Greening the Future with Starhawk
By the earth that is her body,
And by the waters of her living womb.......
By the fire of her bright spirit,
And by the air that is her breath......
May the peace of the Star Goddess go into your hearts…
Originally by Victor Anderson,
edited & adapted version from Starhawk’s The Earth Path
Starhawk is a Witch, peace activist, ecofeminist, author, and teacher in Earth Activist Training. She best known as a co-founder of the Reclaiming Collective and as the author of the contemporary Pagan classic The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, which has been continuously in print for thirty years. Starhawk’s early Craft teachers were Victor and Cora Anderson of the legendary Feri Tradition. Early in her career as a Craft teacher she started using the name “Starhawk” after she had a dream of a hawk flying across the starlit sky. One of Starhawk’s latest books, The Earth Path, traces her work in combining Earth-based spirituality, permaculture, organizing, and activism. She spoke to me in January, 2010 from her home near Cazadero, California.
Michael Night Sky How did your interest in Witchcraft and Paganism begin?
Star Although I was raised Jewish, I always had my deepest moments of connection in nature. So when I encountered people who were practicing the Goddess religion, I just found that whole idea of the Goddess to be so empowering, and the idea of a religion that said “the natural world is sacred,” for me just was like, “Yes! This is it!”
Michael Night Sky Do you connect more with the name “Witch” or “Pagan.” Do you see a big difference?
Star I’m definitely both. To me, “Pagan” sort of includes “Witch,” kind of like “Christian” includes “Southern Baptist.” In my practice, being a Witch is about having made a specific commitment to the Goddess. We used to say Witches were all clergy and we had no congregations, but now I think that is shifting. As the tradition grows we have some people who really do want to be clergy. We also now see people who come out for big rituals, and believe in the Goddess, but they’re busy with other things, and don’t practice ritual or magic on a regular basis.
Earth Her Body
Earth Her Body —
The Path of Pagan Permaculture
Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. — Graham Bell, The Permaculture Way
Permaculture has been permeating our Pagan culture for many years. From Austin to Montreal, Witches and activists practicing earth-based spirituality are using the systems taught in permaculture design courses to organize everything from their farms to their finances.
Starhawk has been a prime mover of this movement, with her Earth Activist Training melding Pagan spirituality with permaculture design. (See our interview with her directly in the magazine.)