You are on page 1of 36



Walking the Transformative
Path of the Sacred Feminine

Liz Childs Kelly

The following pre-proof manuscript of the upcoming Womancraft Publishing title
Home to Her by Liz Childs Kelly is available as an advanced reader copy. Its
contents are confidential and not for distribution.
Copyright © 2022 Liz Childs Kelly
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or
other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of
the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews
and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
Published by Womancraft Publishing, 2022
ISBN 978-1-910559-80-2
Home to Her is also available in ebook format: ISBN 978-1-910559-79-6
Cover design, diagrams and typesetting by Lucent Word,
Cover art by Arla Patch.
Womancraft Publishing is committed to sharing powerful new women’s
voices, through a collaborative publishing process. We are proud to midwife
this work, however the story, the experiences and the words are the author’s
alone. A percentage of Womancraft Publishing profits are invested back into
the environment reforesting the tropics (via TreeSisters) and forward into the
community: providing books for girls in developing countries, and affordable
libraries for red tents and women’s groups around the world.
For my motherline: Millie, Katie, Kate, Ava, Ade-
line, Elizabeth, and all who came before them;
And for my children, Claire and Brendan,
and any descendants yet to come.
This is for all of us.
Land Acknowledgement

This book was written on land taken from the Saklan (Saclan) tribe,
often referenced as part of the larger Miwok Tribe, located in the East
Bay of California, as well as on land taken from the Monacan Nation
of central Virginia. Both the Miwok Tribe and Monocan Nation are
federally recognized tribes with documented histories of continued,
ancestral presence on the land prior to the arrival of European



2 — WHO IS SHE? 16























When my time comes around
Lay me gently on the cold dark earth
No grave will hold my body down,
I’ll crawl home to her.
– “Work Song,” Hozier

Take up the sword and drink from the cup, and remember all of
who and what you are. This is the message of the Goddess, for to
Remember is to Know.
– Sharon Paice MacLeod

Several years ago, I came across a thoughtfully worded op-ed, penned

by a rabbi, in the New York Times. In it, he made an assertion that
might have felt wildly provocative for some: In the Jewish faith, God
is dual-gendered, and the earliest adherents of Judaism would have
known and embraced this.
I loved this perspective for lots of reasons, not least of which was see-
ing a religious man assert that God might be something other than an
old, stern white guy who’s ready to dole out judgment from on high –
and via a prominent U.S. news source to boot. The rabbi’s suggestion
also flew in the face of everything I had learned about God as a kid.
I grew up in a Southern Baptist church, and while most of the talk
was about Jesus and how He represented love, I had enough exposure
to the Old Testament version of God (plus the viewpoints of those in
my religious community) to know full well that He damn sure wasn’t
a woman. To suggest that He was a She would not have been simply
silly or foolish, it would have been straight-up, heathen heresy.
But the op-ed also reminded me – again – of questions that had
been bubbling up for me with increasing frequency at the time. Cer-
tainly, anyone who’s had a truly transcendent, spiritual moment, no
matter how fleeting, knows that God is much larger than any of our
limited notions of gender. But if God really contains both genders,
then why is it considered “normal” to only discuss the male version of
Him, or for more progressive folks, to hopscotch over the entire issue
of gender and simply declare God gender-neutral? Why is it still so


rare that we speak of the divine specifically as a She?

I posed these questions in an article I wrote for Human Parts, an
online magazine published by Medium, and the responses indicated
that clearly, I’d struck a nerve. While many were supportive, one man
told me, “I sense you have an agenda fueled by your desire to break
free from your feeling of being dominated by men and wishing that
women could rise to dominance.” He went on to explain that wom-
en have always been dominated by men, even in prehistoric times
(duh! it’s science!) and that trying to switch pronouns on God was just
courting unnecessary controversy because we all already know that
“He” means everybody.
Another man quoted Pope Benedict XVI to me, who apparently
said “We are not authorized to change the Our Father into an Our
Mother.” One man told me that “If we start calling God ‘She’ then we
might well end up with the current situation in reverse, an unbalanced
emphasis on the feminine rather than the masculine” (given our histo-
ry, I’m willing to take my chances). And still another man challenged
me to show him even “one modern Christian who believes in sexism.
One.” That last one actually rendered me speechless.
In a way, some of these responses were funny, but they still stung.
From the very beginning, my deep interest in understanding the Sa-
cred Feminine, learning Her sacred stories and generating conversa-
tion about them has always felt like a profound calling. This might
seem like a gift, but it brings with it intense vulnerability. It’s hard
to stand up and be seen as an unabashed advocate for conversations
about the sacred, let alone the still controversial notion that it’s accept-
able to discuss God in female form. And it’s still hard for me to share
views that I know go against the grain of much conventional thinking,
no matter how much historical evidence of the Sacred Feminine I’ve
amassed over the years.
And yet I keep doing it. It’s almost like the Sacred Feminine stoked
a long dormant flame in me years ago, and that flame has been desper-
ate to find fuel so that it can grow and grow and grow. I live for those
moments when I tell someone that I research and write about wom-


