I followed Bro's suggestion to look for a replica of a goddess with whom I identified, to display in my home. Synchronistically, work took me to Berkeley, California, one of the places Bro had suggested looking for Goddess figurines. I went to the book store she'd spoken of, feeling giddy and expectant, as though I'd secretly been given permission to do something illicit. With only a vague recollection of the Greek pantheon, I asked the sales staff for books on goddesses. A helpful woman sat me in a chair and plopped several books in my lap.
One was The Language of the Goddess by an archeologist named Marija Gimbutas. Gimbutas was talking about goddesses alright, but no goddesses I'd ever seen. These were mysterious divinities from prehistoric times with strange-shaped bodies and no names.
As I flipped through the pages, I spotted an anatomical drawing of a woman's uterus and fallopian tubes; nearby was an image of a horned bull's head. In Old European art, the text said, the symbol of the bull was "diametrically opposed" to the image of male power later associated with it in Indo-European mythology, where the bull represented the Thunder God. The bull, whose head was shaped like the female reproductive organs, was "a symbol of regeneration," Gimbutas had written.
As I read that, I had the strange sensation of reality turning upside down. My pulse quickened as I picked up Barbara Walker's The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, where I learned that the first Holy Trinity was Maiden, Mother, and Crone (not Father, Son, and Holy Ghost); that menstrual blood was once considered sacred; and that in many cultures Friday the 13th was the Goddess's holy day. I felt I had begun to penetrate a mystery, the hidden world of women's history.
That mystical awakening marked the beginning of my spiritual journey, one that has since led me deep inside myself and to faraway mountaintop temples and sacred caves, searching for the Goddess. At first I felt isolated and unsupported in my quest, but I soon found I was not alone.
Without fanfare, around the world, often in the most unexpected places, women are giving birth to their own kind of spirituality ñ grassroots, improvisational, as varied as the individual participants. But with some half a million people allied with it in one way or another, the female spirituality movement is a force to be reckoned with. Some observers even call it an emerging new religion.
Guided by intuition, scholarly study, stories, and images of female divinity, women are reclaiming what they see as their birthright. "Whether they are practicing their spirituality alone, in groups, or in their synagogues or churches of origin," says Elinor Gadon, academic director of the doctoral program in women's spirituality at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, "women of the movement are focusing on exploring the sacredness of the female body, sexuality, and women's experience."
|The first Holy Trinity was Maiden, Mother, and Crone...||In ritual gatherings and study groups, women are finding a place where feminism and
spiritual inquiry merge. They are also finding a place to heal from the abuses of
cultural and religious traditions that have systematically distorted or ignored women's
experience. Enlivened by their work together, spiritual feminists are beginning to
feel empowered to champion social change in new ways. They share the belief that
only through the reintegration of the feminine principle in our culture will it be
possible to heal the environmental degradation and social breakdown that threaten
"Some people are fond of the phrase, 'the Goddess is rising,"' notes Willow La Monte, editor of the international women's spirituality newspaper Goddessing Regenerated. ''Although in certain cultures the Goddess never went away, in other cultures that 'rising' is true not only figuratively but literally," she adds, referring to archeological excavations of the past fifty years that have uncovered evidence of widespread worship of female deities dating back to prehistoric times.
|We cannot even begin to understand the Godess unless we drop the dualist thinking that draws distinctions between spirit and nature, male and female, mind and body.||
The Women's Spiritual movement today is a far more recent phenomenon ñ perhaps 25 years old. Membership is worldwide, though concentrated in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. But with no overarching organization, leadership, or dogma, the movement is so diffuse that many women who consider themselves spiritual feminists have no idea they are part of a larger trend.
Eclectic and loosely conceived, the women's spirituality movement draws on a range of disciplines and traditions, from neopaganism, Jewish and Christian feminism, political feminism, Jungian theory, and psychotherapy to Eastern philosophies, Native American practices, holistic healing, metaphysics, and ecology. But despite these diverse influences, the movement has an identity of its own, according to religion scholar Cynthia Eller, author of Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America. What makes feminist spirituality distinctive, Eller asserts, is not only its focus on "thealogy" ñ systematic study of thea, the Goddess, the Divine Feminine ñ but also its emphasis on women's empowerment, ritual, the sanctity of nature, and a revisionist view of cultural history.
