The anthology, She Rises, edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill is a powerful exploration of the Sacred Feminine, what She means to women’s lives, and why humanity and the planet need Her now. Its 468 pages include essays, poetry, and art from 92 women and men including Vicki Noble, Barbara Mor, Carol P. Christ, Starhawk, and Janine Canan.
The collection is divided into three sections responding to the questions: Why Goddess Feminism? Why Goddess Activism? and Why Goddess Spirituality? The responses create an inspiring image of sisters, mothers, and grandmothers coming together for the sake of children, justice, and Mother Earth. The authors proclaim that as women come to value themselves and honor their bodies, the Goddess becomes the symbol for their empowerment.
The responses to the three questions also reveal the destruction of the planet, the damage to society, and the abuse of women due to 5,000 years of patriarchy. Many of the contributors declare the urgent need for female spirituality and feminine values in order to heal our society and bring compassion and fairness to our world. Some assert that our planet will not survive without the re-emergence of the Goddess.
She Rises is ultimately a vital and compelling collection. Personal reflections as well as calls to action create a refreshing look at the Divine Feminine and a new desire for the return of the Goddess in the hearts of humanity and the world at large. By turning to the Goddess, as Yia Alias says, “A reverence for All Life becomes our common Spirituality.” (p. 103) I highly recommend She Rises.
Marcella J. Lively
She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality? edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill is the product of a collective writing project that began in March 2014 with an open call for submissions that answered the questions now found on the book’s brilliantly beautiful cover. As the project took shape, a total of 92 voices contributed their thoughts, feelings, images, poetics, prose, challenges, & calls to prayer in answer to why– Why Goddess feminism? Why Goddess activism? Why Goddess spirituality? In the end, the project published the work of familiar names in Goddess circles like FAR’s own Carol Christ, Jassy Watson, & Judith Shaw side by side with names of Goddess practitioners around the world who just felt inspired to share their voices in Goddess community.
She Rises has a unique structure. As the editors explain at the beginning of the book, the structure of the anthology intends to make use of the ninefold mysteries often associated with Goddess. Perhaps because this structure uses different terminology than the reader’s preconceptions are accustomed to, the explanation (and structure) is a bit hard to follow at first. But the further one gets into the work, the more the structure begins to work for the reader. Instead of parts or sections, there are MOTHERS and within those MOTHERS instead of chapters, you find SISTERS. What one must keep in mind every time one enters the domain of one of the three MOTHERS is the question that MOTHER is asking every contributor; “Why Goddess feminism?”, “Why Goddess activism?”, or finally “Why Goddess spirituality?” Many offerings from the contributors begin as if they were engaging in conversation with someone who had just that very moment asked them the question. Keeping that in mind eliminates any potential confusion.
The pace of the book is also another interesting structural feature. Contributors’ offerings in answer to these three core questions vary dramatically in length, style, & voice. This creates an intriguing sense of ebb and flow and highlights the diversity of those devoted to Goddess-based work in the world today. Give yourself time to read this volume in its entirety, though. Longer pieces may need time to settle within you before you’re ready to move on. And occasionally a shorter piece will stop you in your tracks for a little while with the challenge it provides you.
The work is firmly Goddess feminism oriented. There is little to no room for interfaith discussion basically because that is not at all an area the project had any intention of addressing. It is also generally very critical of the monotheistic patriarchal faith traditions; not without reason, mind you. I mention this so prospective readers can adjust their expectations accordingly. This would be a panoramic look for those outside Goddess spirituality at why people choose to practice Goddess-based paths over other spiritual traditions for anyone curious about such things. But do not expect any of these contributors to pull any punches when it comes to their critiques of patriarchal monotheistic paths.
