Sociology of Religion,    Vol. 56. No. 1,   Spring, 1995,    pp. 35-49


     Although individual feminists in this country have long been concerned about the treatment of women in mainstream religions (see, for example, Stanton, 1895), the first contemporary indications of group challenges to mainstream religious misogyny appeared in the early 1970s.  In November of 1971, Mary Daly led "hundreds" on an "Exodus from patriarchal religion" (Daly, 1992:7) by walking out at the conclusion of a sermon she delivered in the Harvard Memorial Church.  A few months later, in 1972 in Los Angeles, the first coven of feminist witches which practiced "the Craft" as a religion began to meet under the guidance of Zsuzsanna Budapest. Within a few years, these witches were gathering with several hundred women in the mountains to  celebrate their visions of female divinity in religious rituals (see Budapest, 1989).
      To date, the Goddess Movement, which evolved from these early initiatives, has been studied primarily by theologians and psychologists, but has been relatively ignored by sociologists (for rare exceptions see Jacobs, 1990; Lozano and Foltz, 1990; Neitz, 1990; Finley, 1991). As a result,  relatively little is known about the way these groups function, who participates and at what level, and how the worldview of the practitioners is developed and shared.(1)  In this paper, I use a phenomenological approach and descriptive analysis to demonstrate how those who practice feminist witchcraft and/or participate in "goddess rituals" use consciously constructed mythopoeic images in religious ritual to create a framework of meaning which seeks to define a new ethos. This ethos is intended to "revision" power, authority, sexuality, and social relations. As in many other New Religious Movements, the relationship between the spiritual and the material is being redefined (see Beckford, 1986), but in the Goddess Movement the material is firmly rooted in the female body. In the discussion that follows, I describe this redefined relationship and the significance it has for practitioners by drawing on three mythopoeic images from local rituals and my interviews with feminist witches.


