Stepping Into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses Paperback – 2 Feb 2014
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About the Author
Anne Key is adjunct faculty in Women s Studies and Religious Studies. She is a graduate of the Women s Spirituality Program of California Institute of Integral Studies where her investigations centered on Mesoamerica. Co-founder of the independent press Goddess Ink, Dr. Key was Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, located in Nevada, from 2004-2007. She is the author of Desert Priestess: a memoir and Burlesque, Yoga, Sex and Love: A Memoir of Life under the Albuquerque Sun and she is co-editor of The Heart of the Sun: An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet and Stepping Into Ourselves: An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses. Anne resides in Albuquerque with her husband, his three cats and her snake.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Guess what? No luck. Here we are in the 21st century and the Catholic Church, even with its populist new leader, Pope Francs, still doesn't allow women to be priests. It's not an exaggeration to say that my realization I would never get to be a priest inspired my life-long feminism.
I didn't know about being a priestess. Heck, I'd barely heard the word until I changed careers from TV production to archaeology, where I discovered the work of Lithuanian-American archaeologist Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994). Her controversial theories (The Civilization of the Goddess and others) about a woman-centric goddess culture in "Old Europe" revolutionized the study of ancient history and helped to inspire the modern Goddess movement.
Not until I moved from Los Angeles to Asheville did I meet a real-live priestess, however. Now I am happy to say that I know quite a few. In fact, Asheville is a haven for priestesses.
I just read a wonderful book that I wish had been available to me decades ago. I want to cheer about it in the hopes that all other women with a calling to priestess might also read it.
Stepping Into Ourselves is An Anthology of Writings on Priestesses ([...]. It includes 80 beautifully written poems and prose pieces, ranging from personal memoirs to academic treatises to practical tips (such as rituals and spiritual tools) on how to priestess. The scope of the book is truly astounding. I had no idea how many priestesses there are in the U.S., nor how many different types of priestess roles women have chosen to follow. You can be a ritualist, or a guardian, a healer, a teacher, a spell-maker, a fire tender and more. You can even be tree priestess. There's no strict definition of what a priestess is, or can be. One thing for sure, it seems, that if you are a priestess, you'll end up doing a lot of the work in any group activity.
There are ancient priestess lineages, of course, and the pieces on Neolithic and Mesoamerica priestesses are some of the best explanations I've ever read. The spiritualities in the book are mostly eclectic or pagan or Goddess-honoring (Dianic). But one of the most interesting articles are about how priestessing has been revived in Judaism. For me personally, as for many women in Asheville (descendants of the ancient Celts), the essays on Celtic priestessing is something to put into daily use.
The anthology was edited by two scholarly women, Anne Key and Candace Kant, who also happened to be priestesses at The Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet, in the Nevada desert. ([...]. The substantial volume (592 pages) includes the work of over 50 writers, some of whom are my favorites. There are several poems by Patrician Monaghan (1946-20120), activist, mentor, scholar, who wrote over 20 books on Goddess and Celtic spirituality, including the must have Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines.
One author I know personally is Kim Duckett, Ph.D., priestess/teacher in Ashevile. She's a moving force behind the Land and Sky Chapter of RCGI (Reformed Congregation of the Goddess), whose motherhouse is in Madison, WI. ([...]). Trained in both women's psychology and Goddess spirituality, Duckett has had more than 20 years experience working with women in group settings, including her popular courses on The Wheel of the Year, the annual cycle of the seasons.
Her anthology article, "As Within, So Without: Some Psychological Aspects to Priestessing," is a wise woman's look at the joys and the conflicts that can happen in women's groups - meaning, simply, women's groups can have the same kinds of personal dynamics other groups have, and like all relationships, including one-on-ones, groups with priestesses can change over time.
Her advice to women who feel a call to priestess? "Find a teacher," she says. "Someone you trust and value and who mentors women. She will have access to a community so that you can be trained. It's very hard to have a call and feel you have nowhere to go...
"And I believe in getting an education in women's or Goddess spirituality. Women need to know about things like racism and classism to be good priestesses."
The working title of Duckett's first book, out next year with Goddess Ink, is The Wheel of the Year as an Earth-Based Psychology for Women. For info, mail: email@example.com
And, let's not forget our former Rapid River book columnist, Byron Ballard. She and other priestesses are members of the Mother Grove Goddess Temple in Asheville. They hold public rituals and private classes of interest to women wanting to know more about priestessing. For info: [...].
Marcianne Miler is a local writer and critic. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Excerpted from review in Rapid River Magazine, Asheville, NC
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