Womens Spirituality Movement

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Presented at a theology conference, this presentation is a description and critique of the women's spirituality movement in North America.

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Womens Spirituality Movement

  1. 1. THE WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY MOVEMENT IN NORTH AMERICA: A CLOSER LOOK
  2. 2. AGENDA <ul><li>What is women’s spirituality? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we create a ritual? </li></ul><ul><li>First ritual: Christian (conservative) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion and reflection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Second ritual: Goddess (radical) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discussion and reflection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Critical reflection and analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who does it liberate, who does it neglect, who does it oppress? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evaluation </li></ul>
  3. 3. WHAT IS WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY? <ul><li>Spirituality defined </li></ul><ul><li>Development of the women’s spirituality movement </li></ul><ul><li>The role of feminist theology </li></ul><ul><li>Characteristics of women’s spirituality </li></ul>
  4. 4. DEFINITION OF SPIRITUALITY <ul><li>Traditional: defined within the context of a religious tradition </li></ul><ul><li>Contemporary: set in opposition to religion </li></ul><ul><li>Key elements of spirituality: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search for meaning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interconnectedness of all life (holistic) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aliveness, passion, realization of full humanity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power for transformation </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY <ul><li>Grew out of political feminism in mid 1970s </li></ul><ul><li>Transformation by culture-building vs. political action </li></ul><ul><li>Parallels growth of feminist theology </li></ul><ul><li>Becoming more and more mainstream </li></ul><ul><li>Exists within and outside mainstream churches </li></ul><ul><li>Spectrum: from conservative to radical </li></ul>
  6. 6. RELATED TERMS <ul><li>Women’s spirituality </li></ul><ul><li>Feminist spirituality </li></ul><ul><li>Goddess spirituality </li></ul><ul><li>Wicca, witchcraft </li></ul><ul><li>neopaganism </li></ul>
  7. 7. A NOTE ON FEMINISMS <ul><li>Diversity of feminisms </li></ul><ul><li>Political and academic movements </li></ul><ul><li>Popular images of feminists are not representative </li></ul>
  8. 8. CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN’S SPIRITUALITY <ul><li>Diverse, pluralistic, diffuse </li></ul><ul><li>No organization, no leadership, no sacred texts, nonhierarchical, nonauthoritarian </li></ul><ul><li>Empowerment and transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Begins with women’s experience </li></ul><ul><li>Reconstruction and reimaging of religious symbols, myths, God-concepts, liturgies </li></ul><ul><li>Goddess worship (some) </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on immanence </li></ul><ul><li>Integrative and holistic </li></ul><ul><li>Feminist consciousness </li></ul><ul><li>Communion with nature </li></ul><ul><li>Ritual, celebration, and/or magic </li></ul><ul><li>Revisionist religious history (matriarchal era) </li></ul>
  9. 9. FEMINIST THEOLOGY <ul><li>Johnson’s definition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Women’s faith seeking understanding in the face of oppression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sexism as sin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strongly critiques traditional speech about God </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provides a theoretical framework for women’s spirituality </li></ul>
  10. 10. ELEMENTS OF RITUAL <ul><li>Intention or purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Stepping over the threshold into sacred space and time </li></ul><ul><li>Invocation </li></ul><ul><li>The heart of the ceremony </li></ul><ul><li>Conscious closure </li></ul><ul><li>integration </li></ul>
  11. 11. WICCAN RITUAL <ul><li>Purification </li></ul><ul><li>Casting the circle </li></ul><ul><li>Stating the intention </li></ul><ul><li>Raising power </li></ul><ul><li>Trance work or visualization </li></ul><ul><li>Grounding the energy </li></ul><ul><li>Opening the circle </li></ul>
  12. 12. QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION FIRST RITUAL <ul><li>What themes in this segment of Mary’s story touched themes in your own life? </li></ul><ul><li>What part of the reading most resonated in you and why? </li></ul><ul><li>What is God calling you to give birth to at this time in your life? </li></ul>
  13. 13. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS RITUALS <ul><li>How did you personally experience the ritual? </li></ul><ul><li>How to you relate this kind of ritual to traditional Christianity? </li></ul><ul><li>What was you theological response? </li></ul>

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