An anthology with contributions from nineteen writers, The Goddess in America is a book that identifies the enduring experience of Goddess Spirituality through a four-part discussion focused on the Native Goddess, the Migrant Goddess, the Goddess in relation to other aspects of American culture (Feminism, Christianity, Witchcraft etc.) and the Goddess in contemporary America.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
This is a greatly needed book on the relationship between the Goddess and America and a fascinating read. The Goddess in America: The Divine Feminine in Cultural Context edited by Trevor Greenfield is an anthology of various writers. The book is divided into four main parts; The Native Goddess, The Migrant Goddess, The Relational Goddess, and the Contemporary Goddess. The Native Goddess touches upon the influence matriarchal focused native tribes have had on modern goddess spirituality and feminism. The following chapters discuss the Goddess within Cherokee, Hopi and Mayan cultures.
The second part of the book, The Migrant Goddess, begins with tackling the topic of cultural appropriation – a great segway from the first part of the book discussing Native traditions. Thought-provoking and difficult questions and issues regarding cultural appropriation by those in Goddess Movements is presented and left as an open question, without any concrete answer. This is followed up with chapters discussing “imported” or “migrant” Goddesses that came from other non-American cultures such as Ireland, Africa, Creole Voodoo, Minoan and Hebrew traditions and how this has influenced the diversity of Goddess worship in modern day America. The third part of the book, The Relational Goddess discusses the Goddess in relation to very diverse areas of modern American spiritual life; Feminism, Modern Shamanistic Practices, Christianity, Psychology and Witchcraft.
The final section of the book, The Contemporary Goddess discusses how the Goddess has influenced pop culture – often through veiled guises. Next how Goddesses have changed since coming to America is discussed, examining different retellings of myths, reimagining attributes and reinterpretations of the Goddess as she made her way to America. The Goddess in relation to the Reclaiming Tradition with its focus on activism is discussed by a Reclaiming Witch. After that the importance of modern day priestesses is explored. Next up the Dark Goddesses and their relation to the goth sub-culture is examined. The book finishes with my favourite entry by Vivienne Moss, which creatively explores and honours nine women in American History who are revered in this as embodiments of different types of Goddess-hood, being likened almost to modern day saints and includes ways to honor their legacies today.
~ Mat Auryn, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/matauryn/2017/06/07/review-goddess-america/#hk24QAi0HbxwRlG2.99
Wow! A very thoughtful and well written book on feminism. It made me open my eyes to see all the things we could be doing better! This was a great read! One of the best books I've read in a long time! Good work! ~ Henry Lummus, Educator, NetGalley
As someone who comes to goddess spirituality from a feminist thealogy perspective, I have found it important to distinguish between the lineage and history of goddess spirituality and that of contemporary paganism as a broader and larger movement. While the roots of goddess spirituality are indeed entwined with paganism and Wicca, there is still a distinct “herstory” of the goddess movement in the United States, as well as qualities, traditions, values, perspectives, and tenants within it that are worthy of consideration on a stand-alone basis.
The Goddess in America, forthcoming from Moon Books this fall, is a highly recommended anthology of insightful essays about the meaning, role, goddess in americaexpression, and experience of the Goddess in the United States. This is not a 101 or introductory book, but rather a complex exploration of a variety of topics including cultural appropriation, differences between feminist goddess spirituality and Wicca, contemporary priestessing, pop culture goddesses, goth goddesses, polytheism vs monotheistic concepts (i.e .the difference between “all goddesses as one” and each goddess as an individual), goddesses and the land and whether goddesses can be “transported” to other locations/lands, and much more. The book contains contributions from nineteen writers with diverse perspectives and experiences and it identifies the “enduring experience of Goddess Spirituality through a four-part discussion focused on the Native Goddess, the Migrant Goddess, the Goddess in relation to other aspects of American culture (Feminism, Christianity, Witchcraft, etc.) and the Goddess in contemporary America.” As someone who loves books, I believe that anthologies are possibly one of the greatest inventions of all time. Indeed, the only problem I had with this book was that the writers were so talented and have written so many other interesting books, that my to-read bookshelf now becoming even more extensive!
I teach goddess studies and priestessing classes and I sometimes feel as if I refer too often to books published in the 1980’s as my top recommended resources (I was still a child in the 80’s myself!), so it is refreshing to encounter a contemporary thealogical book of substance and depth. I often joke that books are my first and truest love and as a goddess scholar as well as devotee, I also find myself frustrated by contemporary goddess-themed books that come from a pop psychology perspective (i.e. liberate your inner goddess in six easy steps), preferring to dig deeply and turn over questions of thealogical complexity and insight. Phoenix Love touches on this issue in her essay, From Marilyn to Maleficent: Pop Goes the Goddess:
“In an era when self-help books reign supreme, one can find books everywhere telling women they can learn how to bring out their ‘inner goddess’…Yes, an inner goddess needs to be recognized, nurtured, and loved. Every woman contains within her a spark of divinity that needs recognition and nurturing. But the commerciality of this now very common practice comes with what? The cost of divinity? At the cost of possibly cheapening how a goddess should be considered is the modernization of what a goddess truly is versus what popular culture has made her really a good thing? Can we, as goddess worshippers, stand by and allow the divinity drained from our image of the Goddess to be replaced with popular cultural definitions of what a goddess should be?”
While there are many books available that catalog goddess identities, are paganism 101 starter guides, or list extensive correspondences, The Goddess in America is none of these and is instead an amazing balance of personal experiences, thealogical reflections, sociocultural musings and connections, and even some practical suggestions as well as questions to explore in your own life, community, and practice.
~ Brigid's Grove
An exciting look at the many faces of Goddess in America, from the indigenous and the imported, to the “rewritten” goddesses. Also covered: Goddess as perceived variously by American feminists, psychologists, shamans, Christians, and others. Highly informative and well written. ~ Jerri Studebaker, author, "Switching to Goddess" and "Breaking the Mother Goose Code"
The Goddess religion in contemporary America is a growing and very necessary spiritual movement in a country where there has never yet (as I write this) been a female head of state. Forty percent of American households are run by women who are the sole provider, yet women still make seventy nine cents for every dollar an American man makes. American women find themselves in a warrior society with a strong culture of guns and exploitation of the Earth, and are barely beginning to reclaim the status their ancestral mothers once enjoyed when Goddesses shared the dais with Gods.
Within these pages we learn of Native American Goddesses who teach the lessons of humility, self-sacrifice and connection to the Earth and her creatures. Also the awareness that the sacred feminine dwells within the soil and the Moon, meaning that abuse of the Earth is essentially the same thing as abuse of the Goddess.
We read about the spiritual plight of the immigrant; America has always been an immigrant society and American women who seek a Goddess must decide whether to adopt the native Goddesses of this land, invent a completely new path, or honor their own ancient lineage based on their distant DNA.
We hear from the Reconstructionists who urge us to speak to a Goddess in her own language, whatever it may be, because words have power and this is a way to honor a deity. We are cautioned to read primary sources, give back to the culture we are learning from, and make the effort to visit sacred sites connected to a particular Goddess, no matter how far away they might be.
We taste a bit of Voodoo, Minoan religion, Hebrew and Canaanite Goddess tradition. The Christian Divine Mother finds her place in these pages, as does Brighid; the Mary of the Gael.
We read of modern media Goddesses like Marilyn Monroe and Angelina Jolie, and see powerful Goddess archetypes within strong women such as Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt.
No sex-drunk nymphs enter these pages. The Goddess of the Witches and Druids emerges as a powerful eco-feminist. Her Priestesses are mature champions of social justice; healers and ritualists and weavers of radical change for their community.
This is a necessary book for the times we live in. ~ Ellen Evert Hopman, Archdruid of Tribe of the Oak, author of “A Legacy of Druids – Conversations with Druid Leaders of Britain, the USA and Canada”
Astute new voices with fresh vision carrying the torch forward for the Sacred Feminine. Excited by the rich diversity between two covers. Touches many of the bases. ~ Karen Tate, author, "Goddess Calling" and "Voices of the Sacred Feminine"
In this book you'll find some of the most articulate and forward-thinking voices in the current generation of American Pagan writers. Writers in this volume like Daimler, Telyndru, and Moss, deserve to be as 'household' in the Pagan world as predecessors like Starhawk and Ravenwolf. With their serious yet loving look at where American Paganism came from and where it should be going, I have no doubt the contributors in this book will fruitfully influence the Paganism of the world. ~ Brendan Myers, author, "The Earth, The Gods and The Soul - A History of Pagan Philosophy"