Margot Adler
Paula Gunn Allen
Gloria Anzaldúa
Asphodel Long
Mary Daly
Olivia Robertson
Elinor Gadon
thea Gaia / thea Rainbow
Kay Gardner 
Elsa Gidlow
Marija Gimbutas
Mimi Lobell
Audre Lorde
Janet McCloud
Patricia Monaghan
Ruth Mountaingrove
Shekinah Montainwater
Noreen Penny
Layne Redmond
Aina Olomo
Lydia Ruyle
Monica Sjöö
Merlin Stone
Amoja ThreeRivers
Marion Weinstein
Donna Wilshire
Diane Wolkstein
Zelima Xochiquetzal
Morning Glory Zell 
Margot Adler  (1946-2014)

Margot Adler was an American Wiccan priestess, Pagan elder, National Public Radio correspondent for New York City, articulate feminist, environmentalist, progressive social change activist, author, singer, and visionary. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1968, received a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1970, and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1982. Her career as a nationally known radio journalist included hosting NPR’s Justice Talking and covering a wide range of national and global issues and events for All Things Considered and other programs. Margot was author of Drawing Down the Moon, the first comprehensive history of Contemporary Paganism in America; Heretic’s Heart: A Journey through Spirit and Revolution, a memoir about her work with the Free Speech Movement and Civil Rights Movement; and Vampires Are Us: Understanding Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side. Margot was a skilled Pagan ritualist and teacher. She loved singing and helped spread chants and songs at women’s spirituality conferences and Pagan gatherings. She is among the foremothers who helped shape Pagan community and Goddess spirituality. 

Margot was a longtime beloved friend and spiritual sister. She continues to inspire through her audio and written works and in the memories of the many people, organizations, and endeavors she blessed. 

-- by Rev. Selena Fox, senior minister, Circle Sanctuary
Wikipedia page:
In Memoriam by Selena Fox, Circle Sanctuary:
NPR: des-dies
New York Times: https://www.
Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost. com/2014/07/28/margot-adler-dead-dies_n_5627883.html
Paula Gunn Allen (1939-2008) 
see also In Memoriam Audio Interview by Judy Grahn

Paula Gunn Allen (née Paula Marie Francis in Albuquerque, New Mexico) was an American poet, novelist, scholar, and critic whose work combines the influences of feminism and her Native American heritage. Of mixed European, Lebanese-American, and Laguna Pueblo background, Paula centered her work as a critic and biographer on foregrounding and setting in context Native American writing. She was one of the preeminent literary critics and historians of Native American literature. Her essays described many, if not most, Native American pre-colonial peoples as matrilineal, if not matriarchal; she also wrote biography of the lives of Native women, including Pocahontas. Her poetry and scholarly work pulled from Native American mythology, especially stories of Spider Grandmother and Thought Woman. She held an MFA as well as a PhD; after teaching at San Francisco State University, Paula was appointed professor at UC Berkeley and then at UCLA. Paula Gunn Allen published six books of poetry and one collection, Life is a Fatal Disease: Collected Poems 1962-1995; five books of essays including The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions and Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman’s Sourcebook; two biographies including Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur and Diplomat; a novel, The Woman Who Owned the Shadows; and four edited collections and anthologies. Paula’s grounding in the Laguna and Plains Indian mythology of Grandmother Spider as creatrix, and of "Thought Woman" (as she thinks, we are) is a significant contribution to Women’s Spirituality. That a female creatrix "thinks reality into being" places consciousness in the intellectual sphere of the cosmos and is in line with all those who practice divination, astrology, and energy healing, aura reading, and other interactions with spirits, ancestors, visions and what Paula called "sendings." She also drew from the Algonquian concept of the Manito, a life circle relating to every dimension of paranormal experiences of consciousness, consisting of both time and space in continual interaction. Paula’s work is of inestimable value with regard to understanding of world-views of Native peoples from the North American continent. The fact that her work drew from living traditions, and emphasized powerful female presence, makes her a crucial contributor to the field of Women’s Spirituality. 

Paula was married three times to men and also lived with two women-lovers, of whom I was one. We moved in together in spring of 1981 and for five years carried on daily intense exhilarating conversations, about colonialism, matrilineality, the paranormal, science, and much else. I wrote about our sexual visions, both seeing a goddess-figure, in my 1984 book, Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds, and again in 1985 I compared lines of her poetry to those of other lesbian poets, in The Highest Apple: Sappho and the Lesbian Poetic Tradition. 

-- by Judy Grahn
Wikipedia page 
Re Paula’s sendings from Pocahontas: as/essays.php?id=9
A tribute to PGA:
Obituary in the Los Angeles Times: len7
Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004) 

