We call her Mother Earth, and for millennia She was our Goddess, our Mother, our Center. Then the patriarchal revolution replaced Her with their Sky gods, and relegated Her to the position of

But still, in every corner of the world, Her worship continues: in city apartments women gather in Her Name, in rural communities Her blessing is invoked when planting season arrives, and in
virtually every community disconnected from our modern world, Her devotees sing Her praises. She is the Lady of Guadalupe, the Goddess in the Moon, the Virgin mother, the comfort of the afflicted. In a Sweat Lodge, we sit in Her womb to pray and ask Great Spirit to bless us. On a Vision Quest She is the
One to Whom we cry for a vision, She is the ruler of the Dreamtime and the Seer.

She is the First Creator we learned to worship, and our souls cry to return to Her arms! It is hard today to find a Circle of Goddess worshipers. There are pockets. From Christianity, there are some who have splintered to focus on the Marys. From Wicca (the ancient pagan beliefs of the Celts), have sprung the Dianic groups today, a feminist version of Wicca made popular in the late 1900s. Native American tradition venerates White Buffalo Calf Woman, and the Australian Dreamtime looks to the

The most effective way to engage in Goddess-centered spirituality is to create a coven and begin holding ceremonies. Find a group of women, buy a book (Goddess Connections: Goddess rituals for the modern priestess by Tara Reynolds or The Goddess Celebrates by Diane Stein), and decide on some ground rules (How often to meet, where and when, how will new people be invited, is this a women-only group, will food be part of the ritual, who will create the rituals, (a high-priestess or a rotation among members).

For example, one group had these rules:
* Meet monthly, second Saturday, from 10 AM to 2 PM
* Meeting place rotated, the woman who hosted was responsible for the entire ritual, including creating an altar, creating and leading the ritual, and providing the feast (thus avoiding a monthly potluck).
* The group was limited to no more than 13 members, guests could be invited once, but had to be accepted as members to return. All members had to agree before a new member was admitted
* Eventually, there was a ritual in February to initiate new members. The group hosted a co-ed ritual twice yearly at Winter and Summer Solstice, to which spouses and friends were invited.

This group started with only two women (each one invited one or more), continued meeting for over a decade, and the members stayed close for life. The shared devotion to the Feminine Principle was a new, fulfilling spirituality that supported growth and change, and provided a gateway to a permanent connection to the Divine. Rotating the role of High Priestess
meant that each woman in turn embodied the Divine Feminine, claimed responsibility for the group’s connection to the Goddess, and explored the many possible ways to worship.

Turning to the Great Goddess is an eminently feminist spiritual practice, one that leads naturally to raising children who respect and honor the feminine, who believe in their Divine Nature, who independently select a personal spirituality. Welcoming the return of the Mother reclaims the inner warrior, the proud, courageous Aphrodite and Diana in every woman, and recognizes the divine aspect of every moment of life.

In Earth-centered spirituality, each animal is a relative, and as the prayer says in Sweat Lodges, every step is sacred, every thought a prayer. Living in this way is to return to the time when the Goddess was present, a participant in all of life’s activities – that is, a retreat to a numinous life. Every individual is called to express their Divine Nature and connect to the Sacred. It is a truly consecrated way to live, safely residing in the womb of the All-Mother.

Tess Pender is an ordained Interfaith Minister, active in 12-step programs for over thirty years. Her spiritual practice began with Native American Sweat Lodges, and continued with a series of Vision Quests. She led a Teen Spiritual Education Program, and regularly teaches classes on accessing intuition. She practices Earth-Centered Spirituality. She can be reached on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Rev-Tess-Interfaith-Minister-1333335763419...

What does it mean to "Return to the Goddess"? How to form an earth-centered spiritual circle, and some possible guidelines for a new group. Explores the joys of Goddess worship. and describes ways the Earth serves as a guide to inner Divinity and a numinous life.

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Comment by Tess Pender on April 6, 2017 at 11:38pm

Thanks, Kathy!   I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it!

Comment by Kathy Custren on April 6, 2017 at 11:02pm

Hi, Tess - thank you very much for your article, which is being forwarded to the publishers. Lots of great information ~ Blessings! 

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