Priestessing Goddess Onto the World Stage
We Can No Longer Afford to be Invisible
by Rev. Karen Tate, guest blogger
As the Media Director of Temple of the Goddess in Pasadena,California I recently accompanied its Founder and Director, Judy Tatum aka Xia, to a presentation hosted by Charter Media, a cable television network in Southern California. Charter put out a call to a diverse range of religious organizations inviting them to participate in a new cable program they were initiating called Faith On Charter. As we sat there listening to the intention of Charter to bring spiritually uplifting messages to the airwaves from all religious corners of southern California, we realized our dream and vision, years in the making, might soon be a reality. But are we, collectively and individually, really ready to fully step into the public spotlight?
Some in the women's community snickered and others were fearful for me when I first named my ministerial path as Emissary Priestess of Isis. Yet I sensed, even in those early days, that it was up to us to priestess Goddess back onto the world stage. I believed we could no longer afford to be invisible. We had to share our spirituality with the rest of the world and reclaim our rightful place alongside the recognized traditional religions on the globe. Having discovered the importance and empowerment for both women and men obtained through knowledge of Goddess - spiritually, politically and culturally – I wanted to be one of the many needed ambassadors in Her rebirthing into the mainstream world. I truly believed the Sacred Feminine, long-missing in the spiritual and political equation, caused our world to sink to the low point we now experience everyday. Fortunately there were others that supported my vision. In those early days, Lady Olivia Robertson, one of the founders of the international Fellowship of Isis, invited me to Clonegal Castle in Ireland to be ordained. In the ensuing years, myself and Judy Tatum, who most of you know as Xia, continually visioned and dreamed of temples of Goddess in our neighborhoods across the country. We both felt called to do what we could in our lifetime to make that a reality. We could no longer be content to practice our spirituality underground. That inner voice was loud and pushed us forward to dare to be visible. Xia calls it, "following the divine breadcrumbs."
As the years passed, the urgency felt all the more great. Mostly our paths overlapped. When I founded The Isis Ancient Cultures Society, a non-profit educational organization built on partnership ideals espoused by Riane Eisler, Xia was a facilitator and on the Advisory Board. I went on to write Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations, a book that has provided me with a vehicle to teach and lecture about Goddess in the mainstream world, opening doors to radio, television, and in print media that otherwise may have remained closed tight. My second book, Walking An Ancient Path, a guide for the mainstream novice to incorporate Goddess Spirituality into their spiritual paradigm, will be in bookstores the summer of 2008. During this time, I co-founded Sacred Sundays, inter-faith services rooted in the Sacred Feminine and complemented by the Divine Masculine.
In the last several years, under Xia’s careful vision and tutelage, Temple of the Goddess, one of the few legally recognized Goddess churches in existence today, has grown and thrived. Today, I serve Goddess and community there as a facilitator and as the Media Director of Temple of Goddess. With TOG as a vehicle, Xia and I both have come to understand we have the opportunity to do what we have believed for years must be done. Not only would TOG provide a bridge where our beloved sisters and brothers with their covens and pointed hats can find common ground with new Goddess Advocates, but it is also providing a safe haven where, through sacred liturgy and ritual theater, those of more traditional faiths might come to understand and embrace the importance and relevance of earth-based spirituality.
Taking things a step farther, Temple of the Goddess now has the opportunity to have a public platform - with a microphone to the world The Temple has been invited to bring our spirituality to television where we might once and for all dispel the propaganda and myths instilled within mainstream psyches about the Sacred Feminine. We have the chance to define ourselves and our beliefs, rather than let those who would demean and dismiss the Divine Feminine set the agenda and the tone as they continue to mass produce fear and misinformation, whether through intent or ignorance. Yes, Charter Media, with its newly forming Faith program has invited Temple of the Goddess to participate, along with other traditional and non-traditional faiths, to have their voices heard across the airwaves. Xia and I believe it is time for us to step up, be heard, and cast aside fear. We must step up and shout to the world that our principles are as valid and credible as any commandments. Our liturgy and myths are as uplifting, substantial, and as much a roadmap for living as any other religion. Perhaps even more, because we seek the balance of the feminine in a world too long bereft of Her presence. We no longer want to be children of divorce where the Mother has been cast out of the garden, pulled away from her divine family by man-made dogma. We must certainly use this opportunity to re-educate those who have been spoon-fed lies. We can no longer let patriarchal religions that worked so feverishly for thousands of years to remove Goddess from the world stage continue to publicly define who we are.
As I am out giving lectures about the Sacred Feminine, I continually come up against this toxic propaganda and have to encourage a rethinking of the Divine; the Sacred Feminine alongside the Divine Masculine. Men come to understand embracing Goddess does not mean women want to take over the world. Both genders realize feminism is not a dirty word, but a vehicle for equality and it will not unravel societies if both wings of the bird are equal in strength. I have to constantly remind people that Satan and the Devil are not creations of Paganism. Imagine a world where these are no longer even talking points or wedge issues. Mother and Father together again feels pretty natural and right to most people when they take a moment to think and challenge the programming.
What I do see out there in the mainstream world are people who, when hearing what a world embracing the Feminine would look like, they say, "Yes, I could do that...I want that...Tell me more What books do I read?" Similarly, when Xia penned an article, "Out of the Closet and Into the Fire", it was met with overwhelmingly positive response as people came up to her saying, "I had no idea I was a Pagan." Yes, people are starved to restore the sacred within their lives - and that sacred must be about balance, harmony, compassion, and wisdom. Sacred Sunday services grew from a handful of people to standing room only in a few short months. Likewise for Temple of the Goddess rituals held four times a year.
Mainstream people are responding to the message of the Mother. The days for domination, power over, and control are coming to an end.Yes, in the long ago past, we could be killed for our beliefs. I know women who still hoard books for fear one day there will again be book burnings. Yes, many of us have had to hide who we were for the sake of keeping custody of our kids or keeping a job to pay the bills. But if not us, then who, and if not now, then when? Time is running short. More than ever, the religion of environmentalism needs to be a top priority. Liberty, equality, integrity, and love must be what our leaders walk and talk. That along with tolerance, diversity, wisdom, compassion, and strength, just some of the fundamentals and ideals of the Sacred Feminine, must be learned and taught to our sons and daughters. Over the next few decades we must educate and inspire a shift from a dominator culture to one where we all strive for partnership and we measure ourselves not by our bank balance but by how we serve humanity.
It bears repeating, people today are literally starving for the sacred. Traditional religion alone no longer works for the masses. Humanity needs to once again be held in the embrace of the Mother and know Her love, strength, and acceptance. Let those of us who know Her best stand shoulder to shoulder and together rebirth her onto the world stage. It is time for us to set the agenda. It is time for our voices to be heard. It is time for us to make a difference in the world, not just for ourselves and for our children, but for our beloved Mother who has been patiently waiting for us to return to our sanity. To conclude, we are in the process of dialoging with Charter Media about Temple of the Goddess’ participation in their Faith On Charter program. We hope you are as excited about this potential opportunity as we are.
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