      The arguments in this paper are based on four years of research which began when one of my students invited me to attend a religious ritual organized by her coven of feminist witches. A colleague and I attended this first ritual together, and then sought and received permission from the coven to do participant observation, using a triangulation of ethnographic techniques which included written and tape recorded fieldnotes on all events we were allowed to attend, semistructured, in-depth recorded interviews and, when possible, original photographs and videotape. These events consisted of both private and public (or open) rituals, camping weekends, planning meetings, several religious services marking significant life events for specific individuals, and occasional social gatherings.  We collected data for 1 1/2 years on this group which we call the Coven of the Redwood Moon. Although it is clear we were accepted as a peripheral members (see Adler and Adler, 1987), we did not ask to apprentice and did not join the coven. After this time, my colleague relocated and I began to do individual research on a local "goddess group" I call Womancircle, returning to Redwood Moon only occasionally for public ritual.
     The initial contact with Womancircle was also made on campus, though I quickly discovered that I had meet several of the core members or "circle sisters" at public ritual and workshops with Redwood Moon.  I used the same triangulation of ethnographic techniques as with Redwood Moon: participant observation, extensive fieldnotes, photography, and interviewing of core members.   Several of the members were also in a large, loosely knit group of women drummers, which I joined.  During the following year, many  of the original drummers drifted away and the scaled-down group began playing occasionally at coffee houses, neopagan craft fairs, and Womancircle rituals, which provided me with a different kind of entree and opportunity to collect data.  Although I am a core member of the drum circle, I am not a core member of Womancircle. When "feelers" were sent out to invite me to participate at that level, I discouraged them.  I have attended a few of their planning meetings in my dual role as drummer and researcher, and some social events in my role as friend and drummer.
      The Goddess Movement and feminist witchcraft are routinely criticized as being "white women's movements," and while Caucasians are in the majority, the criticism is not valid among the core members in the two groups I studied.  Of the seven women who were members of the Coven of the Redwood Moon during the study, one was Chicana and another African American.  Womancircle's nine-member core also included a Chicana and an African American. Not surprisingly, both groups made a point of including images of goddesses of color in religious ritual.
    Although the age range was similar in both groups, from the late 20's to mid 50's, there were marked demographic differences between the two groups. Almost all of the Womancircle members had at least a four year college degree and worked in professional or semi-professional occupations. Most of Redwood Moon's witches did not attend or had not finished college and had working class jobs.  In addition, the majority of the coven members tended to be lesbian, bisexual, or celibate. Only one was in a heterosexual marriage and none of them had children at home. In contrast, two of the Womancircle core were married and had small children living at home and several others were  married or were in heterosexual live-in or dating relationships during the study. Only one was a lesbian.
     All of the women in both groups identified themselves at one time or another as feminist witches, but there were organizational differences between them. Circle of the Redwood Moon is a radical feminist coven, and members are trained through reading assignments and discussions to do a radical feminist analysis of gender and power. Called "Dianics," after the Roman Goddess Diana, they are similar to other neopagan groups in the United States and Britain in that they celebrate "sabbats" or holy days based on seasonal cycles, require an apprenticeship and training in ideology and the practice of magic, value female leadership and divinity, and share the one law of the Craft.(2)  They differ from most other neopagans in their feminist analysis, political activism, and in that most of them acknowledge only an autonomous female principal and reject the concept of a male divinity. Men are very rarely invited to participate and are not allowed to become members of Dianic covens.(3)
     During the time of this study, Redwood Moon held occasional rituals that were open to the public and an annual weekend camp which was locally advertised and attended by 35-60 women. In addition, they sometimes participated in gatherings with nonfeminist neopagan covens.
     Womancircle was much more loosely defined and more typical of the larger Goddess Movement. Although some of the women in the Movement belong to covens and some have even been trained by or have been Dianics, others prefer less structured groups that demand less commitment and may be less separatist. Still others belong to no group but show up occasionally for public ritual, and some are active members of the Unitarian Universalist Church, which has a national educational program on the goddess and feminist witchcraft.(4) There is no apprenticeship or required training, although workshops are frequently offered on topics that are believed to empower women, such as meditation and visualization techniques or discovering the "Goddess within" (for examples, see Bolen, 1984).  As in feminist witchcraft, the spiritual focus is on an autonomous female divinity and the creation of powerful female images, and the group holds rituals to celebrate the seasons. Many women in the Goddess Movement practice witchcraft and magic in a manner similar to Dianics and neopagans, although many of them tend not to call themselves witches and to prefer the word "spirituality" to "religion."
      Of the nine core Womancircle members, one was formerly Dianic and another still identified herself as such.  Three more had taken structured "witch classes" conducted by Dianics outside of their own group which used feminist analysis, and all of them had attended Dianic rituals.  The group organized public rituals five times a year, two solstice fairs, and occasional workshops. Men were welcome at almost all of these events. They also had retreats and workshops for the core members, which I did not attend. Their rituals tended to draw fairly large crowds, 40 was the smallest I observed and over 200 the largest, while 1000 people may stop in at their Solstice Fairs. They have a current mailing list of 1300 people who have attended at least one event and want to be apprised of future ones.
     Women in both core groups appear to accept uncritically the belief in prehistorical "Goddess Cultures" where women and "women's values" were a major part of the societal ethos (see Eisler 1988). In Womancircle and, to a slightly lesser degree, Redwood Moon, there was a tendency to consider femininity and masculinity as innate characteristics rather than as social constructs. Many of the women have been involved in feminist activities in the community, such as rape crisis centers, family planning centers, and resource centers. Although the witches in Redwood Moon are much more likely to discuss the political ramifications of religion, all the women in both groups consider public ritual to be a political act.


