Feminist theologies are filled with queries and questions about the divine feminine. Whether women need the Goddess. If She really is. Where herchurch might flourish. I have my own complicated views about the subject, and continue to be enriched by those who seek and find. Rachel Hunt Steenblik is the newest voice calling to and from the divine feminine, singing in a distinctively Mormon key.
If you read Mother’s Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother from front to back, you encounter what seem like scratches of verse and fragments of wisdom from a young mother catching time to write in the midst of her graced obligation to feed and sustain tiny bodies. If you read it back to front, you encounter a wealth and depth of engagement with Christian sacraments, feminist theology, sacred texts, Mormon history, modern philosophy, and children’s books and movies. This cacophony of source material and influence is distilled into sparse poems whose brevity bely decades of the author’s feminist engagement with vast religious history, philosophy, and theology.
In my review of Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings, edited by Steenblik along with Joanna Brooks and Hannah Wheelwright, I noted that feminists in many religious traditions “have had to document their history, make their theological case, and engage their scriptures as robustly as any conservative traditionalist would.” In Mother’s Milk, Steenblik offers us her contribution to the reconstruction of religious tradition. The words of her introduction state plainly: “These are the poems that I could write with my questions, my hurt, my hope, and my reading. Others could write other poems with theirs. I hope they will. We need them all.”
Continue reading “Finding Heavenly Mother with Rachel Hunt Steenblik by Caryn D. Riswold”