en’s sacred histories, and see reflected back at me not a glazed look of
discomfort, but a spark of hungry recognition that matches my own.
In those moments, I find myself reverting back to a childlike state, so
eager to connect with anyone else who might be a kindred spirit that I
can barely get the words out fast enough (my apologies to any of you
who’ve been on the receiving end of this).
Does this passion for the Sacred Feminine come from a deep desire
for balance that I believe the Western world desperately needs, or for
a healing of old wounds I received by only being given a depiction of
the divine as male? Or does it represent something even older? Once,
sitting across from a beloved sister in a Sacred Feminine-inspired cer-
emony, I had a profound flash of remembrance that I can barely ex-
plain. Just for a moment, she and I were transported to another place,
another time, and there she was, her clear gaze meeting mine, as we
enacted the exact same ritual.
I don’t know where the passion comes from; I only know that since
that flame was first lit by Her, it has sought out fuel. It has pushed me
to speak even when I feel afraid, to write words that I know might in-
vite criticism, to hold space for community about Her, to invite oth-
ers to speak to me about their experience of Her, and to spend years
researching and writing this book. I can only assume that She wants
the flame to grow, for others to see Her sparks and for their individual
flames to glow brighter, hotter and be more visible to all, too.
I hope this book stokes your own flame of Sacred Feminine remem-
brance. I hope it shows you, unequivocally, that She is a real, histori-
cal, living and powerful force with great relevance to our world today.
Above all, I hope it shows you that it’s always OK to call God a “She,”
and introduces you to the incredible transformation that is possible
when we do.


“Who is She? She is your power, your Feminine source. Big Mama.
The Goddess. The Great Mystery. The web-weaver. The life force. The
first time, the twentieth time you may not recognize her. Or pretend
not to hear as she fills your body with ripples of terror and delight.
But when she calls you will know you’ve been called. Then it is up to
you to decide if you will answer.”

Lucy H. Pearce

She found me at a women’s business conference in the spring of 2014.

I was sitting alone, one woman in a crowd of 5,000 attendees, wearing
a professionally tailored, red dress and thousand-dollar shoes.
Other than the events of the day, it’s the shoes I remember the most.
They were, and still are, spectacular: pointy-toed, kitten-heeled, red
and tan patent leather, with three ankle straps covered in shiny metal
studs. They were ridiculously showy, conversation starter, “look at me”
shoes. And that was the point, of course. I wanted to be noticed, and
in exactly the right way.
It was a cool spring day in San Francisco, and I was attending this
conference for the first time. I was a little fish with my own commu-
nications consulting company, trying to stand out in a sea of women
representing large corporations, and I was there for a very specific


reason. I was hoping to snag what one of my business mentors referred

to as a “whale” – a large, corporate client that could serve as an anchor
and a steady stream of revenue for my small business.
I’d owned my company for six years at that point, pouring most of
my time and all of my creative energy into growing it. I’d started it as a
true labor of love, alone, in the tiny one-bedroom loft apartment that
I shared with my husband and our dog in San Francisco, and in some
ways, I was immensely proud of what I’d accomplished. I led a mostly
female team of employees whose work ethic and skills had given the
company a strong reputation for high-quality work. I had also joined
the board of a women’s nonprofit and began funding a scholarship
program for Oakland girls to help offset the cost of college tuition. I
believed I was the best advocate for women that I could possibly be,
and by pursuing success in the business world – an option not readily
available to my mother’s generation – I also believed I was being the
best feminist I could possibly be.
But I never felt good enough. I secretly worried about my creden-
tials, my knowledge, and my right to claim any success I’d already
had. I had crippling anxiety before virtually every meeting or speaking
engagement, something I constantly tried to hide. I was terrified of
not having the right answers or being seen as an imposter. These fears
never eased, even as the years passed, and I never thought to question
the environment in which I was operating; I just assumed there was
something defective about me. That’s why the shoes I was wearing
that day were so important. If I didn’t feel comfortable in my own
skin, I could at least look the part.
Something else was going on that day, too. I was four months preg-
nant with my second child, and I was determined not to let that be
a distraction or even a talking point of the day, which is why I’d cho-
sen a dress that artfully concealed my waistline. And the shoes would
draw attention away from my belly, I hoped.
I didn’t end up meeting a single other person at the conference.
Instead, I experienced something remarkable that ultimately changed
the course of my life.


I snagged a seat in the back of the main hall for the opening session,
which flowed along uneventfully until a beautiful, seemingly ageless
woman appeared on stage. She wasn’t the keynote speaker – that was
business and media mogul Arianna Huffington, who would appear
later. I could barely see this woman from my seat in the back, but
her radiance lit up the giant screens framing the stage. Her name was
Dr. Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey, and as an anthropologist and
National Geographic Fellow, she had spent years studying the wisdom
traditions of different cultures around the world. In a lilting, hypnotic
voice, she spoke at length about the navigation techniques of sailors
from the Pacific Islands.
“Wayfinders.” That was what she called these master navigators.
With the guidance of thousands of years of teachings, mostly passed
down orally, they could navigate between islands using only their in-
tuition and their ability to interpret the wind, stars, birds, and the
ocean itself. “They found their way by listening and watching,” she
said, “so much so that they could sail thousands of miles just by ob-
serving the way the waves broke across the front of the boat.”
She kept talking, but I could no longer hear her. Something strange
was happening to me. My whole body began tingling, and heat began
rising from the soles of my feet, neatly encased in their designer shoes,
all the way up my body. It was not at all unpleasant; in fact, it felt like
a slow, delicious burn, as if I were being gently licked by imaginary
flames. As the heat reached the top of my head, the room around me
appeared to shimmer and recede. I felt as if I were in a vortex of sorts,
still fully present in the giant conference hall, but somehow in a dif-
ferent dimension at the same time.
In a daze I turned to look at the woman next to me, unspoken
questions reverberating in my brain: “Are you hearing this? Is this in-
formation having the same effect on you?” She didn’t appear to notice
and instead continued looking straight ahead, listening to Dr. Lindsey
with polite attentiveness, as if it were any ordinary conference on any
other day. I, on the other hand, was having the most extraordinary
experience of my life. As I sat there, my body humming with heat and


