SACRED FEMININE II: Shaman and Ritual


In a time when male leaders of religions and governments worldwide are posturing, tweeting, and threatening to war us into oblivion in the name of machismo and religion, it seems to us a sanguine time to take a step back and consider similarities between faiths, rather than their differences, refocusing on the stories and mythologies of the SACRED FEMININE: the spark of the divine in woman.

Through Africa, Meso America, and the Aztec civilizations, Asia, Ancient Europe and the Arctic, from shamans to Norse Goddesses, this class will explore notions of feminine divinity from all over the globe on topics ranging from female roles in the very birth of religious practices, to Women’s conspicuous absence in religious leadership roles in organized religion today. We will explore the original female presence in the worldwide practice of Shamanism- birthplace of all religions, as well as investigating the academic debate that has raged for the last thirty years, around the tantalizing possibility of an ancient, pre-patriarchal all encompassing mother-cult.

Through this lecture, students will explore the visual history of the roles women have played in religion across the centuries, and across the world, as well as the ritual practices they observed, from feminine magic, bloodletting, communing with ancestors, and even the gendered creation of Totem poles and the making of pots.