Explore the Divine Feminine with the Goddess Group
The Goddess Group is a circle of women who are exploring their inner goddess through appreciation and participation in the arts, everything from crafts to fine art, to gardening and nature walks, to singing and dancing and drumming, to reading and writing, to cooking and sewing. The group formed following study of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s curricula about thealogy (the study of the feminine aspect of the Divine, i.e. the Goddess), “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” and “Rise Up and Call Her Name.” Ritual, conversation, sharing, and caring are part of the group’s ongoing ministry to each other.
Meeting Time and Schedule:
The group typically meets the third Sunday, at 1:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall. For more information on The Goddess Group, contact Myrna Adams West, Lay Minister Emerita, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770/725-5397, or Vivian Preston Sellers, Lay Minister for Lifespan Development, at email@example.com, or Aleta Turner, Lay Minister Emerita, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: Occasionally it is necessary to change the meeting times because of other activities at the Fellowship. Myrna will try to let you know in plenty of time when that is going to happen. This year we are anticipating a building project that will require the closing of the Fellowship Hall and other spaces where Goddess Group meets. Please watch this space and your email for notices of changes in meeting space.
The Goddess in the 21st Century
New Goddess Group Course offering January-July 2018:
In Cakes for the Queen of Heaven and Rise Up & Call Her Name, courses from UU Women in Religion (UUWR) which have previously been offered through the UUFA Goddess Group, we have learned much about the Goddess. We have seen how she is represented in cultures around the world from ancient times into the 20th Century.
On third Sundays of January through July 2018, we will offer a new course entitled The Goddess in the 21st Century. This course, developed by members of the UUFA Goddess Group, will focus on some of the wonderful women on whose shoulders we stand and will introduce us to some modern manifestations of the Goddess.
We kicked off the new curriculum on January 21 with a session that set the stage by reviewing what we have learned about ancient Goddesses and making some comparisons to modern women. All sessions, unless otherwise noted, will be held in the Fellowship Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, 780 Timothy Road, Athens, GA. Most sessions will begin at 1:30 pm.
January 21: “Where did she come from? What is she? Where is she going?” Myrna Adams West, Facilitator: Let’s review what we know about the Goddess and preview what this new course is all about.
February 18: “Connecting Our Bodies with the Goddess Within,” Leigh Harvey, Facilitator: What characteristics of the Goddesses can we embody ourselves? Have great women over time embodied them? How does finding the goddess within create a positive feminine culture of today and of future generations?
March 18: “Santa Muerte (Saint Death), an Emerging Goddess of the 21st Century,” Mary Overton Beall, Facilitator: Santa Muerte (Saint Death) used to be an obscure, miracle-working folk saint in Mexico, called upon by marginalized people —prostitutes and petty criminals, occult practitioners and the poorest of the poor. Since the turn of the century she’s been “outed,” and her cult is one of the fastest growing in the world, particularly in Mexico, Central America, and, yes! the United States. She is not based, like most folk saints, on a legend about an actual person. Instead she is the pure personification of Death and is presented as a skeleton in a dress, often carrying a scythe, often sporting the symbols of vanity—jewelry and beads, flowered hats, colorful wigs, shiny clothes. Who is this folk goddess of many nicknames? La Flaquita (the Skinny Lady), la Hermana Blanca (the White Sister), la Dama Poderosa (the Powerful Lady), la Madrina (the Godmother), to name a few. Why does this version of female spirituality speak to so many in the 21st Century?
April 15: “The American Woman (from Pocahontas to Michelle Obama),” Rosemary Wood, Facilitator
May 20: “Female Images in Advertising,” Karen Solheim, Facilitator: Is the image of the modern goddess flattering as she is portrayed in advertising? Let’s take a look at the female images in advertising to see what has been and is currently portrayed and what improvements, if any, can be made.
June 17: “Nina Sings the Blues,” Aleta Turner, Facilitator: What do a 21st-Century American artist and an ancient Indian woman of mythology have in common (and what does blues music have to do with either)? Let’s watch and discuss Sita Sings the Blues. Breakup stories are universal. Nina Paley finds comfort in the ancient tale of the Ramayana, but her own tale ends differently. Do you find that these parallel stories have parallels to portions of your own life?