In the early 1970s, Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa began to weave together various strands of her experiences of growing up in rural south Texas -- her Catholic upbringing, her love of nature and the arts, her work in the Chicano Rights and Farmworkers movements, her emerging participation in the Women’s movement, and her friendships with gay men and, later, with lesbians – into her academic and creative work. As the 1970s progressed, she became increasingly inspired by writers like Monique Wittig and Women’s Spirituality writers, especially Merlin Stone (When God Was a Woman) and Kay Turner, who became a good friend of hers when they attended the University of Texas at Austin and who published several early poems by Gloria in her WS journal Lady Unique Inclination of the Night. After moving to San Francisco, inspired by Charlene Spretnak’s The Politics of Women’s Spirituality, Mary Daly’s Gyn/Ecology, and Judy Grahn’s Another Mother Tongue, Gloria began interweaving Goddess spirituality, together with feminist and Left political views, into her work. With Cherríe Moraga, she co-edited This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981). At this time, together with close friends, she constructed her worldview of "El Mundo Zurdo," which embraced LGBTQ people (whom she believed possessed a psychic sensibility she called "la facultad"), people of color, the differently abled, outcasts. and those who refused borders. She also explored Aztec goddesses, the I Ching, Tarot with Angeles Arrien, and Witchcraft and the Yòrubá religion, with Starhawk and Luisah Teish as guides. She crafted poems about three archetypes she felt she embodied: the nun; the patlache ("lesbian" in Nahuatl); and the witch (Gloria honored both the curandera and the bruja). These interests culminated in Borderlands: La Frontera: The New Mestiza – and, when an instructor at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Making Face, Making Soul. In her writing, Gloria used a unique blend of eight languages, two variations of English and six of Spanish. She later turned her focus to her love of children’s literature and published bilingual books; in one of these, Prietita and the Ghost Woman, she sought – as she had done with the Mexica goddess Coyolxauhqui – to reclaim the figure of La Llorona – for WS, Chicana feminists, and their children. Near the end of her life, when her struggle with diabetes was consuming much of her time, she worked with AnaLouise Keating on interviews and on This Bridge We Call Home, wrote essays on "spiritual activism" that focused on topics including environmentalism and immigration – and, whenever she had time, on a group of science-fiction and fantasy tales she intended to publish. Despite disappointments and depression, she never forsook her spirituality, a mestizaje of folk Catholicism, Goddess reverence, and esoteric systems. Those who knew her well described her house – from one end to the other – as an altar. 

-- by Randy Conner
Wikipedia page:< /font>
Also see,%20Gloria.pdf?sequence=1 
Gloria Anzaldúa’s archives are at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. 
Asphodel Long (1921-2005)

Asphodel Long (née Pauline Long) was a writer, poet, scholar, feminist, and thealogian who was one of the founders of the Goddess movement in Great Britain. She was one of the original members of the Matriarchy Study Group, which published three influential pamphlets in the late 1970s, and also of its successor, the Matriarchy Research and Reclaim Network. She was also a founding member of the European Society of Women in Theological Research. After retiring from employment as a journalist, she enrolled at King’s College, London, in 1960, earning a degree in theology. She continued theological research and published In a Chariot Drawn by Lions: The Search for the Female in Deity in 1992. This work considers goddesses in Hebrew and Ancient Near Eastern traditions, with special emphasis on Wisdom Goddesses and the female figure of Wisdom in the Bible. From 1987 to 1994 she taught a course on Female Aspects of Deity through the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Sussex, which introduced many women to ancient goddesses. She gave several talks on local radio and appeared (under her earlier name of Pauline) in the National Film Board of Canada’s Women and Spirituality trilogy, conceived and directed by Donna Read. Asphodel was a tutor in the Feminist Theology outreach program of the University of Wales at Lampeter, which started several women on their way to degrees in Religious Studies and research into feminist theology. She was generally recognized as the leading figure in thealogy in Great Britain. She published widely, both in academic journals and in periodicals for the general reader. Asphodel was always an activist, and though she recognized the value of purely celebratory connections with the Goddess, she felt that the return of the Goddess or goddesses and recognition of female aspects of deity was a political act that could transform relationships between women and men. She stated, "When we raise Her, we raise ourselves. When we raise ourselves, we raise Her." 

-- by Daniel Cohen
Memorial website:
A video of Asphodel: https://www.
Her archives are at the Feminist Archive South, which is in the Special Collections at the library of the University of Bristol, UK. 
Mary Daly  (1928-2010) 

Mary Daly was the foremost philosopher of the Women’s Spirituality movement. She held three PhD degrees (in philosophy, religion, and literature) and was a professor of philosophy for 33 years at Boston College. Like many creative thinkers, she experienced a mystical relationship with nature as a child. After writing The Church and the Second Sex in1968 and a larger critique, Beyond God the Father (sisterhood as cosmic covenant), she quickly moved unfettered into her true calling: blazing a path beyond patriarchal language, ways of thinking, systems of knowledge, premises and assumptions. Her three major philosophical works – Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism; Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy; and Websters' First New Intergalactic Wickedary (coauthored with Jane Caputi) – introduced highly original phrases and concepts by which to achieve exorcism (of patriarchal colonizing of women’s minds) and attain ecstasy (of coming into authentic females modes of being). Mary Daly was a brilliant pioneer of the possible. We rode her coattails – and were exhilarated.

-- by Charlene Spretnak
Wikipedia page:
Obituary in The Guardian: /27/mary-daly-obituary
Obituary in the NY Times: y.html
Also see
Mary Daly’s archives are in the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History at Smith College.
Olivia Robertson (1917-2013)

Olivia Melian Robertson was born in London on April 13, 1917. Her family moved back to their ancestral home at Clonegal Castle, Ireland, in 1925, when she was eight. Olivia was educated at Heathfield School, Ascot, the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London, as well as Dublin’s National University. She won the Purser-Griffith Scholarship, taking first place in the category of History of European Painting. She had her first exhibition of paintings at the age of 21. In 1946 Olivia received her first spiritual awakening from Isis. Thirty years later, in 1976, Olivia, with her brother and his wife, co-founded the Fellowship of Isis, a multi-religious and multi-cultural society which now has thousands of members in many countries worldwide, including China and forty-six Muslim countries. Over the years, Olivia wrote an expansive liturgy for the Fellowship of Isis, calling directly upon the Deities for inspiration .She also published six books. Her first novel was based on her experiences working with the poor in Dublin’s tenements when she acted as a volunteer nurse during World War II. In 1975 she wrote her spiritual autobiography, The Call of Isis, as well as a book on how the Fellowship of Isis was founded: Olivia also loved to travel and made regular trips to the United States, as well as to London and Glastonbury. In 1993, Olivia was invited by the Parliament of the World's Religions to represent the Fellowship of Isis, along with other appointed FOI delegates. This was the first time that the religion of the Goddess was publicly acknowledged as a world faith at this organization.

