Naropa University Oakland

Master of Liberal Arts Program in Creation Spirituality

Feminist Awakening & Women's Spirituality

INSTRUCTOR: Marlene De Nardo, (510) 835-4827, ext. 15, [email protected]
Spring, 2004 Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon

"Women will draw doors where there are none and open them and pass through into new ways and new lives…"--Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With Wolves

This seminar examines the role of women from the perspective of psychology, spirituality, and the arts. It is a study of feminism that offers perspectives on the power of the feminine and the empowerment of women. This course is designed to raise women's consciousness and to engage women in a process of exploring the sacred dimensions of their own stories, their experience of the Divine and of themselves as divine.
This course may be used as the basis for a Master's Integrative Paper.


During the seminar, participants will:

In addition to serious reading and experiential activities, participants will gather in Women's Circles to consider their own and other women's stories, to discover common themes and to affirm and celebrate women's ways of knowing, growing, loving and living.

1. Class attendance, promptness, timely completion of assignments. (20%)
2. Women's Circles: gathering, journaling and circle rituals. (20%)
3. A "woman to remember" presentation & 2 page midterm reflection paper. (30%)
4. Final paper and class presentation. (30%)

N.B. All written papers must be typed. Please follow Naropa University MLA Guidelines.


READER with selected Womanist and Feminist Readings. ( available in January)
Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, Christiane Northrup, M.D. (Revised edition)
The Bond Between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion, China Galland
Goddess in Every Season, Nancy Blair (for use in meditations and rituals)
Highly recommended: one of Carol P. Christ's books:
Rebirth of the Goddess: Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality, Carol P. Christ
She Who Changes, Carol P. Christ
Diving Deep and Surfacing, Carol P. Christ

BIBLIOGRAPHY and other Recommended Texts

She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist & Theological Discourse, Elizabeth Johnson
Feminist Theology from the Third World: A Reader, Ursula King, editor
The Language of the Goddess, Marija Gimbutas
The Once and Future Goddess, Elinor W. Gadon
At the Root of this Longing: Spiritual Hunger & Feminist Thirst, Carol Lee Flanders
Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality, Judith Plaskow & Carol Christ
Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth & the Politics of the Body, Riane Eisler
The Woman Who Owned the Shadows, Paula Gunn Allen
Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, bell hooks
The Creation of Patriarchy, Gerda Lerner
When God was a Woman, Merlin Stone
A Warm, Moist, Salty God: Women Journeying Towards Wisdom, Edwina Gateley
Towards a New Psychology of Women, Jean Baker Miller
Addiction to Perfection, the Still Unravished Bride, Marion Woodman
The Owl Was a Baker's Daughter: Obesity, Anorexia Nervosa and the Repressed Feminine,
Marion Woodman
Dancing the Flames: The Dark Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness,
Marion Woodman & Elinor Dickson
Crossing to Avalon: A Woman's Midlife Pilgrimage, Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.
Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman's Body & Soul,
Marion Woodman & Jill Mellick
Journey from Betrayal to Trust: A Universal Rite of Passage, Beth Hedva
The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical & Emotional Health…, Christiane Northrup, M.D.
To Be a Woman: the Conscious Feminine, Connie Zweig, ed.
The Heroine's Journey, Maureen Murdock
Through the Goddess: A Woman's Way of Healing, Patricia Reis
Medicine Women: A Pictorial History of Women Healers, Elizabeth Brooke
The Dinner Party, a Symbol of Our Heritage, Judy Chicago
Dear Sisters: Dispatches from the Women's Liberation Movement, Rosalyn Baxandall and
Linda Gordon
In Search of Our Mother's Gardens, Alice Walker

Aphrodite's Daughters: Women's Sexual Stories & the Journey of the Soul, Jalaja Bonheim
Sex and Power, Susan Estrich
The Female Advantage, Women's Ways of Leadership, Sally Helgesen
Composing a Life, Mary Catharine Bateson
The Quest of the Warrior Woman: A Path of Healing, Empowerment & Transformation, Christina Feldman
Sacred Circles: Guide to Creating Women's Spirituality Groups
The Storyteller's Goddess: Tales of the Goddess & Her Wisdom from Around the World, Carolyn McVickar Edwards
The Goddess Workbook A Guide to the Feminine Spiritual Experience, Fairchild & Schaare

Themes and Study Areas for Feminist Awakening Seminar:

1. The Sacredness and Mysteries of Woman's Body
Re-sacralizing the Female Body; Healing our Relationship with our Bodies
The Conscious Feminine and Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality
2. "Prehistory" and History: Women's status and the Sacred Feminine
Beyond Patriarchy and Misogyny.
Feminism, a movement to re-myth our human situation.
3. Toward a New Psychology of Women; A Different Voice
Understanding Women's Ways: Reclaiming conflict.
Toward self-esteem, self-empowerment and creativity.
4. Re-mothering Ourselves: healing our relationships with women and the Feminine;
Re-fathering Ourselves: healing relationships with men and the masculine.
5. Toward an understanding of the Goddess spirituality movement and its relation to
to repairing the Web of Life and enhancing the earth community.
Sophia in the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament.

Feminist Awakening and Women's Spirituality Spring, 2004

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Eleanor Roosevelt


February 12, 2004: Introduction. Class themes. Feminist process.
Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing.
Read: Part One, Reader

February 19: Beyond Patriarchy and toward Feminism.
Read: Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom , Christiane Northrup,
Introduction and Part One. Pages 1-97

February 26: Re-sacralizing the female body. Steps and Choices for Healing.
Read: Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, Northrup
Chapters 5 and 8; Chapters 15 and 19

March 4: Women and History. Historical consciousness.
Read: Part Two, Reader
Due: A "woman to remember" presentation.

March 11: Toward a New Psychology of Women.
Healing our relationship with the Feminine and Masculine.
Read: Part Three, Reader

March 18: No Class. (Optional Intensive)

March 25: STUDY WEEK. No Class.

April 1: Women and Compassion. Compassionate women.
Read: The Bond Between Women, A Journey to Fierce Compassion,
China Galland (complete book)
Due: Reflection paper: " Feminine/Body/Self ", 2 pages.

April 8: No class.
Read: Part Four, Reader

April 15: Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality.
Resistance to Goddess History. Sophia and the Scriptures.
Read: tba

April 22: Feminine Consciousness, Eco-feminism and Spirituality.
Read: tba

April 29 : Creativity, empowerment and healing, Part one.
Student presentations..

May 6: Creativity, empowerment and healing, Part two.
Student presentations.

Following feminist theory, in which the process is seen to be as important as the content, each seminar class will attempt to include the following components:


"…the Goddess is the power of intelligent embodied love that is the ground of all being.
The earth is the body of the Goddess. All beings are interdependent in the web of life.
Nature is intelligent, alive and aware. As part of nature, human beings are relational, embodied and interdependent.
The basis of ethics is the feeling of deep connection to all people and all beings in the web of life."
- Rebirth of the Goddess: Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality, Carol P. Christ