energy currents, I felt the center of me crack open with a question that
somewhere, deep within, I already knew the answer to: What if that
kind of intuitive knowledge and ability lived somewhere in me, too?
“What if?” I seemed to hear the waves whisper as they broke across
the front of the wayfinders’ boats. “What if all the wisdom we need
comes from the depths of our own hearts?” For a moment, it was as if I
were on the boats with them – watching the waves, feeling the breeze,
calmly and steadily navigating my way home.
As it turns out, intuition, or inner wisdom, is the calling card of
Her – that Sacred Feminine force I didn’t yet have a name for. I didn’t
know this yet. I didn’t understand that She had reached out across the
room, casually struck a match and thrown it at my feet, setting my
body on fire with an old and deep remembrance. I would only realize
this much later.
I also didn’t understand the significance of the messenger, Dr. Lind-
sey, as a keeper of Indigenous wisdom. It’s a sad truth that much of the
sacred practices of my own European ancestors were destroyed long
ago by patriarchal forces, who ultimately went on to wreak the same
havoc on Indigenous populations around the world, including Native
Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander peoples. With nearly 400 years
of family history on American soil, I’ve been steeped in a culture of
white supremacy, colonialism, and a reverence of whatever is deemed
the most profitable, so it’s no wonder that I needed a wake-up call
from a culture other than my own. I remain profoundly grateful to
Dr. Lindsey for sharing her wisdom with me and others, and I’m fairly
certain I wouldn’t be on this path without the guiding wisdom of resil-
ient Indigenous traditions that have helped me on my way.
There was so much that I didn’t understand about the events of
that day, but I still knew immediately, instinctively, that something
incredible had happened. After the opening session, I stumbled out
of the room and through the next several hours in a daze. I spent my
breaks between sessions on my iPhone, googling Elizabeth Lindsey
and “wayfinders.” I forgot all about networking. I forgot all about my
shoes. I left the business conference that day with no new clients – just


a burning desire to understand what I’d experienced.

At home, I began dedicating all my free time to internet research,
starting from a very literal place. Perhaps there was something specific
about the wayfinders that I needed to understand. The Disney movie
Moana likely brought these master navigators to the attention of many
people, but this was years before the movie was released. Instead, my
digging led me to an account of the wayfinders in a collection of essays
by the anthropologist Wade Davis, which also detailed the cultures of
many other Indigenous peoples, including the Aborigines of Australia
and the nomadic Penan of Borneo. It also opened my awareness to
shamanism and the Indigenous spiritual wisdom that survived intact
in several places despite the devastating global effects of colonization.
Much of what I was reading was written by Western anthropologists,
not native teachers, which means what I was learning was undoubted-
ly skewed by their own cultural biases and assumptions. But however
flawed my searching, I was being offered a radically different way to
view the world – one not rooted in an obsession with data, logic and
the commoditization of virtually everything, but instead brimming
over with magic and what felt like deeper, more essential truths. I
marveled at stories of people with no language for time or concept of
material wealth, as my brain demanded more and more.
The more I learned, the more magical my life seemed to become.
My dreams, which I’d never really been able to recall, were suddenly
memorable and intense. One night I dreamt that a crocodile was sit-
ting in front of me in the dark. I could feel its eyes on me and hear
its breathing, slow and heavy in the night. Oddly, I didn’t feel afraid;
instead, I knew that I was in the presence of something immensely
powerful and older than I could possibly imagine. I woke up drenched
in sweat.
I began to see images of powerful animals everywhere – panthers
emerging from the steam created on the shower door, bears taking
form in clouds floating in the sky. Years earlier, I had established a
practice of going outside in the early morning to meditate. In that
quiet time alone, I began feeling a strange, inexplicable connection to


the wind, as if it were rising and falling in rhythm with my breath. In

fact, everything around me felt more alive. I caught myself constantly
staring at ordinary things that I’d somehow never paid attention to,
enthralled by the dance of a butterfly or the sway of the trees in the
breeze. Sitting outside in my backyard, some days I felt like I might
evaporate, dissolving into the natural environment around me.
Old, painful memories soon began bubbling to the surface, too.
Childhood traumas, things I hadn’t thought about for years, suddenly
felt fresh. My parents had divorced when I was a child and after a
lifetime of secret spending habits and what my family now suspects
was a gambling addiction, my father filed for bankruptcy. We lost our
family home, cars, and everything else of value, and my father never
really recovered from the loss of his family or his career. After a long
battle with depression and a series of mysterious, unexplained illness-
es, he died when I was nineteen years old.
As a general rule, we didn’t speak about any of these tragedies in my
family, so I had convinced myself that this was all long behind me.
Now, however, I was haunted by memories of these past events, and
I found that I often couldn’t sleep at night. I’d sneak into the living
room alone and sit quietly crying in the dark, trying to understand
what was happening to me. I didn’t consider confiding in Tom or
anyone else at the time. What I was going through felt both unex-
plainable and too personal to share.
In the midst of all of this, the baby inside me grew and grew. By this
point I knew that he was a boy, and I began wondering if he had some
kind of connection to everything that was happening to me. I was
beginning to believe there were no coincidences, and at times I felt as
if he were traveling with me, guiding me to go deeper into what I was
learning and experiencing. This proved to be true of his birth as well.
The births of both of my children were profound, each in different
ways. The day my daughter Claire was born, three years earlier, was
as life-changing and memorable as it should be, but also one of the
strangest days of my life. I received an early epidural before contrac-
tions had really even begun, and spent the next twelve hours reading


