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The return of the goddess: Mythology, witchcraft and feminist spirituality

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Chapter Summary

The historical transition from the Late Antique world to Early Middle Ages was characterized by the decline of traditional polytheistic paganism and its replacement by Christian Trinitarian monotheism in Europe. This chapter investigates the mythology of originary matriarchy and the Great Goddess, examines Wicca, Feminist Spirituality and the broader Pagan movement as new traditions actively reviving the Goddess, whether as sole deity or as part of a revisioning of polytheism, where the goddesses and gods are worshipped. The modern revival of witchcraft is a major artery of the Goddess revival, and, like the foundation myth discussed in the chapter, it has its roots in the nineteenth century and its flowering in the mid-twentieth century. Wicca as established by Gardner was a form of pagan worship directed toward the Goddess and her consort the Horned God, organized in covens led by a High Priest and High Priestess, and transmitted by initiation.

Keywords: feminist spirituality; Goddess revival; pagan movement; Wicca; witchcraft



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