Foremothers of Women’s Spirituality Movement Anthology

I am honoured to be a contributor to this anthology.

Foremothers of the Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries 

edited by Miriam Robbins Dexter and Vicki Noble

The thematic focus is the “seeming explosion of creative religious expression on the part of contemporary Western women is the thematic focus of this book; the 33 chapters are the individual stories of the movement’s founders in their own words.”

My essay “Conceiving and Nurturing a Poiesis of Her: a PaGaian Cosmology” is Chapter 17 p.165-173, in Part II Indigenous Mind and Mother Earth, with 3 related images in the Appendix, p.307-309. Here is an excerpt:

“In the fertile time period of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s I began piecing Her together, getting a sense of Her story. In 1980, I presented a paper, Women and Religion: What’s Happening at a Women and Labor Conference in Melbourne. This was a pivotal point for me. I was blown out of the water (or into it) with the media response: page three of The Age in Melbourne read “Pressure from pews to find a female God;” page 17 of the Sydney Morning Herald read “The search for a Goddess;” and there was a full page interview in my region’s local paper, which upset the Catholic Archdiocese that employed my husband. I had a dream in which I was an ancient woman on the plains; I had a spear, and my grey hair was being cut. The Mother’s call became cataclysmic. I returned to Berkeley without husband and children, to complete my Master’s Degree in Theology and Philosophy. All the stars fell from the sky; there were no guides for this.

I later wrote in my book PaGaian Cosmology (2005:44):

I am an inventor, a mythmaker, who has received/taken remnants of her indigenous religious heritage, and newly available parts, and spun and woven new threads, fabrics and stories. When I became bold enough to assume such a task – out of a sensed necessity, I had long been encouraged by the words of Monique Wittig where she describes the attempt to remember an earlier mode of being, for which it is said “there are no words” and therefore perhaps “it does not exist.” Wittig says, “Make an effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent.


PaGaian Cosmology altar/mandala: a “Womb of Gaia” map


“MoonCourt.” Goddess Ceremonial space of Glenys Livingstone. Blue Mountains


“PaGaian Cosmology: A gynocentric re-emergence.” Image by Julie Cunningham from front cover of book by Glenys Livingstone.

There was a Book Release Party in Berkeley, California 13th December, and another on the 16th December because that one is sold out … if you are in the neighbourhood!

With readings by:  Vicki Noble, Miriam Robbins Dexter, Starhawk, Luisah Teish, Mary Mackey, Judy Grahn, Joan Marler, Max Dashu, Mara Keller, Karen Vogel, Musawa, Hallie Austen Iglehart, Lydia Ruyle. 

Performances by: Jennifer Berezan (with Melanie Demore, Gina Breedlove, Evelie Posch, Arisika Razak),Julie Felix and Carolyn Brandy. 

An uplifting evening to honor and celebrate the women who helped create a movement that transformed countless lives and forever changed the way we understand and experience ourselves and our world.

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