magazines and playing online games with Tom. I felt nothing from
the waist down, not even in the final stages of pushing. The nurse
reassured me that this was normal, but I felt completely disconnected
from my body and my daughter throughout the entire process. When
the nurse finally placed Claire in my arms, I looked down at this little
pink, screaming bundle, and all I could feel was tremendous fear that
I wasn’t qualified to be her mother.
My son’s arrival in the world was different. For one, he was my sec-
ond child. I’d been down this road before and I knew what to expect.
More significantly, his birth marked another major turning point in
my journey with “Her” – even though I didn’t know who or what She
was just yet.
“Birth is the experience of a woman stepping into her power,” writes
Regena Thomashauer, and that was exactly the experience I had when
he was born.1 I really wanted to have a natural labor, without the as-
sistance of an epidural or drugs. Since I couldn’t feel anything when
Claire was born, I wanted to make up for it by feeling everything this
time around.
And oh, how I felt it. The pain was unimaginable. As my labor
progressed, it felt like a demon was slamming a sledgehammer into
my lower back at full force. I could feel it ricocheting throughout my
entire body, and my whole being tensed to it. Eventually, though, we
humans are worn down by pain. We are broken by it. And improba-
bly, that’s when the magic happens.
In those wondrous and awful moments as I worked to bring my
son into the world, I learned the power of surrender. I can remember
the exact moment I stopped fighting the pain and simply gave into it,
then watching my body take over. It knew exactly what to do. It was
terrible and amazing and painful and awe-inspiring, all at the same
time. And by allowing it to do what it – I – had been created to do, I
suddenly felt, in the most intimate way, a profound connection to not
only my female ancestors, but all those who’d given birth before me.
We named our new baby Brendan Kai – Brendan, for the Catholic
patron saint of navigators, and “Kai,” which means sea in Hawaiian.


My very own wayfinder baby.

In the days and weeks after my son was born, I returned to the mo-
ment of his birth again and again, quietly turning over the experience
in my head, and pondering our culture’s tendency to treat childbirth
as a medical event alone. Yes, I was grateful for the hospital and the at-
tention of the doctors, midwife and nurses who cared for me and both
of my children during and after their births. But surely someone else
had seen and felt a spiritual aspect of childbirth, I thought to myself.
Why, then, had I never encountered this perspective before?
This was particularly strange to me, because by this point, I consid-
ered myself a fairly serious spiritual seeker, albeit a somewhat closeted
one. I’d been restlessly trying out various spiritual paths long before
my experience at the business conference. I was raised Southern Bap-
tist in a small town in Georgia, but I’d begun a slow drift away from
my faith in college, spurred on by plenty of late-night philosophical
discussions, encounters with real-life homosexuals who didn’t seem
any more sinful than the rest of us, and premarital sex with my first
true love that felt sweet and tender, not immoral.
But I always wanted to find, to use my mother’s words, a “church
home.” As a young urban professional, I attended various Christian
churches, almost committing to Presbyterianism at one point, but
found that I couldn’t go through with it. Doing so would have re-
quired me to profess my belief in Jesus as the one and only child of
God, which would have been a lie. I also read stories of early women
Christian mystics and, enamored with the idea of total spiritual de-
votion, briefly considered the idea of being a nun (despite my afore-
mentioned Jesus issues). I read the Hindu text The Bhagavad Gita,
which truthfully, I didn’t understand, and began practicing yoga. I
established a meditation practice and began studying Buddhism, even
going so far as to take courses on mindfulness and the eightfold path.
All this was before I’d ventured down the rabbit hole opened up for
me by the wayfinders.
One morning as I was lying in bed with Brendan, the light stream-
ing in from a nearby window on his fuzzy little newborn head, I found