     Anthropologist Clifford Geertz (1973) argues that religion actually shapes social order and psychological processes, that the symbols in rituals and myths are believed to sum up what is known about the world and teach people how to react to it. This means symbols and myths have both psychological and political impact because they create a framework of meaning through which people learn to accept certain social arrangements and reject others. Geertz's argument is supported by Sanday's findings that the secular power roles of women and men derived from sacred concepts of power seen in origin myths of the 150 cultures studied, rather than the other way around (Sanday, 1981).
     Mythos, then, may be partially understood as a cultural vision of the world, one which "links the individual self to the larger morphological structure" of society (Campbell, 1988:72). If not reinforced through the regular performance of religious ritual, myths run the danger of being forgotten or reduced to "mere" literature or art (Priest, 1970; Campbell, 1988). Myths also lose their vitality when they fail to reinforce the link between the self and the experienced world. Sometimes in times of crisis, a new mythos is created that speaks to the devitalized or faded myth, as Wilder (1970) has demonstrated occurred with the rise of Christianity. The new myth and its symbols come into immediate conflict with existing social institutions and authority.(5)
     Feminist witchcraft sees women's oppression and environmental abuse, which they argue are intimately linked, as firmly rooted in patriarchal religions. They claim that the mythos of God the Father and Creator of everything is a devitalized one which fails to address the experience of women's lives, and so cannot possibly link them to the larger social structure. In particular, they focus on the differences between the mythic image of a female divinity who creates life alone in an act of parthenogenesis by reaching within her own body in a physical, material act and that of a transcendent, celibate male divinity who created life with a thought or a word and who is above and apart from his creation. They talk about the "patriarchal thought-form" based in the latter image and point to how this influences the way we understand the world and human experience in two important ways.
     First, feminist witches emphasize the similarities in the hierarchical structures of the world's five major religions, reflected, for example, in angels, saints, jinn, and demi-gods. Mageara, Redwood Moon's Priestess of Ritual Magic who does occasional presentations on witchcraft, says this model trains people to defer their power and responsibility upward. It is reinforced by hierarchical value systems which rank the material, the emotional, the intellectual, and the spiritual in ascending order. Women and femininity are identified with the material and the emotional, the lower half, and men and masculinity are identified with the upper and "superior" half, consisting of the intellectual and the spiritual.
     Second, feminist witches point to the linearity of patriarchal myths and intellectual constructs. It is because the material and emotional are devalued in relation to the intellectual and spiritual, they say, that patriarchal religions teach us that "Life is a vale of tears."  In order to ascend the hierarchy of values, the material and emotional must be overcome. The body must disciplined, even mortified, they say, and desire conquered. These religions tend to be salvation-oriented, speaking of a linear lifetime with the goal of moving up and beyond to an afterlife, to a sacredness outside of the world. Even when life is understood as a process of reincarnation, the goal is still to move elsewhere, to move beyond the material and break free of the cycle of rebirth. The enlightenment and experience of the divine is one of transcendence.  Mageara argues that:


     Max Weber wrote that the world became "disenchanted" when sacredness was removed from everyday life and moved out into another realm where the divine dwelt.

