Third Wave Witch: Feminist Spirituality, Spiritual Feminism

Third Wave Witchcraft explores the intersection of feminism, Witchcraft, Goddess Spirituality, and feminist activism. A place to explore how to make our spirituality more feminist, our feminism more spiritual, and our world more just.

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Susan Harper

Susan Harper

Susan Harper is an eclectic solitary Feminist Witch from Irving, Texas. She is a professor of Anthropology, Sociology, and Women's Studies, with a focus on gender, religion, and sexuality. She is also an activist, community educator, and writer. When she's not making magick or fomenting social change, Susan is the head soapmaker, herbalist, and aromatherapist for Dreaming Priestess Creations. She shares her life with her partner, Stephanie, five cats, and two guinea pigs.

I was so happy to see The Muses come dancing into my life this week when I did my weekly draw from the Goddess Inspiration Oracle. I've been struggling off and on with writer's blocks for much of the last five years, and increasingly I am feeling, as Maya Angelou would have said, the weight of the untold stories inside me. I find myself longing to write more and more often, and frustrated by the things that get in the way -- or, perhaps, the things I let get in the way. I've been reading Christina Baldwin's Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest for the last several weeks, and am finding that it's inspiring me not only to think about my journalling practice, but about the craft of writing and finding purpose more generally. I am excited to see what The Muses' energy infuses into these ponderings and into my work this week!

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I am just returned from three amazing days in the Texas Hill Country, where I attended Texas SpringFest, a Goddess spirituality event. I am refreshed and renewed after spending time in a woman-centered, explicitly feminist space, communing with my Goddess and my sisterhood and the reawakening Earth. I'll be writing more about SpringFest in the next days, as I slowly return to my regular life rhythms.

I did, however, take the time to pull this week's Goddess Inspiration Oracle card, and was surprised to find Sekhmet greeting me from the deck. The Egyptian Goddess of war (among other things), Sekhmet rules our darker emotions. Known as The Mighty One, Sekhmet asks us to examine those feelings that we -- especially those of us who are women -- are encouraged to keep hidden, out of sight, out of mind. Those emotions that we are told that "nice girls" don't feel -- anger, rage, righteousness, fury.

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It seems like themes of sexuality and pleasure have taken on an increasingly important role in my life over the last year. A few years ago, I took a last-minute job teaching a course on the Anthropology of Sexuality, a topic in which I had grounding but did not consider myself an expert. In the intervening three years, I have increasingly been called on to teach similar courses and to speak on issues of sex, sexuality, sex education, and sexual empowerment. I have come to think of myself as a Sexuality Educator, rather than simply as someone who teaches courses that deal with the topic of sex. And I've become increasingly passionate about medically accurate, comprehensive sex education, as well as about sexual empowerment more generally. This past spring, I started my Internet radio show, All Acts of Love and Pleasure, which examines love, sex, sexuality, eroticism, and relationships in a Pagan context. I have become, in a very real way, passionate about pleasure.

Running alongside these themes has been the overarching theme of trying to find and live my passion. My career has been in flux, in various ways, for the last couple of years. I've been working to discover the passions that drive me, and to make my life and my living doing those things. This work has been some of the most difficult of my life, as it asks me to plumb my deepest depths and be unflinchingly honest with myself about my wants, my desires, my fears, and my expectations of myself -- as well as my Divine right to live a life that fills me up and feels good. I have been working to embrace the Divine Yes.

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It feels like spring has finally come to North Texas. The first of our famous wildflowers are finally starting to show in the grasses along the highways, and the sun is blessing us after an uncustomarily dark and cloudy February and March. I'm seeing the first butterflies of the season, too, as the trees and flowers begin to come back. But that fine mist of blue and orange which heralds the emergence of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush are what tells me that spring is finally here.

Along with the wildflowers and the butterflies, the Goddess Psyche has come fluttering into my life to remind me to seek the deepest truths of my soul this week. I've loved the myth of Psyche and Cupid since I took Greek Mythology in high school, but have never thought much about Her as a Goddess in her own right. Her message to allow love to transform me, and to seek my most fundamental truths, is a welcome one right now.

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While we haven't had the hard winter that Boston and much of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States has had, it has still been a rough season here in Texas. Late February snow and ice, followed by a series of overcast days, have kept me in my home and away from so many of my favorite early spring activities. I am grateful for the much-needed water that will (hopefully) help alleviate the long drought we've been suffering here in the Lone Star state. And yet when the weather turns dark and moody and cold and wet, I find myself often turning inward. This inward state is not self-reflective or introspective as it might otherwise be. No, my winter "turning inward" is often a function of depression -- what I call my Black Dog -- and is as hard to shake as the Texas gumbo mud on my shoes. This winter has been one of re-evaluation, principally of the career which has been the center of my life for more than a decade. I am finding less and less joy and more and more frustration in the classroom, and becoming increasingly frustrated with the exploitative nature of part-time faculty life. And yet the idea of changing my path is fraught with emotional landmines -- a sense of having given up, of having failed, of being adrift and not knowing what to do or where to turn next. In many ways this is my relationship with the Element of Water -- it is so easy for me to give into the darker side of my emotions, to pain, to self-pity, and to fear. Perhaps because I have always lived in land-locked places, the idea of open water terrifies me. And the sense I've had of being adrift upon a vast sea has, of late, been really stoking my fears.

And so this week, Yemanja (otherwise known as Yemaya), the Holy Queen Sea of the Yoruba pantheon, has come to remind me that when we fight the current, we drown. But when we can surrender to the flow, we float.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Susan Harper
    Susan Harper says #
    Thank you so much, Connie. Surrendering to the flow is hard -- I'm a make-it-happen kind of gal -- but I know that this is exactly
  • Connie Lazenby
    Connie Lazenby says #
    Susan, i found myself in much the same position during the summer and fall of last year. Thankfully the decision as to exactly w

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Just a quick note for my readers here! I've just finished my first episode of my new radio show on Pagans Tonight Radio Network. Join me every other Wednesday for "All Acts of Love and Pleasure: Love, Sex, Dating, Sexuality, and Eroticism in a Pagan Context." I'm so excited to engage with the community in this new way, and to have a chance to talk about these things I am so passionate about.

You can listen to the archived episode, click here.

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Huchi-Fuchi, by Kris Waldherr

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I did not know about this Goddess before. Do you have any pages that describe her further that you can link to?

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