my mind flipping through my two decades of exploration, feeling

genuinely puzzled about why I couldn’t recall ever reading or seeing
any mention of the spiritual nature of childbirth.
And then it struck me, like a proverbial thunderbolt coming down
from the heavens. Childbirth is an experience unique to those born
biologically female – or more specifically, those born with functioning
uteruses. My mind on overdrive, I began thinking of all the spiritual
teachers I’d had, the gods I’d learned about through the years, the dis-
ciples and the dispensers of wisdom, the authors of the books I’d read.
The spiritual tradition didn’t seem to matter. The gods were men.
The disciples were men. The teachers and preachers were men. The
books I’d read had almost exclusively been written by men. All the
teachings I’d absorbed up until that moment could not tell me about
the profound fullness and sacredness of what it means to give birth for
a very simple reason: the teachers had not experienced it.
In the years since then, I’ve learned that my lack of exposure to
female voices and Goddesses in non-Western traditions didn’t nec-
essarily mean that those voices don’t exist. Instead, it has as much to
do with the lingering forces of colonialism, in the form of algorithms
and media companies that continue to prioritize Western white, male
voices as our primary sources of authority information. But at the
time, the full awareness of the absence of a female spiritual presence
hit me so hard it left me breathless. It felt like a profound betrayal, not
just to me, but to that ancient lineage of women I’d connected with
during my son’s birth. My heart started beating faster as I realized that
religions were actually the base of a very large, very old foundation; on
top of them, we’d built one cultural institution after the next, and not
a single one of them had been created with women in mind.
The government. The entire field of medicine. The healthcare sys-
tem. Economic models. Academic institutions and models of learn-
ing. The business world. The entertainment industry. None of it was
designed with the equal participation of women – or the participation
of women, period. No wonder I’d felt like an outsider in the business
world. No wonder I’d felt so unsupported by the healthcare system


in the aftermaths of both pregnancies. I had always felt like I didn’t

belong, because I quite literally didn’t.
As I held my beautiful baby in my arms, I felt a rage begin boiling
within the depths of me, something ancient and powerful and made
of pure fire. It was so strong that I had to get out of bed and return
him to his crib, for fear that my fury might somehow spill out of my
hands and scorch him.
Outside his door, I paced up and down the hallway, my mind on
overdrive. I thought I’d tapped into something more progressive,
more expansive during the last several months. My experience at
the business conference had convinced me that there was something
larger than myself that was worth connecting to. I thought I’d been
connecting with that Something through my more recent spiritual
studies, but now it felt like I’d just learned that whatever it was still
considered me inferior because I was a woman. I wanted to scream or
punch someone, but there was no one there to face me – just a quiet
house and a sleeping baby in the next room. Instead, the wheels in my
head kept turning.
The story and context of what it means to be a spiritually seeking
woman seemed to be subsumed by the assumption of a universal ex-
perience, one that encompasses all. Kind of like “all men are created
equal” – female inclusion was implied. To a certain point, I could
agree with this. The search for spiritual meaning is certainly a human
experience, one that supersedes biology and our limited notions of
gender. And yet I could not deny that for me, something was missing.
During childbirth I had experienced a profoundly spiritual, transcen-
dent moment, one that felt uniquely available to me as a woman, and
I wanted it celebrated. I wanted these ancient traditions to place it in
the context of spirituality for me. And I wanted the men who were
writing these books, which had been deeply meaningful to me, to
understand this.
I seethed and trembled for what felt like hours, wiping hot, angry
tears from my face, until gradually something else began to emerge
from the flames. My experience at the business conference, com-


bined with my son’s birth and all that I’d learned over the past several
months, had fundamentally transformed me. I knew that I was inti-
mately connected to the entire web of life, because I’d felt it.
Without knowing how or why, I also suddenly knew that this lack
of a feminine spiritual perspective was pure bullshit, plain and sim-
ple. I may never have encountered Her presence in official dogma or
sermons or classes, but that didn’t mean She didn’t exist. There was a
female aspect of God. I knew it as surely as I’d known anything.
God wasn’t just a He. And standing there in my quiet house, alone,
I could feel Her presence for the first time. It felt like a hand on my
back, one that was at once supportive and determined, pushing me
forward. There was a Sacred Feminine. There was a She with a capital
“S”, and it was She who had come looking for me at the business
conference so many months before. I was sure of it. And then there
was an almost audible click, as if my life’s purpose had just dropped
from the sky, entered my head, and fallen neatly into place. I would
have a relationship with God, and my relationship with Her would be
beautiful, profound and of my own making.
Within a year of Brendan’s birth, I sold my company and dedicated
my life to finding Her, to learning Her stories, and to feeling Her
wisdom in my bones. Doing so was exhilarating, but also one of the
most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. Walking away from a lucrative
career to pursue something so nebulous felt frankly ridiculous, and I
questioned my choice many, many times.
Since then, I’ve crammed my shelves with books, ranging from the
most academic tomes to channeled works that many people would
find downright bizarre. I spent years working with an intuition teach-
er, completed a year-long, intense priestess initiation program, and
obtained multiple certifications in body-based practices and energy
medicine. When my children were two and five, my little family rent-
ed out our house and used some of the remaining savings from the
sale of my business to spend two months traveling to Divine Feminine
sites across Europe, visiting sacred ruins in Crete, energy centers in
Glastonbury, England, ancient caves in France and the Black Madon-


na of Einsiedeln in Switzerland. I began building an online commu-

nity to explore Her myths and different Goddess expressions, which
has now grown to many thousand people from all over the world. I
launched a podcast, and have now been in conversation with scores
of some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met – artists, writers,
mystics and researchers – each of whom is bringing Her wisdom to
the forefront in a variety of ways.
The nature of my seeking has changed somewhat over the years, but
my love for Her has not. Instead, it has deepened, as does my longing.
As the incredible artist and former nun Meinrad Craighead wrote, my
prayer, still, is to know Her face.


“She was crowned with waves of water, covering her head, overshad-
owing the face. It was her entire body which spoke, her breast-belly
body, a thick bulb rooted, pushing up a halo of water, the water
which moved within me. I’ve been looking for her face ever since. I
had then, and still have one essential prayer: ‘Show me your face.’”

