Monday, July 12, 2010

Starhawk Says "It's Not About the Goddess."

I stumbled across this article by Starhawk the other day. It's about a decade old.

http://www.starhawk.org/pagan/religion-from-nature.html

Whoa! Starhawk is pissed off! At Charlotte Allen's article:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/01/the-scholars-and-the-goddess/5910/


Most of Ms. Allen's article appears to be a paraphrase of Philip G. Davis's (very hostile) Goddess Unmasked and Ronald Hutton's (relentlessly historic) Triumph of the Moon. She points out that many Wiccans (at the time of the 2001 article's writing) came to the craft after reading Starhawk's (c. 1980) The Spiral Dance, which includes the accepted history of Neo-Paganism at that time -- that Neo-Paganism was an ancient, re-emerging, Goddess religion forced underground by a repressive Christianity.

Then Ms. Allen's gloves come off.

I can overlook how Ms. Allen includes the mandatory Aleister Crowley (BOO!) cameo of Neo-Pagan history (and that the cameo links to a somewhat unflattering dictionary entry for Crowley) and her impolitic use of the words "hookum" and "bunk." But then she writes "Practicing Wicca is a way to have Christianity without, well, the burdens of Christianity." (Gee did Ms. Allen read Catherine Sanders's Wicca's Charm, too ?)

Starhawk was right, Ms. Allen did miss the point of Neo-Paganism's spiritual underpinnings. Starhawk angrily asserts that Ms. Allen is too stuck in a Christian world-view to be an ecumenical reporter (maybe Ms. Allen and Ms. Sanders hang out together) and she missed the point of Neo-Paganism (or, to be more accurate, Wicca / Goddess Worship). I'd have to agree with her assertion -- although I am not sure I agree with some of her statements about archeology.

Starhawk's argument is that A) she's written more books on Neo-Paganism since The Spiral Dance, and B) her spirituality is based not on history or archeology, but on her experiences of natural processes today.

If I were Starhawk (pause to smile at the image)... I would have added that Ms. Allen's article was about as politic as someone writing about Christians needing historical proof of Jesus for their faith.

It all comes down to faith, history, archeology, and if a single Mother Goddess is at the heart of Wiccan belief. Starhawk says: no, while she talks about the Goddess, what choices she makes, how she experience the world, what actions she takes and what structures she creates as a Neo-Pagan are based on the cycles of Nature.

I am so looking forward to quoting Starhawk the next time I get More-Pagan-Than-Thou'ed for questioning the validity or need for Neo-Paganism's pedigree or for not focusing exclusively on The Goddess.

In the meantime, the crescent moon and Venus are in the sky....
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