WHAT IS THE DIANIC FEMINIST TRADITION?
Dianic Feminist Wiccan Tradition is a Goddess and female-centered, earth-based feminist denomination of Wiccan religion. It is a women's ritual tradition that focuses on the spiritual needs, healing, and empowerment of women and girls. Dianic practice centers on the celebration of Women's Mysteries. By Mysteries, we mean the physical, emotional and psychic life cycle passages that women share by having been born female, experienced girlhood, and living as women in a patriarchal society. Dianic rituals celebrate the earth's seasonal cycles of birth, death and regeneration, as it is reflected in the female life cycle. Inspired by the nature and aspects of the Roman goddess Diana (and her predecessor, the Greek goddess Artemis) as a protector of women and wild nature, we are committed to personal healing and finding positive life-affirming solutions for personal and global issues. We vision and strive to create a world where Her web of life, which includes all living things, is honored as a sacred creation of the Goddess.
From earliest times, across cultures, women have created, facilitated, and participated in ceremonies and rituals that are sex-based and separate from those of men. The practice of female-only ritual was not born from a rejection of males but rather from an understanding and honoring of women's unique biological rites of passage and the ways in which our female bodies inform our diverse life experiences. There are physical and psychological experiences and rites of passage common to all women's lives, crossing the boundaries of age, class, culture, race, sexual orientation, and religion. The Dianic tradition was revived in the early 1970s to empower women and girls by asserting that we, as the physical embodiment of the Goddess (She who is the life force present in all things), are sacred, and our sacred rituals, and rites of passage are our birthright. Contemporary Dianic tradition is rooted in the values of radical feminism that affirm female autonomy, agency, and empowerment.
The heart of the Dianic Wiccan tradition is Women's Mysteries: the five blood mysteries of our birth, menarche, giving birth/lactation, menopause, and death. Contemporary Dianic rites also include other essential physical, emotional, and psychic passages that can only be experienced by being born female in a patriarchal culture and becoming conscious about how growing up in that culture affects our daily lives and sense of self. Dianic rituals celebrate the mythic cycle of the Goddess in the earth's seasonal cycles of birth, death, and regeneration. Those cycles correspond and overlap with women's own life-cycle transitions, and Dianics honor the Goddess in every woman through seasonal rituals. Our rites mark life passages and celebrate women's ability to create life, sustain life, and return to the Goddess in death. Dianic seasonal themes are not based on an exclusively heterosexual fertility cycle, as most other Wiccan traditions are, and therefore are inclusive of all sexual orientations. From the beginning of its contemporary practice, the Dianic Wiccan tradition has also inspired rituals that are intended to help women heal from, and counter the effects of, misogynistic, patriarchal social institutions and religions.
Women embody the Goddess as Creatrix. Physically, we embody the power of the Goddess in Her capacity to create, sustain, and protect life. Our wombs are the living metaphor of Her creative potential and thus are the very source of our creative power. Even if a woman has had a hysterectomy, the power of her womb will continue to carry within her the energetic potential of its creativity. Inspired by the ancient mythic cosmology of the Goddess, wherein She draws Herself out of Herself in the original act of creation, many women embrace the metaphor of spiritually giving birth to themselves and each other. Within Dianic Wiccan rites, the focus is on each woman's own experience, opinions, ideas, and feelings, and not those of her spouse, lover, family, or friends. Within Dianic circles, women have the opportunity to discover their true selves, apart from the constraints of males and patriarchal culture.
* adapted from Women's Rites, Women's Mysteries by Ruth Barrett
Why is Temple of Diana and its Groves for females only?
OUR DEFINITION OF WOMANHOOD*
Women's Mysteries are at the center of Dianic practice. By "Mysteries" we mean the lived experiences of the female body from birth, girlhood, into womanhood, and elderhood. These Mysteries include our uterine blood mysteries (menstruation, birthing, menopause), female sexuality and spirituality, and all the ways that our female bodies inform our diverse life experiences. Part of our work as a feminist spiritual tradition is to keep conscious of, and heal from the insidious ways that patriarchal culture affects our lives through institutional sexism and misogyny. This includes our self-perception as a lived experience through the paradigm of the dominant culture, religion, and cultural inheritance. The commonality girls and women share based on our biological sex transcends other differences in race, ability, ethnicity, and class. For us, the exploration and celebration of Women's Mysteries is an embodied experience that defies words, and can only be experienced by female individuals. Dianic tradition has centered on the embodied female mysteries for almost 50 years. We affirm our ability to be whole-unto-ourselves and as free as the goddess Artemis. We affirm our sovereign right to gather as female individuals within our female-only circles to celebrate our rites.
We support male individuals in honoring their unique Mysteries of the male body from birth, boyhood, into manhood, and elderhood.
We encourage trans identified individuals to create their own rites of passage that address their significant life cycle events from birth into elderhood.
* by Ruth Barrett