Articles and Outlines - Cults / Occult - The Goddess and the Church

The Goddess and the Church

Author: Russ Wise
Date: 6/11/2003 3:30:56 PM

   "The goddess, or Great Mother, has existed since the beginning of time . . . it is out of the primordial depths of her womb that the Universe and all life is born."                     
                               Morwyn, Secrets Of A Witch's Coven    

    Reverence for the goddess is becoming more prevalent in our day. The goddess is embraced by witchcraft, feminism, the occult and the liberal church. The New Age that is about to dawn upon us will be, according to the occult world, a feminine age. Likewise, those who hold this view believe that this current, masculine age has been an age of destruction and broken relationships among humanity. The New Age with its feminine energies will bring balance to the destructive aspects of the Piscean Age. Rosemary R. Ruether in her book, Womanguides: Readings Toward A Feminist Theology, states that ". . . it is to the women that we look for salvation in the healing and restorative waters of Aquarius. It is to such a New Age that we look now with hope as the present age of masculism succeeds in destroying itself . . ."

In order for this feminine age to come into full fruition, a shift in consciousness must take place in the world. This shift in thinking and perception of reality will bring forth the goddess. As interest in the occult continues to rise and gain popularity in our culture the goddess becomes more visible as a diety. The modern woman is at a crossroads in her spiritual quest. It is imperative that she realize her inherent deity, her god nature, for she is to be the salvation of humanity.

In the world of witchcraft the goddess is the giver of life. Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. in her book, Goddesses In Everywoman, has this to say about the goddess. ". . . the Great Goddess was worshipped as the feminine life force deeply connected to nature and fertility, responsible both for creating life and for destroying life." Bolen goes on to say that "the Great Goddess was regarded as immortal, changeless, and omnipotent" prior to the coming of Christianity. For witchcraft, the goddess is the earth itself. Mother Earth or Gaia, as the goddess is known in occult circles, is an evolving being, as is all of nature. In the New Age worldview, environmentalism and the ecological movement play an important part in restoring the goddess. 

For many in the feminist world the goddess is an expression of worship. A growing number within the feminist movement have bought into witchcraft as the central focus of their allegiance.  Those who have become a part of the women's spirituality movement "reject what they call the patriarchal Judeo-Christian tradition, deploring sexist language, predominantly masculine imagery and largely male leadership." According to a Wall Street Journal article by Sonia L. Nazario "women first wanted to apply feminism to political and economic realms, then to their families. Now, they want it in their spiritual lives."

To fully understand the implications of the women's spirituality movement one only needs to read the current literature on the subject. The editors of the book Radical Feminism state that "political institutions such as religion, because they are based on philosophies of hierarchical orders and reinforce male oppression of females, must be destroyed." The radical feminist believes that the traditional church must be dismantled. Naomi Goldenberg in her book Changing of the Gods: Feminism and the end of Traditional Religions, states that "the feminist movement in Western culture is engaged in the slow execution of Christ and Yahweh . . . It is likely that as we watch Christ and Yahweh tumble to the ground, we will completely outgrow the need for an external God." The deity that many in the feminist camp are searching for assumes the form of a goddess.

In the world of the occult, popularly known as the New Age, the goddess is believed to be resident within the individual and simply needs to be awakened. In other words, the individual is inherently divine. Starhawk, a witch who works with the catholic priest Matthew Fox at his Institute of Creation Spirituality, says that an individual can awaken the goddess by invoking, or inviting, her presence. Starhawk tells us "to invoke the Goddess is to awaken the Goddess within, to become . . . that aspect we invoke. An invocation channels power through a visualized image of Divinity." Starhawk continues, "we are already one with the Goddess - she has been with us from the beginning, so fulfillment becomes . . . a matter of self-awareness. For women, the Goddess is the symbol of the inmost self. She awakens the mind and spirit and emotions."

The message of the goddess has gained a hearing in the church as well. The philosophy of the goddess is currently being taught in the classrooms of our seminaries. In a growing number of seminaries the student population is becoming increasingly female, and many of these women have a feminist outlook on life. Mary Daly, who considers herself to be a Christian feminist, says this about traditional Christianity. "To put it bluntly, I propose that Christianity itself should be castrated . . ."  The primary focus of the `christian' feminist is to bring an end to what they perceive as male-dominated religion by literally castrating the male influence from the religion. Daly continues by saying, " I am suggesting that the idea of salvation uniquely by a male savior perpetuates the problem of patriarchal oppression."  Reverend Susan Cady, co-author of Sophia: The Future of Feminist Spirituality and pastor of Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, is one example of the direction that Daly and others are taking the church. The authors of Sophia state that "Sophia is a female, goddess-like figure appearing clearly in the Scriptures of the Hebrew tradition."

Wisdom Feast, the authors' latest book, clearly identifies Jesus with Sophia. Sophiology presents Sophia as a separate goddess and Jesus as her prophet. The book takes liberty with Jesus by replacing the masculine deity with the feminine deity Sophia.  Another example of how goddess thealogy (feminist spelling for theology) is making its way into the liberal church is through seminars held on seminary campuses. One such seminar was held at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. "Wisdomweaving: Woman Embodied in Faiths" was held at the school in February of 1990. As one looks at the schedule of the seminar it becomes apparent that the emphasis was not on orthodoxy. Linda Finnell, a wiccan and one of the speakers, spoke on the subject of "Returning to the Goddess Through Dianic Witchcraft." Two of the keynote speakers were of a New Age persuasion. In fact one, Sr. Jose Hobday, works with Matthew Fox (mentioned earlier).

Whether the individual seeks the goddess through witchcraft, the feminist movement, the New Age or the liberal church, she is beginning a quest to understand and discover the "higher self." The higher self, often referred to as the "god self", is believed to be pure truth, deep wisdom. This truth or wisdom embodies the basic lie of deification. As Christians we must learn to discern every spirit lest we become deceived.    


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