This essay will discuss the inner workings of a monthly gathering referred to as ‘Honouring the Goddess Within.’ The workshop is conducted by the Goddess Leader of Lotus in Focus on the first Wednesday of every month at her home on the Gold Coast. The Goddess Leader is a 56-year-old Reverend of the
Upon entering the Goddess Leader’s home the participants gathered around a circular table and engaged in undirected general conversation over a two hour period. The participants were all Caucasian females aged between 49 and 88 years. During this time, the participants asked the Goddess Leader a number of questions. One of the participants discussed a problem she was experiencing in relation to her career. The Goddess Leader, who possessed an intimate knowledge of each participant’s astrological charts, provided that the problem stemmed from the fact that the planet Venus was ruled by the astrological sign of Cancer in the participant’s chart, which caused the her to experience overwhelming ‘tunnel vision’ from time to time.
I asked the Goddess Leader how she was able to recall such detailed information about the participant’s astrological chart without referring to it. She replied that she and the participant were close friends and that all of the individuals present at the gathering had been attending monthly, whether sporadically or consistently, for approximately thirty years. Each participant collectively comprised a body of women reflecting various cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds, united by a strong sense of community. As Driver (1992, p. 152) contends, ‘[o]ne aspect of ritual is that it not only brings people together in a physical assembly but also tends to unite them emotionally.’ It was apparent that these women shared a deep connection fostered by the ritual of attending monthly Goddess workshops over a significant period of time.
Upon the conclusion of the general group discussion, the Goddess Leader sounded a gong to indicate that it was time to commence the group creative visualization meditation session. We were asked to proceed to the living room, in which a massage table was centered and surrounded by a circle of chairs, each facing inwards. We each stood next to a chair in preparation for opening our ‘angel wings.’ We were asked to close our eyes and place both of our hands on our solar plexus. Drawing energy from this chakra centre, we spread our arms out high above our heads. As we slowly descended our arms back to our sides we were asked to visualize that we were spreading gold and silver angel dust from our wings. Our breath was synchronized to the movement of our arms. After a number of repetitions we were asked to be seated on our chairs.
One of the participants suffered from various health problems and was asked to lie on her back on the massage table in order to receive a healing. The Goddess Leader proceeded to place particular crystals on the participant’s chakra centres. Clear quartz was placed on her crown, amethyst on her third eye, azurite on her throat, aquamarine on her thymus, rose quartz on her heart, citrine on her solar plexus, carnelian on her navel and bloodstone on her base. While the Goddess Leader placed her hands on the solar plexus of the participant, her assistant lit a number of tealight candles and incense sticks situated outside of the circle of chairs.
At this point, the Goddess Leader provided each of us with a palm-sized crystal wand which she referred to as a ‘pocket rocket.’ Each wand was unique and contained three crystals, of the clear quartz, rose quartz, aventurine or onyx variety, inside a copper stem bound with leather. There was also a crystal fixed to both ends of each wand. The crystal wands were designed to balance our chakra energy. We each held our wands and were asked to close our eyes. The Goddess Leader then spoke to us and informed us that we were about to engage in honouring our inner Goddess or feminine energy. She provided that it was important for Goddesses to support each other and to abstain from competing with one another. The Goddess Leader subsequently commenced our creative visualization meditation. There was no explanation before the meditation about what the participants should have expected.
To begin with, the Goddess Leader played a relaxation audio tape and asked us to ‘centre ourselves’ by taking a few deep breaths. She then asked us to imagine that we were walking barefoot over soft, green grass. We were told to imagine that we were absorbing the energy of Mother Earth through the soles of our feet. The Goddess Leader provided that we should be able to feel a slight tingling sensation on the soles of our feet at this point. She then proceeded to direct us to visualize that we were walking along the soft grass until we reached a field of lavender flowers. We were to imagine that a bright violet light was shining through our third eye. The Goddess Leader guided us towards a group of lavender flower fairies, who were to be our guides throughout the meditation. We were encouraged to ask the fairies for permission to be seated amongst the lavender flowers. At this point, we were asked to imagine that the lavender flower fairies formed a ring around our mid-sections. We were then left to silently meditate for approximately one hour.
The participants all appeared to be relaxed and contented at the conclusion of the creative visualization meditation. A number of us were yawning and slowly stretching our arms out in order to bring ourselves back to ordinary reality. The Goddess Leader asked us to return to the circular table so that we could drink tea and share our experiences. I found that the focus of the workshop was centred upon relaxation, community, engagement with each participant’s own creative energy and establishing connection between the participants, as opposed to spiritual insight. I agree with Clayton’s (2001, p. 17) statement that whilst ‘visualization and relaxation are excellent practices, … neither completely fits the esoteric definition of meditation as spiritual introspection.’
When I questioned the Goddess Leader about the method behind the creative visualization meditation, she informed me that she believes that it is possible for thoughts to effect change everyday life. Stein (2001, p. 105) summarises the position of the Goddess Leader well when she provides that ‘[c]reative visualization is thought form. It is the creation of conscious forms that manifest first in the mental body, extend upward to the spiritual and downward to emotional levels. The emotional body connects the mental and spiritual to the physical, so emotional changes have to happen before physical ones’. Engaging in the creative visualization meditation during the Goddess workshop induced an altered state of consciousness in the participants, allowing them to shape their own reality by ignoring ‘the supposed facts [of ordinary reality] in favor [sic] of a new line of thinking based on absolute truth that the facts can always be changed’ (Cooper 1999, p. 42).
The lives of the participants appeared to be enriched by the Goddess workshop, not only because it fostered a sense of community, but also because it allowed them to engage in behaviour, such as visualizing interacting with lavender flower fairies, that would ordinarily be regarded as non-mainstream by Western society. Indeed, by opening their ‘angel wings’ and letting go of externally-imposed social limitations, it was possible for the participants to set themselves free from the net of conditioning in which most of us find ourselves enmeshed in everyday life. This idea resonates with Starhawk’s (1989, p. 91) interpretation of universal energy represented by the Goddess, who ‘is the bridge, on which we can cross the chasms within ourselves, which were created by our social conditioning, and reconnect with our lost potentials.’
Clayton, G 2001, Transformative Meditation: Personal and Group Practice to Access Realms of Consciousness, Llewellyn Worldwide,
Cooper, P 1999, Secrets of Creative Visualization, Weiser,
Driver T, 1992, The Magic of Ritual: Our Need for Liberating Rites that Transform Our Lives and Communities, HarperSanFrancisco,
Starhawk, 1989, The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, 10th anniversary edn, HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco.