Carol P. Christ’s Legacy: “THE OLD RELIGION” OR A “NEW CREATIVE SYNTHESIS”?

Moderator’s Note: Carol Christ died from cancer in July, 2021. Her work continues through her non-profit foundation, the Ariadne Institute for the Study of Myth and Ritual and the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete. This blog was originally posted June 30, 2014. You can read its original comments here.

Is Goddess feminism an old religion or a new creative synthesis? Can it be both?  Goddess feminism draws on the feminist affirmation of women’s experiences, women’s bodies, and women’s connection to nature; the feminist critique of transcendent male monotheism as the symbolic expression of male domination of women and nature; and 19th and early 20th century discussions of Goddesses and matriarchy.

Most Goddess and other spiritual feminists have experienced Wiccan rituals, which are often simply called Goddess rituals.  For many of us, elements of Wiccan practice strike a chord of knowing, while other aspects seem odd or strange or even just plain weird.  What are the roots of Wiccan ritual?

Continue reading “Carol P. Christ’s Legacy: “THE OLD RELIGION” OR A “NEW CREATIVE SYNTHESIS”?”

From the Archives: Still Practicing Her Presence By Barbara Ardinger

Moderator’s note: This marvelous FAR site has been running for 10 years and has had more than 3,600 posts in that time. There are so many treasures that have been posted in this decade that they tend to get lost in the archives. We have created this column so that we can all revisit some of these gems. Today’s blogpost was originally posted May 27, 2012. You can visit it here to see the original comments.

In my blog of May 11 about practicing the presence of the Goddess, I explained how Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection inspired me. Many thanks to everyone who read that blog and commented on it. One comment came via email from a friend, who said, “I kept thinking as I read about that expression ‘walking one’s talk.’” But of course. It would be lovely if anyone outside a nunnery or monastery could be as filled with their god or goddess as Brother Lawrence was. Though we try to be as mindful as we can, we obviously don’t always succeed as well as we’d like. But surely it’s better to have a positive intention than a negative one.

So let’s get practical. Instead of filling our heads with what’s been called monkey-chatter, let’s fill ourselves with the Goddess so that our thoughts of Her can go on autopilot. Instead of obsessing over, say, if the Lakers, Packers, or Cardinals are going to win their next whatever-they-play or who’s gonna win this week on Dancing With the Stars, let’s set our minds on the Goddess so our thoughts go to Her when we don’t have to concentrate on some specific, important task at hand.

Continue reading “From the Archives: Still Practicing Her Presence By Barbara Ardinger”

An Archaic Trinity of Goddesses? Not Necessarily. by Barbara Ardinger

Barbara ArdingerIn her comment following my last post which was about mythology, my friend, Carol Christ, expands on my paragraph about how the so-called “ancient triple goddess” was really invented in 1948 by Robert Graves in his book, The White Goddess. (Thanks, Carol.)

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Goddess movement was just getting up on its feet and our ovular books were being published, the idea arose that if “they” have a holy trinity, “we” have one, too. And ours is older and holier. We see it in the three phases of the moon, new (Virgin), full (Mother), and dark (Crone). Here’s a tiny sample of these books that changed the lives of so many women and men:

  • Woman’s Mysteries Ancient and Modern by M. Esther Harding (1971, but first published in 1933)
  • The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (1974) by Marija Gimbutas
  • When God Was a Woman (1976) by Merlin Stone
  • Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths (1978) by Charlene Spretnak
  • The first edition of The Spiral Dance (1979) by Starhawk
  • The Chalice and the Blade (1987) by Riane Eisler
  • Laughter of Aphrodite (1987) by Carol P. Christ
  • The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries (1989) by Z. Budapest
  • The Reflowering of the Goddess (1990) by Gloria Feman Orenstein
  • Whence the Goddesses: A Source Book (1990) by Miriam Robbins Dexter

Triple goddess? ’Tain’t so. Our beloved triple goddess is one of our foundational myths. It’s nice and it’s perhaps inspiring, but it’s only a myth. Anyone who looks at a calendar or almanac—or up into the sky every night for a month—can easily see that the moon doesn’t have three phases. It has four: waxing, full, waning, and dark. And since the late 20th century, women have lived long enough to go through more than three stages of life. Continue reading “An Archaic Trinity of Goddesses? Not Necessarily. by Barbara Ardinger”

“THE OLD RELIGION” OR A “NEW CREATIVE SYNTHESIS”? by Carol P. Christ

carol christIs Goddess feminism an old religion or a new creative synthesis? Can it be both?  Goddess feminism draws on the feminist affirmation of women’s experiences, women’s bodies, and women’s connection to nature; the feminist critique of transcendent male monotheism as the symbolic expression of male domination of women and nature; and 19th and early 20th century discussions of Goddesses and matriarchy.

Most Goddess and other spiritual feminists have experienced Wiccan rituals, which are often simply called Goddess rituals.  For many of us, elements of Wiccan practice strike a chord of knowing, while other aspects seem odd or strange or even just plain weird.  What are the roots of Wiccan ritual?

In their syntheses of women’s experiences, ancient Goddess religions, and feminism, Z Budapest and Starhawk drew upon the earlier creative synthesis of the Englishman Gerald Gardner which he variously called “the Old Religion,” “Witchcraft,” and “Wicca.” Continue reading ““THE OLD RELIGION” OR A “NEW CREATIVE SYNTHESIS”? by Carol P. Christ”

Still Practicing Her Presence By Barbara Ardinger

In my blog of May 11 about practicing the presence of the Goddess, I explained how Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection inspired me. Many thanks to everyone who read that blog and commented on it. One comment came via email from a friend, who said, “I kept thinking as I read about that expression ‘walking one’s talk.’” But of course. It would be lovely if anyone outside a nunnery or monastery could be as filled with their god or goddess as Brother Lawrence was. Though we try to be as mindful as we can, we obviously don’t always succeed as well as we’d like. But surely it’s better to have a positive intention than a negative one.

So let’s get practical. Instead of filling our heads with what’s been called monkey-chatter, let’s fill ourselves with the Goddess so that our thoughts of Her can go on autopilot. Instead of obsessing over, say, if the Lakers, Packers, or Cardinals are going to win their next whatever-they-play or who’s gonna win this week on Dancing With the Stars, let’s set our minds on the Goddess so our thoughts go to Her when we don’t have to concentrate on some specific, important task at hand.

Stop reading now. Listen to the Goddess Chant. Turn on your sound and click here:

  Continue reading “Still Practicing Her Presence By Barbara Ardinger”

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