[Editor’s Note: This was first proposed in The Mago Circle, Facebook Group, on March 6, 2014. We have our voices together below and publish them in sequels. It is an ongoing project and we encourage our reader to join us! Submit yours today to Helen Hwang (firstname.lastname@example.org). Or visit and contact someone in Return to Mago’s Partner Organizations.]
Harriet Ann Ellenberger I got involved with women’s liberation in the early 1970s, so involved that it became my life for many years. During those beginnings of what is now called “the second wave of feminism,” everything was new to us and everything was mushed together — the political, the economic, the intellectual, the emotional, the spiritual. I liked that a lot; it felt as if all the parts of myself were coming together.
During that time, I learned something crucial the imagery and concepts of patriarchal religion justify and are embedded in the material structures of oppression. I don’t know which came first, institutionalized oppression (of everyone; I’m not speaking here only of women) or the religious expression of that oppression. All I’m certain of is that patriarchal religion permeates, for example, the Oxford English Dictionary, which I use all the time, in conjunction with Websters’ First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language, conjured by Mary Daly in cahoots with Jane Caputi.
I’m not a particularly spiritual person; I don’t practice any spiritual discipline, unless you can call reading and writing “spiritual.” And I agree with Marx that [patriarchal] religion is the opium of the people, the heart of a heartless world, that which keeps people alive in the iron cage of oppressive systems while at the same time discouraging them from collectively opening the door of their prison and venturing out into the real world.
While rejecting the historical function of father-god religions, at the same time I look to the new Goddess writers, re-discovering and re-inventing the early religions of humankind, for inspiration. The earliest religions of humankind seem to have worked to bring people together, rather than to crush some while benefiting others. That is attractive to me. The love of the earth and the stars and the mysterious invisible worlds that permeate Goddess spirituality also attracts me. Plus, the old and new Goddess images are so cunning and beautiful, and there is something enticingly poetic about the ceremonies being created and re-created in the name of Goddess spirituality.
What’s not to like about all this?
Harriet Ann Ellenberger
rural New Brunswick, Canada
Trista Lee Hendren Løberg Z. Budapest said, “Without the Goddess, feminism is not going to work, because you’re going to burn out.” As someone who is often exhausted by feminism, I find a lot of truth in her words.
Beyond that, my experience is that feminism without the Goddess does not reach far enough to change the root of our oppression, which is the control of women globally by our various faith traditions.
The misrepresentation of God as strictly male has wounded women in every area of their lives.
Women are raped, abused, molested, trafficked and prostituted because the desires of men (AKA God) are prioritized over the emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual needs of women and girls. The misrepresentation of God as male ensures that women and girls will always be considered last.
The images of God as “Father” and “Savior” are the foundations that patriarchy and misogyny are built upon.
We need the Goddess to rewrite the world.
Portland, Oregon USA
Sadhvi Ayele Maat Coming from a culture where the divine has been described as a Caucasian male and anything opposite of that being evil, the need to see the divine in me offered a sense of empowerment and reclamation of who I am as an African Woman. To then research further and realize that the first divinity known on the planet looked like me, a black woman, brought this idea home full circle and allows me to support the development of other black girls who may still struggle with their sense of beauty, acceptance, and self worth. I can now truly see the divine in me.
Sadhve Ayele Maat
St. Louis, MO
Dave Warren Why? The species has largely lived in an increasingly toxic relationship w/ the Earth Mother. This has been going on ever since patriarchy, conquest and nation/ state allegiance became the ordering principle. This system may have served a purpose to ensure more food, more security, more protected for the “successful cultures” but now threatens all.
For me it is a matter of survival and re-connection w/ the Earth that the Divine Feminine and Goddess must be found again in the remembering blood. It is an existential question to me and underwrites my activism.
Paola Suarez My Goddess Story
As a child, my mother was my first Goddess- I looked to her to keep me alive. My physical, spiritual and emotional needs were met by her. As I got older, my mother shared the pantheon with the Virgin Mary. I would often turn to the Virgin Mary in my dreams to comfort me and shield me from my fears.
