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Women and Religion

The Blessed Damozel (detail) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti [1875-1878] (Public Domain Image)

All of the major world religions deprecate women to some degree. This page archives texts which relate specifically to women and religion from a female perspective. This includes historic feminist texts on the topic, texts about Goddess-oriented sprituality and Amazons, as well as texts from otherwise male-dominated religions in the same vein. As might be expected, there are far fewer of these than might be desired.



 Vindication of the Rights Of Woman
by Mary Wollstonecraft [1792]

 The Subjection of Women
by John Stuart Mill [1869]

 Clothed With The Sun
by Anna Kingsford [1889]
The mystical visions of a pioneering woman occultist.

 The Garden of Eden; or The Paradise Lost & Found
by Victoria Claflin Woodhull [1890]
A radical reinterpretation of Eden as an allegory for the human body.

 Woman, Church, and State
by Matilda Joslyn Gage [1893]
One of the earliest feminist historians.

 The Woman’s Bible
by Elizabeth Cady Stanton [1895]
19th Century feminists critique the Bible.

 Woman and the New Race
by Margaret Sanger [1920]
The pioneering birth control activist.

 Roe v. Wade
US Supreme Court Decision [1973]
The highest court in the US affirms a woman’s right to control her body.

 Abortion in the Bible
by J.B. Hare [2008]
Suprisingly, there is no mention of medical abortion in the Bible.


Women Warriors and Heroines

 The Amazons
by Guy Cadogan Rothery [1910]
Behind the global myths of woman warriors.

 Religious Cults Associated with the Amazons
by Florence Mary Bennett [1912]
Evidence for the Amazons and ancient goddess worship in Greece and Asia Minor.

 Lives of the Greek Heroines
by Louisa Menzies [1880]

 The Authoress of the Odyssey, by Samuel Butler [1922]
Did a woman write one of the greatest epic poems of all time?

 The Ancient Irish Goddess of War
by WM Hennessey, Revue Celtique, Vol. 1, pp. 27-55 [1870]




 The Syrian Goddess
Lucian of Samosata, tr. by Herbert A. Strong [1913]
Lucian’s hair-raising description of ancient Goddess worship. Ancient Near East

 The Burden of Isis
by James Teackle Dennis [1910]
Hymns to Isis, a primary Ancient Egyptian Goddess. Ancient Egyptian

 Hawaiian Legends of Volcanoes
by W.D. Westervelt [1916]
Read about the powerful Hawaiian Fire Goddess Pele, who lives in a volcano and surfs on lava. A old Hawaiian saying: “never mistreat an old woman, she might be Pele in disguise”. Polynesian

 Hymn to Demeter
Homer, tr. Hugh G. Evelyn-White [1914]
A central Goddess myth, the canonical hymn of the Eleusinian initiatory mysteries. Classical Pagan

 The Poems of Sappho
Classical Pagan; particularly her Hymn to Aphrodite
 Descent of Ishtar into the Lower World.
Ancient Near East
 Aradia, Gospel of the Witches
tr. by Charles G. Leland [1899]
The sole written evidence for Dianic worship into modern times. Of controversial authorship. Late European Wiccan

 Hymn to the All-Mother
from Rig Veda Americanus (Aztec Hymns), by Daniel G. Brinton [1890]

 Hymns to the Goddess
by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe) [1913]
A collection of Hindu devotional hymns to the Goddess. India
 Hymn to Kâlî: Karpûrâdi-Stotra
by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe) [1922]
A Tantric hymn to the Hindu Goddess Kali. India
 Lalita Sahasranama; The 1000 Names of the Goddess
tr. Rishi Singh Gherwal [1930]
A well-loved Hindu chant extolling the thousand attributes of the Goddess. Hindu

 The Devî Gita (excerpt from)
 The S’rîmad Devî Bhâgawatam
tr. by Swami Vijnanananda (Hari Prasanna Chatterji) [1921]
The Hindu religion is one of the only major world religions other than Neopaganism which today worships Goddesses. In this insightful text the Goddess (the Devî) describes her nature and means of devotion to her. Hindu
 Hymn to the Goddess of Dawn
Rig Veda, Book 6, Hymn 64. Hindu
 The Hopi Origin Myth
from The Traditions of the Hopi, by H.R. Voth [1905]
The Goddess Huruing Wuhti co-creates the world with the Sun God. Hopi
 Myths of Crete and Pre-Hellenic Europe
by Donald A. Mackenzie [1917]
The ancient Minoans of Crete are believed by many to have been Goddess worshippers. Ancient Crete
 The Book of the Goddess
by Anna Livia Plurabelle [2002]
The Korana of Mother Goddess
by JoAnne Marie [2006]


Feminist Utopian Fiction

 Unveiling a Parallel
by Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant [1893]
A trip to Mars, to a strange society which practices equality of the sexes.
by Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman [1906]
Visit a land where women are the only gender, reproduce asexually, and worship a goddess. Classic of feminist scifi.


Other Religions

 Folk-Lore of Women
by Thomas Firminger Thiselton-Dyer [1906]
A droll Victorian review of folklore about women around the world.
Thanks to Eliza Yetter of
 Shaker Documents
The Shakers, a unique 19th Century American Christian group founded by Ann Lee, believed that God has both male and female aspects.
 The Kabbalah Unveiled
tr. by S.L. MacGregor Mathers [1912]
Jewish mysticism is much more balanced in its treatment of male/female dualities than ‘mainstream’ Judeo-Christian thought. For instance, see this chapter. This translation of the Zohar by S.L. MacGregor Mathers is dedicated to Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland, the author and editor respectively of Clothed with the Sun (above).
 Baha’i religion: Women