After reading this volume, I’d actually lean towards calling it a living working. It seems to have been a powerful piece of magic to weave for everyone involved in its creation & birth and I find myself speculating about the anthology’s potential to continue to radiate that magic through its readers into the wider world around us. I would challenge anyone interested in exploring it to perhaps consider sitting with the three core questions of the volume before one begins reading. Ask yourself “Why Goddess feminism?” and begin to explore how your relationship with Goddess informs your feminism– or your feminism informs that relationship. Ask yourself how your work with Goddess affects your activism, in whatever form it takes in your life. Ask yourself, why the spiritual path you work is Hers. Spend some time reflecting on these questions. Then engage She Rises. See where the edges of your experience are shared & where they are challenged as you listen to the voices of this collective working.
As author, artist, & anthology contributor, Pegi Eyers, writes, “The resurgence of the Goddess in our time can give us the wisdom, strength, courage and joy that is deeply needed to revitalize ourselves, our communities, and the world.”
Read this volume & explore– How is She rising in you?
While the volume is available through major retailers like Amazon & such, Mago Books invites you to consider purchasing your copy directly from the Mago Bookstore in support of future She Rises collective writing projects.
“She Rises” uses a thousand perspectives to perceive Her Presence!
Yesterday I finally finished this extraordinary book and wanted to share a few thoughts with you.
First, once again I am astonished at the amount of labor that went into this amazing creation.
Secondly, I wish this volume had been available to me during the ten years that I taught Women’s Studies. I believe that the Women’s movement cannot survive without the goddess in whatever form she may manifest, and I found myself out on a lonely limb whenever I introduced the spiritual aspect of Feminisms.
“The Language of the Goddess” helped me bridge the gap and it is only in retrospect after reading “She’s Rising” that I see that Gimbutus’s work informs many of the writings and art work in this volume. Once again I am reminded that the image precedes the word.
So many of my young students were not interested in past writings and could relate only to current publications. If only I could have passed along this collection of women’s experiences of the goddess… As a former instructor I am grateful that RTM has produced such a volume for teachers everywhere.
Equally important is my belief that goddess spirituality is critical to the survival of the earth because without a shift away from patriarchy (which I also call “powerarchy”) and its paradigm of domination we cannot help but continue along the path we have chosen towards destruction of ourselves and the planet..
“She Rises” uses a thousand perspectives to perceive Her Presence. I am reminded of a painting of Green Tara whose eyes peered out of every part of her body and mind…
It was my immersion in goddess spirituality that helped me to develop my voice to become an advocate for animals and plants (who have no voice), opening “the way” to the work that sustains me during these difficult times.
“The Goddess does not rule the world… She is the world”
On a more personal level I agree with Helen Hwang completely that it’s necessary to focus on honoring the goddesses of our own spiritual traditions or the ones our archetypal imaginations brought to us…
For me the goddess is Animal and Plant and all the Forces of Nature working together in the service of Life often personified as The Great Bear or a Tree.
One often “forgotten” reality is, as Hwang have said, that “evil thrives in a climate of violence”. As we become more and more violent as a global culture we need to have the courage to stand in this truth and to keep naming this horror for what it is. I know how overwhelming that truth can feel. There are days when I feel I cannot stand to stay in the truth of what I know because there seems to be nothing I can “do” about it.
As I have said before I feel privileged to be a small part of this community we call Return To Mago.
Thank you Editors, Helen and Kaalii, thank you.
I’ve seriously explored my spirituality for nearly 40 years, since i began college. Raised catholic, i immersed myself in that religion and its mystical tradition. and for a long time it served me well.
but over time, as i matured in all areas of my life, i saw the effects of patriarchy on society and in my religion. language was and is the most obvious sign of patriarchy. what is wrong with saying “all people” instead of “all men”? i’ve asked over and over? and most people do not care enough to change even in this small way.
