The New Theology-Sheology: Mystical Women's Spiritual Movements
According to followers, there are approximately 500,000 women across the country who adhere to this goddess-oriented New Age movement.
Practitioners, daughters of the feminist revolution, reject traditional Judeo-Christian monotheism.
Dissatisfied with what they deem the historically male-dominated and male-oriented theology and spirituality of Christianity, their criterion are the pagan religions, and are based upon pre-Christian nature-centered goddess cults that stress the harmony of the universe.
"While the Judeo-Christian God is transcendent, the Goddess is located `within each individual,' says Merlin Stone, author of When God Was A Woman" (Time, May 6, 1991).
Washington Post staff writer, Judith Weinraub, writes that this women's spirituality movement is "basically benign... and has nothing to do with the satanic cults of national TV talk shows" (Washington Post, 28 April 1991).
Nothing could be further from the truth. Naomi Goldenberg describes the true account of one of the pagan/goddess witchcraft rituals led by Miriam Starhawk where they call on both Satan and his Mistress, the Goddess, to manifest themselves (Changing of the Gods, pp. 86-87).
Starhawk, the San Francisco-based priestess of the Old Religion of the Goddess, witch, religious leader, writer, counselor, women's spirituality superstar leads her groups through chanting and guided visualizations after they have formed a circle around a candlelit altar.
The sessions always end with the "spiral dance" - clockwise to invoke, then counterclockwise to release. During the ritual some people beat time to drum beats while others may writhe and sway.
Starhawk became interested in witchcraft when she was in her teens. She likens the 400-year reign of terror against witches who were burned alive, to the African slave trade and the Holocaust, and currently helps to spearhead a movement to reclaim the word "witch" for a positive use.
There are many factions of the goddess movement, with members' ages spanning 30 years and backgrounds equally varied. It is gaining momentum at an alarming rate.
"Pagans at the Harvard Divinity School. A goddess-centered ritual at the University of Pennsylvania. A feminist Seder in Silver Spring. New moon groups at a rabbinical seminary. Women's spirituality sessions at Appalachian State University, Wesleyan, Brown" (Washington Post, 8 April 1991).
Last March in the Washington area a flier was distributed offering "dancing, singing, drumming, healing, creativity, inspiration, discovery, nurturing and goddess games" for a celebration in honor of the spring equinox.
Organizer Nancy Smith said, "The day was designed for women who wanted to bring out the goddess within them" (Ibid).
"Despite Christianity's centuries of opposition to paganism, some old-line churches are opening up to the Goddess. A witch teaches in an institute at the Roman Catholic Holy Names College in California. A book by two United Methodist pastors proposes experimental Bible readings about the crucifixion that replaces Jesus with Sophia (Wisdom), a name for the divine personality used by Goddess-minded Christians" (Time, 6 May 1991).
At the All Souls Church in Washington, DC, a group of women are investigating women's religious history through "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven," a 10-part correspondence course available through the Unitarian Universalist Church. But to find out the history of the satan-inspired lie of the goddess one need look no further than the scriptures.