Inspired by the Goddess

Carol P. Christ writes about the rebirth of the Goddess, feminism, ecofeminism, feminist theology, societies of peace, and the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete.

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Carol P. Christ

Carol P. Christ

Carol P. Christ is a author of the much-loved books Rebirth of the Goddess, She Who Changes, Weaving the Visions, and Womanspirit Rising, and forthcoming in 2016. Goddess and God in the World and A Serpentine Path. She leads the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete in spring and fall.

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A few days ago I received a message out of the blue on Facebook:

Thank you for your accepting my friend request. I am fighting to find my way out of depression during a life transition as I move into retirement from my years of work as an educator. I look forward to your book this spring. I have long called myself a Goddess feminist having struggled with patriarchal Christianity since my youth, but have felt abandoned by the Goddess for many years now. I'm not sure how I found you today. I stumbled onto a blog from you on your book while googling something else. Your words gave me a spark of hope. Laurel

In my blog I said that when I began to write A Serpentine Path, I felt abandoned by the Goddess. I wrote back, hoping that sharing what I had learned on my journey would be helpful.

The short answer is that the Goddess has never abandoned any of us. However, She does not have the power to make everything turn out as it could be or should be or we wish it would be. Hers is the power to inspire but not to control. If you have been unhappy, She is with you, She understands your pain, and She will be with you as you seek to find your way. I hope this doesn't sound too preachy. It is from the heart of my experience. Take care of yourself.

I immediately received an answer back.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you Carol - clearly and beautifully written. Omnipotence is such a toxic theological trap.

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Announcing A Serpentine Path

"The serpentine path is the path of life, a snakelike, meandering path, winding in and out, up and down, with no beginning and no end, into the darkness and into the light."

As the year draws to a close, I am putting the finishing touches on A Serpentine Path: Mysteries of the Goddess. In the spring of 2016 it will be published by the Far Press, founded by Gina Messina-Dysert.  A Serpentine Path is the original title of the memoir of my journey from despair to the joy of life on the first Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete. It was published in 1995 as Odyssey with the Goddess, a title chosen by the publisher.

A Serpentine Path marked a turning point in my life and in my career as a writer. During the time described in my memoir I had fallen into a deep despair, sparked by the end of a marriage, the end of a love affair, and disappointment in my career. Hoping to make a fresh start, I moved to Greece. Not surprisingly, my despair followed me there. Nonetheless, as I would learn, I made the right decision, for as my Greek therapist was to tell me, I needed to learn to live in my body, not my head, and Greece was the place to learn that.I was at a crossroads in my spiritual quest. I left Christianity for Goddess feminism, yet I felt the Goddess had abandoned me. I had a contract to write the first Goddess thealogy, but as I said in a speech at I gave at Harvard Divinity School just before I made the decision to move to Greece, I was not sure of the meaning of the symbol of the Goddess. Is Goddess a personal being who cares about the world? Or the name we give to the cycles of birth, death, and regeneration in nature? My inability to answer this question led my editors to return draft of my Goddess thealogy with the comment that something was missing.

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Can You Imagine a Society of Peace? by Carol P. Christ

As war and the fruits of war, including hatred and the desire for vengeance, threaten our human community, I take this opportunity republish a vision of a Society of Peace. If we cannot imagine a Society of Peace, we will never be able to create one. Can you imagine that:

As a child, you would not have to fight with your sisters or brothers for your father’s or your mother’s attention. You would not have one mother but many as you would be raised in a large extended family. Both girls and boys would be equally loved and cherished by their mothers and grandmothers and by their uncles and great-uncles. Both girls and boys would know that they would always have a place in the maternal clan. As a boy or a girl you would never have to “separate from” or “reject” your mother in order to “prove yourself as an individual” or in order to “grow up.” You could grow up without severing the bond with the ones who first loved you and first cared for you.

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TAKE ONLY WHAT YOU NEED & GIVE AWAY by Carol P. Christ

Why is it so important to take only what we really need? Because everything we take harms another life. I included this Native American teaching as one of the Nine Touchstones I offered as a counterpoint to the Ten Commandments in Rebirth of the Goddess.

Recently, I have begun to realize that the concept of taking only what you need is the heart of sustainability ethics, an ethical system that can orient us to living in harmony with others and the natural world. The practice of great generosity is its counterpoint. When you have worked for, received, or accumulated more than you need, you should give it away.

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CROSSING THE SEA OF DEATH by Carol P. Christ

I am washing wet clothes cast off by refugees who crossed the Sea of Death, the new name for channel only 4 nautical miles wide that separates Turkey and Lesbos. A tiny pink long-sleeved shirt with a boat neck, for a girl, size 3 months. The channel was relatively safe in the spring and summer, even though people were pushed into black rubber dinghies wearing illegal life jackets that would not float. A pair of leggings with feet, grey with pink, orange, brown, white, and blue polka-dots, to be worn over diapers. North winds have made the journey treacherous.

I am not on the front lines, pulling wet children alive and dead from the sea. I think my heart would break.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lisa Sarasohn
    Lisa Sarasohn says #
    Thank you for your service, your heart.
  • Candise
    Candise says #
    Chilling. Thank you.

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Mysteries

Finding ourselves together in Crete after attending a conference, four friends and I set out to visit the caves of Eilitheia in Amnissos and Agia Paraskevi in Skoteino. As we drove along the coast toward Amnissos, I recalled that caves have been understood as sacred from the dawn of religion. When people knew the earth as their mother, the cave, the opening in the earth was her vagina and womb, the passageway to her deepest mysteries, the secrets of birth and rebirth.

The Eilitheia Cave is in the hills above the ancient port of Amnissos. We arrived in the morning, accompanied by the guard who came with us to unlock the gate. The cave has one large, long room, with a wide mouth, and a low ceiling. There is a belly stone near the entrance that women rubbed to insure conception. Near the center of the cave, in shadowy darkness, are two stalagmites, one squat and the other tall, surrounded by the remains of ancient walls that enclosed the sacred space. The guard told us that they were worshipped as the Mother, seated, and the Daughter, standing. Their heads were chopped off with the blow of an ax. In the back of the cave there are small pools of water, used for healing.

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Solstice Comes But Once A Year, Now It’s Here! by Carol P. Christ

Actually it comes twice, once in midsummer, the longest day of the year, and once in midwinter, the longest night.  Winter Solstice is also known as the first day of winter.

For those of us attuned to the cycles of Mother Earth, Winter Solstice is a time to celebrate the dark and the transformations that come in the dark. Many of the customs associated with Christmas and Hannukah, including candles, Yule logs, and trees decorated with lights were originally associated with Winter Solstice.  The extra pounds put on during winter feasting were insulation against the cold winter nights.

Those who fear that many of the customs of the Christmas season might be pagan are right.  As we learn again to honor our place within the cycles of birth, death, and regeneration, we return these customs to their roots in the circle of life.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Wonderful post - I'm looking forward to celebrating the return of the dark at Summer Solstice!

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