Goddess Worship in America

by Maria Kneas

June 11, 2009


"'Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols. Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror,' declares the LORD. 'My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.'" Jeremiah 2:11-13

"And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:4

The novel The Shack portrays God as being a woman. However, Jesus consistently called God, "Father." When His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, Jesus taught them to address God as "Our Father which art in Heaven..." And when God Almighty became incarnate as a human being, God became a man -- not a woman.

The Bible warns us not to add to Scripture or take away from it. Yet, today's so-called "gender neutral Bibles" both add to new words and notions to Scripture and take away from Scripture. They remove references that are clearly male, and they add statements that imply a "father/mother" God. Do the publishers simply ignore Scriptures such as these:

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." (Proverbs 30:5-6)

"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Revelation 22:18-19

In spite of those warnings, many Christians accept the female "God" of The Shack. Some pastors are preaching from the book, and some church study groups are based on it. As a result, many Christians have become used to thinking of God as being a woman. This is being done primarily through their imagination rather than their intellect.

Since those images are implanted in the mind and memory, reading novels and watching movies can change a person's worldview. (See "Movie Magic & Unconscious Learning.")

How could so many Christians accept The Shack in spite of its portrayal of God as a woman? One reason is the prevalence of goddess-related themes in entertainment, the media, and video games. Images of goddesses permeate our culture. (We even have "goddess dresses" for sale in department stores.) In addition, some people literally worship goddesses.

Goddess worship is most apparent among "neo-pagans." However, it is also common in universities and nursing schools. It is promoted by the media and is a component of New Age feminism. It has infiltrated main-line denominational churches, and its influence can be felt throughout our society.


The "Age of Enlightenment" gave birth to rationalist materialism. In reaction against this denial of the importance of emotions, a generation of Romantic poets, novelists, artists, musicians and philosophers developed. Many of them were involved with drugs, the occult, Rosicrucianism, or Freemasonry. Following Darwin's theory of evolution, they speculated wildly about the evolution of society. Nationalism became a romantic search for pagan roots, as seen in Wagner's operas and the fairy tales researched by the Brothers Grimm. Womanhood was idealized. The myth of a past utopian matriarchy was developed. Psychologist Carl Jung idealized the concept of the "anima," the feminine side of man.[1]

Romanticism even invaded history and archaeology. Bachoven developed a theory of matriarchy which was openly based on imagination, and not on searching for hard facts. Feminist scholars followed Bachoven's lead. A historic myth was developed in which an ideal, matriarchal, goddess-worshipping society was destroyed by patriarchal invaders who brought with them all the ills of modern society.[1]

The scholarship involved in these studies of history and archaeology is so faulty that Prof. Davis says:

"An important lesson of this book is the ease with which patent falsehoods may clothe themselves in the garb of scholarship and masquerade as truth."[1,p.ix]

Feminist scholars and other academic radicals say that objective facts and historical accuracy are not even a valid goal.

"A feminist scholar told her audience that it is indeed 'ethical' for an historian to ignore historical evidence in order to construct a narrative which would prove fruitful in dealing with contemporary political situations, while still presenting it as history."[1,p.360]

"[M]any of today's academic radicals explicitly reject the quest for objective truth; they claim that objectivity is not only impossible to achieve in pure form, but actually illegitimate in the first place because it expresses a patriarchal, oppressive mentality. They argue that all human beings see the world in terms of a subjective 'perspective' which is irrevocably shaped by the group to which the individual belongs: race, sex, or social class. Most scholarship, therefore, is simply the narcissistic exploration of one's own perspective."[1,p.360]

Before the revival of goddess worship in the 1950s, American art showed that popular imagination was being prepared for it. For example, the Statue of Liberty looks like a Greek goddess and is over three hundred feet high. The inscription presents the statue as speaking, and she calls herself "Mother of Exiles."[2] A 1915 poster for the Red Cross shows an American nurse with a billowing, hooded cape that makes her look like a cross between a nurse and a Greek goddess. She carries a placard which says:

"I am the Red Cross of Peace. I heal the wounds of war. I am a refuge from fire, flood and pestilence. The love of little children is mine. I am the Red Cross of Peace."[3]

The National Academy of Sciences has several buildings, one of which is called a Temple of Science.[4] This NAS building has a Great Hall with a large room with a cathedral ceiling. It looks like a Christian cathedral, but instead of having art work related to Christianity, the ceiling is covered with mosaics of Greek gods and goddesses. There is a series of personifications of various branches of science showing them in the form of gods and goddesses. In addition, there are also pictures of some traditional Greek gods and goddesses on the ceiling, as well as statues of them. The library is dedicated to Diana, the goddess of wisdom. Its door knobs are engraved with pictures of her.[5]


Modern Wicca was developed in England by Gerald B. Gardner, who was the first fully public witch of modern times. He was a spiritualist, a Freemason, and a Rosicrucian, with an extensive background in the occult. He was a member of the Golden Dawn. Aleister Crowley (a satanist) initiated Gardner into the fourth degree of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis). Gardner was acquainted with a witch named "old Dorothy Fordham" and claimed to have been initiated into a coven. He used various occult texts in developing his rituals, including texts by Aleister Crowley.[1,p.334]

Aiden Kelley, a Wiccan trained in biblical criticism, applied his critical skills to Gardner's archive. Based on Kelley's findings, Philip Davis concludes that:

"First, [Kelly's] identification of Gardner's literary sources leaves little doubt that Gardner's own witchcraft texts were his personal creation and not something handed on to him from an ancient tradition; paradoxically, then, Wicca is not a revival of an old pagan religion, but a modern paganization of materials which originated within the Judeo-christian tradition (the Kabbalah)[6] or in direct reaction to it (Crowley)."[1,p.334]

Therefore, it is difficult to know how much Gardner's Wicca resembles ancient witchcraft.

