[Originally posted in Cyborgs Vs Earth Goddess.]
During the last two decades, the feminist literature has expanded to become more diverse and inclusive. Yet, relatively few books have emerged which focus on Goddesses and their significance to feminism and women’s liberation. This is due in part to a complete lack of interest by academics and feminists alike in exploring either historical or contemporary Goddess cultures. This disparaging view of gynocentric tradition is unfortunate, since it creates the false impression that patriarchy is permanent and inevitable, and it erases 100,000 years of gynocentric prehistory.
Goddess cultures are part of a vast gynocentric background that predates the horrendous and escalating violence of the patriarchal foreground. Goddess worship is antithetical to male supremacy, so an essential part of men’s domestication of females was their destruction of once powerful Goddesses. The oppression of the Goddess is inseparable from the oppression of females and nature. Far from being arcane and irrelevant, Goddesses provide activists and feminists alike with a glimpse into a possible future beyond male supremacy and domination.
The new anthology, She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality, is a wonderful collection of essays put together by a dedicated team consisting of Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, Trista Hendren, Wennifer Lin, and Kaalii Cargill. The four editors carefully crafted a deeply feminist anthology, starting with the way the book is organized. The table of contents uses an innovative convention: instead of “parts” and “chapters,” the book uses Mothers and Sisters.
There are three Mothers named “Why Goddess Feminism?,” “Why Goddess Activism?,” and “Why Goddess Spirituality?” And, there are Nine Sisters named after five directions and four natural elements – Sister East, Sister South, Sister West, Sister North, Sister Center, Sister Wind, Sister Fire, Sister Water, and Sister Earth. The unique organization of the book remind readers of the deep interconnections between nature and the Goddesses, who are all based on Earth unlike the sky magic of patriarchal religions. Honoring the Goddess is honoring the Earth, but patriarchal cultures have largely negated both. This anthology on the Goddess therefore represents a vital form of female resistance and empowerment.
Each one of the many excellent essays, stories, poetry, inspirational passages and artwork capture some part of the mystery of ancient Goddesses and gynocentric cultures. This excellent anthology include important contributions on goddesses and radical feminism by researchers and writers like Susan Hawthorne, Carol Christ, Max Dashu, Vicki Noble, Genevieve Vaughan, Suzanne Baile, Glenys Livingstone, Michela Zucca, Starhawk, Barbara Daughter, and many others.
This anthology is extremely important in addressing some of the historical inaccuracies perpetuated by the patriarchy. It is essential reading for women seeking knowledge grounded in female experience and in reclaiming the female body. And it should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding radical feminism, and in moving beyond patriarchal thought and its gross disorder.
Dr. Moses Seenarine is a plant-based father and activist. He is founder of Climate Change 911 and the author of Education and Empowerment Among Dalit (Untouchable) Women in India: Voices from the Subaltern (2004) by Edwin Mellen Press.
(She Rises can be purchased in ebook, black-and-white print, or color print through Amazon.com or Amazon UK. If you choose to get a print copy and order it via Mago Books, you are supporting the Mago Work.)