Many come to feminist spirituality through the plethora of newsletters, books, workshops, educational programs, and public events on the Goddess that have sprung up over the past two decades. But for some women ñ and even men - the path is more direct: a mystical encounter with a presence that feels distinctly feminine, for which they can find no explanation in mainstream religion.
Actress Olympia Dukakis began exploring women's spirituality in the mid 1980's after hearing a female voice that said, "You should celebrate me. You will know how to do so because you are part of me." Dukakis recalls, "I didn't tell any one for a long time, because I thought I was nuts." Searching for a way to make sense of her experience, she was drawn to a Buddhist bookstore. "I was standing in front of a shelf and a book literally fell at my feet. Naturally, it was Merlin Stone's When God Was a Woman," she says with a laugh. "I would read that book and run to my husband screaming, 'Listen to this!' It was as though the veils were being lifted, my eyes were being opened." This June, Dukakis will participate in a symposium on the Goddess, sponsored by the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, D.C..
What Dukakis discovered in her search has also changed the consciousness of many others seeking a woman friendly spiritual path. When God Was a Woman is a comprehensive study of how the ancient goddesses of the Near and Middle East ñ and the men and women who venerated them ñ were slowly disempowered, demonized, or driven underground by the rise of the patriarchal power structure.
The idea of civilizations in which women held political and spiritual authority has intrigued scholars for the past few hundred years. But it was the work of archeologist Marija Gimbutas in the '70s and '80s that provided the first scientific evidence for the existence of such cultures in ancient Europe and the Near East. By carefully examining the remains of dwellings, temples, and graves (and thousands of figurines found there, 90 percent of them female) Gimbutas fleshed out a picture of civilizations in Europe during the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods ñ roughly 30,000 B.C. to 2,500 B.C. These cultures, she said, revered nature as sacred, shunned warfare, achieved advanced levels of artistic and economic sophistication, and placed women at the center of social and religious life.
But, according to Gimbutas, around 4,300 B.C. these sedentary, agricultural peoples began to be overrun by Indo Europeans from the Russian steppes. The invaders, who prized male supremacy and warfare, and worshiped male sky deities, eventually dominated Europe and the Near East, paving the way for monotheistic Judeo-Christian cultures. Many centuries later, during the Renaissance, when another wave of patriarchal oppression hit Europe, thousands who were practicing the Old Goddess religion as pagans, herbalists, midwives, or healers were tortured or killed in the witch hunts.
Today's feminist revisioning of the past challenges many scholarly assumptions about spiritual practices in early human societies. Not surprisingly, what some call the "sacred history" of the women's spirituality movement remains the subject of intense debate. But on a personal level, most spiritual feminists find this reinterpretation empowering. To them, the idea that spirituality was once the province of women is, as Dukakis puts it, "an incredible validation of instincts and feelings that many women have had all along."
The broad question of what life was like in ancient Goddess times interests many spiritual feminists. And the desire to restore the Goddess ñ and by extension all women ñ to a respected place in society inspires much of the movement's ritual, art, scholarship, and political activism. Making pilgrimages to sites of ancient and present-day Goddess worship is another way women deepen their spiritual commitment and their sense of connection to a sacred past.
For many women, encountering the history of the Goddess evokes a sense of "coming home." Some even recall past lives in Goddess times. But despite these intuitive connections, an awakening to female spirituality raises inevitable questions: Just who is the Goddess? Is She omniscient, omnipotent, God in drag? Is She an Earth spirit? Or does She dwell within?
Feminist theologian Carol Christ, in her most recent book, Rebirth of the Goddess (published by Addison-Wesley), suggests that we cannot even begin to understand the Goddess unless we drop the dualist thinking that draws distinctions between spirit and nature, male and female, mind and body.