 -- by Vajra Ma
For info on the documentary “Olivia Robertson, Priestess of Isis” --
Elinor Gadon (1925-2018)

Elinor Gadon was a feminist cultural historian, Indologist, art historian, scholar, and professor who founded the first graduate academic program in Women’s Spirituality, at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Her book The Once and Future Goddess: A Symbol for Our Times (1989) remains an important feminist work in the field of women and religion. With the stamina and passionate intellectual curiosity that inspired many of her students, Elinor returned to the India she loved in her 70s and 80s to do research on the village goddesses of Orissa. 

-- by Dianne Jenett
Wikipedia page:
Elinor interviewed by Starr Goode, 1988:
Elinor receiving the 2016 Demeter Award from the Association for the Study of Women in Mythology: https://womenan
thea Gaia / thea Rainbow (1931-2016) 

thea Gaia (née Dorothy Ivy Wacker) was one of the initiators of the Women’s Spirituality and Goddess movement in Australia. In 1959 she became the first ordained woman minister in Queensland, but after 20 years as a minister, she resigned from the Uniting Church. Following a year’s retreat in a cottage by the sea, she began to establish women’s spirituality groups, urging women to follow their own spiritual paths. She was a co-founder of the Rainbow Circle in Adelaide and taught courses such as Ancient Images of Women, Women of Spirit throughout the Ages, and Women and Personal Power. She and two other women published a quarterly magazine, The Rippling Web: a womanspirit link-up. In 1984 she travelled to California to connect with other Goddess feminists. Returning home, she co-founded the Womandala Spirituality Center in Adelaide. In 1987 she co-created a popular series of Goddess posters that sold internationally. In the 1990s she tutored at the University of Canberra, set up a women’s spirituality center, taught workshops, and co-created rituals. She was also a founder of Woman’s Spirit Rising, a Canberra Goddess community, the network Sisters of Gaia, and the first Women’s Spirituality Conference held in Australia, in 1994. thea rejected the hierarchical structure of the church and always insisted that leadership must be shared in women’s spiritual communities. In her later years she brought her wisdom to the Centre for Progressive Thought in Christianity at St. James Uniting Church in Canberra, while not rejoining the church. Also see the Talking Goddess Interview: thea Gaia; thea Gaia née Dorothy Ivy Wacker: Feminist Foremother and a Great "Ponderer"; and Death Well Done. 

-- by Carol P. Christ

Tribute: onderer-by-glenys-peacock/

Kay Gardner  (1941-2002)

Kay Gardner is at the forefront of composers creating lyrical music for healing, relaxation, and meditation. With her first recording Mooncircles, released in 1975, she pioneered the now-burgeoning field of sound healing. She also wrote the book Sounding The Inner Landscape. She was a multifaceted musician, a pianist, flutist, conductor, and inspiring teacher, recognized internationally as an authority on the healing properties of music. Kay traveled to four continents performing her works in concert, presenting keynote addresses at major sound medicine conferences, lecturing at universities, and leading workshops on the art and science of healing with sound. Kay said, "Music is my religion." Beginning in 1960, she first began spreading her music to coffeehouse audiences in California. In the early 1970s, Kay decided to combine all of her talents toward the goal of promoting and making women's music. In 1972 she was a founding member of the feminist and openly lesbian women's band Lavender Jane. Later in the 1970s, Kay pursued her dream of becoming a symphony conductor by founding and recording works of women composers with the New England Women's Symphony. By the early 1980s, Kay's musical focus had shifted to studying the effects of music on the human body and the healing potential of music. Among the results of this study were A Rainbow Path, a series of musical compositions centered on each body chakra that explored the utilization of music in conjunction with the healing arts. She also authored Sounding the Inner Landscape, a collection of resources for musicians wishing to develop their music along a spiritual path. She had a vast catalogue of works, including musical compositions, recordings, publications, and videotapes and received numerous awards, grants, and prizes throughout her life. Kay was ordained as a priestess by the Fellowship of Isis in Clonegal, Ireland, in 1998 by Lady Olivia Robertson. She then returned to Bangor, Maine, and founded the Temple of the Feminine Divine and Iseum Musicum, a three-year ordination program. Kay was a visionary who saw herself planting the seeds of reconciliation and healing with her gift of music, and she was a force for celebrating the spirit – and the accomplishments – of women. Her musical works have been performed by ensembles, choruses and orchestras throughout the United States, Canada, and England.

Kay was a dear friend of many years, also a teacher and mentor whose generosity in support of my own music gave me confidence on my own path as a musician/priestess. She was my Aquarian soul sister; we shared confidences, laughter, and service to the Goddess. Guided by the Goddess Sarasvati, Kay was the very first to record music in honor of Goddess, with Mooncircles, pioneering music for women's spirituality. 

-- by Ruth Barrett

Memorial website:
Wikipedia page:
Elsa Gidlow (1898-1986) 

Elsa was a spiritual grandmother for many younger artists and authors. Her own spiritual grandmother was the Irish revolutionary-poet Ella Young, whose photograph by Ansel Adams Elsa had framed over her mantle piece. An English-born, Canadian-American poet, Elsa is perhaps best known for publishing the first openly lesbian love poetry in 1923 and as cofounder of Druid Heights, a "unintentional" community of artists and activists such as Alan Watts, Gary Snyder, Catherine MacKinnon, and many others, located next to Muir Woods Redwood Preserve in the Bay Area. Elsa moved from Greenwich Village to California in 1925. In 1940, she settled in Marin County where she wrote the classic poem Chains of Fire, which describes a vision she had of women throughout time tending fires. Every Winter Solstice (Yule), she invited the Druid Heights community to join her in the Yule Log ceremony which she created after having this vision. She kept part of the burned logs all year long to start the next year’s Winter Solstice fire. Elsa was the author of many books of poetry as well as her autobiography I Come With my Songs. She also appeared in the film Word is Out, in which she stood under her apple tree and talked about the generosity of Mother Earth. Her ashes are buried under this tree. 