     But, the goal of transcendence and the concept of sacredness being separate and external to the self are alien to feminist witches, who draw heavily on ideas explored by Chodorow (1978) and Gilligan (1982) and emphasize the female experience of continuity and connection.  Instead of transcendence, the Goddess represents immanence, which they visualize as the flow of energy that connects all things. Through religious ritual and magic, feminist witches and women in the Goddess Movement attempt to link what they believe is the divine within them to the divine around them in the natural world. To them, the Goddess is "the normative image of immanence" (Starhawk, 1988:9), the mystical experience within of everything that exists without.
     Their concept of the trinity, the dynamic cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth as represented by the Goddess' three aspects of Maiden, Mother, and Crone, reflects and reinforces their belief in connection and immanence. The Triple Goddess is a metaphor that supports cyclical time, like the seasons. As Mageara says:
       Instead of the basic hierarchy of material, emotional, intellectual and spiritual of patriarchal religions, the symbol used by feminist witches is a circle which contains and balances the intellectual, emotional, material, adds energy as a fourth element and sees the whole union as spiritual, because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.(6)
     Having rejected "patriarchal thought-forms" as failing to reflect their own experience of reality, these women  also reject the core values they grew out of and express. The four core values emphasized by witches in my interviews were the same as those discussed by Christ (1982) as being typical of Goddess symbolism, including affirmations of female power, body, will, and of women's heritage and bonds.  Just as it has been argued that the symbols and mythos in Judeo-Christian tradition have reinforced the interests of men in patriarchy (for examples see: Daly, 1973; Stone, 1976; Christ, 1982; Baring and Cashford, 1991), the women argue that the symbols and mythos of the Goddess shape a new ethos and cultural vision of the world. This mythos uses a definition of power they believe to be free from the dynamics of domination. As Mageara argues, "female power isn't about power over, it is power to do, power to be." It is an articulation of power that, according to recent research on gender differences (Hale and Kelly, 1989), is similar to the way that many men and women tend to actually use power in the secular world.  Thus their gendered understanding of power and their cultural vision are firmly rooted in the female body and experience, and they believe this presents a serious challenge to patriarchal relations.


     Traditional religious iconography offers one major mythopoeic image for women, that of the Mother. Whether she is portrayed as the young virgin with child or the grieving madonna of the Pieta, she is young, she is beautiful, and she is defined by her relationship to her son.  In contrast, the Triple Goddess defines herself, and each of her three aspects is a mythic image that is capable of standing alone. This can be illustrated by examining the use of mythopoeic imagery in three public rituals of Womancircle and Circle of the Redwood Moon.
     The first was created by Hypatia, Dianic witch and priestess in Redwood Moon.(7)  The coven sponsored a weekend of workshops, discussions and rituals in which I participated along with a group of some 60 women camping in the mountains. My notes describe the scene.

