A woman twirls around a circle with twelve other friends and acquaintances surrounding her. Wearing a thin, gauzy dress with a scarf over her head and a single flower in her hair, she dances in a sort of light trance. She feels supported, joy, and the community around her. Temporarily gone are the thoughts of papers she needs to grade, the emails she needs to answer, and feelings of the impending work day on Monday.

So what is wrong with this picture? It sounds lovely, it in fact can be lovely, and takes place in spiritual communities all the time. Women getting together to act the role of goddess… to dance, eat, and enjoy the company of others who also seek to act the same role.

In some spiritual communities, the idea of drawing in a goddess, or essentially acting out the role of a specific archetype or idea of goddess is done. In rare cases, the separate energy of an archetype or deity is actually drawn in, but in most cases, it is the woman acting out a role in the safety of a sacred community.

So on its surface, there is nothing wrong with this. It makes people feel better about themselves and inspires community. It takes people away from their mundane lives of children and grocery stores and allows for them to dress up in pretty clothes, put flowers in their hair, and to participate in a celebration to make themselves feel better.

But this is just for a moment, and then that moment ends. 

The difficulty with this is that it is play-acting, and it is something considered separate from our daily lives.

Real spiritual work has power. Real spiritual ceremonies have power. People rarely believe this until they have direct experience of it. The difficulty is that most spiritual circles are devoid of any sort of power. Most spiritual ceremonies are devoid of any sort of power.

Many people who know me know I started out going to “core” shamanic classes. I would feel elevated energy, sure, but once you have seen someone “ridden” or “mounted” by an actual spirit, an actual deity or goddess and then go back to the ceremonies of women sharing wine and twirling and acting out hollow ceremonies, the latter will seem like the strange play it is.

I am sure that I will get a lot of flak from people about this, about the fact that once I moved away from this sort of new-age fluff, ceremony, and sort of bubble that I came in touch with power that scared me (at times) and saw and experienced things that I never thought possible, but it is true… and once you experience real power, real spirit, and have direct experiences of a spiritual nature, the hollow acting that many people do in all sorts of ceremonies (not just Goddess ones) is abundantly evident.

But this is actually not my difficulty with the Goddess ceremonies. I think it is fine if people want to act, if people find comfort in this sort of acting, and are largely ignorant that there is anything more powerful or substantial out there.

A lot of people will not come into contact with anything of real spiritual import in their lives, and go to ceremony after ceremony, workshop after workshop, creating their experiences out of psychological need rather than really interfacing with any spiritual power. Because spiritual power would likely scare the crap out of them, the idea that there are people and spirits with immense spiritual power out there most people could not process and are not ready for, and most people prefer their self-constructed universes, quite frankly. Many people never go beyond their own mental constructions, and need to have their experiences fit that framework, and the idea of direct experience frightens them. It certainly frightened me at first.

My real difficulty is that in most of these circles (not all) it is still the weekend retreat mentality, meaning that women will go to these circles and experience their “inner goddess” or act out the archetype of the goddess and will go home to their lives basically unchanged.

It is still encouraging a state of separation, basically. A state of mind where we consider the spiritual separate (and not a part of our daily lives) so that we do not have to have the spiritual, or anything we choose to do in our circles and workshops, affect our daily lives. Most of us do not like change, and so we go to our workshops to feel this community, or some elevated energy and go home, thinking about the next circle or community.

We do not consider that this elevated energy could be a part of our existence, that we could be a goddess in our daily lives, not just on weekend retreats.

And more than that, that we do not need to be goddesses. As women, we are good enough to simply be who we are. We do not need to rely on exterior constructs, to turn into a sex goddess or some archetype of beauty or goddess-ness that we can never achieve in our daily lives.

We can uncover who we truly are, and do this in our daily lives, and that is more than enough.

No play acting, no weekend retreats, no hollow ceremonies, no fluffy pillows and billowing robes and headbands made out of flowers.

If we took the time to uncover our own femininity, our own essence of who we are, we wouldn’t need to act. We wouldn’t need to draw anything in, and it wouldn’t be limited to the circle, to the weekend retreat, to the ceremony. We could be who we fully are in our daily lives and not need to be or feel or draw in anything else– because to do so (in most cases) is essentially saying that who we are is not good enough, what we are isn’t good enough. We could let go of societal expectations and framework of what a woman is supposed to be, even our own creations and archetypes and mental constructs of the Goddess.

We could let go of the Goddess, and become who we really and truly are.