Dec 4, 2015

Posted by in Goddesses, Paganism | 0 Comments

The Goddess Movement: Worship of the Divine Female

The Goddess Movement: Worship of the Divine Female
A simple black-and-white version of the Spiral...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For several millennia religion around the world has been dominated by male deities and leaders. Only in the past 50 years has a new concept arisen in the world of religion. The Goddess Movement refers to a neo-pagan religious group that focuses their worship on the Divine Female. This movement began in the 1970s and spread across North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Western Europe. It was propelled by the perception that there was a lack of female representation in primarily male-dominated organized religion.

This new religion boasts no centralized tenets of belief and practices within it vary widely. Goddess worshipers can pray to any number of goddesses from various cultures around the world. However, many believe in one primary Great Goddess, as well. The Great Goddess is sometimes synonymous with the Earth, as many practitioners see Mother Earth as the divine giver of life. Also, the Divine Female is often seen as an all-encompassing force that is more of an energy force or a process that flows through every living thing in the universe. Additionally, the Goddess is seen as both infusing all of nature and simultaneously existing independently of the physical plain.

Some followers of the movement choose to refer to themselves as Priestesses, but this has no bearing on whether they play a leadership role in the group. Participants in the Goddess Movement also refer to myths (often reconstructed from ancient myths) in their practices. The myths, however, are meant to be taken metaphorically or figuratively, and not to contradict modern notions of evolution, physics, and cosmology.

While there is no set list of commandments or code of behavior within Goddess Spirituality, there are some basic concepts that are meant to guide ethical behavior within the sect. The prevailing sentiment is that if you harm no one, then you may do whatever makes you happy. Some, however, believe in the threefold rule. This is a variation of basic karmic law stating that whatever you put out into the world will be returned to you magnified by three.

Three is sometimes seen as a symbolic number within the Goddess Movement, as some followers worship the Triple Goddess. The Triple Goddess represents the Mother, the Maiden, and the Crone; with each of the three having special meaning to the Goddess worshiper. The Mother is meant to teach women to be nurturing, The Maiden teaches independence and strength, and The Crone focuses on transformation, change, and wisdom.
Basically, the ethical beliefs associated with the Goddess movement focus on connectivity and on maintaining the interconnected “web of life”. While there are other organized religions that concentrate on dominance and war, Goddess Spirituality focuses on partnership and peace. It also teaches that the Earth is meant to be cared for and respected. Theologian, Carol P. Christ offers the following as the basis for the Goddess Movement’s ethical belief system.

Nurture life; Walk in love and beauty; Trust the knowledge that comes through the body; Speak the truth about conflict, pain, and suffering; Take only what you need; Think about the consequences of your actions for seven generations; Approach the taking of life with great restraint; Practice great generosity; Repair the web.”

While a good portion of the world continues to disagree and wage war over the major male-dominated organized religions, could it be that these women have found a way to blend several different cultures peacefully without ignoring the scientific data that many other religions discount? I have personally struggled with the inconsistencies between the religion I was raised with and my scientific education. In discovering the Goddess Movement, I have found what seems to be a way to reconcile all of my beliefs and knowledge into one system that is not teeming with hypocrisy or bigotry. I am not sure if this is the right system for everyone, after all who am I to say? However, I am happy to say that this religion was designed with people like me in mind, and I only hope that one day everyone might know the peace that it has brought into my life.

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