     Hypatia told me later she neither "became" nor "invoked" Diana, phrases which would suggest that the Goddess was external to her priestess. Rather Hypatia "manifested that part" of her that was Diana. But this was no fleet-footed, pony-tailed chaste young goddess of the woods and dells. Hypatia is a powerful-looking, obese woman whose presence in her secular life often intimidates people who don't know her well. As Diana, this sense of power was dramatically enhanced. This was a Diana who looked like she could strangle a boar with her bare hands. But her strength was more than physical; there was a drama in her presence and authority that seemed to stem from within. This is described by a woman in her mid 20s who was a feminist new to Goddess ritual.     Later in the ritual, Diana asked who was "on her Moon Time" or menstruating. On those women who were, she pinned a sprig of herbs tied with a red ribbon.  This same young woman found this wonderful.     This was a Goddess who was a virgin in Goldenberg's (1979) sense of being independent of her lovers, not one who was necessarily by nature sexually inactive, a definition popular with feminist witches. With her attire and gift of Moon Ribbons, She celebrated the female body in a uniquely female way. This was a totally different image of Diana than the one with which we are familiar.  This was the Goddess of the Moon and the Lady of the Wild Things.  With this powerful image, Hypatia manifested the strong, independent Maiden that the witches argue may be found in all women, a natural part of the female self that has been denied and suppressed.
       The second mythopoeic image was presented by a priestess from Womancircle. Almost 200 people had gathered in a rented church hall to celebrate the Winter Solstice and were seated on blankets and jackets on the floor in a semi-circle around a large round altar decorated in reds and greens and many small goddess figurines. About 2/3 of the people were female, 1/3 male, and infants and small children were scattered in the crowd.  Light seemed to  dance in the air around the altar from the many candles people had brought as offerings. It was well into the ritual, when  three figures stepped out from the shadows. Like Hypatia's Diana, each figure was a priestess/Goddess. The first was a Black Isis, with a large feathered shawl. The second a Chicana Tonatzin with rattles and beads and feathers. The third was a pale Virgin Mary, draped in white and blue. Each moved slowly around the altar, explaining who she was and why she was there. The image of diversity, the multiple faces of the Goddess was a striking one, and in itself part of the new mythos. But it was the words and actions of the pale Mary that present the particular challenge to patriarchy explored here.
   As she circled the altar, her robes swirling gently around her ankles, Mary smiled and said she too was the Goddess. She told us that we had been taught many things about her. Some of them were true, some of them were lies, that being the mother of a child was not all that any female was, no matter how important the particular child might be. There was much more to Mary then her chaste visage might suggest. My fieldnotes record what the priestess/Mary said:     The laughter was immediate and spontaneous. Several people told me that they had been momentarily startled by the sight, and that was why they laughed. Later, a young woman who had read about the Goddess but was new to ritual told my why she laughed. And a middle-age woman told me she laughed,      The priestess who had "been" Mary was more specific.      The small gesture of raising her robe was intended to uncover a new Virgin Mary. Her red petticoat was a metaphor that served to establish a link between the female body and the divine, in other words, the material directly to the spiritual. Instead of denying the body, this image celebrated it.
     The Virgin Mary in this ritual was a Mother Goddess who had a material, female body, who birthed and created life out of her own flesh and blood, who might still be sexually active even after giving birth, and who, in raising her petticoat, metaphorically redefined what it means to be female and to be spiritual. This Virgin Mary did not give the impression she would ever  utter the words, "be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke, 1:38).  Thus "re-visioned," she reclaimed her sexuality, her fertility, her autonomy, and her divinity.
     The last image was consciously constructed by several Womancircle priestesses and unaffiliated women in the community.  An announcement had gone out to the community that a six-month series of workshops would begin to focus on the Crone aspect of the Goddess. The culmination of these was a ritual in late October, where the women who had attended the workshops publicly "claimed their Cronehood."
     Inside the dimly lit rented church, almost all of the 100 attendees wore black. There were men and children here and there in the crowd that circled two round tables in the very center of the hall.  These tables had been placed together and draped in purple velvet, and the effect was a horizontal figure eight, the symbol of infinity. One lone white taper burned on this dark altar; other than that, it was bare. The community of celebrants had been dancing to a small group of drummers, a wild, wide spiral dance that filled the church as people awaited the coming of the Crones. The "handmaiden" who had been sent to invite them into the hall returned, and the dancers stopped in place, forming a large double spiral that led up to the altar. The drums beat slowly as the handmaiden scattered rose petals in the path of the Crones.  First came two together, carrying between them a large cauldron symbolizing wisdom, death and rebirth (see Walker, 1985). Behind them, the other Crones glided in one by one. They were dressed entirely in black, their faces  partially hidden behind black veils. They carried candles specially made for the occasion, beeswax dipped in black, purple, and red. Some of them carried flowers in their arms, several had small Goddess figures in their hands. The veiled figures circled twice through the human spiral as people spontaneously cried out small encouragements. "Welcome Crones!" "Hail Crone!"  "We love you!"  "The world needs more Crones!"  One of the Crones told me:      The line of Crones reached the altar and encircled it, forming a circle within a circle. Several "called in" their favorite Crone Goddesses, Hecate, Lilith, Medusa, inviting them to join the circle. One by one the women went to the altar candle and used its flame to ignite their own, which they placed around it, along with any flowers and statuettes they carried. When they had all completed this act, they lifted back their veils and turned around to face the community. Singly, each then announced who she was, where she came from, and what she had to offer the community. A typical presentation was:     The crowd cheered each crone's declaration. Some of the "gifts" they offered were fairly traditional -  wisdom, love, healing. But there were also crones who promised laughter, sexual love, and political power. The last offering evoked a loud, "Grandmothers in '92!"(9)
     In claiming their cronehood, announcing their matrilineage, and declaring themselves valuable, these women shattered the stereotypes of aging females, both for themselves and those attending. A 22 year old woman confided: And a 24 year old said,      And what this ritual represented to her was that she could look forward to an old age where she could be respected and valued by her community, an old age where she could be serious, playful, sexual, wise, powerful, political, and humorous, should she so choose. In other words, the image is one of a woman who is old and whole. The Crones rejected the limitations imposed by a culture where female power, such as it is, is tied to youth, beauty, fertility, and male-directed sexuality. They were aging and aged postmenopausal women who symbolically redefined female beauty and worth and so reclaimed their autonomy and power. They clearly believed they had something of value to offer, and their community, in turn, rejoiced.