Meinrad Craighead

My initial awakening to the Sacred Feminine, as electrifying and

life-changing as it was, did very little to inform me of who, exactly, She
is – at least not in the way that my linear-loving, rational-thinking brain
could understand. It’s a question that both puzzles me and excites me
even still, and at times, feels frankly absurd. How do we define the di-
vine? Why, with our feeble little human minds, would we even attempt
it? It’s like trying to pour the ocean into a square box. It can’t be done!
Nonetheless, I’m convinced that the structure and definition that
we add to our lives helps us understand and relate to its complexities.
As one of my own Sacred Feminine teachers has taught me, in order
to create anything, we need focus. Focus requires structure. Placing
language around such a heady concept as the divine is limiting, but
it also enables us to focus our attention and create meaningful inten-
tions, to speak and write about our experiences, and to share those


experiences with others so that we can find commonalities to celebrate

and differences that we can learn from. So while it may seem like an
exercise in futility to try and define the Sacred Feminine, I keep trying
anyway. I like to think that it helps me to get to know Her, even as She
shapeshifts and takes on new forms and new meanings. Which She
does frequently. When the poet Walt Whitman wrote, “I am large;
I contain multitudes,” he could easily have been talking about Her.
I’d like to share some frameworks that have been helpful for me in
understanding and experiencing the Sacred Feminine, but first I want
to address the term “Sacred Feminine,” because choosing what to call
Her has also been particularly challenging.* Ever the daughter of the
patriarchy – unwillingly or no – I used to inwardly cringe each time I
read “Divine Feminine” or “Goddess.” They both sounded so…girly. I
recognized this internal bias against the feminine almost immediately
and I hated it, but it was strong enough to convince me to explore
different names for Her.
At first, I tried using something short and pithy, like an acronym. I
tried on the DF (short for Divine Feminine). Mama D. The Feminine
Face of God (The Notorious FFG?). I even invented my own word that
I used in some of my early writings – “DiviniShe,” which, to me, felt like
a more female version of divinity. More recently, I experimented with
Sanctus Feminus, or “Holy Female” in Latin – until I reminded myself
that Latin, too, was the language of both notorious colonizers and a
deeply patriarchal culture. Ultimately, none of these alternate names
worked. I felt like I was either trivializing Her or puffing Her up as an
untouchable, abstract concept, and neither of those options felt right.

* In keeping with my explanation of language choice, I’d also like to pro-

vide a quick guide to capitalizations throughout the book. “Sacred Feminine,”
“Divine Feminine,” and “Goddess” are all capitalized to demonstrate the im-
mensity of Her as a concept, as well as to provide a visual counterbalance to the
traditional male implication of the word “God.”
She/Her is capitalized when referring to the Divine Feminine or Sacred Fem-
inine as an overarching concept; however, when referring to a particular God-
dess, she/her is lower-cased, because that “she” is held within the larger “She”
that is the Sacred Feminine.


“Goddess” or “Divine Feminine” are perhaps the two most common

terms I’ve seen used for Her, and ultimately, both of them present me
with challenges. First, the word “Goddess” simply feels too limiting.
Which Goddess are we referring to? There are thousands of them, and
I believe that each is an expression of a much larger “She.” Goddess
also feels like the reverse of a male God, which doesn’t even begin to
touch how I’ve experienced Her.
“Divine Feminine” feels even more complicated, because there are
two words that need to be unpacked and examined more closely. Sim-
ilar to Goddess, the term divine is, for me, synonymous with a great
creative source, something much larger than me. While I feel deeply
that this is true of the Sacred Feminine – She is certainly much larger
than me – the word divine also conjures up hierarchy, and a division
between that which is divine and that which isn’t. And this isn’t how
I relate to Her at all. Quite the contrary, as I believe She is alive and
present in all living things, from the tiniest bacteria to the most awe-in-
spiring, skyward-reaching redwood tree, and all the inhabitants of its
branches in between. Each of us then is an expression of Her divinity,
but admittedly, sometimes it’s really hard to find the divine within our-
selves. Sometimes it feels downright arrogant to even attempt to do so.
For this reason, I prefer the term “sacred” to describe Her. Like
“holy,” “hallowed,” and “blessed,” it clearly indicates a connection to
the divine, but feels both more encompassing and more accessible.
Finding the sacred in the ant crawling across the chair beside me, in
the words on the page, and in the everyday challenges of life feels more
doable than finding the divinity in them. In examining the historical
evidence of Her, which we’ll do in later chapters, we also see that the
word “sacred” allows us to sidestep the rather pointless question of
whether certain artifacts and art depict a Goddess or not, and simply
embrace the clearly sacred intent of these objects.
Moving on then to the second word, “feminine,” presents us with a
whole new set of issues. When I was initially contemplating the lan-
guage “Sacred Feminine” or “Divine Feminine,” it struck me that I was
most likely to hear and see the word “feminine” paired with words like