Elsa was my neighbor for many years at Druid Heights, and I considered her my spiritual grandmother. I met her when we were both presenting at a Goddess conference in Boston in the mid 1970’s. I was in my late 20’s and she was in her late 70’s. Through her, I met some of the elders whose work I had revered, carrying their books in my backpack across Asia: Lama Govinda, Li Gotami, R. H. Blythe, and others. Every Winter Solstice I start the new fire with a descendant of the Yule Log from Yule Log ceremony, a continuous thread since 1940. 

-- by Hallie Iglehart Austen 
Wikipedia page:
Marija Gimbutas  (1921-1994) 

Marija Gimbutas (née Marija Birut? Alseikait? in Lithuania) was an internationally prominent archaeologist who was central to framing the field of pre-Indo-European archaeology as an area of study distinct from Indo-European archaeology. She pioneered five areas with her groundbreaking insights into numerous excavations: (1) the Civilization of neolithic "Old Europe" (now called the Danubian Civilization); (2) the Indo-European Transformation of "Old Europe" (by three waves of migrations of Indo-European nomadic peoples from the Pontic Steppes); (3) Contextual Archaeology (expanding archaeological thinking beyond the econometric model); (4) a Multidisciplinary Approach called Archaeomythology (including philology, indigenous studies, comparative religion, mythology, and philosophy); and (5) the Symbol System of neolithic Old Europe. She earned her PhD from Tübingen University, then was a Lecturer and a Fellow of the Peabody Museum at Harvard University, and then was a professor of archaeology at UCLA from 1964 until her death. She was the author of numerous scholarly journal articles and books, including Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe; The Language of the Goddess; The Civilization of the Goddess, and The Living Goddess (posthumous; edited by Miriam Robbins Dexter). Beginning around 1990 the University of Cambridge archaeologist Colin Renfrew declared and doggedly encouraged opposition to Marjia’s Kurgan Hypothesis, but it became settled science in the field of historical genetic mapping, where it is referred to as the Steppe Hypothesis. In 2017 Renfrew finally admitted in a talk at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago that the abundant genetic proof from excavations in recent years makes clear that Gimbutas was correct in her hypothesis of how Indo-European culture was brought into Europe (see #2 above); numerous researchers in historical genetic mapping had already arrived at this confirmation of her work (see, for instance, the Reich Laboratory at Harvard).

Marija was not a member of the feminist movement; she identified solely as a scientist and was always confident that scientific evidence would eventually prove her theory correct, as did happen. However, she kindly answered endless questions from many feminists about archaeological evidence of prepatriarchal, cosmologically embedded Goddess cultures in Old Europe. She also became friends with many women in the Women’s Spirituality movement, who held healing rituals for her as she struggled in her final years with cancer. Marija was a giant in her field and was a warm and caring person. 

-- by Charlene Spretnak
Wikipedia page:
A memorial website:
Journal of Archaeology articles about MG’s work, for example: http://www.archaeomytholo
MG’s archives are in two locations: (1) Opus Archives and Research Center, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA, and (2) Institute for Archaeomythology, Sebastopol, CA.
Mimi Lobell (1942-2001) 

Mimi Lobell studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania with some of the leading architects of her time, worked in major architectural offices, and was only the second woman to attain tenure in architecture at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she taught until her death. She was a pioneer in women’s spirituality and in the study of myth and symbol in architecture. She was a member of the group that produced The Great Goddess issue of Heresies magazine in 1978. She traveled throughout the world studying architecture and presenting at conferences. Mimi lived in New York with her husband, John Lobell, and in the late 1960s she became involved in the New York art scene in projects challenging social norms as well as the women’s movement in architecture. She was one of the originators of an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum in 1977 titled Women in American Architecture. In the 1960s she had pursued various spiritual studies including Tai Chi with Professor Cheng Man-ch’ing, Buddhism with Chogyam Trungpa, Shamanism with Michael Harner, and mythology with Joseph Campbell. She soon became aware of how male-centered all of these were and began studies in the history of the Goddess, particularly in Neolithic and ancient cultures. She became a member of a Goddess study group, she associated with Marija Gimbutas, Cristina Biaggi, and other scholars interested in the Goddess, and she attended conferences and presented papers with them. She brought all of these interests together in her teaching and her work, which included the design of a contemporary Goddess Temple. Her insights into patterns of human development and our inner psyches, drawing on morphological patterns, mythology, and depth psychology, and beyond, can be found in her posthumously published book, Spatial Archetypes: The Hidden Patterns of Psyche and Civilization. 

– by John Lobell

Memorial website:
Her archives are at the University of Pennsylvania. 
Audre Lorde (1934-1992) 
see also In Memoriam audio interview with Judy Grahn

Audre Lorde was a poet, biomythographer, and essayist, She was born in New York City of Caribbean immigrants. Initially she did factory work, then became a librarian and ultimately a professor. Her writing has powerfully influenced a generation of activists and scholars alike. Audre wrote about civil rights and feminist issues and defined living at the conjunctions of being female, lesbian, and Black, as well as being an activist, mother, and health system critic. She considered herself a "warrior poet." She is an original model of intersectionality and wrote much about difference, especially about one’s differences as an opportunity for developing strength. She was active with women in the United States and also South Africa and Germany, where she helped organize Afro-Germans, a term she created. In addition to essays, she published several poetry books including, after a trip to Africa in the mid-1970s, The Black Unicorn, followed by Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, which she called a "biomythography." Both of these books use Yoruba traditional stories. Audre Lorde published at least nine poetry collections, a biographical novel, and collections of essays, including Sister Outsider; The Cancer Journals; A Burst of Light: Essays; Uses of he Erotic: the Erotic as Power; and Sister Love: The Letters of Aude Lorde and Pat Parker, 1975-1989. Films made about her include Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984-1992 and A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde. Here are some of her well-known quoted lines: "The Erotic is Power." "Your silence will not protect you." "The master’s tools can never dismantle the master’s house." "Each time you love, love with all your heart." "Our problem is not in our differences but in our refusal to acknowledge them." "I do not believe our wants have made all our lies holy." "I am other in every group I am in." "…for the embattled / there is no place / that cannot be home/ nor is." "Without community…there is no liberation…." "When I dare to be powerful, use my strength in service to my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid."