     Clearly, each of these examples offers a celebratory vision of female power, female will, the female body, and of women's bonds.  Rather than presenting role models for women that are defined and limited by their relationship to divine and secular male authority, as witches claim patriarchal religions do, each seeks to legitimate female power and authority. But instead of being based in dominance or hierarchy, the model of power and authority is rooted in strength and self-knowledge.  The Crones said "this is where I am...this is where I'm going."  Mary "had a body" and apparently delighted in it. Diana "radiated power with her body" and provided a source of pride and identification.  Each image presented a physical manifestation of the connection between the material and the spiritual and then went on to not only liberate female sexuality from concepts of sin, but actually celebrate the erotic. Taken together as images which contribute to the new mythos, they offer the possibility of what Spretnak calls "an embodied way of knowing and being in the world," which possibility she described as:

     This embodied epistemology provides a spiritual dimension to feminist critiques of epistemology explored in fields as diverse as psychology (Benjamin, 1980), political science (Hartsock, 1985), and biology (Keller, 1985).
     Of course, whether or not the women involved can sustain these feelings of power and celebration outside the ritual setting in a world that does not share their beliefs is problematic. But this difficulty is not limited to feminist witchcraft or the Goddess Movement, as many individuals experience conflict living up to their religious beliefs in a secular world. In addition, the power of mythopoeic imagery and religious symbolism in post-modern society may be open to debate. Yet regardless of intellectual debate, the women have felt the need to replace one set of mythic images with another, and have created religious images and symbols that have special significance and meaning for them. And as no two rituals are ever exactly alike, they continue to engage in this process of creation each and every time they do ritual.
     This is a setting that offers rich material for further study. Do women who experience feelings of personal empowerment in Goddess rituals feel empowered in their daily lives? If so, how are these feelings manifested and do the women attribute them to their religious beliefs and practice?  Are they different for women who experience different kinds of oppression, such as women of color or women with physical disabilities?  In sum, specifically how do the spiritual beliefs and practices of these women help them to survive in a male-dominated world?  What is the relationship between women in the Goddess Movement and those who choose to remain in traditional religions but work to incorporate into them the female experience of the divine?
     Another area for study involves the differences in the Goddess Movement between essentialists, who believe there are universal and specific feminine and masculine qualities rooted in biology, and social constructionists, who argue that gender roles and distinctions are artificial, that they are socially constructed and imposed.  How do these frameworks affect the understanding and analyses of patriarchal religious oppression experienced by women and how do they address the issues of race and class in the Goddess Movement?  Do they affect the religious worldview or how the new cultural vision is articulated?  Are their demographic as well as ideological differences between the two groups?
     It is clear that the Goddess Movement is successful in providing a new framework of meaning for some women who, in growing numbers, are alienated from patriarchal religions.  Although it supports other feminist approaches to change, such as in the legal, educational, and political arenas, it is radical in that it argues that the roots of gender oppression are deeper than these changes alone can reach. Religion defines the deepest values of a society, and, as Spretnak points out:      As these core values are challenged, new questions arise for sociologists.  Not the least of these will deal with growing political tensions which are already visible.  Feminist witches claim that more and more women are "coming out of the broom closet" and making public demonstrations of their faith. Evidence to support this can be seen in a proliferation of recent mainstream media articles on witches as well as in the list of sponsors and participants for the 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions held in Chicago.(10)  Evidence of the tension can be seen in the denouncements of feminist witchcraft and Goddess worship by some leaders of traditional religions, and the tendency of these same leaders to link feminism and all its issues to witchcraft. This public challenge to core values and the resulting potential for conflict is another area where research may be fruitful.


