The Pentacle Model
The pentacle (pentagram or five-pointed star enclosed in a circle) is a symbol widely used in modern Witchcraft traditions, especially Gardnerian Wicca. I have adopted - and adapted - it for my own purpose of understanding the many different facets of the Goddess (narrowed down to five key tenets):
Animism & Pantheism
Sacred Matter & Mater
The "Spiral Dance" of Life
Gnosis & Experiential Knowledge
Why Do We Need the Goddess?
The Goddess is an enormous cosmic force that cannot be fully grasped by the human mind. She is ineffable. That said, She exists within all of life on earth and, likely beyond, in distant galaxies. While the Goddess is not a gendered or anthropomorphic (in other words, human) entity, viewing Her in these terms serves as a much-needed antidote to the deeply wounding patriarchal society which has defined and dominated life for the past five millennia.
Why do women need the Goddess, asks renowned scholar-practitioner of feminist spirituality, the late Carol Christ (1945 - 2021), in her iconic 1978 article. Ultimately, Christ argues that women need a divine symbol which reflects and honors their human bodies and experiences of life rather than deeming them second-class citizens, or worse, the source of all evil like the Hellenic Pandora and/or the later Hebrew Eve. In the words of Christ herself,
“A woman who echoes Ntosake Shange’s dramatic statement, ‘I found God in myself and I loved her fiercely,’ is saying, ‘Female power is strong and creative.’ She is saying that the divine principle, the saving and sustaining power, is in herself, that she will no longer look to men or male figures as saviors.”
Evidently, while the Goddess only exists as feminine or female in the human imagination, Her gendered guise is vitally important as a source of twenty-first-century women’s empowerment and self-valorization.