by Selena Fox
Since ancient times, the Sacred Feminine has been part of religions and cultures the world over. Now, at this dawning of the twenty-first century, Goddess spirituality is flourishing in many places and in many ways the world over, both within contemporary Paganism as well as in other world religions. There is a variety of ways of connecting with The Goddess and/or Goddesses. I have identified six pathways of Goddess spirituality here in this article drawn from Goddess workshops I have presented over the years across the US and in other countries. My own path of Goddess spirituality is multifaceted and includes experiences with each of these ways. May this overview of Goddess pathways guide you in your own Goddess studies and spiritual practice.
Path of Universality
On this path, Goddess is The Goddess. Also known as All-Goddess and the Great Goddess, She is the embodiment of all Goddess forms, and every Goddess is a facet of Her. For many on this path, She also is the Divine Universal, not only embodying all Goddesses, but also all Gods, Nature Spirits, and other Sacred forms. For some, The Goddess is the same eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, creative Divine force that others call God or Allah or Great Spirit, and still others know as Mother Nature. However, for many, She is not only transcendent and beyond the boundaries of human comprehension, She also is immanent, and therefore, indwelling, omnipresent, and personally accessible. As She-who-is-all-that-is-and-is-not, The Goddess is the union of creator and creation; form and void; time and timelessness; life, death, and rebirth… Infinite Mystery.
Path of Particularly
Journeying on this path involves coming to know and work with a particular Goddess or Goddess aspect. In contrast to the broad scope of the universality approach, this focused way involves in-depth study, invocation, worship, shrine keeping, and alignment with a specific Goddess and Her symbols, stories, attributes, and cultural roots. For some, a single Goddess is the only form of the Divine worshipped; for others, She is primary. The particularity approach may come from being part of an area, family, group, and/or community where a particular Goddess predominates, such as the worship of Athena by Athenians in ancient Greece and the attunement with Diana by some contemporary Dianics. For many on this path today, developing an alignment with a particular Goddess occurs as a result of a powerful spiritual encounter with that Goddess in a dream, vision, or ritual. For others, the relationship develops more gradually as part of spiritual studies.
Path of Dyadicy
Those who walk this path relate to the Goddess as part of a Divine Pair. For many Wiccans, this is in the form of a Divine Mother and Divine Father, commonly known as the Goddess and the God. In some traditions, the Goddess and the God also have special sacred names known only to initiates. Attributes and symbols associated with the Goddess and the God vary across Pagan paths. Some honor the Goddess as the Moon Goddess and the God as Sun God, while others honor the Sun Goddess and Moon God. Another form of the Divine Pair is Mother Earth and Father Sky. There are other sacred Dyads among Pagans as well, including that of Divine Mother and Daughter, such as Demeter and Persephone depicted on the cover of this issue, and Divine Mother and Son, such as Isis and Horus. Most working with a Sacred Dyad not only align with each but with their Unity.
Path of Triplicity
On this path, the Goddess takes the form of a Sacred Trinity. Many Pagans today know Her as the Triple Goddess — She who is Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Some Pagans work with a Goddess with three domains, such as Brigid, the Celtic Goddess of Inspiration, Smithcraft, and Healing. Sometimes, the Triplicity is a grouping of Three Goddesses, such as Hygeia (Health), Iaso (Healing) and Panacea (Cure-All), the Divine Daughters of Asklepios, the Greek God of Healing. Other Triplicities in Pagan religions include the Three Fates (Rome), Three Norns (Scandinavia), Three Graces (Greece), and the Three Mothers (Germany). In addition to developing relationships with each of the three forms, most Pagans on this path also connect with their Unity.
Path of Multiplicity
This approach involves work with Goddesses as part of a pantheon, or community of Deities. For example, among the Olympian pantheon of the Greek religion, the Goddesses included Hera, the Queen of Heaven; Athena, Goddess of Wisdom; Aphrodite, Goddess of Love; and Artemis, Goddess of the Moon. However, a pantheon for some practitioners today may be multicultural and include Goddesses from many times and places that have touched the practitioner. My own work on the path of multiplicity includes work with a multicultural pantheon of Goddesses now honored across spiritual traditions such as Bast (Egyptian), Libertas (Roman), Brigid (Celtic), Yemaya (African), Kuan Yin (Asian), Mother Earth, and Mother Nature.
Path of Inclusivity
This is the path which combines work with all these paths and ways of knowing The Goddess and Goddesses. Those who journey on this path of paths focus on experiencing and understanding both Unity and Diversity.