    In creating mythopoeic images that are rooted in material manifestations, such as the seasons of the year and the female body, feminist witches and women in the Goddess Movement seek to shape a new cultural ethos.  In presenting them in public rituals which are highly experiential, they attempt to share the worldview that informs this ethos in the belief that, eventually, this will lead to social change.  Whether or not this goal is likely to be realized is beyond the parameters of this paper.  What is clear is that these women have rejected the ethos they believe is present in patriarchal religions and, through the conscious construction and enactment of myth, seek a new cultural understanding and vision that will reconnect and, in the Weberian sense, "reenchant" the world.

1)Even less is known concerning numbers of practitioners as authority and records have never been centralized. Kelly (1987) extrapolated from subscriptions to pagan journals, attendance at pagan gatherings, registered  coven membership, book sales , etc., to estimate 50,000-100,000. Neitz (1990),however, believes that these figures leave out  most feminist witches. In 1991, Budapest asserted to me that there were hundreds of thousands involved.  Eller (1991) points out that for every woman who is actually initiated as a witch, many others read Budapest's  books, participate in a study group, or attend a Goddess ritual.  Typically, these individuals are not counted, as sociologists describe New Religious Movements "in terms of their most intense  manifestations" (Eller, 1991:280). What is clear is that the movement has grown dramatically since 1971.

2)This one Law is sometimes considered two, as it basically says do whatever you want to do as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. If you do hurt someone, be prepared to accept the consequences because whatever is "sent out" will return increased.

3)There is also a smaller, non-separatist Dianic Tradition based on the teachings of Morgan McFarland, which acknowledges both divine female and male principles. It is not represented in this paper.

4)Called "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven," this eight week course, written and designed by Shirley Ann Ranck, makes heavy use of slides of representations of ancient goddesses, feminist consciousness raising, and experiential workshops.

5)The reactions of mainstream religious leaders to feminist witchcraft and the Goddess Movement are a good example of this.  See statements made by Pope John Paul, reported in the New York Times, July 5, 1993:1-4, and Pat Robertson's fund raising letter from August, 1992.

6)Each element also represents a cardinal direction and associated concepts and characteristics. For example, the East represents the mind, thought, air, hawks, speed, beginnings.  The South is fire, energy, action, heat, stars, passion,  childhood. The West includes water, dolphins, intuition, emotion and friendship.  And the North is earth, harvest, body, stones, growth, and endings.

7)Dianic witches may choose to undergo specialized training of at least a year and a day after initiation into the coven in order to become priestesses.  In Womancircle, however,  women who believe they are "called" by a particular aspect of the Goddess may consider themselves her priestesses and use the title without further training.

8)Before being shot, the arrow had been passed around the circle so that we could touch it and focus our "will" or "do our own magic" on it After ritual, women praised Hypatia for her skill and many of them told me they had seen the arrow hit the bull's eye and heard the thud as it hit.  Some knew that Hypatia's hobby was archery. But as the target that night was lit only by the full moon and a distant torch and because of the arrow's symbolic importance, I investigated. Hypatia admitted to me in private the next morning that she had thrust the arrow into the bull's eye by hand before the group woke up. The arrow hadn't come anywhere near the target!

9)This was a clear reminder that it was only a few weeks before the elections, in the Year of the Woman, and Diane Feinstein was using her role as a  grandmother in her California television campaign for the US Senate.

10)The Covenant of the Goddess, one of the national umbrella groups that provides legal recognition of witchcraft and neopaganism as a religion, was one of the Parliament's sponsors. Witches attending the meetings conducted a full moon Goddess ritual one night in a nearby public park. Among the leaders, was Devi Moonsong, a witch from Redwood Moon.

