When someone mentions a New Age workshop, where do your thoughts turn?
In this post, I thought I’d share with you the beginnings of the path that led me to my first New Age workshop.
When I finished my Ph.D. in the early 1980s, I started reading extensively about goddesses. I used to joke that during those years I gave myself a second doctorate in Goddess Spirituality. This was about the same time that my daughter Linnea began to accompany me to rituals. I soon realized that I couldn’t be the sole person responsible for her religious education, so after a short search, my husband Mark, Linnea, and I began to attend First Unitarian Society in Madison, our local Unitarian Universalist church.
When I was told, within a few months, that I could attend a women’s spirituality conference for free if I signed the book, I joined the congregation. Surprisingly, I came home a member of the regional Unitarian Universalist committee that presented these conferences. I barely knew what Unitarian Universalism was when I began traveling around our district talking to other UU women about feminist spirituality. But I was on a mystical path to the Goddess, so I realized that encouraging New Age women’s spirituality within Unitarian Universalism was probably the next phase of my life.
At the next conference I performed some of the chants I had gathered over my many years of being a pagan. After that get-together, women started to call me. Several told me they were planning women’s services in their home congregations and needed songs. Others called because they were about to hold a goddess ritual and wondered if I had an appropriate chant. After getting these calls repeatedly, I realized that I should create a recording as a resource for UU women. That’s how Chants for the Queen of Heaven came to be. And that recording was the springboard for my earliest workshops and classes, starting in the early 1990s. My divination work began after I finished The World is Your Oracle. What both sets of workshops have had in common is focus on empowerment and self-improvement.
One of the embarrassing outgrowths of this early advancement happened when I went to my first regional UU conference. During the business meeting, I discovered that I was sitting in front of the delegates from my church. And I DIDN’T KNOW ONE OF THEM. So I turned around and introduced myself as a member of their church. We all laughed, but to me it felt like I had done things in the wrong order. Usually you first get to know your own congregation, and then you represent them in the district.
It was at this conference that I met the woman who I eventually adopted as my “UU mom.” She was a wonderful, feisty older woman, who had single-handedly changed the “bond of union” at First Unitarian, so that it was gender-inclusive. Just my kind of woman! Attending conferences is a wonderful opportunity to connect with other like-minded women and build a supportive circle to accompany you on your path.
I used the term “New Age” in this blog post, a phrase that means different things to different people. When someone mentions a New Age workshop, where do your thoughts turn?