I was lucky enough to meet Audre Lorde because I lived in a Bay Area lesbian activist household with someone who had gone to high school with her in NYC. I attended a poetry reading she did in SF, probably in late 1970, and then invited her to Gay Women’s liberation meetings that we were holding. She visited the West Coast and stopped by to cheer on our women’s press. She took my first book back to New York, and a couple of times when I was on tour in the East, invited me to stay with her and her longtime lover Frances Clayton and their two children on Staten Island.  On West Coast visits, Audre would stay with me and my lover Wendy Cadden and also stayed over in San Pablo when I lived with Paula Gunn Allen in 1985. We were frequently at conferences together as well as staying at each other’s houses, dancing together, and attending each other’s readings. She was a deeply loved colleague and I continue to miss her. 

-- by Judy Grahn
Wikipedia page:
Writing on Glass Femcyclopedia:
Janet McCloud (1934-2003)

Janet McCloud – whose ceremonial name was Yet-Si-Blue (She Who Speaks Her Mind) – founded or cofounded many key organizations, among them the Survival of the American Indian Association (1964); the Northwest Indian Women’s Circle that assisted women in developing leadership skills based on traditional values (1970s); the White Roots of Peace Spirit Unity Gathering at Snoqualmie Falls (1974); an annual Elder’s Circle that still meets every summer; the Native American Rights Fund team; and Women of All Red Nations (WARN) in 1974. She was a member of the American Indian Movement and in 1985 she convened the founding gathering of the Indigenous Women’s Network in her backyard in Yelm, Washington. She spoke and taught at many events, including as Z Budapest's Goddess 2000 festival in the 1990s.

-- by Max Dashu

Wikipedia page:
Tribute: -1934-2003-M0z9UKxG3kW5_OTj6amBbg/
Patricia Monaghan  (1946-2012) 

Patricia Monaghan was one of the pioneers of the contemporary women’s spirituality movement and the author of classic texts in the field beginning with the first dictionary of goddesses ever published, The Book of Goddesses and Heroines (1979), which has remained steadily in print. It was republished in a two-volume set as The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines. Other books of note include The Goddess Companion, The Goddess Path, Seasons of the Witch, Goddesses in World Culture, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Myth and Folklore, The Red-Haired Girl From the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit, and many others. Patricia was vice president of the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology and was an adviser for students in Women’s Spirituality through The Union Institute and University. A visionary poet, she celebrated the mythic in the ordinary, the spiritual in the mundane, and the sensuous in the scientific. As an impassioned teacher and performer, she won awards for poetry as well as creative nonfiction. Her well-crafted work remains accessible to ordinary readers interested in spirituality, peace, and environmental issues. Patricia was a professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at DePaul University and was a Founding Fellow of The Black Earth Institute, a think-tank for artist-fellows and scholar-advisors seeking to connect art and spirit, earth and society.

Patricia was a dear personal friend. In her honor and in celebration of her exceptional poetry, I continue to include her seasonal poems in women’s rituals I facilitate and my concert performances. Patricia loved life and thrived in her garden and with the change of seasons. Her husband, Michael McDermott, continues Patricia’s work by developing and heading the Black Earth Institute:

-- by Ruth Barrett

Memorial website:
Also see s-community-remembers-and-mourns-by-dawn-work-makinne/

Ruth Mountaingrove (1923-2016)

Ruth Mountaingrove (née Ruth Shook) was a photographer, poet, and musician. With Jean Mountaingrove, Ruth coedited 40 issues of the quarterly magazine WomanSpirit between 1974 and 1984. It was the first national magazine of women’s spirituality. From their home base near Wolf Creek, Oregon, they traveled to WS communities around the country, staying in a community long enough to produce an issue of WomanSpirit. 

Shekinah Mountainwater (1939-2007) 

Shekhinah Mountainwater was a musician, author, teacher, Tarot reader, and a key figure in Women’s Spirituality. Although best known on the West Coast, she had a significant following throughout the United States and abroad for her music, writing, online classes, rituals, Womanrunes, Moonwheels, and spiritual and social activism. Mountainwater referred to herself as a "muse-ical mystical magical woman who loves the Goddess and women, a Foremother of the Womanspirit movement, a teacher of Women's Mysteries, and a priestess of Aphrodite." She dedicated her life to sharing and expressing the love of the Goddess, leading women to reclaim their power and connection to one another and to the earth. Mountainwater was a pioneer of what is now referred to in some circles as "Pagan music." Her unique melding of folk and spiritual themes eventually led to her passion for the Goddess. She began singing during the American folk music revival of the 1950s and ’60s and played in the same coffee houses in the Village in New York as Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Although the bulk of her early influences were Scottish, Celtic, English, Appalachian, and American folk, her music also had Arabic and African undertones. Motivated by a passionate spirituality, she often chose mythical or occult themes for her treatments; in her later years, her songs were often overtly political or designed as tools for trance induction and prayer. Mountainwater's songs and chants endeared her to music lovers as well as to witches and practitioners of Goddess worship, magic, and ritual. Mountainwater is best known for her book Ariadne's Thread: A Workbook of Goddess Magic, which is considered a classic by many practitioners and seekers. It encourages the reader to find her own spiritual path as she connects with the Goddess (republished in 2018 by Echo Point Books). 

I first met Shekhinah (who went by a different name then) in 1972, when we were both performing music at The Renaissance Pleasure Faires in southern California. She was narrating and singing fairy tales and myths with her two young children, as "The Sibyl." There wasn’t yet a Goddess Movement, and words like "witch" and "priestess" were not in our vocabulary. The stirring and converging ingredients of anti-Vietnam war activists, back-to-the-land ecology folk, women’s liberation feminists, as well as mind-expanding Jungian and Eastern meditators and hippies (many who became the founders of the early pagan revival in the U.S.) were all bubbling together in the cauldron of change. Shekhinah was a woman who embodied these times and influenced these times and the times that followed. I joined Shekhinah’s first women’s circle in 1975, where we explored Goddess spirituality and sisterhood through "Women’s Mysteries and Sacred Theatre." A unique genius, she pursued and shared the ecstasy of poetry through her music and teachings. 

-- by Ruth Barrett 

Memorial website:
Wikipedia page: 
Shekhinah’s final interview:

Noreen Penny (1932-2010) 

Noreen Penny was a leader in the development of the Women’s Spirituality movement in New Zealand. Her book Women’s Rites: An Alternative to Patriarchal Religion translated seasonal rituals for those living in the Southern Hemisphere and told the stories of women in the Braided River Women's Ritual Group, which she cofounded in 1981. The book was a catalyst in the formation of several other WS groups. She also edited the newsletter Nymphs, Queens, and Crones for many years. Noreen was featured in two books: Faces of the Goddess: New Zealand Women Talk About Their Spirituality by Celine Kearney, and Embracing the Witch and the Goddess: Feminist Ritual-Makers in New Zealand 

by Kathryn Rountree. 
Layne Redmond  (1952-2013) 

Layne Redmond was a composer, award-winning drummer, author, filmmaker, and educator. Layne followed an extremely unusual path, specializing in the small hand-held frame drum played primarily by women in the ancient Mediterranean world. From 1981 through 1990 she performed and recorded the first contemporary frame drum compositions with percussionist, Glen Velez for European and American labels. During this period she intensively researched the ancient playing styles and history of the frame drum in religious and cultural rituals culminating in her book When The Drummers Were Women (Random House, 1997). This book details a lost history of a time when women were the primary percussionists throughout the Mediterranean world and also explains why they are not today. Layne was recognized as one of today's most exciting performers on the frame drum and has been featured in many music festivals throughout the world. Her recordings include Since the Beginning, Trance Union (with Tommy Be), Invoking Aphrodite, The Wave of Bliss, and Hymns From the Hive. Her best-selling meditation CDs include Chanting the Chakras, Chakra Breathing Meditation, and Heart Chakra Meditations. Her music videos Xango and Iemanja gained a worldwide following. She was the first woman to have a Signature Series of world percussion instruments with Remo, Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers of percussion instruments and drum heads. She was featured in All Things Considered on National Public Radio, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Modern Drummer, Percussive Notes, New Age Journal, Harper’s Bazaar, New Age Voice, and Shaman’s Drum. The February 2000 issue of DRUM! Magazine listed Layne Redmond as one of the 53 Heavyweight Drummers Who Made A Difference in the '90s. She was the only woman on the list.

-- compiled by Ruth Barrett from Layne’s website

Memorial website:
Aina Olomo (1950 -2016)

Aina Olomo, or Iyalowo Aina Olomo, was a title-holder – The Kpojito Alade Oloye Aina Olomo – in several African lineages of the Ifa/Ori Yoruba tradition. She was born in Newark, NJ, with ties to West Africa and also Trinidad and Tobago. She was initiated in the 1960s in New York in the first Lucumi house to initiate African Americans who became active in promoting the Yoruba culture and tradition within the diaspora. She traveled widely, studied, created projects, built organizations, and led community reprogramming. She received honors and royal titles in many places in Africa, including being initiated as a Yoruba Chief (Oloriya Leja, The-Head–Mother–Who–Can–Fight) in 2002. She was subsequently given additional titles, such as Chief Oloye Ajidakin of Ile–Ife, Nigeria; as an Ifa priestess, she was One–Who–Wakes–the Deity–of–Destiny. She ritually received a stool made from the sacred Iroko tree of the Great Mother that honors her connection to the Iyami. In 2012 she was given authority in the Yoruba Diaspora of the Americas. She was also an ordained interfaith minister, an educator, and a cultural advisor. She participated in the first conference of the Association for the Study of Women in Mythology, as well as other Women’s Spirituality conferences. Chief Iya Aina strongly promoted women’s rights within the tradition of Yoruba. She honored the various aspects of the primordial mother as a complex primal force of the creation and the universe. In 2012 her book, Core of Fire: A Path to Yoruba Spiritual Activism, was published. Her work emphasized the importance of the female divinity Odu as the Origin and of the ancestral mothers in Yoruba spirituality. She was in the vanguard of those reclaiming the title iyalawo, the female counterpart of babalawo. While Iya Aina was in Texas, she created a shrine in her back yard, which was reportedly visited by over 50,000 birds not native to the region. The presence of those birds in Texas was so unusual that the site was featured in a National Geographic documentary.