Adler, Patricia, and Peter Adler. 1987.  Membership Roles in Research.  Beverly Hills: Sage
Baring, A., and J. Cashford.  1991.  The Myth of the  Goddess:Evolution of an Image.
    London:        Viking  Arkana.
Beckford, J. A., ed.  1986. New Religious Movements and  Rapid Social Change.  London: Sage.
Benjamin, J.  1988.  The Bonds of Love: Psycholoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of
     Domination.  New York: Pantheon Books.
Bolen, J. S.  1984.  Goddesses in Everywoman: A New  Psychology of Women. New York:
     Harper & Row.
Budapest, Z. E.  1989.  The Grandmother of Time.  San Francisco: Harper & Row.
Campbell, J.  1988.  The Power of Myth. with Bill Moyers.   New     York: Doubleday.
Chodorow, N.  1978.  The Reproduction of Mothering.   Berkeley:     University of California
Christ, C. P. 1982.  "Why women need the Goddess: Phenomenological, psychological, and
     political  reflections." In The Politics of Women's Spirituality, edited by C. Spretnak, 71-87.
     Garden  City, NY: Anchor Books.
Daly, M.  1973.  Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation. Boston:
     Beacon Press.
------.  1992.  Outercourse: The Be-Dazzling Voyage.  San  Francisco: Harper San Francisco.
Eisler, R.  1988.  The Chalice & the Blade. San Francisco:Harper & Row.
Eller, C.  1991.  "Relativizing the patriarchy: The sacred history of the feminist spirituality
     movement," History of    Religions 30(3), (February):279-295.
Finley, N. J. 1991.  "Political activism and feminist  spirituality." Sociological Analysis
Geertz, C.  1973.  The Interpretation of Cultures.  New York:     Basic Books.
Gilligan, C.  1982.  In a Different Voice.  Cambridge:University Press.
Goldenberg, N.  1979.  Changing of the Gods: Feminism and  the End of Traditional Religions.
     Boston: Beacon  Press.
Hale, M. M., and R. M. Kelly.  1989.  Gender, Bureaucracy  and Democracy.  Westport, CT.:
     Greenwood Press.
Hartsock, N.  1985.  Money, Sex, and Power.  Boston: Northeastern University Press.
Jacobs, J. L. 1990.  "Women, ritual and power." Frontiers XI(2/3):39-44.
Keller, E. F.  1985.  Reflections on Gender and Science.   New Haven: Yale University Press.
Kelly, A. A. 1991.  Crafting the Art of Magic. Book 1. St. Paul: Llewellyn Press.
Lozano, W. G., and T. G. Foltz.  1990.  "Into the darkness: an ethnographic study of feminist
     witchcraft and death."   Qualitative Sociology 13(3):221-235.
Neitz, M. J.  1990. "In Goddess we trust." In Gods We Trust: New Patterns of Religious
     Pluralism in America. 2nd. Edition, edited by T. Robbins and D. Anthony, . New     Brunswick:
     Transaction Publishers.pp. 353-372
Priest, J.  1970.  "Myth and dream in Hebrew scripture." In Myths, Dreams, and Religion, edited
     by J. Campbell, Dallas: Spring Publications. pp. 48-68.
Sanday, P.  1981.  Female Power and Male Dominance.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Spretnak, C.  1991.  States of Grace:  The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age. San
     Francisco: Harper San Francisco.
Stanton, E. C.  1895.  Women's Bible.  New York: European  Publishing Company.
Starhawk.  1988.  Dreaming the Dark. 2nd. ed. 1982, rpt. Boston: Beacon Press.
Stone, M.  1976.  When God Was A Woman.  New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Walker, B. G. 1985.  The Crone.  San Francisco: Harper & Row
Wilder, A.  1970.  "Myth and dream in Christian scripture." In Myths, Dreams, and Religion,
     edited by J. Campbell, Dallas, TX: Spring Publications, pp. 68-91

If any of this material is quoted for any purposes, please cite the author and the journal where it was originally published.