The Nine Touchstones of Goddess Spirituality

Apr 4th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles, Feminist Craft

The Nine Touchstones of Goddess Spirituality

The more time you spend reading me here at the blog, the more you’ll notice that I tend to use the terms Feminist Witchcraft, Feminist Spirituality, and Goddess Spirituality pretty interchangeably. This is because, for me and for my practice, they are fundamentally interchangeable. My spirituality, in theory and praxis, is inspired by the distinct yet intertwined movements of Feminist Witchcraft and Goddess (or Feminist) Spirituality. These movements have grown up together, have cross-pollinated, and occupy a Venn diagram with a pretty healthy overlap, but they each also have their own histories, their own lineages, and their own unique perspectives. I have a sometimes uneasy relationship with both of these movements, grounded as they are in Second Wave feminism, with the attendant biological essentialism and the (sometimes) accompanying transphobia.

I came into Feminist Witchcraft via more mainstream Wicca, but quickly found myself in circles of women who prayed and made magick to The Goddess only. Eschewing gender binary and the idea of a male godhead at all, these women were instead weaving incredible tapestries of feminist activism, witchcraft, ritual, personal empowerment, and healing from a misogynist culture. Their rituals and their discussions were rich stews of feminist theory, feminist theology, Jungian psychology, Women’s Studies, psychopomp, and Paganism. It was through these circles of women, the first Feminist Witches I ever met, that I was exposed to the idea of Goddess Spirituality – which has much in common with, but is not identical to, Feminist Witchcraft.

In particular, I was introduced to the work of Carol P. Christ, through her 1978 essay, “Why Women Need the Goddess.” I’ve written about the impact that essay has had on my life, both as a young woman of 19 encountering the Goddess for the first time and as the 40-something woman I am now, elsewhere. In Christ’s work, I found the academic rigor that my Sagittarian soul craved; I largely credit my early exposure to her work and the work of her colleagues with putting me on the path to becoming an anthropologist of religion. Christ has spent the better part of the last four decades working towards a systematic theology – or thealogy – of Goddess religion, and I continue to be amazed by the depth of her thought and analysis. I find it to be a needed touchstone within my practice, which is so heavily embodied and experiential. I need to be able to think and talk about my spirituality as well as to experience it directly, and feminist theology has given me the tools to do that.

One of my favorite pieces of Christ’s work is her Nine Touchstones of Goddess Spirituality, an imaginative re-writing of the 10 Commandments. I’ll be writing about each one of these Touchstones in detail over the next few weeks, but for now I invite you to consider them as a body, just as Christ wrote them:

Nurture life.

Walk in love and beauty.

Trust the knowledge that comes through the body.

Speak the truth about conflict, pain, and suffering.

Take only what you need.

Think about the consequences of your actions for seven generations.

Approach the taking of life with great restraint.

Practice great generosity.

Repair the web.

These are my commandments. These are my ethics. These are the core principles that inform my practice. And while Christ does not call her spirituality Witchcraft – and, from my understanding based on reading her work, does not necessarily practice anything like what I do in terms of ritual – her words ring true to me. This is one of the many places where Goddess Spirituality and Feminist Witchcraft touch, hold hands, kiss each other on the cheek.

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