“hygiene products” – in other words, as a euphemism for some dirty

little female-related secret like (gasp!) menstruation. If we dig a little
deeper into the word, we see that it’s also been used to uphold a whole
host of gender-related stereotypes, a great deal of which I’d like to see
disappear. It also invites much deeper inquiry: What does it mean to be
feminine? Or for that matter, what does it even mean to be a woman?
Are you truly defined by your genitalia and your uterus alone? What
about those women born without functioning uteruses, or who don’t
bleed every month? What about intersex folk, or transgender people
who know emphatically that they were born in a body that doesn’t
match their gender identity or the sex they were assigned at birth?
I’ve seen these questions rip through female-centered spiritual com-
munities, and in some cases tear them apart. I’ve seen transwomen
repeatedly derided as “men in dresses,” and women, mostly elders, ac-
cused of being TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists) just for
expressing affinity with such Goddess-centric concepts as the Maiden,
Mother and Crone archetypes. I know transwomen who have attempt-
ed suicide, mothers who are grappling every day with how best to sup-
port their nonbinary children, and women carrying the deep trauma of
sexual violence who are terrified of having to share private spaces with
anyone born with a penis. I absolutely, categorically refuse to label any
of them as less sacred than any other living being on this planet.
Just as I would never presume I have the right to define someone
else’s life experience for them, I also don’t believe it’s my right to an-
swer the question of what it means to be a woman for anyone else.
Nor do I want to uphold language that bars anyone of any biology or
any gender expression from having a relationship with Her. But even
as I cringe at the complicated connotations of the word “feminine,” I
also find that I don’t want to let it go. Why, you might ask? Because
for so long, “feminine” has been associated with “lesser.” It is simply
a fact that female-identified bodies, along with attributes, emotions
and experiences that have traditionally been labeled as “feminine,”
have repeatedly and historically been viewed as less important and less
relevant than male-identified bodies, attributes, and experiences. In


this sense, proudly owning the word “feminine” and nestling it right
beside a powerful word like “sacred” feels like a radical and subversive
act, an extension of the middle finger to all the forces of patriarchy.
I also believe it invites an important inquiry into all the aspects of
ourselves that we’ve knowingly or unknowingly labeled as “feminine,”
and how we’ve viewed those parts of ourselves. Have we loved them
fully? Have we honored them as we should? If not, then the word
“sacred” reminds us it’s high time that we do so.
Even still, I recognize and acknowledge the limitations of a term like
Sacred Feminine. During a podcast episode with the brilliant women
behind the Missing Witches podcast and book, I was lamenting the
inadequacy of the language “Sacred Feminine,” when Amy Torok of-
fered me a provocative challenge: why not make up some new word?
Aren’t new words being invented all the time?
And who knows? At some point, perhaps I will. Or maybe you will.
For now, I am embracing Her lovingly with the words “Sacred Fem-
inine,” while also acknowledging that this name might not work for
you, and that’s perfectly fine. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about
Her, it’s that there will never be a name big enough to encompass all
of Her. Ultimately, She is Everything, which means we get to call Her
whatever we want. So what should you call Her? Honestly, I don’t
think She cares – just as long as you call Her.
Now that we’ve got a name for Her, let’s get back to that original
inquiry. Who the heck is She? This, of course, is a huge question, one
that we’ll break down and explore in depth throughout the rest of this
book. But as a beginning point, I can tell you that I like to think of
Her as a spiritual idea, a historical fact and a direct, lived experience
of our own sacredness, all rolled up into one breathtakingly large,
complex energy source that powers the entire universe.

Pre-order your signed copy of
Home to Her at
before Monday September 19, 2022
to receive exclusive pre-order
bonuses * and get your copy in
advance of the official launch on
October 7, 2022.

* see shop listing for details


Liz Childs Kelly is a writer, award-winning researcher, educator, com-

munity builder, and host of the popular Home to Her podcast, which
is dedicated to amplifying the voices of the Sacred Feminine. Her
writing has been featured in a variety of online publications, including
Forbes, Mashable, Rebelle Society, Human Parts (a Medium publica-
tion), and Braided Way, as well as the Girl God Books anthology Just
As I Am: Hymns Affirming the Divine Female. An initiated priestess
in the 13 Moons lineage, she also holds certifications in Reiki, as well
as Vinyasa and Yin Yoga.
Liz lives in rural Virginia with her family, and can often be found
exploring the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains or wandering in the
woods behind her home.


Arla Patch, creator of “Please Abide with

Me”, the cover image on this book, is
an artist, writer, teacher and “creativity
midwife,” using art as a tool for healing.
Her own challenging history provided
the source material for using creativity for
personal transformation. Making art has
offered a powerful opportunity for her
and those with whom she has facilitated
artmarking: breast cancer survivors,
incarcerated women, at risk teens, and survivors of sexual abuse and
domestic violence.
Arla is the author of A Body Story and Finding Ground: Girls and
Women in Recovery, each of which won IPPY Awards. She also wrote
A Heart Story and A Heart Story Coloring Book. Healing continues to
be a central interest in her life as well as nurturing her spirituality. She
is also an activist in the area of Indigenous Justice and a co-founding
member of the Coalition of Natives and Allies. Arla is a member of
Doylestown Friends Meeting (Quakers) and has a BFA, Ed and an
MFA. This piece is polymer clay; a technique she calls “coil drawing.”
Her greatest joy is her grandson Anders.
Social Justice work:


Womancraft Publishing was founded on the revolutionary vision

that women and words can change the world. We act as midwife to
transformational women’s words that have the power to challenge,
inspire, heal and speak to the silenced aspects of ourselves.
We believe that:

○ books are a fabulous way of transmitting powerful transformation,

○ values should be juicy actions, lived out,
○ ethical business is a key way to contribute to conscious change.

