Trends in Feminist Spirituality
IT’S OUR SECOND BLOGAVERSARY!!! So I thought it would be a good time to take a look at trends that have started or become more pronounced since we began this blog in July 2006.
One of the major trends I’ve noticed is a growing conscious differentiation between Pagan and Goddess, with either Goddess being a distinct path of current Paganism or Goddess being separate from Paganism–as a distinct path of its own. A growing number of people making this distinction identify as Goddessians. Many Goddess folk assert that their path differs greatly from New Age, with which it is sometimes confused.
Feeding into seeing Goddess as a distinct path of Paganism is the feeling among participants in some Pagan groups that patriarchal practices or attitudes which led them to leave Abrahamic religions have made their way into some Pagan groups. To me this is one aspect of the wider diminishing (and in some places/groups, dissing) of feminism and women’s issues, especially in the USA. I connect this with the political situation in this country in the last several years and I’m hoping this will change with the next Administration.
The latter view–Goddess as a path distinct from Paganism–I see as partly related to another important trend: Growth of Goddess Temples involved in contemporary Goddess spirituality worldwide. There are now Goddess temples with physical structures in England, the Netherlands, Australia, and the USA. Other groups are operating as Temples, but as yet without specific buildings, in Hungary and other European countries, and in Australia and North America. Many of these Temples are not affiliated with (other?) Pagan paths, but rather gather many participants under a large umbrella, focusing specifically on Goddess worship often with original, creative ritual.
Largely due to the Internet, a more global feel to contemporary Goddess religions is evolving. Reports of activities at a Temple or in a group in one locality may inspire activities at group or Temple elsewhere–or may inspire people in another locality to begin a group or Temple. With discussion groups, websites, blogs, and ezines of the Internet/Web this happens much faster, and more extensively, than it did before.
Another trend I’ve noticed is growing interest from academics in the part religion has played in society’s oppression and repression of women. Diminishing in its impact is a school of feminist thought that downplayed or denied the role that religion plays–going so far as to argue that a focus on religion was a diversion from the real work of feminism, which was seen as "political." In the last two years on one academic discussion list I’m on, for example, there has been a growing number–and steady stream–of requests for information on topics related to women and religion so that they can be incorporated into college curricula or texts. If you’re prone to make lots of lemonade, you could consider that the rise of fundamentalist Christians to political prominence in the last few years in the USA has served to make the interrelationship of politics and religion clearer not only in our own time, but historically for at least the last 5000 years in the West, as well as in the Middle East. Today in the academy, feminist/women studies professors are more likely to acknowledge the political component of religions and the role that Abrahamic religious doctrines have played in the sociopolitical repression of women.
In Christianity now, while some point out that in mainstream churches they are often fighting the same battles they thought settled decades ago , in a few instances, in both Judaism and Christianity, groups are tiptoeing towards Goddess. For example, in a Lutheran Church, a Goddess Rosary is recited on a regular basis. And a Jewish group mentored by a rabbi, has started training priestesses honoring the Shekhinah.
Have you noticed any trends I missed?
TAGS:life news spiritual feminism Goddess women and religion Goddess Spirituality