-- by Iyanifa Ifabunmi Omi Yemi Olomo, Genevieve Vaughan, and Max Dashu

Memorial website:
Iya Aina Olomo speaking about her spiritual path:

Lydia Ruyle  (1935-2016)

Lydia Ruyle was a petite, feisty Leo woman with a big heart and a lot of creative energy who lived her life to the fullest. As part of a Colorado legacy family, Lydia was socially and politically active from the start, elected to the local school board while raising three small children. Her personal breakthrough came when she discovered painting and became an artist, fighting to get arts into the schools, eventually finding feminism, and discovering the Goddess movement. Her research into sacred images of women took her all over the world. She also became the owner-operator of Goddess Tours / YA-YA Journeys, spiritual pilgrimages for women to sacred places in the world. Most famously, over her last two decades, Lydia created hundreds of large banners painted with faithful reproductions of Goddesses from around the world, which she generously hand-carried or lovingly packed and shipped to workshops, festivals, retreats, and other public events sponsored on every continent by participants in the Women’s Spirituality movement. She created two books of these banners: Goddess Icons: Spirit Banners of the Divine Feminine and Goddesses of the Americas: Spirit Banners of the Divine Feminine. Lydia’s Goddess Banners (her "girls") traveled extensively and brought enormous beauty and creativity to whatever venue they adorned. She also made small-sized images of Goddesses on "prayer flags," which she sent off with any of us who wanted to share them in our travels; I took several to Tibet in 2007, sharing to of them with a couple of young Tibetan nuns with whom I had a lively exchange based on the images. Lydia was awarded many honors in her life, including – in her name – the Lydia Ruyle Room of Women’s Art at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where she taught art for decades.

What always touched me deeply in my friendship with Lydia was her very active role as a grandmother. She took her grandkids everywhere—to marches on Washington, Goddess sites in Europe, Turkey, and anywhere their hands-on education could be creatively enhanced, making her a dynamic role model for me in my own relationships with my grandchildren. I am in good company when I say that I miss Lydia’s bright spirit. Her art lives on in the banners (now under the custodianship of her family) and her prolific research and writing.

-- by Vicki Noble
"About Goddess Icon Banners" by Lydia Ruyle: about-goddess-icon-spirit-banners/#more-4243
Obituary in The Wild Hunt: e-1935-2016.html
Monica Sjöö  (1938-2005)

Monica Sjöö was a Swedish anarcho-feminist artist and writer, who spent more than half her life in England and Wales. Her 1968 painting God Giving Birth (depicting the Earth issuing from the birth canal of a vast, cosmological, non-white female body) marks the start of Second Wave feminist art in the United Kingdom. It was highly controversial at the time and was removed from several exhibitions; as its creator, Monica was initially threatened with prosecution for blasphemy and obscenity. In 1971 she was the principle author of Towards a Revolutionary Feminist Art, the first feminist art manifesto. She continued creating paintings of goddesses, frequently associated with specific landscapes and sacred sites. Her works were large oil paintings, but she produced prints and postcards of many of them, which allowed people to have access to them. Her art was shown in thirty one-woman and group exhibitions internationally during her lifetime, plus three more since her death. Her art has been featured on nine book covers, including two of her own. Monica’s small-circulation 1975 pamphlet The Ancient Religion of the Great Cosmic Mother of All went through several incarnations, culminating in the influential 1987 book The Great Cosmic Mother, written in collaboration with Barbara Mor. Her later book New Age and Armageddon was a critique of the patriarchal nature of much New Age thinking. She wrote several other books and contributed articles to feminist and pagan magazines. She was a founding member of the Matriarchy Study Group. In 1985 she took part in the women’s protest walk and accompanying rituals from Silbury to the American-NATO military base at Greenham Common. In 1993 she organized and took part in a demonstration during mass at Bristol Cathedral, protesting against the Christian church’s misogyny and suppression of the Goddess. 

-- by Daniel Cohen

Memorial website: (introduction by Alice Walker)
Memorial website of her art:
Wikipedia page:öö
Her archives are at the Feminist Archive South, which is part of the Special Collections at the library of the University of Bristol, UK. 
Merlin Stone  (1931-2011) 

Merlin Stone (née Marilyn Jacobson) was a sculptor, author, cultural historian, and teacher who wrote one of the most important books of the early Womens’ Spirituality movement: When God Was A Woman (1976; published the same year by Virago in the UK as The Paradise Papers: The Suppression of Women’s Rites.) In a sense Merlin was heir to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her committee of 26 women who wrote The Woman’s Bible (1895 and 1898), naming and correcting numerous patriarchal premises and prejudices. Merlin realized the far-reaching effects on a modern, largely secular society of having a personified male godhead as its deepest cultural touchstone. She identified many Middle Eastern Godesses named in the Bible, and she decoded the story of Adam and Eve, revealing it to be a polemical "tale with a point of view" in which the meaning of the elements honored in Goddess religion in Canaan (the woman, the tree, and the snake) was reversed. She saw this as one geographical example of the widespread shift from matrifocal culture to patriarchy and the demonizing of the female body. This book was reviewed in many newspapers nationally and inspired countless women in the WS movement over the years. Merlin also wrote Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood: Our Goddess and Heroine Heritage (2 volumes). She spoke at numerous conferences and was a friend to many in the WS movement. Her sculpture won two awards in the 1960s from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. 

-- by Charlene Spretnak
Wikipedia page:
Memorial book: Merlin Stone Remembered: Her Life and Times (Llewellyn, 2014)
Tribute by Carol P. Christ: https://
Amoja ThreeRivers (1946-2015) 

Amoja ThreeRivers was a teacher, healer, craftswomon, elder, lesbian, and force of nature. She called herself "an American-born African, Choctaw, Tsalagi, Ojibwa Jew" and was one of the founding members of the Womyn of Color Tent and Sanctuary inside of the larger lesbian/women’s separatist space that was the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Amoja grew up as Carol Allen Hall but changed her name to Amoja ThreeRivers after experiencing the sights, sounds, and sisterhood of the Michigan festival. In 1989 she and some other women of color founded the Womyn of Color Tent at the festival. Her wildly popular 27-page booklet called Cultural Etiquette: A Guide for the Well-Intentioned was first published in 1990. Amoja believed it was possible for a person to be well-intentioned and ignorant, and if one needed to go out and acquire the necessary etiquette, this was no cause for shame or defensiveness. In addressing her book to the "well-intentioned," she was assuming the best about us. Amoja traveled around the country, offering herstory presentations at festivals, conferences, and colleges. With Blanche Jackson, she founded Market Wimmin, a cultural crafts and merchandising business, and the Accessible African Herstory Project. She also co-founded Maat Dompim Womyn of Color Land Project. 