Some women see the Goddess not as a transcendent, all-knowing being who grants favors, like the Judeo-Christian God, but as an essence immanent in nature and woman. "For me, the Goddess is about embodied female power," says Maine-based artist and therapist Patricia Reis, author of Through the Goddess: A Womans Way of Healing. "For so long religions have told us that our bodies are disgusting, dangerous, inferior and that to be spiritual you have to leave the body behind. That's really hard to do if you're bleeding every month! The Goddess images from the Neolithic period, with their emphasis on breasts, buttocks, and bellies, connect us again with the sacredness of sexuality and birth giving and menstruation." Willow LaMonte takes a similar view. "I wouldn't say I believe in a Goddess; it's more like I experience her," she says. "She's the organic power in women; she's inherent in the natural world, in the rhythm of the seasons."
Other women talk about the Goddess in psychological terms. Nicole Christine, a priestess who facilitates women's circles in Ariwna, says, "I believe that we find the Divine within ourselves. It's as though I have an inner council of goddesses whom I can call upon for guidance and strength. The way I see it," Christine adds, "by honoring ourselves and one another, we honor the Goddess."
Still others are inclined to look at the Goddess as an external divinity or set of divinities, in some instances as the Great Mother. Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade, a feminist revisioning of gender and cultural evolution, says, "I believe that what we call loving divinities, male or female, probably exist as energy fields in the universe somewhere, and sometimes we can align ourselves with them. I think this is what the ancients did. Personally, I find the notion of having a relationship with a deity you can think of as a mother profoundly healing."
Then there are women who revere specific, anthropomorphized goddesses: Isis, the Great Goddess of Egypt, for example; or Kali, the Hindu "dark" mother embodying nature's endless cycle of creation and destruction; or Tonantsi, the "good mother" of the Aztecs. One goddess to whom African-American author Luisah Teish makes offerings is Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of the volcano. "She has shown up to help me at important times in my life," maintains Teish. "Don't play with Madame Pele, honey! Mother is serious, OK? You'd better be clear about what you say to her because whatever it is, she'll reinforce it."
|Spiritual feminists tend to view the rythms and cycles of of women's bodies and of nature as reflections of one another and of the Sacred Feminine.||
Underlying all these views is the inclusive attitude characteristic of female spirituality. Apara Borrowes, a Boston area therapist who has been involved in womens spirituality for 14 years, says, "The feeling in the movement is that whatever makes you feel empowered and connected to a sense of the sacred is fine."
Regardless of the personal thealogizing the Goddess inspires, spiritual feminists are nearly unanimous about the healing benefits of ancient Goddess myths and images. "Many of the early Goddesses," Willow LaMonte explains, "are called 'virgin,' meaning 'complete unto herself.' This offers modern women the archetype of being whole and complete just as we are, whether or not we are in relationships with men."
Pointing to goddess images of the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras, when zaftig proportions were the norm, La Monte adds, "We get such negative messages in our culture that we're never OK, no matter what we look like. Seeing that fruitful mothers and older women who sag were once considered beautiful and sacred is very validating and healing for women today."
The women's spirituality movement traces its origins to the secular feminism of the late '60s and early '70s. As Cynthia Eller puts it, "A feminist perspective that began by asking why little girls had to wear pink and big girls had to wear high heels segued naturally into one that asked why God was a man and women's religious experiences went unnoticed."
As feminists began to challenge established religion, some, including theologians Rosemary Radford Ruether and Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, remained within the Catholic tradition to work for change, as many other women are doing today. The impact of feminist spirituality on mainstream religion is evident in successful efforts to remove sexist language from the liturgy, to acknowledge women's role in early Christianity, and to recognize the Feminine as an aspect of God.
Ordination of women has increased in both the Christian and Jewish faiths, and women now make up more than one third of the enrollment in theological seminaries. Recently, two avowed feminists were installed as dean at two of the country's most prestigious institutions ñ Rosemary Keller at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and Margaret Miles at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Meanwhile, some women see no conflict in following a spiritual path that combines traditional and non-traditional practices. Jungian analyst and psychiatrist Jean Shinoda Bolen even calls herself an "Episcopagan."