the effects of patriarchy in our world, in our history, are devastating. History has almost entirely obliterated Her-story. This book, a collection of essays by many women who are speaking loudly against patriarchy and loudly for the Divine Feminine, referred as Mago. the editor of this book, Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, describes the Divine Feminine in her intro:
“S/HE as the Source of all beings precedes the ‘God’. …S/HE is the First Mother, the Great Goddess, from whom all beings on earth originate for existence. S/HE manifests in the form of Her female descendent, the Goddess. … The Great Goddess is called many names according to ancient peoples of the world. Mago is the one that I introduce.” (p. 3)
The essays in She Rises are extremely powerful. One which particularly resounds with me is “Why Women Need the Goddess” by Carol P. Christ. She says:
“Because religion has such a compelling hold on the deep psyches of so many people, feminists cannot afford to leave it in the hands of the fathers. Even people who no longer ‘believe in God’ or participate in the institutional structure of patriarchal religion still may not be free of the power of the symbolism of God the Father. A symbol’s effect does not depend on rational assent, for a symbol also functions on levels of the psyche other than the rational….The reason for the continuing effects of religious symbols is that the mind abhors a vacuum. Symbol systems cannot simply be rejected; they must be replaced. Where there is no replacement, the mind will revert to familiar structures at times of crisis, bafflement, or defeat.” (45)
“The simplest and most basic meaning of the symbol of Goddess is the acknowledgement of the legitimacy of female power as beneficent and independent power. ….[T]he divine principle, the saving and sustaining power, is in herself, that she will no longer look to men or male figures as saviors.” (49)
The Goddess/Mago is not about a literal female. It is about a deep understanding of the principles of the feminine. Life comes forth from women. This planet provides life, hence she is female. Our rape of land parallels the rape of women.
The Hebrew OT is filled with myths and events, and these myths often taken literally by certain groups within Judaism and Christianity (the Genesis story for example. These myths, these warring stories in the OT, tell of killing the myths of and people who believed in the Great Goddess/Mago. The Mago myths and lives were of peace and respect. The OT myths and people were of war, of a male God Destroyer.
This book will trigger thinking about patriarchy and its negative effects in this world. Wars in the Middle East target women. Politics in the US target women and children. People in Asian countries devalue girl-babies. These are the result of patriarchy.
Mago values life, the image of The Great Goddess. It doesn’t devalue the male. It is a way of life, of peace, of health.
I strongly recommend this book.
She Rises is a clarion call to action.
The 92 voices raised in She Rises express the growing cultural realization of the feminine principle, and are instantly recognizable to anyone who has felt its pull.
Divided into three parts, She Rises explores Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality. The voices range from the urgent to the gentle, and include both well-known and emerging artists. The forms range from poetry to prose to art, all expressing the common message that now is the moment to temper the overwhelming storms of patriarchy destroying our planet with the balm of the ancient mother.
She Rises seeks to understand the ancient goddess and her application to the present. The 92 voices share and confirm the realization of goddess awareness and the reader can’t help but conclude that Her spirituality is woven into our deepest memories and intuitions and is inexorably linked to the action we must now take to ensure the future by restoring balance to the whole through the feminine principle.
She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality?, edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill, brings together the voices of women and men who have vital news to share: we need the Divine Feminine to heal ourselves and our planet, and She knows it. Now it is time for us to know it—to re-member her (as She has been dismembered, historically and methodically, for millennia). The voices in this anthology are varied—some urgent, some lyrical—but, like the Divine Feminine Herself, the many are also one. And their message is clear: the spiritual is political, and it is time to act.
The book is separated into three Parts (or Mothers), one for each topic—Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality—each with three Chapters (or Sisters). There is great symbolism here, both in the triad of Mothers and in the parts forming a whole, as Hye-Sook Hwang explains in the Introduction: “The Nine Sisters issued from the Three Mothers are conjoined in a circle of the triple triad, which symbolizes for humans the self-contained beginning and the end with multiple centers….” The thoughtfulness in bringing the spirit of the Divine Feminine to the structure of the book shows throughout—here, you will find all you need to understand why the Goddess, and why now.
The word Goddess is still, for most people, a weighted one—the mainstream understanding of the word is that it is vaguely wrong, even somehow heretical. Our conception of the Goddess in this way is no accident, and history proves it—the essays in this book give you that history, both in archeological record and in social analysis. From Pegi Eyers, we learn that “Marija Gimbutas’ The Civilization of the Goddess (1991) outlined the archeological record of Old Europe and the history of matriarchal societies, and is considered to be a milestone in feminist scholarly research. This sacred history, or foundational myth, underpins the political and religious tenets of Goddess Spirituality today.” And Harriet Ann Ellenberger explains that “…the imagery and concepts of patriarchal religion justify and are embedded in the material structures of oppression.”
Second-Wave feminists studied the Divine Feminine and experienced Her, but their story is rarely told in books or movies about the rise of feminism: this book corrects that, and includes the voices of many of the women who helped to shape scholarship and theological thought (or thealogy) around the Goddess. Here you will find, among others, the work of Carol Christ and Max Dashu and Starhawk and Barbara C. Daughter, who have helped bring an understanding of the Divine Feminine to many awakening women and men. In their words—indeed, in the words of all who poured their faith and intellect into this anthology—you will find Her spirit moving. Playful, serious, full of the fire of change and the lullaby of self-love and self-care: oh, yes, She is here.
And She will challenge you. Confronting the blocks our patriarchy has constructed around the Divine Feminine is no easy task, as we have been taught that She is taboo. There is artwork here that will soothe you, but some may make you uncomfortable. There are words here that will draw you to Her, and some that will challenge your assumptions. This is good and necessary work—for it is in challenging our assumptions that we begin to grow. You may not agree with everything you read here, nor are you expected to: the book, like the Divine Feminine, accepts and embraces all perspectives, all ways of being.
A deeply spiritual, deeply political consciousness animates these pages, and that is the greatest evidence of the Divine Feminine there is, for She is not passive, but an active force moving in and around and through us all. She rises, indeed.
Elizabeth Hall Magill
The anthology, She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality, is a collection of writings that engages with, and explores, the phenomenon of the Goddess from three main standpoints. It commenced with the question; “Why Goddess”, and not with a statement on the Goddess, thus allowing the query to develop through a collective and co-creative process of reflection and analysis. The exploration is set in motion through the skillful and inspired form of the book, which was thoughtfully structured and compiled by the editors Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, Trista Hendren, Wennifer Lin, and Kaalii Cargill.
The book’s structure corresponds with the three standpoints through which the engagement with the Goddess is addressed: 1. Feminism, 2.Activism, 3. Spirituality. The result is a compelling, often deeply personal and scholarly introduction to the three different aspects that constitute the complex contemporary phenomenon of the feminine in relation to the Goddess. The notion of the Goddess is no longer confined to passive devotion or chiefly dependent on biological motherhood, but is interwoven with strands of ecofeminism, political activism, feminist theories, and emerging forms and ideas of spirituality and culture.
One of the striking features of the publication is its non-hierarchal, accomplished arrangement of texts, ranging from personal reflections, poems and art works to essays by principal authors and leaders of the Goddess Movement and Feminist Spirituality including Starhawk, Carol Christ, Max Dashu, Glenys Livingstone, Vicki Noble, and other important contributors. The diversity of texts by women of different backgrounds and age groups, nationalities and cultures serves to emphasise the often invisible links between personal, scholarly and collective experience. Moreover, it highlights the fabric of the rising feminine as She continues to evolve and transform throughout the generations.
Overall, the anthology provides a reliable account of the relevance of the Goddess as an active and transformative cultural force. It should be regarded as an essential reading for those interested in feminist spirituality and the Goddess revival. She Rises is a valuable contribution to women’s studies and also a deeply moving and authentic personal resource for feminine self-empowerment.
Dr. Lila Moore
During the last two decades, the feminist literature has expanded to become more diverse and inclusive. Yet, relatively few books have emerged which focus on Goddesses and their significance to feminism and women’s liberation. This is due in part to a complete lack of interest by academics and feminists alike in exploring either historical or contemporary Goddess cultures. This disparaging view of gynocentric tradition is unfortunate, since it creates the false impression that patriarchy is permanent and inevitable, and it erases 100,000 years of gynocentric prehistory.
Goddess cultures are part of a vast gynocentric background that predates the horrendous and escalating violence of the patriarchal foreground. Goddess worship is antithetical to male supremacy, so an essential part of men’s domestication of females was their destruction of once powerful Goddesses. The oppression of the Goddess is inseparable from the oppression of females and nature. Far from being arcane and irrelevant, Goddesses provide activists and feminists alike with a glimpse into a possible future beyond male supremacy and domination.
