thea Gaia née Dorothy Ivy Wacker: Feminist Foremother and a Great “Ponderer” by Glenys Peacock

Rev. Dorothy Waker (thea Gaia)thea Gaia and I were both leaving the church, the Christian paradigm, at the same time in 1979 … we lived in different parts of Australia, but met (corresponded) through writing for a publication called “Magdalene”, which was put together by a group of women seeking a spirituality that spoke to them (Marie Tulip was one of them ). At that time thea was still Dorothy Wacker.

We met up again in the late 80’s after I returned to Australia from California where I had been finishing a Master’s degree in Theology and Philosophy (I was allowed to write on the topic of my choice, which was “Motherhood Mythology” – researching the story of the Great Mother; though it was with the Graduate Theological Union, and my supervisor was a Jesuit). It was so encouraging to be able to visit thea in Canberra at the time of my return to Australia, and share so much, when Goddess-mind was just (re)emerging and so rare in Australia. I was still trying to work out what I would ever do with an M.A. in Theology – I did apply for teaching jobs at seminaries for a while, but soon realised that since I was not prepared to compromise my passion for Her, it was just not going to happen. I often said at the time, that it was an eminently useless degree for a woman to have. But as I journeyed more down Goddess path, celebrating Her Seasons and Creativity, I no longer questioned the value of the study. And thea was part of the support network: I thank her deeply for her love and great conversations especially in the 1990’s … both in Canberra and in the Blue Mountains.

We shared space in Springwood in the late 90’s for a while, but it didn’t work out … I guess I had another path to travel: but thea and I reconnected in the days of the Goddess Association in Australia, when Patricia Corner brought so many of us Goddess women together in wonderful conferences. thea and I also share “country”: that is, we are both from South-East Queensland – country girls, not too far from each other as the crow flies, and she was born the same year as my Mum. I am so thankful to be able to put this story about thea on my blog … a remarkable story. Thank you Glenys Peacock for writing it, and thank you thea.

Rev. Dorothy Waker (thea Gaia) Rev. Dorothy Wacker (thea Gaia)

On 15th May, 2016 thea Gaia left this earth which was her home for 85 years. thea was born
Dorothy Ivy Wacker in Gatton, Australia on 9th February, 1931, the eldest of four children.
Her family were descendants of German immigrants who came to Australia in the 1860s.
In primary school, Dorothy was a bright student, winning a bursary enabling her to continue
her studies at high school which she completed in 1947. She then studied primary teaching
at Queensland Teachers’ College and from 1950-52 she worked at School for the Deaf,
Dutton Park, Brisbane.

Dorothy joined South Brisbane Congregational Church and became President of Queensland
Congregational Youth Fellowship. At age 22, she decided to take theological training to
become a Congregational minister. Dorothy studied for Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Divinity at the University of Queensland. In 1959, she was awarded a Certificate…

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