Some say Goddess Spirituality is a revivalist movement, others say it is one of the most ancient forms of spiritual knowledge on this planet. A very quick (and by no means complete) history contains several interconnected avenues of people and events. 1951 in England saw the repeal of their anti-witchcraft laws, which led to information about Witchcraft migrating to the US from England, with for instance, the publishing of Gerald Gardner’s High Magic’s Aid and Witchcraft Today. The Goddess was an integral part of the Witchcraft Tradition that Gardner encouraged, or founded, depending on your point of view. This influx of information into the West, along with Matilda Joslyn Gage’s introduction of the concept of Feminine Deity in the 19th century merged in the 1960’s and 1970’s with Eco-Feminism and the Goddess Movement in the West began to gain ground. Two prime forces leading the way in this movement have been Zsuzsanna Budapest (also known as Z) and Starhawk (who founded the Reclaiming Tradition which twins spirituality with politics as a method of creating change in the world). Within this, the works of the late Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, (whose ideas have garnered a mixed response from the Archaeology community), have been instrumental in discussions of the Goddess Movement. Gimbutas wrote extensively about the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of what she termed “Old Europe.“ Her archaeological work led her towards an understanding of the Goddess in the ancient world.
The beauty to Goddess Spirituality is that it has fluid boundaries, is creative, intelligent, open to change and holds within it room for a wide range of beliefs and understandings. Goddess Spirituality is not bound by tradition. It recognizes that, as Carol Christ points out in Rebirth of the Goddess: Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality (1997):
“[o]ne of our tasks is to create a new mythos and a new ethos that can help us resist the values of dominator cultures. Through symbols and rituals we name our values and strengthen our commitment, creating alternatives to the images presented in both higher education and mass media. Changing consciousness will not magically transform the structures of society … [b]ut we will not be able to change the structures of society if we continue to celebrate a mythos that supports the ethos and the structures of domination. Even if we succeed in creating a new mythos and a new ethos, our capacity for moral reasoning will still be rooted in our bodies. We cannot pretend to have universal knowledge. We can only say how it seems to us when we take the widest perspective we can. Since moral decision making occurs within a world that is constantly changing and where all interests cannot be harmonized, decisions are rarely between right and wrong. More often than not, we must choose to do the best we can in a given situation, knowing that some harm may be done. Moral action always takes place within the context of the “ambiguity” of life. Thus Goddess religion cannot provide us with a new Ten Commandments or with universal ethical principles.”
Identification with the body, spirit and mind of the Goddess calls Women to resacralize their own bodies, minds and spirits, encouraging wisdom, strength, courage, joy, sexuality and vitality that is deeply needed to revitalize ourselves and thusly our groups, communities and nations. It encourages Men to find different pathways to their own relationship to all that is life, all that is connected, all that is Holy. Goddess Spirituality believes in the Deep Interconnectedness of all Life. Those who are facilitating this festival have varied beliefs within this system, but we have one thing deeply in common: we believe in the holiness of Connection.