Surviving & Thriving

Why Goddess Spirituality Matters for Trauma Survivors

I want to consider the specific benefits those of us who are trauma survivors and who are interested in Goddess Spirituality may glean as we grow in our practice for this #SurvivingnThriving Tuesday. Some individuals, myself included, see Goddess Spirituality as their spiritual home in and of itself. Others incorporate aspects of it into their own religion or spiritual beliefs. I think there is something incredibly powerful and raw about seeking the Divine Feminine, practicing her rites and embodying her strength, love, compassion and wisdom.

Centered in the Body

For many people who practice Goddess Spirituality, one of the aspects of it that is vitally uplifting is the emphasis it places on our bodies. They are not viewed the seat of our sin or impurities, instead, they are the very source of our strength. Instead of molding them to fit society’s expectation for our weight, appearance or gender expression, we can define our own positive relationship with them. Female biological processes like menstruation and bearing children are elevated to spiritual acts. Death is not something to be feared or defeated; it is a passageway back into the Universe, back into the ether, with new beginnings just around the corner.

When we cease to be alienated from our bodies, when we connect with each cell and celebrate its connection to Source, we can shed so much struggle. I spent decades trying to conform my body into what it “should” look like and judged my behaviors as “good” or “bad.” I still categorize my actions as healthy or unhealthy at times, but the strict dichotomy with which I approached myself and others has diminished.

Non-Linear Thinking

Goddess Spirituality, at least as I practice it, allows for dialectics and contradictions, letting them blur rather than insisting on The Truth. This feels like a much more honest way to live my life and honors the traumatic past through which I struggled. Many of us with trauma histories were hurt by those who were supposed to love and protect us. The tender moments were interspersed with horrors. I think this is very difficult to resolve psychologically. We do not live in a just world where karma or action-consequence are clearly delineated.

I’ve gotten riled up when others have tried to paint the world as composed of people who are basically the same, just “flawed” in their own unique ways. There’s flawed and then there’s flawed. And still, I know that the people that harmed me are not completely evil 24/7. The sense of Goddess being, at the same time, triple in form, or revealing Herself through many myths and legends, none of which fully capture Her Essence, helps me release some of this struggle into the unknown, in the vastness of our collective consciousness, from which it returns to me in a new form with a new layer of understanding. The cycle, like the moon cycle, repeats.

Many Representations of Universal Love

Goddess shows Herself to us as we search to understand Her. Many of the individuals I know who practice Goddess Spirituality and/or paganism describe feeling called by a certain expression of Goddess Energy. I’m working my way towards this. I am continually energized each time I learn about another Goddess or another Divine Feminine practice. I do not think there is one way to “do” Goddess Spirituality, nor is there one representation which fully captures Source. Many Goddess myths include experiences that could easily be conceptualized as traumatic in nature, which may speak to survivors at different parts of his or her recovery.

Meaningful Ritual and Ceremony

Group ritual that celebrates Goddess is sometimes tied to female biological processes such as a girl’s first menstrual cycle or pregnancy. It can also be expanded to inner moments of transformation, such as when an individual chooses to dedicate himself or herself to a particular Deity or embarks on a new creative undertaking. Some individuals who practice Goddess Spirituality consider themselves Pagans and conduct ritual to mark the Pagan Wheel of the Year. I’m ambivalent about specific group ceremony directly related to healing for trauma survivors as I think there is a very high bar in terms of education, training, experience and safety for trauma survivors to benefit from this type of work.

One can also be a Solitary Practitioner of Goddess Spirituality. This is what I consider myself to me, although I do participate in some Pagan holiday celebrations. As a Solitary, I am able to fully tap into my creative energies to create healing spiritual practice. I also benefit from access to many online and written resources that I tailor to my specific situation. I intend to more fully flesh out specific rituals for healing from trauma that I can adapt to my own needs, again, I think this is best sought after a survivor has an established therapy relationship and sufficient support in place in order to avoid accidental re-traumatization.

Goddess Spirituality is a dynamic, growing practice and body of knowledge with ancient roots. Trauma survivors looking to incorporate it into their spiritual practice may find the rituals, Goddess representations, and thealogy inspiring. Please feel free to share how the two topics have been integrated into your experience.