The Nine Touchstones of Goddess Spirituality: Speak the Truth

Jul 31st, 2018 | By | Category: Articles, Feminist Craft, Uncategorized

One of the cardinal rules of Witchcraft is know when to keep silent. However, I believe that the inverse is also true — Witches have to know when to raise our voices. And as any good magician worth their salt knows, to have something’s name is to have its power. I feel like the fourth of Carol Christ’s Nine Touchstones of Goddess Spirituality speaks both to the power of naming and to the urgency of Witches working for justice: Speak the truth about conflict, pain, and suffering.

This is never an easy task, and within much contemporary spirituality, may even be actively discouraged. I am uneasy about the ways in which some forms of Goddess Spirituality — what I think of as the Modern Priestess movement, based on the way this form of spirituality is marketed — are deeply enmeshed with positivity culture. Women (because the Modern Priestess movement is directed almost exclusively at women, and cisgender women at that) are encouraged to project “positive vibes only” and to only speak positive words, lest they accidentally manifest something negative. This repackaging of The Secret in Priestess robes also means that raising real issues such as violence against women and nonbinary people, racism, cultural appropriation, TERF ideology in Goddess spaces, and more is strongly discouraged, if not actively forbidden, because these things aren’t “spiritual concerns.” Conflict, pain, suffering, and injustice are seen as political matters (which they are), and for those in these sectors of the movement, politics are not spiritual.

Witchcraft for me has always been and will always be political. Witchcraft is an act of resistance, and a form of speaking truth to power. To remove the politics from my Witchcraft is to remove its very heart. I was drawn to Feminist Witchcraft and Goddess Spirituality because it was explicitly political, because it offered a set of tools not just for my own personal healing but for larger societal healing and social change. We cannot affect those changes if we do not name the things that have wounded us and that continue to wound us. We cannot heal if we do not, so to speak, expose the wound to open air and name it for what it is.

Part of the power, for me, in Feminist Witchcraft is that we are encouraged to give name to our own pain, our own suffering, our own shadows as ways to heal them. In my time practicing and facilitating Feminist Witchcraft circles, I have seen the profound transformation that can come from just being able to tell one’s story and have it heard, witnessed, and held in sacred space. Many people who come to Feminist Witchcraft — myself included — have been profoundly wounded by patriarchy, most often in the forms of violence and violation. These are things our culture still tells us not to speak of, still attaches shame to. When we can put these experiences out in the open air, it frees up space inside us. For many survivors of violence, a Full Moon circle or other such ritual may be the first time they tell their story and the first time they hear others tell stories like their own. This sense of not being alone, of not having to carry a secret shame, has the potential to save lives.

To take speaking the truth about conflict, pain, and suffering as a spiritual touchstone is to commit to honesty, to accountability, and to justice. It is to commit to honestly and openly addressing conflicts in our personal lives, to take responsibility for pain we have caused and to attempt to make amends so far as is possible. It is to commit to speaking openly about our own suffering and the suffering of others — to refuse to sweep it into a dark corner or spin it with positivity-focused language. Speaking the truth about conflict, pain, and suffering is not an easy or pleasant task, but this is all the more reason that we must do it. Monsters, as they say, live in the dark. Only when we turn on the light do we begin to be able to dispel those things that we are most afraid of.

Leave a Comment