Doreen Valiente was Gardner's High Priestess. She was informed enough to spot the passages from Crowley in the rituals, and she rewrote them so that Crowley's name wouldn't discourage potential inquirers.

Initially, the male, horned god and the High Priest were pre-eminent. By the mid-1960s, the goddess was the supreme deity in Wicca, and ritual authority was vested in the High Priestess.[1,p.336-337]

Through Wicca, goddess worship has infiltrated American culture.

"Gardnerian Wicca was the first modern Western Goddess religion. The appearance of the Goddess in other radical feminist circles, and then in churches and universities, did not occur until after the establishment of modern witchcraft as a viable new religion."[1,p.341]

"The modern Goddess religion is another manifestation of the European neopagan counterculture... Partly because of its alliance with and usefulness to a vocal and visible political movement, gender feminism, Goddess spirituality seems well on the way to becoming the most successful of all these neopagan manifestations in the English-speaking world."[1,p.343]


In November 1993, a Re-imagining Conference was held in Minneapolis. Most of the 2,000 participants at this ecumenical gathering were women. They invoked Sophia, the goddess of Wisdom, calling her their Creator. Prayers and liturgies were addressed to this goddess. One participant said, "I found god in myself, and I loved her, I loved her fiercely." (For information about this conference, see Chapter 2 of A Twist of Faith.)

Neopagan and Wiccan themes have become amazingly prominent within older religious establishments. One reason for this is the quest for "inclusive" language and the attempt to apply more female imagery to God. Liturgy reform and revised hymnals have featured feminine imagery and metaphors for God the Mother.[1,p.24-25,27]

The Unitarian-Universalist church developed a ten-session workshop on feminism which encourages goddess worship and even endorses witchcraft. This workshop is called Cakes for the Queen of Heaven. It has been circulated through the major denominations and adopted for use in many mainstream churches.[1,p.24-25] The following quotation from Jeremiah gives God's perspective on this.

"Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger." (Jeremiah 7:16-18.)

A Canadian television station ran a five-part series entitled Return of the Goddess, which introduced many people to goddess worship. The National Film Board of Canada produced Goddess Remembered, which became one of their most popular productions ever, being featured by public broadcasting TV stations in the United States as well as in Canada. Cakes for the Queen of Heaven and Goddess Remembered have become staples for study groups in some major denominations.[1,p.25-27]


The credibility of goddess worship has been increased by its acceptance by university professors and its incorporation into textbooks.[1,p.29-31]

"This little-noticed event is actually a striking development: after the long modern struggle to free higher education from church control, the doctrines of a new religion are being packaged and promoted as factual material for use in publicly funded and accredited institutions of higher education."[1,p.31]

The broader plans of gender feminism seem to have been most fully articulated, promoted and implemented among academics. Some feminists have even demanded that the goddess be given parity with the God of the Bible in university religion programs. This will impact our entire society because universities and colleges are training most of our future leaders, including government, health care, and the clergy.[1,p.361,363]

"Repudiating the quest for objective truth and arguing that all teaching is therefore indoctrination, radical professors are increasingly open about using the classroom for recruitment, turning students into political activists. The campus, therefore, is a natural place to look for signs of the radical feminist New Age as it emerges."[1,p.36]


Goddess worship has become strong in the field of health care, particularly nursing. Health care professionals are actively promoting New Age practices. For example, "therapeutic touch" (passing one's hands above a patient's body in order to manipulate auras and energy-fields) has reportedly been taught to thousands of nurses in eighty North American nursing programs.[1,p.31-33]. Goddess worship has been overtly promoted, as can be seen from the following quotation from the National League for Nursing, which is an accrediting agency for nursing schools.

"Women's wisdom is ageless and timeless, and passes from generation to generation primarily by oral tradition. Women's wisdom is all too often the hidden foundation of patriarchal scholarship throughout academic, religious, and philosophic literature--without credit to the origins of the ideas. These origins are grounded in women's experiences, female symbolism, and the spiritual roots of the Triple Goddess."[7]


We need to be informed so that we can help people we know who have become confused by these things. God may show us practical things that we can do. Above all, we need to take the following Scripture seriously, and apply it to our daily lives.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

For more information, read Our Father in Heaven or Our Mother the Earth?

Calling the Spirit of Gaia | Welcoming the Goddess | Sacred Sex and Empowering Connections


1. Philip G. Davis, Goddess Unmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality (Dallas, Texas: Spence Publishing Company, 1998). (chapters 2 through 12)

2. Information obtained by phone from the Public Information Office of the Statue of Liberty.

3. This poster is in the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia.

4. The NAS Building, a "Temple of Science." http://www.nasonline.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ABOUT_building

5. Years ago, I toured the Great Hall at the National Academy of Sciences, and I saw everything that I have described in this article. The ceiling appears to be a mosaic, but actually it was created by a special painting technique that makes things look like mosaics. You can see pictures of the ceiling at the following link. http://www.nasonline.org/site/DocServer/020777.pdf?docID=52101

6. The Kabbalah (which can also be spelled "Cabala") is: "A kind or system of occult theosophy or mystical interpretation of the Scriptures among Jewish rabbis and certain medieval Christians." (Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 5th edition) See also The mystical Kabbalah at http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/occult/kabbalah.htm

7. Charlene E. Wheeler and Peggy L. Chinn, Peace and Power: A Handbook of Feminist Process, 3rd ed. (New York: National League for Nursing), pp. xi-xii. Quoted in Goddess Unmasked, p. 32.

See also God's Warnings for our Times

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