Thursday, January 11, 2007


A few readers have asked me to write about the term, Goddessian (pron. God dess' i an), which I’ve been using in posts here.

The first use of the term I’m aware of is in August 1999 during a discussion on WMSPRT-L, a list which no longer exists but at that time was housed on the server. Some of us were trying to put a name to the distinction between Paganism (or Neopaganism) and "feminist Goddess people." I suggested several possibilities, including calling ourselves "Goddessians," and that’s the term list members liked best. In 2002, I mentioned the term in a column titled, "Naming Ourselves" in The Beltane Papers. At that time I suggested that some of us might want to call ourselves Goddessians because:

To not name ourselves is to risk becoming invisible–both to ourselves and to others. To not have a name is to be in peril of not existing, disappearing, becoming subsumed into other groups. This has already started to happen. Women who came to the Goddess through feminist spirituality, for lack of any visible alternative, may join Wiccan or Pagan groups that give short shrift to women and women’s issues, despite having goddesses in their pantheons. Those who don’t find a home in Witchcraft or other Pagan groups may simply lose interest in Goddess spirituality because they have no cohesive group to identify with.
The need to distinguish ourselves with a name separate from, or in addition to Pagan, Witch or Wiccan not only continues but has become more important, as misogynist attitudes in some Pagan groups seem to be persisting, even intensifying (see, for example, comments to my Jan. 1 post "Looking Back, Looking Forward")

"Goddessian" is being used increasingly; Google came up with about 60 links for the word when I searched today. Among them, a Yahoogroup called "Sage of the Grove’s Goddessian Pathway" . And people with profiles or posting on Witchvox identify as "Goddessian." In another link, Sage Starwalker writes :

I tend to think of myself as Goddessian, and I hope that this site is on its way to becoming a Goddessian Resource (Goddessian as it both relates to and differs from pagan, neopagan, Wiccan and "Witch.")
And on her blog called Panthea, Grian DeBandia in a April 10, 2006 post, "Time for a Change," uses the term "Goddessian," when touching on some of the other issues I’ve been blogging about lately. Grian writes:

My daughter asked me the other day why she has to be different. She thinks it's "cool" to be Christian because everyone in her class is. The other kids teach her Bible songs and tell her about going to church. Where are the opportunities for Goddessian people to offer those things to their children? I want a religion with top-notch, University accedited training facilities and the ability for paid clergy who can run the organization of our temples....
The time has come for change. The first thing we need to do is break free of some of the more modern labels we've taken on, most of which are slurs that were used against our ancestors millenia ago.
Quoted From Another Source:
"The word Pagan was given to the non christians by christians as an insult. It means country dweller which at the time equated to dirty, poor, uneducated idiot, now there's a name worth keeping! ... We are "pagans" because CHRISTIANS say we are!"
Although some people, like Grian and "Another Source," see problems with the term "Pagan," others still identify as Pagans but use the term "Goddessian" to specify what type of Pagan they are. The same may be true of some Witches and Wiccans.

And while the term Goddessian may denote a subset of Pagans, it can also be a term that is more inclusive than Paganism. For example, there are groups such as Goddess Christians, Goddess Jews , who don’t feel the term, "Pagan" describes them, but may be able to identify with the word, "Goddessian."

So to sum up the present situation: Goddessian is a term used by people who revere Goddess(es) and strive for full participation of women in religion. For some Goddessians, this is their sole spiritual identity. Others who identify as Goddessian also identify as Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches. They use the additional identity, "Goddessian," to show that their emphasis is on female deity and securing equality for women in religion.

updated 11/3/10 with pronunciation




At Friday, January 19, 2007 3:37:00 PM, Blogger Sage said...

Hey MC, I remember connecting with you about the term "Goddessian" when I self-identified with it some years ago on a list we both participated on.

Thanks for continuing to get the word (literally) out there.

I appreciate your linking to my site, but the html is a bit borked. The extension should be .shtml (currently it's missing the "l").

At Friday, January 19, 2007 5:00:00 PM, Blogger Medusa said...

Thanks, Sage, for catching my mis-link. Just fixed it :-). Yes, I remember having a "conversation" with you about Goddessian. More people are using it now and that's how words are born. An idea whose time has come!

At Friday, June 03, 2011 7:17:00 AM, Anonymous Lisa@Panthea said...

Hey there. This is Lisa@Panthea (aka Grian). Just wanted to let you know that the link to that post has changed to this URL: Thanks so much for all you do.

At Friday, June 03, 2011 12:45:00 PM, Blogger Medusa said...

Done. Thanks Lisa/Grian!


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Judith Laura

More blogs about /goddess/feminist theology/spiritual feminism/pagan/feminist spirituality/.