Language of the Goddess

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Audio File

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This panel Discussion was part of the From the Realm of the Ancestors: Language of the Goddess conference sponsored by the Women’s Spirituality Program at CIIS (June 12-14, 1998 at Cowell Theatre, Fort Mason in San Francisco) in honor of the pioneering archeologist Marija Gimbutas. The conference focused on the necessity of refocusing our collective memory, and to the cultivation of vision, creativity, insight, and the celebration of life. The conference was moderated by Joan Marler and featured presentations by scholars and artists who acknowledge the significance of Dr. Gimbutas’ research and theories. Gimbutas’ discovery of Goddess-centered, matristic societies that preceded the development of patriarchy in Europe has initiated a new perception of European prehistory that challenges traditional assumptions about the origins of western civilization.


Mara Lynn Keller, PhD (Philosophy, Yale University) is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Women's Spirituality, and past Director of the Women's Spirituality MA and PhD program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she teaches courses on the Eleusinian Mysteries in which the rites are re-enacted; and on the Goddess and God Civilization of Ancient Crete. She is a philosopher and thealogian, who has written articles about the Goddesses of Greece and Crete; including "Sacred Arts and Ritual in Crete of the Mother Goddess" and "The Eleusinian Mysteries' Ritual Path of Initiation." She is interested in promoting dialogue between Goddess people and God people. She is a co-founder of the OCHRE Journal of Women's Spirituality. And she has promoted many special events at CIIS celebrating women's sacred arts and scholarship, most recently Ïneffable/Woman: a Bi-coastal Conversation" with CERES Gallery in New York. In keeping with her goal of integrating body, mind, and spirit, she is also a Rosen Method bodywork practitioner and movement teacher. She previously taught Philosophy and Women's Studies at the University of California at Riverside and at San Francisco State University, where she co-founded and coordinated the Global Peace Studies Program.

Charlene Spretnak has been intrigued throughout her life as a writer, speaker, and activist with dynamic interrelatedness. She has written nine books on various subjects in which interrelatedness plays a central role, including its expression in the arts. She is particularly interested in 21st-century discoveries indicating that the physical world, including the human bodymind, is far more dynamically interrelated than modernity had assumed. Such discoveries are currently causing a "relational shift" in our institutions and systems of knowledge, as she suggests in Relational Reality (2011). Several of her books have also proposed a "map of the terrain" of emergent social-change movements and an exploration of the issues involved. She has helped to create an eco-social frame of reference and vision in the areas of social criticism (including feminism), cultural history, and religion and spirituality.

Susan Moulton, Ph.D., senior Professor of Art History at Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California, earned graduate degrees in Art History from Stanford University and studied Art History and Archaeology at the University of Padua in Italy. She has received numerous grants and awards, including those from the Carnegie Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the George Sarlo Teaching Excellence Award. Susan Moulton has lectured widely on art history and Archaeomythology and has created more than one hundred courses in her field including the sacred feminine in history and pre-history, secular and Christian iconography in the Italian Renaissance, and cross-cultural topics in American and California art. She also manages a small farm in northern California with horses, llamas, pigs, goats, exotic birds, gardens and fruit trees and is a practicing painter and sculptor.