The new anthology, She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality, is a wonderful collection of essays put together by a dedicated team consisting of Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, Trista Hendren, Wennifer Lin, and Kaalii Cargill. The four editors carefully crafted a deeply feminist anthology, starting with the way the book is organized. The table of contents uses an innovative convention: instead of “parts” and “chapters,” the book uses Mothers and Sisters.
There are three Mothers named “Why Goddess Feminism?,” “Why Goddess Activism?,” and “Why Goddess Spirituality?” And, there are Nine Sisters named after five directions and four natural elements – Sister East, Sister South, Sister West, Sister North, Sister Center, Sister Wind, Sister Fire, Sister Water, and Sister Earth. The unique organization of the book remind readers of the deep interconnections between nature and the Goddesses, who are all based on Earth unlike the sky magic of patriarchal religions. Honoring the Goddess is honoring the Earth, but patriarchal cultures have largely negated both. This anthology on the Goddess therefore represents a vital form of female resistance and empowerment.
Each one of the many excellent essays, stories, poetry, inspirational passages and artwork capture some part of the mystery of ancient Goddesses and gynocentric cultures. This excellent anthology include important contributions on goddesses and radical feminism by researchers and writers like Susan Hawthorne, Carol Christ, Max Dashu, Vicki Noble, Genevieve Vaughan, Suzanne Baile, Glenys Livingstone, Michela Zucca, Starhawk, Barbara Daughter, and many others.
This anthology is extremely important in addressing some of the historical inaccuracies perpetuated by the patriarchy. It is essential reading for women seeking knowledge grounded in female experience and in reclaiming the female body. And it should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding radical feminism, and in moving beyond patriarchal thought and its gross disorder.
Dr. Moses Seenarine
The eagerly awaited anthology She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality?, edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill, was released this past Solstice (Summer or Winter, depending on your perspective) and I don’t exactly know what to say about it, except WOW. It certainly does not disappoint.
This is a hefty anthology of almost 500 pages. It has scholarly essays, stories of personal experience, poetry, and short inspirational paragraphs. The artwork–oh my Goddess the artwork. Get this one even if you don’t like to read books, just for the artwork. It’s deep and beautiful and transformative.
There are many contributors with names you may be familiar with, such as Carol Christ, Starhawk, Barbara Daughter, Vicki Noble, Max Dashu. Other excellent contributors will be new to you, but you may find yourself looking for more of their work. I feel honored to be included in such illustrious company. The articles are short, so they can be read over a long time period….though you might find it hard to put the book down. I was touched by how often the names Mary Daly, Merlin Stone, Marija Gimbutas, and Monica Sjoo appeared in this volume, and it seemed to me that these early pioneers were also contributing through other women.
This project grew out of a Facebook discussion. Someone–I think it was Helen Hwang–asked people to share why Goddess spirituality was important to them, and some amazing dialogue started, some of which was eventually posted on Return to Mago blog. Out of these and other contributions a whole anthology was put together by a team of volunteers.
From the book:
Coming from a culture where the divine has been described as a Caucasian male and anything opposite of that being evil, the need to see the divine in me offered a sense of empowerment and reclamation of who I am as an African Woman. To then research further and realize that the first divinity known on the planet looked like me, a black woman, brought this idea home full circle…..
–Iyanifa Ayele Kumari
The womb is infinitely more than a reproductive organ; it is a replica of the Cosmic Womb or Mago. From that profound pool of infinite silent knowledge, women can access the solutions so urgently needed to recover the equilibrium the world with its God spirituality has lost….
–Marie de Kock
…feminism without the Goddess does not reach far enough to change the root of our oppression, which is the control of women globally by our various faith traditions.
