Women Clergy in East-West Perspective
By: Chandra Alexandre
This article is a sharing of some of my initial research on the contemporary and historical landscapes of women clergy in goddess worshipping traditions with a focus on Pagan and Hindu faiths. The role and responsibilities of clergy within these traditions will be outlined based on fieldwork in India and material provided by seventeen priestesses of the developed world in order to create an opening to a conversation regarding the import and relevance of women clergy in these faiths to the politics of women’s lives and religious experience.
After providing background information to help contextualize goddess-worshipping Hinduism, I then offer a case study highlighting the work of one Bengali Tantrika to facilitate the claim of a Tantrick female clergy. From here and as time constraints allow, I will share the perspectives of five of the seventeen Pagan priestesses from various traditions who provided me with information through interview, questionnaire, and survey feedback mechanisms.
With this work, I hope to expand the definition of clergy and provide instigation for: i) a discussion of how female religious leaders (as recognized both through formal and informal means) are serving the Divine Female/Goddess/Sacred Feminine; ii) their impact; and, iii) ramifications of their service and position for the broader collective. My inquiry focuses on the ways in which women clergy are pushing through patriarchal limitations in cultural, social, religious, and other arenas in order to facilitate communion, healing, empowerment, and transformation within their own spiritual communities…and beyond.
Read the full article here: Voices of the Goddess- Women Clergy in East-West Perspective