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, 2002 Tuesdays, 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.




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, arrival on time, completion of assignments.                               (20%)

2. Women’s Circles: weekly meditation, journal, meeting, and, class ritual.                        (20%) 

3. A “woman to remember” presentation & 2-page midterm reflection paper.        (30%)

4. 8-10-page final paper, or creative alternative, shared with class members.           (30%)

(Students may complete Master’s project requirement with an Integrative paper.)

N.B. All written papers must be typed. They are graded on originality and clarity of expression, demonstration of basic writing skills (spelling and grammar), structure and organization of ideas, citations from readings, and integration of critical analysis and experiential material.



Ø       Provide for deeper integration and sharing; intentional time spend sharing stories and supporting one another’s learning process;

Ø       Offer a place to listen to and honor women’s experiences as sacred;

Ø       Are the place to do the sacred work of finding our own voices and our collective voice.




“…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




Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body & Soul, Marion Woodman & Jill Mellick (for daily meditation practice)

A Warm, Moist, Salty God: Women Journeying Towards Wisdom, Edwina Gateley


Selected chapters from:

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, Christiane Northrup, M.D. (Revised edition)

Rebirth of the Goddess: Finding Meaning in Feminist Spirituality, Carol Christ

The Bond Between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion, China Galland


RECOMMENDED TEXTS and Reading for Personal Study and Final Paper.


Allen, Paula Gunn, The Woman Who Owned the Shadows

Eisler, Riane, Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth & the Politics of the Body

Flanders, Carol Lee, At the Root of this Longing: Spiritual Hunger & Feminist Thirst

Gadon, Elinor W., The Once and Future Goddess

Gimbutas, Marija, The Language of the Goddess

hooks, bell, Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics

Johnson, Elizabeth, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist & Theological Discourse

King, Ursula, ed., Feminist Theology from the Third World: A Reader

Lerner, Gerda, The Creation of Patriarchy

Plaskow, Judith & Carol Christ, Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality

Stone, Merlin, When God was a Woman

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.

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

Goddess in Every Season, Nancy Blair


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 repairing the Web of Life and enhancing the earth community.

            Sophia in the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament.