Spiritual Feminism

Several folks have inquired about my definition of Spiritual Feminism – here are a couple of excerpts from websites:

“Spiritual feminism is often referred to as “spiritual ecofeminism” or “myth feminism.” According to “The Dictionary of Feminist Theory” by Maggie Humm, this branch of feminism “emphasizes the spiritual dimension as being as, or more, important than material rights to women’s happiness” (274). In other words, spiritual feminism seeks to empower women spiritually, often by returning to pre-Abrahamic religions, like Native American and Wiccan spirituality. The goddess as an alternative spiritual figure for women is a common theme in spiritual ecofeminist theory, though it is obviously more complex; in a sense, it is also partly a work of reconstructing women’s history.”

Feminist theology is a movement found in several religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and New Thought, to reconsider the traditions, practices, scriptures, and theologies of those religions from a feminist perspective. Some of the goals of feminist theology include increasing the role of women among the clergy and religious authorities, reinterpreting male-dominated imagery and language about God, determining women’s place in relation to career and motherhood, and studying images of women in the religion’s sacred texts and matriarchal religion.

Feminists have attempted to counter perceptions of women as morally or spiritually inferior to men; as a source of sexual temptation; as dedicated to childbearing, their homes, and husbands; and as having a lesser role in religious ritual or leadership because of such inferiority or dedication.”

8 Responses to Spiritual Feminism

  1. I am from India and interested in spiritual feminism to study and research. As I don’t believe in particular one religion, but believe in spirituality, I really need to develop an understanding around it. I found that as an activist for saving earth and eco system the spirituality is weaved into the five basic natural elements like light, water, fire, earth and air..
    Spirituality always have been articulated by the channel of religion and in India spirituality was restricted to only higher castes.
    however, I believe in nature and always observed that nature is not discriminating in men and women, not any creatures. But the patriarchy discriminates. Thus patriarchy can not be spiritual, but feminism can. I would like to take this discussion further.
    Lata P. M.

    • ReaderWoman says:

      Lata – thanks for writing! I believe that Spiritual Feminism embraces all religions, and none at the same time. It is a deeper look into how the formal church has relegated the female role into the background, negating both the sacred feminine and the strong position of women as the backbone of faith. I believe that the Creator, Greater Power, God, or whatever you call the supreme being is neither male or female, but a Being encompassing both, embracing both, and expressing both. Patriarchy “preaches” power and domination, whereas the spiritual feminism model is one of peace and acceptance. What books or research have you done to further your own knowledge and understanding? I will email you privately, so we may further our discussion – I feel a deep appreciation of your own country, as my sister spent a year there studying at Isabella Thoburn in Lucknow 50 years ago, and she and I have continued to dialog about Indian philosophy, the spiritual feminine, black Madonnas and all expressions of the feminine in faith and understanding…

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I love your explanation of spiritual feminism. The church I went to when I was growing up always taught me that women were less than and couldn’t communicate with the Divine. It has been along journey to find a spiritual “place” where I feel empowered as a female.

  3. Jo White says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the Feminist theology presented here.
    I was raised in Evangelical Christianity which was (and still is for the most part) a patriarchal system. Intellectually and spiritually women are subtly (which makes it no less damaging) viewed as inferior to men, and it is a well known “unspoken rule” within the church that women are not allowed to teach or preach, unless it is strictly to women or children.
    Even worse than that, women are taught they must “submit” to their husbands, even if the husband is physically, verbally, or emotionally, abusive to them. THAT IS SO FAR OFF BASE IT’S RIDICULOUS! And it certainly doesn’t represent the heart of a loving God toward His children whom He created in His image – both male and female.

  4. romi jain says:

    Amazing…I was wondering whether there was any strand of “spiritual feminism” as I felt we need it, and I came across your article upon online search. I loved:” According to “The Dictionary of Feminist Theory” by Maggie Humm, this branch of feminism “emphasizes the spiritual dimension as being as, or more, important than material rights to women’s happiness” (274).” Do you see any hope of kindling spirituality in women without this initiative or effort being termed religious/conservative?

  5. romi jain says:

    I thought of sharing here a post of mine that I originally shared on a LinkedIn Group for feminist professionals. No one has responded to it so far though.
    “Women as Spiritual Leaders
    I have read about men providing spiritual leadership in contemporary and ancient times. Even today, spirituality has not died out. I know of a young male who recently gave up his job with an MNC in order to pursue spirituality. How capable are women to provide spiritual leadership? Women, of course, have given birth to divine forces, epitomized by saintly social activists such as Swami Vivekananda, to Sri Aurobindo, founder of Integral Yoga, for example. These great souls infused zeal in men and women alike to look beyond materialism, to recognize their inner potential as spiritual beings, and recognize higher purpose of life, whether it be social welfare, or pursuit of divinity and consequent mental bliss and peace! Where do women stand today in terms of guiding people spiritually?”

  6. quoe2 says:

    I know a few nuns who are spiritual feminists of the highest order! A wonder what our dear friend, Khadijah, would say about this. Oh, and Lo… I had no idea you had a blog. 😉 ~ Dani G.

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