As a teenager, I became aware that Goddess existed as a truth beyond my own personal experiences. After attempting to be the best Catholic ever, I was kicked out of my “Daughters of the Virgin Mary” group after making a presentation on the Virgin Mary as Goddess. I could no longer find solace in the Virgin Mary with her submissive undertones and the Catholic Church with its discomfort of me as a sexual being.
In college, I researched the Goddess in the Neo-Pagan movement. I welcomed the Goddess who saw all acts of love and pleasure as her rituals. I felt that my sexuality was honored by Goddess, the women’s spirituality movement and Neo-Paganism. I started shifting my need for greater mother love to the Goddess.
Later, I went through a dark time in my life full of depression and eating disorders, I immersed myself even more in the history of Goddess. I am forever grateful to Goddess as deity and idea, holding my mother love until I could take it on. Eventually I realized that I could not heal without being my own Mother Goddess. A Mother Goddess nourishing herself physically and emotionally—I healed myself of depression and anorexia.
As an adult, I honor the Goddess– inside and outside of myself. I honor the journey to Goddess, spiritually and psychologically. Thanks to that journey I am able to be the woman I am now. I am a woman who can say, “I love myself”. A woman that provides herself with the love and self-care she needs. Whenever I lose touch with that self-love, I turn to the Goddess as reminder of my Divinity and Power!
Background information: Introduction by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Wennifer Lin-Haver
Helen Hye-Sook Hwang I am asking each of us to consider writing a sentence or paragraph on “Why Goddess Feminism, Activism, or Spirituality?” This idea is prompted by Wennifer Lin-Haver, Founder of Mother Tree Sanctuary, and I agree that we need to and can create a sort of collective writing on the topic. What we write below will be included and published in The Girl God, Mother Tree Sanctuary, and Return to Mago. As a subaltern minority as we seem at the current point of time, Goddessians/Magoists [the term Mago means the Great Goddess] need to make extra efforts to make our voices and presences exposed to the public and inner circles. Length and style are open. Please also include your name, region/state/country, title, and/or website URL. We strongly encourage you if you are located in a place where Goddessians are rarely around. We intend to make a collective testimonial tapestry of WE as Goddessians/Magoists! Please keep this in your mind and join us in this collective effort. Thank you in advance. March 6, 2014 AF (Archaic Future)!
Wennifer Lin-Haver Our “call” started as a conversation between Helen and me where I was expressing to her the real need for Mother Tree Sanctuary to be more articulate with exploring the significance and importance of Goddess in our lives. I was prompted to give such a response, when asked “why” we had to differentiate God and Goddess. “Isn’t everything God?” She asked. And “Isn’t Goddess also God?” “Isn’t it all the same as long was we’re all coming from our ‘higher’ self?” she asked. So I saw this warranted a longer and much deeper discussion. I initially thought I should formulate a response and post it as a Page or Tab in our website, but after some reflection with Helen, I saw how much better it would be if we replied to this question as a diverse and creative collective. I surely do not have all the answers as an individual but perhaps together, we can come up with something more whole, colorful and satisfying. I do hope you will contribute a little something! We are always grateful for all that you have to share.
We, the co-editors, contributors, and advisers, have started the Mago Web (Cross-cultural Goddess Web) to rekindle old Gynocentric Unity in our time. Now YOU can help us raise this torch high to the Primordial Mountain Home (Our Mother Earth Herself) wherein everyone is embraced in WE. There are many ways to support Return to Mago. You may donate to us. No amount is too small for us. For your time and skill, please email Helen Hwang (email@example.com). Please take an action today and we need that! Thank YOU in Goddesshood of all beings! (Click Donate button below. You can donate by credit card or bank account without registering PayPal. Find “Don’t have a PayPal account?” above the credit card icons.)