For me, Goddess is completely different from God. Goddess means acceptance of the sacred WITHIN the physical instead of transcending the physical; acceptance of death and life as equally sacred; and the holiness of changing cycles…
Hearth Moon Rising
- (Book reviews) The Mago Way Volume 1 by Mary Blair Petiet and Sara Wright
The Mago Way: Re-discovering Mago, the Great Goddess from East Asia by Dr. Helen Hye-Sook Hwang. Order it at Mago Bookstore. The Mago Way: Re-discovering Mago, the Great Goddess from East Asia (Volume 1), is an original and vital contribution to goddess scholarship and feminist studies. Dr. Helen Hye-Sook Hwang’s work provides crucial insight to early eastern goddess centered thought similar to that provided to western goddess studies by Marija Gimbutas. The Mago Way places the great goddess of […]
- She Rises Book Review by Dr. Moses Seenarine
Order it in Mago Bookstore! [Originally posted in Cyborgs Vs Earth Goddess.] During the last two decades, the feminist literature has expanded to become more diverse and inclusive. Yet, relatively few books have emerged which focus on Goddesses and their significance to feminism and women’s liberation. This is due in part to a complete lack of interest by academics and feminists alike in exploring either historical or contemporary Goddess cultures. This disparaging view of gynocentric tradition is unfortunate, since it […]
- She Rises Book Review by Hearth Moon Rising
She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality (Review) June 26, 2015 The eagerly awaited anthology She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality?, edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill, was released this past Solstice (Summer or Winter, depending on your perspective) and I don’t exactly know what to say about it, except WOW. It certainly does not disappoint. This is a hefty anthology of almost 500 pages. It has scholarly essays, stories of personal experience, poetry, and […]
- She Rises Vol 2 Reviews/Endorsements
She Rises: How Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality? This second volume of She Rises addresses the practical question of how Goddess feminism makes a concrete, vital difference to the everyday lives of its 96 contributors, and, in turn, how these women make vital, concrete differences in the world. It is a glorious and robust tapestry of prose pieces, poetry and art revealing a vast variety of ways in which Goddess inspires women from diverse religious, ethnic, cultural, and disciplinary backgrounds […]
- She Rises Book Review by Sara Wright
“She Rises” uses a thousand perspectives to perceive Her Presence! Yesterday I finally finished this extraordinary book and wanted to share a few thoughts with you. First, once again I am astonished at the amount of labor that went into this amazing creation. Secondly, I wish this volume had been available to me during the ten years that I taught Women’s Studies. I believe that the Women’s movement cannot survive without the goddess in whatever form she may manifest, and […]
- She Rises: A Book Review by Kate Brunner
She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality? edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill is the product of a collective writing project that began in March 2014 with an open call for submissions that answered the questions now found on the book’s brilliantly beautiful cover. As the project took shape, a total of 92 voices contributed their thoughts, feelings, images, poetics, prose, challenges, & calls to prayer in answer to why– Why Goddess feminism? Why Goddess activism? Why Goddess […]
- She Rises Book Review by Mary Hazlett
Legitimacy of female power in a patriarchal world I’ve seriously explored my spirituality for nearly 40 years, since i began college. Raised catholic, i immersed myself in that religion and its mystical tradition. and for a long time it served me well. but over time, as i matured in all areas of my life, i saw the effects of patriarchy on society and in my religion. language was and is the most obvious sign of patriarchy. what is wrong with […]
- (Book Review) Helen Hwang’s The Mago Way by Elizabeth Hall Magill
Dr. Helen Hwang’s The Mago Way makes a significant contribution to our understanding of thealogy (the theological study of the divine feminine) and to the transnational feminism that must be the basis of global change. The Mago Way weaves together several stories—Dr. Hwang’s own journey away from Christianity and toward Mago (the gynocentric principle, rooted in pre-patriarchal East Asian/Korean culture, that encompasses all of existence), the story of Mago as told through the text of the Budoji (made available in […]
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You can Make Your Own Rose (Poems and Reflections) by Andrea Nicki (forthcoming)
Goddesses in Myth, History and Culture Edited by Mary Ann Beavis & Helen Hye-Sook Hwang (forthcoming)
She Rises: What Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality? Volume 3 (forthcoming)