But other women, some of them influenced by the writings of Mary Daly, author of Beyond God the Father and other radical feminist books, believe that traditional Christianity and Judaism are too imbued with patriarchal ideology to fully embrace female-centered spirituality and, as a result, they have left those faiths. Many who have renounced traditional religions have gravitated to Wicca, a spiritual movement that accelerated in the '50s. While these women have found much to affirm in neopaganism, including its reverence for nature and the Goddess, some of them, according to Cynthia Eller, have been put off by the sexism in some neopagan groups.
In the late '70s, scholars and authors such as Zsuzsanna Budapest, Starhawk, Carol Christ, and Naomi Goldenberg began to develop new feminist spiritual visions based on emerging information about ancient Goddess traditions. Today both neopaganism and women's spirituality flourish side by side, and continue to inform one another. "What's new today," Apara Borrowes says, "is that many women are coming to embrace woman-centered spirituality spontaneously, without ever having heard of neopaganism or Wicca. An incredible creative outpouring is happening that we've never seen before."
In yet another twist, many spiritual feminists are reclaiming the gifts of healing and psychic ability they believe to be the natural province of women ñ skills and capacities that have been ignored or demonized by traditional religions. For ten years, author Vicki Noble, co-creator of the Motherpeace Tarot Deck, a feminist take on an ancient tool for transformation, has been holding healing circles around the country. She leads the gatherings of twenty or more in chanting, drumming, and hands-on healing of people who come to the circle with a variety of ailments. "I get the women functioning as priestesses, like women did in the mystery religions of ancient times," Noble says. "The techniques they learn for channeling energy through their hands are very simple. It's something they can take back to their communities." Through these healing circles, Noble claims, "we've put a brain tumor, lupus, and multiple sclerosis into remission. We've also eradicated an ovarian cyst and have had lots of success with symptoms of menopause." She is now working with medical doctors to investigate and document the phenomenon.
Spiritual feminists tend to view the rhythms and cycles of women's bodies and of nature as reflections of one another and of the Sacred Feminine. Earth itself is revered as the Goddess Gaia; many in the women's spirituality movement are working to bring humans back into alignment with the land. Writers such as Starhawk and Charlene Spretnak have helped articulate an "eco-feminist" philosophy that has inspired women to take greater responsibility for the environment through a mix of activism, prayer, and ritual magic. Brooke Medicine Eagle, a Native American teacher, believes there is particular power in women joining in groups of eight to accomplish such goals.
Ritual is an important thread drawing spiritual feminists together. Performed alone or in groups, it is a tool for worship, supplication, healing, ecstatic experience, and celebration. It is also a means for altering the psychic and material worlds through visualization and prayer ñ magic, in short. This is not negative magic but what Cynthia Eller calls "appropriate technology," a way of drawing on the unseen forces of nature.
Some goddess rituals celebrate the cycles of nature ñ the solstices, the equinoxes, the full and new moons. Others mark key events in a woman's life ñ puberty, conception, motherhood, abortion, miscarriage, gynecological surgery, middle age, menopause, cronehood. According to Elinor Gadon, the word ritual comes from rtu, Sanskrit for menstruation: thus, the very notion of ritual is internally connected with women. Most rituals take place around an improvised altar that the participants create using objects with personal or symbolic meaning, from photographs, flowers, feathers, stones, and talismans, to images of various goddesses. (Many women also have home altars for private meditation.) "Group ritual opens up a whole world inside us,' says Borrowes, who helps lead ritual circles at the Women's Lodge in Watertown, Massachusetts. "It invites us to come out, to be heard and accepted, and to be celebrated for who we are."
|The women's spirituality movement os often criticized for not being more culturally inclusive.||Rituals tend to be spontaneous or only loosely scripted, reflecting the creative
impulses of the participants. Some examples:
* In an octagonal dwelling in the Arizona desert, a group of self-appointed priestesses aged thirty to seventy draws a roomful of people deep into trance as each priestess embodies a different goddess, sending healing prayers out to humanity.
* Across the continent, in a candlelit basement in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a middle-aged woman wails in grief over the abuse she experienced as a child, while members of her women's circle gently caress her, crooning, "All will be well; all will be well."
