Updated: Aug 16
Author, (Goddess-) Activist, Permaculturist
Miriam Simos aka Starhawk
In the 70s, women of the West were on their way to discovering their own expression of spirituality. In the major world religions, the common images of women were off-putting; they could no longer find themselves in the imposed role models and had no female role models.
The mothers of women's spirituality researched indigenous religions and the Wiccan tradition. The first women's spiritual circles and covens emerged in San Francisco, but the new movement also quickly took root in the hearts of women in Europe.
Pioneer in Women's Spirituality
Starhawk has been one of the best-known icons of the Goddess Movement and earth-based spirituality since the 80s.
"The Goddess is for us the ever-turning wheel of birth, growth, death and regeneration. Therefore, we see as sacred all life in the world, the body as well as the mind, the cycles of nature, sexuality in its various expressions, and the elements of air, fire, water and earth that sustain all life. We know that to call these things sacred is an intrinsically political act, for what is sacred cannot be exploited or ravaged."
Starhawk is the author of 13 feminist, Wiccan-oriented books. She has published several non-fiction books on the Goddess religion, as well as a science fiction novel, a children's book and political treatises.
A beloved classic is The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, which appeared in its first edition in 1979 and has been in print continuously for 40 years.
In the 1980s, she assisted filmmaker Donna Read in the creation of the films Goddess Remembered, The Burning Times and Full Circle as a research advisor and later co-author. In later years, the two also created the film Signs Out of Time: The Story of Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas and the film Permaculture: The Growing Edge. Together, Starhawk and Donna Read founded the company Belilli Productions.
Starhawk is a co-founder of the Reclaiming movement, which emerges from the pagan earth religion. Rituals and annual circle celebrations are celebrated together. Reclaiming means taking back what has been taken from you - in this case, returning to nature and honouring it. Or to no longer see the term "witch" as a swear word, but to reconnect it with an empowering function.
Activism & Permaculture
In the USA, she is considered the main representative of spiritual anarchism, which is characterised as non-violent and de-escalating. However, Starhawk combines her political activity above all with earthbound spirituality and is considered one of the pioneers of "ecofeminism". She has also been a permaculture designer for many years and sees this work as a natural outgrowth of a commitment to working for the healing of the earth. Together with Penny Livingston-Stark, she founded the Earth Activist Training programme in 2000.
"Permaculture is about healing: healing the ecosystems, the human communities that depend on them, and healing ourselves, at all levels."