July 15: “Personal Goddesses/Sheroes,” with an Iced Tea Party at the home of Vivian Preston Sellers, Facilitator: This session will be a summertime version of the annual Goddess Tea, but with a personal twist. Each person who comes will be asked to represent a personal Goddess/Shero in some way and explain why this particular woman/goddess is meaningful to her.
Please let Myrna (email@example.com) know if you are interested in participating in these sessions (You do not have to attend all.) so that we will know how many to prepare for. She will add your name and email address to the list of participants so that you will receive reminders and copies of readings, etc.
In this course, developed by members of the UUFA Goddess Group, we will explore the following questions:
- Where did the Goddess come from, how did we get to the current understanding, at least at UUFA, of the Goddess?
- How are we doing in teaching/learning about the feminine aspects of the divine?
- Is the Goddess alive and well?
- How is the Goddess represented in modern American culture through cinema, advertising, and other modern media?
- What can we learn from new images and depictions of the Goddess?
- How do we see the aspects of the Goddess manifested in modern women?
We will explore these questions through video, reading, writing, discussion, art, music, crafts, foods, and other media.
The course is open to all women of UUFA, including members, friends, and visitors, as well as women in the Athens area.
For more information, please contact one of the course creators/facilitators listed above.
2018 Summer/Fall Activities for Goddess Group
August 19: Pool Party & Salad Potluck at the home of June Lovenbury Warfield.
September 16: Poetry with Clela: how to blend poetry (poetic language/universal truths) with narrative details. Participants may choose their heroine or goddess ahead of time and bring some biographical info with them. Modern day heroines–“real” (as opposed to mythical) women, even unrecognized heroines like your third-grade teacher or your Aunt Sally, are good choices.
October 21: Deedra Climer: Death and the Goddess
November 18: TBA (If you have an idea for a program, please let Myrna know.)
December 15 or 16: Tea with the Goddess at Myrna’s house. Reservations required.
Please note: Occasionally it is necessary to change the meeting times because of other activities at the Fellowship. Myrna will try to let you know in plenty of time when that is going to happen.
Projects and Activities
Current Outreach Project: End-of-the-year Holiday gifts for a DFACS girl
Periodic Sunday Services on the Goddess: From time to time the Goddess Group presents a Sunday Service honoring the Goddess (such as Earth Day or Mother’s Day) or presents a service to share what has been learned in the study of the Goddess.
Cakes for the Queen of Heaven Part 1: In Ancient Times & Part 2: On the Threshold: Courses created for those who are interested in exploring women’s religious history, the discussion focuses on significant religious issues of Judaism and Christianity, and access to power; describing the ways in which these issues have affected our culture. Attitudes derived from religious philosophy and beliefs have had a profound effect on interpersonal relationships among women and men and on family patterns. They have had an equally profound effect on the power structures of all the institutions in our society. This program provides a vehicle by which adults may examine the historical roots of these phenomena and move toward affecting change in our society where that is judged to be desirable and necessary.
Rise Up & Call Her Name: A Woman-Honoring Journey into Global Earth-Based Spiritualities is a journey of thought and activity. It carries numerous qualities. Most important among these are–
- Bringing awareness of the processes of nature into our contemporary spiritual life
- Nurturing self-respect in women and respect for women in men by making known the range of emotions and actions attributed to female deities and the respect accorded them in many spiritual traditions
- Expanding respect for Earth-based spiritual traditions as well as the Earth-honoring aspects of several well-known religious belief systems
- Opening doors to cross-cultural interaction by fostering an appreciation for the richness of diversity
Becoming Women of Wisdom: Marking the Passage into the Crone Years: This new thirteen-circle curriculum is designed to prepare women to take on the important role of Wise Women in their communities. Becoming a Wise Woman takes time and can be enriched by being in dialogue with other women. The creators of this curriculum have developed a process that involves monthly gatherings to explore what it means to become a crone, culminating in a ritual celebrating our new status as Women of Wisdom. The curriculum is designed to open participants to the power, wisdom, and insight of the mature self and to challenge us to use our wisdom for the good of the world through action and compassion.