A deep dive into the cultural history of the West reveals the existence of a major, long-standing, goddess-based, and woman-centered worldview. This deep truth stands side-by-side with, balances, and complements the god-based, man-centered worldview commonly known as patriarchy. This idea may seen surprising, since the Goddess has been eclipsed by patriarchal forces for at least 5,000 years. However, today She is on the move.
From a psychological perspective, the Goddess is the archetype for the development of all forms of feminine consciousness. Today this archetypal pattern is energized, and is forging a path into our contemporary social order. We are seeing new forms of feminine consciousness emerge and take shape for all of humanity. They are present in dreams, the arts, education, politics, spirituality, and in everyday language. Where can we go today to support and energize new forms of feminine consciousness?
In Western mythology we find three distinct cultures, which record in great detail the ritual processes that hold and guide women through the essential developmental stages of childhood, adolescence, maturity, old age, and death. Each one of these traditions springs from a single archetypal root system inscribing the elemental patterns of womanhood, yet each is costumed according to local customs.
In the Celtic Fairy Faith, this goddess-based, woman-centered worldview appears as a Nine-Fold Sisterhood, and three distinct stages, the White, the Red, and the Black. In Ancient Greece, we find initiations into specific goddess temple cults according to the archetypal patterns of childhood and youth, maidenhood, motherhood, and wise woman or sibyl.
From Sumer, in the Ancient Near East, we inherit a mythology that gives us specific guidance throughout a lifetime, as experience by the Goddess Inanna herself. In her stories, she leads women through the life stages of childhood, maidenhood, marriage, midlife, and widowhood.
What do we mean by a worldview that is goddess-based and woman- centered? Where do we look for it, how do we find it, and how do we create a vocabulary we can use to hold, sustain, and understand it?
On Friday night, Dr. Damron will draw on four decades of research from analytical psychology, goddess-based mythology, cultural anthropology, her work as a psychotherapist, and her own life, to show how this goddess-based, and woman-centered worldview really exists as a deep truth, as a beacon to guide women throughout their lives, and methodology to transform contemporary culture and society.
This lecture lays the groundwork for Saturday's workshop. During the workshop, we will use Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth by Samuel Noah Kramer and Diane Wolkstein to guide us through the stages of women’s development, and discuss how this mythology applies in the lives of women today.
Dr. Damron holds a PhD from the University of Maryland, Department of American Studies. Her dissertation is titled Encounters with the Goddess: An Ethnographic Study of the Emergence of Feminine Forms of Consciousness.
Bonnie L. Damron, PhD, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, ethnographer, storyteller, and Archetypal Pattern Analyst in private practice in the Washington, D. C. metropolitan area. During her thirty-five years in practice, she has conducted seminars on archetypal motifs in fairy tales, myths, the arts, and the writings of C. G. Jung. She also leads study tours to Crete and the Greek mainland.
Dr. Damron holds a Masters of Social Work degree from Catholic University, a Doctoral Degree in American Culture Studies from the University of Maryland, and a Certificate as an Archetypal Pattern Analyst from the Assisi Institute for Archetypal Studies.