* Another women's circle in the Boston area improvises an elaborate "rebirthing" ritual to help reverse the sense of abandonment and neglect many suffered early in life. Some of the women take on the role of newborn babies; others serve as mothers and female elders, offering the "newborns" ecstatic words of welcome.
|Only in women's ritual circles could I find a safe haven to express my feelings, rediscover my female wisdom, and begin to restore my own sense of spiritual authority.||
But who are these women gathering to celebrate the Goddess? They range in age from their late twenties to their mid seventies; most are white, educated, middle class, and of Jewish or Christian origin. Over the last ten years, a small but growing number of women from other cultures and races have added their voices to the spiritual-feminist conversation. African-Americans such as Luisah Teish are broadening awareness of the stories and images of African goddesses and their intimate relationship to black women's power. Native Americans, Brooke Medicine Eagle, Dhyani Ywahoo, and Paula Gunn Allen have turned to their own traditions for signs of women's strength and for spiritual practices that connect women with the earth. And in the Latina community, writers such as Gloria Anzaldua are leading a movimiento macha to introduce women to the female-affirming heritage of pre-Columbian cultures.
Still, the women's spirituality movement is often criticized for not being more culturally inclusive. "Part of the problem," says Ubaka Hill, a drummer and social activist, "at least in terms of the African-American community, has to do with language. Women of color don't generally use the word 'goddess'; we use 'ancestor' So sometimes when African-American women see the word 'goddess,' to them it automatically means 'white-girl thing.'"
Women of color are often uncomfortable going into the white neighbourhoods where women's spirituality events are usually held, Hill says. And perhaps most important, "some African-American women don't really want to share their traditions with white women for fear of being somehow ripped off, as they have been in so many other ways by white society."
Luisah Teish takes issue with the cultural biases she sometimes finds among white spiritual feminists. "I've seen white feminist writers drag something significant that happened in black Africa and claim it for white people by placing it in the Middle East or Europe," she says. "I've also heard women defend witchcraft by saying, 'It's not voodoo; we don't worship the devil.' That, of course, shows great ignorance about what the African practice of voodoo is! So things like this have been the cause of great alienation for African American women."
Anne Yeomans, one of the founders of the Women's Spirituality Program at the Interface Foundation, an educational center in Newtonville, Massachusetts, acknowledges, "The lack of integration is a limitation of the movement right now." However, she points out, "it may he necessary for white women to focus on recovering their own roots. We, too, have been terribly severed from our ancient traditions, from our earth roots, from our feelings and body wisdom and passions."
Spiritual feminists have also been criticized for excluding men, male divinities, and male sacred experience from their circles, beliefs, and practices. "In fact, the movement isn't ultimately separatist," maintains Yeomans, "but right now, women need to meet in circles to find their own voices. We're still trying to find words for our experiences and feelings. We're still trying to find our power. I don't think we can have the conversation we need to have with men until we do this. But I am indeed committed to eventually having that dialogue with men, as are a lot of women."
In some quarters of the movement, in fact, the bridge is already in place. Nicole Christine recently expanded the nine-month "Awakening the Priestess Process" program she offers in Arizona to include an "Awakening the Priest" component for men. "These programs are initiatory experiences designed first to restore the power of the Sacred Feminine to women and men, and second to evolve our understanding of the Sacred Masculine. Then we explore how to harmonize the Feminine and MascuIine mysteries in community," she says.
As part of the bridge-building, Christine and a growing community of priestesses in Arizona are also engaged in a deep exploration of the biblical figure of Mary Magdalene. "Magdalene, according to my inner understanding and a lot of the scholarship that is now coming out," says Christine, "was a high priestess of Isis, the Goddess of Love, which means she was a sexual priestess, a sacred prostitute. Some scholars believe there was a divine consortship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and that they even had children together."
Christine offers "Magdalena Mystery School" circles to women who are interested in reclaiming what she calls the "sacramental nature of sexuality." She is also planning a "Magdalena Pilgrimage to Wholeness" in May, 2000. As part of this journey, a group of women and men will travel to the alleged birthplace of Mary Magdalene in Magdala, Israel, to conduct a ritual symbolizing the sacred union of the Divine MascuIine and Feminine.