At the heart of our Womancraft philosophy is fairness and integ-

rity. Creatives and women have always been underpaid. Not on our
watch! We split royalties 50:50 with our authors. We work on a full
circle model of giving and receiving: reaching backwards, supporting
TreeSisters’ reforestation projects, and forwards via Worldreader, pro-
viding books at no cost to education projects for girls and women.
We are proud that Womancraft is walking its talk and engaging so
many women each year via our books and online. Join the revolution!
Sign up to the mailing list at and find us
on social media for exclusive offers:




Often women contact us asking if and how they may use our work.
We love seeing our work out in the world. We love you sharing our
words further. And we ask that you respect our hard work by acknowl-
edging the source of the words.
We are delighted for short quotes from our books – up to 200 words
– to be shared as memes or in your own articles or books, provided they
are clearly accompanied by the author’s name and the book’s title.
We are also very happy for the materials in our books to be shared
amongst women’s communities: to be studied by book groups, dis-
cussed in classes, read from in ceremony, quoted on social media…with
the following provisos:

○ If content from the book is shared in written or spoken form, the

book’s author and title must be referenced clearly.
○ The only person fully qualified to teach the material from any of our
titles is the author of the book itself. There are no accredited teachers
of this work. Please do not make claims of this sort.
○ If you are creating a course devoted to the content of one of our
books, its title and author must be clearly acknowledged on all pro-
motional material (posters, websites, social media posts).
○ The book’s cover may be used in promotional materials or social
media posts. The cover art is copyright of the artist and has been
licensed exclusively for this book. Any element of the book’s cover
or font may not be used in branding your own marketing materials
when teaching the content of the book, or content very similar to
the original book.
○ No more than two double page spreads, or four single pages of any
book may be photocopied as teaching materials.
We are delighted to offer a 20% discount of over five copies going to
one address. You can order these on our webshop, or email us. If you re-
quire further clarification, email us at:
Cycles of Belonging: Honouring ourselves
through the sacred cycles of life

Stella Tomlinson

A guide to unlocking the powers of cyclic living to lead a more fulfill-

ing, meaningful, and wholehearted life. Cycles of Belonging offers an
embodied feminine and feminist psycho-spiritual path for women to
reclaim their inner wisdom, follow the callings of their soul, and come
home to a profound sense of belonging to the seasons and cycles of life.
You will be guided through six sacred temples of belonging, each
one exploring the energies of each cycle, their healing gifts and shad-
ows/challenges, together with practical suggestions on how to work
with the cycles, including journal prompts, rituals and blessings, as
well as magical words of poetry and soul guidance.

Burning Woman

Lucy H. P earce

2017 Nautilus Award Winner in the program’s ‘Women’ category of

books for and about Women’s journey. A breath-taking and contro-
versial woman’s journey through history – personal and cultural – on
a quest to find and free her own power.
Uncompromising and all-encompassing, Pearce uncovers the arche-
type of the Burning Women of days gone by – Joan of Arc and the witch
trials, through to the way women are burned today in cyber bullying,
acid attacks, shaming and burnout, fearlessly examining the roots of
Feminine power – what it is, how it has been controlled, and why it
needs to be unleashed on the world in our modern Burning Times.
A must-read for all women! A life-changing book that fills the reader with
a burning passion and desire for change.
Glennie Kindred, author of Earth Wisdom
Walking with Persephone

Molly Remer

Midlife can be a time of great change – inner and outer: a time of

letting go of the old, burnout and disillusionment. But how do we
journey through this? And what can we learn in the process? Molly
Remer is our personal guide to the unraveling and reweaving required
in midlife. She invites you to take a walk with the goddess Persephone,
whose story of descent into the underworld has much to teach us.
Walking with Persephone is a story of devotion and renewal that
weaves together personal experiences, insights, observations, and re-
flections with experiences in practical priestessing, family life, and
explorations of the natural world. It advocates opening our eyes to
the wonder around us, encouraging the reader to both look within
themselves for truths about living, but also to the earth, the air, the
sky, the animals, and plants.

Wild & Wise: sacred feminine

meditations for women’s circles
and personal awakening

Amy Bammel Wilding

The stunning debut by Amy Bammel Wilding is not merely a collec-

tion of guided meditations, but a potent tool for personal and global
transformation. The meditations beckon you to explore the powerful
realm of symbolism and archetypes, inviting you to access your wild
and wise inner knowing.
Suitable for reflective reading or to facilitate healing and empow-
erment for women who gather in red tents, moon lodges, women’s
circles and ceremonies.
This rich resource is an answer to “what can we do to go deeper?” that many
in circles want to know.
Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD
Sisters of the Solstice Moon

Gina Martin

Book 1 of the
When She Wakes series

On the Winter Solstice, thirteen women across the world see the same
terrifying vision. Their world is about to experience ravaging destruc-
tion. All that is now sacred will be destroyed. Each answers the call, to
journey to Egypt, and save the wisdom of the Goddess.
This is the history before history.
This is herstory, as it emerged.
An imagining… or is it a remembering… of the end of matriarchy
and the emergence of global patriarchy, this book brings alive long
dead cultures from around the world and brings us closer to the lost
wisdoms that we know in our bones.
Sisters of the Solstice Moon is a story of vast richness and complexity,
in the tradition of speculative historical novel series, Clan of the Cave
Bear and The Mists of Avalon.

You might also like