Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Social Sciences Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Elizabeth Reid-Boyd

Abstract

This research investigates the question: Are women who are currently engaged in a Goddess religion, such as Wicca, practising a new wave of feminism, one that has its roots in a uniquely female order? This is grounded in a qualitative interpretive paradigm, using a feminist poststructuralist methodology. A comprehensive literature review was undertaken, drawing on relevant material from the areas related to the topics of the Goddess, feminism, thealogy, witches and Wicca. Five High Priestesses of Wicca were interviewed using one-on-one unstructured interview techniques. All five interviews were guided by open-ended questions focussed on participants' experiences and perceptions of Goddess worship and feminism. Data analysis techniques used combined grounded theory analysis and narrative analysis that was closely· guided by principles of 'reflexivity' and 'reciprocity'. Data from the interviews revealed five themes including: A Goddess Who is Immanent; Virgin Mary Symbolism: A Woman Faithful to Herself; Feminist Ideals and Feminist Disassociation; Goddess Worship: Both a Personal and Collective Journey; and The Goddess Breaking and Creating Binary Opposites. These findings indicate that Witches, Wiccans and Goddess Worshippers are creating a unique space that has the power to re-write the symbolic structure. This is significant for a new hybrid feminism that is taking form as an individual undertaking. As not all witches are feminists, and not all feminist are witches, feminist activists can imitate the witch and find another way in which to inhabit the same unique space that has facilitated their liberation.

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