The second She Rises volume from Mago Books, How Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality, extends the discovery of the Goddess into the lived experience of our everyday lives. Here, you will find the voices of many women who have experienced the Divine Feminine within, connected with their own embodied Source, and found ways to live and communicate that experience in the external world. This is vital work indeed, for patriarchy teaches us to externalize our power and our worth. Knowing an internal Feminine Source exists and seating your spirituality and activism within it are separate things, and this wonderful book will help you navigate the sometimes tricky terrain between the two.
Like the first She Rises volume, this book is divided into three parts (or Mothers), each with three sections (or Sisters). Helen Hwang (an editor of the volume, along with Mary Ann Beavis and Nicole Shaw), summarizes the volume’s intention in her introduction: “This book is NOT just about what we have discovered and what we have experienced about Goddess feminism, activism, and spirituality but what and how we do with our discoveries and experiences.” As such, the book is a guide, or a map—it lights your way inward, and helps you bring your light into the world.
Moving from a patriarchal worldview (which we have all been taught as reality) to one seated within the Divine Feminine is a process. Wherever you are on that path—or spiral, as the path tends to return and recede, return and recede, like the tide—you will find strength and guidance in the voices here. Many of them will seem to speak directly to you—through poetry, through artwork, through scholarly analysis. This book is a treasure trove of Her wisdom, shared in a community of women pooling their individual experiences to speak of the common ground on which we stand: how, exactly, to live from within while navigating the external structures of patriarchy.
This is an absolutely beautiful book—a book that holds magic, explicates magic, emanates the magic of embodied wisdom. The pieces that spoke most deeply to me helped me take steps I had been hesitating to take, to shift from knowing to fully being in what Lucy H. Pearce describes as “a deeper, cyclical, Feminine power,” a power that Shireen Qudosi defines as “…something that helps you see reality as a kaleidoscope.”
The contributors to this volume have all lived that shift in perception. The sense of community here is palpable, as many distinct voices celebrate, remember, explain, and embody the Divine Feminine. This second She Rises volume is a must read for people who are shifting into their own place of deep wisdom—the voices here will light your way, and remind you that you are not alone. (Elizabeth Hall Magill)
Book Review by Dr. Lila Moore
She Rises Vol 2: How Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality? explores how Goddess-based spirituality, which is sometimes termed as women’s spirituality, is expressed and actualized in the lives of contemporary women from around the world. The book is a body of writings with creative imagery by 96 authors which is contextualized within a Magoist Cosmology and Mago Work. According to co-editor, Dr Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, Mago Work “advocates feminist and spirituality-based activism, promotes creative and sound research, supports awareness of oneness of all entities in the universe across differences of sex, culture, race, ethnicity, class, ability and species, and seeks to create a world that is non-ethnocentric, non-racist, non-capitalist, non-imperialist and counter-patriarchal”. The notion of Mago Work derives from the Korean Goddess Mago who Hwang describes as “the ancestor of all races. She takes care of everything on earth via the equilibrium of cosmic music/sound/vibration”. This perception is evident in the structure of the book which skillfully and harmoniously brings together outlooks and practices from women of different cultural backgrounds and racial origins.
The book is, on one hand, a colourful and inspirational journey into an experience of the Goddess in her various manifestations. There are authentic stories of healing, revelations and restored hope via the Goddess that may provide the reader with a sense of solace, belonging, and feminine empowerment. On the other hand, students and scholars of traditional and new religions, contemporary spiritualities and feminist spirituality can find in this book various examples of Goddess-led practices and the worldviews that inform them. Many of the authors in this book demonstrate immanent and embodied modes of spirituality that have had a profound impact on contemporary spiritualities and holistic and ecological cultural trends especially during the second half of the 20th century and up to this day and age.