Christine finds that as she explores the outer edges of what it means to be a woman fully centered in herself and connected to the Goddess, she is coming full circle to the religion of her childhood. "Many of us are really coming to understand that being a Magdalena priestess is about recognizing and honoring the Christ in every man, just as it is for every man to recognize and honor the Magdalena in every woman," she says. "We're engaged in a process that will eventually redefine the Christian myth."
As a former Catholic, I find Christine's efforts to reclaim Christianity for women particularly powerful and moving. That I am open to revisiting my religion of origin is rather remarkable, given that the very mention of Catholicism once set my blood boiling. For a long time after my awakening to the Goddess in that Berkeley bookstore, I rejected traditional religions and mythologies ñ and even distanced myself from men ñ as I attempted to uncover women's hidden history for myself. I experienced a period of profound grief and rage touched off by my discovery of the demise of the ancient Goddess cultures, and my growing awareness of the physical and emotional violence toward women that has gone on for millenia.
Only in women's ritual circles could I find a safe haven to express my feelings, rediscover my female wisdom, and begin to restore my own sense of spiritual authority.
On December 3, 1995, I took vows as a priestess of the Goddess in a ceremony in New Hampshire led by Vicki Noble. The ritual symbolized my commitment to help restore the Feminine principle on the planet through my writing and teaching, as well as through prayer, ritual, and a decision to live with integrity, love, and compassion.
Since then, as my sense of personal power as a woman has grown, I have found it easier to open to men. Perhaps not coincidentally, last fall for the first time I met several men with a deep reverence for the Sacred Feminine. Around the same time, another synchronicity occurred in my life. During a telephone conversation one night, Nicole Christine mentioned that a priestess does not fully step into her power until a year and a day after her initiation, an esoterically significant passage of time that should be marked with a celebratory ritual. Checking my calendar, I was stunned to discover that Nicole and I were speaking on December 4, 1996, my own year-and-a-day anniversary, which would have gone completely unnoticed had it not been for her chance remark.
I suddenly saw an event from the day before in a new light. I had received a letter from a man in Florida that read, "I'm writing to you because you're the only person in the Institute of Noetic Sciences membership directory who expressed a primary interest in Goddess consciousness. I've discovered in my studies of spirituality and feminist writings that it is the Goddess aspect that is missing from our culture. Men, as well as women, need the Goddess for a whole approach to life.
"I've investigated various approaches to honoring the Goddess," his letter continued, "but I firmly believe that the proper way is for women to take the lead in this regard. I know this is the way of the Old Religion, too. If you care to dialogue about this, or can recommend the best way for a man to get involved with the Goddess, let me know."
In reading that, I experienced a strange feeling of destiny. Realizing that the letter had arrived on the year anniversary of my initiation, I fully understood its message: It was an affirmation of my priestesshood and a call for me to step into the role more fully. With only two hours of my year-and a-day anniversary left, I took a ritual bath to celebrate. I lit two candles ñ one red, one white, the pagan colours for menstrual blood and semen. As I luxuriated in the steamy, lavender-scented water, I meditated on the notion of the hieros gamos, an ancient sexual rite between priestess and priest that symbolized the union of the Divine Feminine and Masculine. I thought about how good it was to revisit Christianity with the eyes of a priestess, how satisfying it felt to restore its lost Feminine aspect.
Circling back to our origins again and again to find the new in the old, the gold in the dross, is, at bottom, what women's spirituality is all about. I felt that the ancient ones in Goddess times must have understood this pattern of returning to the source; this deep, mystical knowing is reflected in the spiral symbol with which they decorated their sacred objects and temples.
As I concluded my private ritual, I thanked the Goddess for the fascinating journey thus far, and asked her to guide and inspire those of us intent on healing the earth and humanity by restoring ancient female wisdom. After five thousand years of suppression, a woman's touch seems long overdue.
Marguerite Riogoglioso, a Boston-based writer, is working on a book about her Goddess pilgrimages to Greece and Sicily. Her e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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