-- compiled by Ruth Barrett from articles by Carolyn Gage and Thistle Peterson

A statement by Amoja ThreeRivers on female spiritual presence in our time:
Marion Weinstein (1939-2009)

Marion Weinstein was an author, lecturer, media personality, and stand-up priestess. Known as "The Ethics Witch," she is one of the founders of the modern Witchcraft movement. She was the first to coin the phrase and define Positive Magic, and clearly delineate its use. Her books include Positive Magic, Earth Magic, Magic for Peace, and Marion’s Weinstein’s Handy Guide to Tarot Cards. Her radio show, Marion's Cauldron on WBAI in New York City, was the first regularly scheduled Wiccan and psychic programming on record and was a New York phenomena for fourteen years. Marion interviewed many feminists from the Women’s Spirituality movement on her program. She was a long-time supporter and member of Circle Sanctuary.

Donna Wilshire  (1933-2012) 

Donna Welch Wilshire was an actress, a playwright, a performer and an author. Her book Virgin Mother Crone: Invoking the Triple Goddess explores the Great Mother in her many manifestations. Her performances, based on the theme of the Great Goddess, were powerful, passionate, and memorable, They unequivocally illustrated her strongly held belief that we need to reconnect to our roots as celebrants of the Great Mother and re-evoke her cyclical continuity. 

-- by Cristina Biaggi

Diane Wolkstein  (1942-2013)

Diane Wolkstein was a historian of folktales, ethnographer, teacher, performance storyteller, and feminist scholar. Several of her works sought to reclaim forgotten myths about female deities, such as her best-known book, Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, which she coauthored with the Sumerian scholar Samuel Noah Kramer. Other of her books reintroduced heroic women from ancient texts, such as Esther’s Story, an imagined account of the inner life of the biblical heroine. She served as New York City’s official storyteller, performing in two city parks every weekday, from 1968 to1971. Diane also hosted a radio show on WNYC, Stories From Many Lands, from 1968 until 1980 and helped create the Storytelling Center of New York City. 

Wikipedia page:
NY Times obituary: ies-at-70.html

Zelima Xochiquetzal

Zelima Xochiquetzal was a ceremonialist and healer. She was coauthor of Walking the Sacred Path, A Life Lived for Mother Earth (Sor Juana Press, 2005). She was born in Nicaragua, but her family was forced into exile by General Somoza, ironically a relative, for their opposition to his dictatorship. She grew up in California. Like many Latinas, she held on to a mestiza mystic catholicism while expanding into a Goddess worldview based, as her last name shows, in Aztec culture. She loved to cook, brewing up elaborate fish stews, nacatamales, and baked corn cakes. She was a lesbian and feminist and anti-racist activist. She held ceremonies and was part of the Women’s Spirituality community, as well as the Latina community. In the 80s she led and hosted many ceremonies on her land, Medicine Wheel, near a beautiful canyon in Arizona near the New Mexico border. 

-- by Max Dashu

Morning Glory Zell  (1948-2014) 

Morning Glory Zell (née Diana Moore) was a pivotal and beloved figure in modern Paganism. One of the first legally ordained Priestesses (1974) in millennia, she was part of the early core of the Church of All Worlds (CAW) in the 1970s and remained so throughout her life. She helped edit and publish Green Egg magazine, one of the most influential publications of modern Paganism. She pioneered in two Hippie homesteading communities; co-founded the Holy Order of Mother Earth (HOME) and the Ecosophical Research Association (ERA); raised living Unicorns in the 1980s; founded The Mythic Images Collection (1990); and became a highly respected source on Goddess lore, touring the country speaking and teaching with her legendary collection of nearly 400 votive figurines of Goddesses and Gods. She was the coauthor, with Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and others, of Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard (2004), A Wizard’s Bestiary (2006), Creating Circles & Ceremonies: Rituals for All Seasons & Reasons (2006), and The Wizard & The Witch (2014). Morning Glory was a strong advocate for open relationship structures, coining the term "polyamory" in 1990 to describe multiple loving committed relationships, and living in two 10-year group marriages. Morning Glory created ceremonies of every kind and scale, from simple baby blessings, handfastings, and rites of passage, to spectacular events such as the total solar eclipse at the Stonehenge replica in the Oregon Dalles in 1979, attended by 4,000 people. In 1990 she researched and co-scripted what became an annual modern revival of the Greek Eleusinian Mysteries. She conducted a recreation of the Panathenaea to consecrate the Athena statue completed for the Parthenon replica in Nashville, TN, in 1993. Her journeys took her to the Australian Blue Mountains, the depths of the Coral Sea, the jungles of New Guinea, the ruins of ancient Greece, the caves of Crete, and the Taoist Goddess Temples of China. She wrote and published many articles, short stories, songs and poetry in numerous magazines and anthologies. Her life story is told in The Wizard & The Witch, with John Sulak, (2014). After her death at home by cancer, she was interred in a green burial on the CAW’s sacred land of Annwfn, in Mendocino County, CA. An apple tree grows upon her grave.

-- by Oberon Zell, husband and Lifemate to Morning Glory for 40 years 

Wikipedia page: l-Ravenheart
Morning Glory Zell speaking on The Goddess, Her Magick & Passion (2005):
Morning Glory introduces The Mythic Images Collection (at International
New Age Trade Show-INATS, Denver, 2008):