In terms of how the Goddess as a spiritual and mythic framework is actualized in daily life and the world’s dynamics, the writings seem to unfold two main passages: The first passage, which pertains to the majority of the writings, utilizes the Goddess as a path for personal healing and collective feminine encouragement. This passage is often poetic, intuitive and involves a journey within the body and psyche. It has a cosmic, nature and mythic dimensions and includes a communion with other women whilst there is a retreat from worldly affairs. As Lucy H. Pearce writes in her article “Going Dark: The Source of Sustainable Feminine Power”: “We cannot find the answers outside. We cannot connect fully to this power through doing. We can only find it in the darkness. […] Sit in circle with other women. Sit in nature by ourselves. And listen.”
The second passage outlines an external trajectory that seeks to operate within the mainstream of culture and affects it directly. Several authors provide references to their academic research and PhD dissertations on aspects of women’s lives, feminine psychology, feminist critique, mythology, the arts and more, e.g., Nané Jordan’s “Spiral Movements”, Ayele Kumari’s, “Iyami and the Female Roots of Power in the Ifa Orisha Tradition”, Glenys Livingstone’s “Celebrating Her/My/Our Everyday Sacred Journey Around the Sun”, and others.
It becomes apparent that women are gradually changing cultural stereotypes and pave the way to other women through their strong presence in academia, online publishing platforms, e.g., The Girl God, and other professions despite the many limitations. At the present time where activism is very rarely associated with the Goddess, Harita Meennee, in her article ‘The Revolution Remembered, Activism as a Sacred Path’, recalls the Goddess Isis’ compassionate mythic act of remembering Osiris. Meennee explains how the Goddess’ action is seen not only as a metaphor but as an ideological standpoint of the revolution as evolution. Looking forward, in “The Futuristic Woman: Letter of Letters Manifesto”, Dr Lila Moore pays homage to groundbreaking female artists and manifesto writers who evolved novel art forms. She highlights the evolving archetype of the futuristic woman who brings old and new knowledge to counteract the dominant narrative of violence.
She Rises offers a rich resource for those who seek spiritual and emotional Goddessians’/Magoists’ uplift and for those who would like to learn or research this field of feminist, activist and goddess spirituality.
Dr Lila Moore (founder of the Cybernetic Futures Inst., a networked platform and online academy for the study of Technoetic Arts, Consciousness and the Spiritual in Art)
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 to act. They are stories of boldness, conviction, transformation and love. We read of Carol P. Christ’s decades of environmental activism to save the wetlands of her Greek island home of Lesbos, Harita Meenee’s involvement in the 2011 revolutionary demonstrations in Egypt during the Arab Spring, Beverley Reed Scott’s art installation in the streets of Chicago to commemorate the deaths of nine murdered women, and Morgaine Swann’s determination to embed the Goddess in popular culture by writing Goddess-centric fan fiction. Other women are involved in clinical trauma work, midwifery, art activism, community-building, dance therapy, recycling, growing food and mending clothes, and fighting for justice and against abuse and sexism in a plethora of ways. She Rises brings us stories and creative works which inspire, move, delight, encourage, remind, and challenge us. Here Goddess is not just a divine female or even the female divine. She is the ultimate reality beyond the bifurcation of female/male, light/dark, human/other-than-human beings and all such divisive categories which set one against, and over, the other. She is We and our only hope. She Rises as we rise. (Kathryn Rountree, Professor of Anthropology, School of People, Environment and Planning, New Zealand)
“She Rise: Volume Two” is yet another very important contribution from the Mago Network and many scholars, artists, poets, and activists around the world to the burgeoning fields of feminist spirituality, matriarchal studies, Goddess scholarship and post-colonial consciousness. The name, Mago, may originate in Korea/East Asia, but excavating and celebrating her traditions will empower women from all over the world to reclaim her sisters, under many other names, in their own contexts. May She Continue To Rise. “ Mary Condren, Th.D. (author of the Serpent and the Goddess: Women, Religion and Power in Celtic Ireland, and forthcoming books on the Irish and Celtic figure of Brigit)