Indigenizing the Goddess

Reclaiming Territory, Myth and Devotion in Glastonbury

  • a.whitehead@yahoo.com University of Winchester, University of Wales TSD
Keywords: Glastonbury, Goddess, indigenizing, indigenous, materiality, territorialization

Abstract

The Glastonbury Goddess religion in the South West of England began in the 1990s by a small group of women dedicated to reviving the Goddess of the land surrounding Glastonbury, interpreting and revitalizing myths and legends in relation to her, and reclaiming the Goddess as their own after centuries of male Christian dominated religion. Hugely successful, the group have constructed what they claim to be the first Goddess Temple dedicated to the indigenous goddess of Glastonbury in over 1500 years. The article will argue that territorialization, or “re-territorialization,” is one of the main strategies of this indigenizing process, and is carried out through the use and development of Glastonbury Goddess material cultures, ritual creativity and narratives, as well as international Goddess training programmes. Prompting the reclamation of local Goddesses in different parts of the world, the Glastonbury Goddess religion is having local and global reach.

References

Abramson, A. and M. Holbraad. 2012. “Contemporary cosmologies, critical reimaginings.” Religion and Society: Advances in Research 3: 35–50. https://doi.org/10.3167/arrs.2012.030103

Bowman, M. I. 2007. “Arthur and Bridget in Avalon: Celtic myth, vernacular religion and contemporary spirituality in Glastonbury.” Fabula 48: 16–32. https://doi.org/10.1515/FABL.2007.003

———. 2005. “Ancient Avalon, New Jerusalem, heart chakra of planet earth: The local and the global in Glastonbury.” Numen, 52: 157–190. https://doi.org/10.1163/1568527054024722

———. 2004. “Procession and possession in Glastonbury: Continuity, change and the manipulation of tradition.” Folklore 115: 273–285. https://doi.org/10.1080/0015587042000284266

Deleuze, G. and F. Guattari.1972. Anti-Œdipus. Translated by Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane. London and New York: Continuum, 2004. Vol. 1 of Capitalism and Schizophrenia. 2 vols. 1972–1980. Translation of L”Anti-Oedipe. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit.

Glastonbury Goddess Temple. nd. “Priestess of Avalon with Glastonbury Goddess Temple.” Last updated: “Autumn Equinox” 2018. https://goddesstempleteachings.co.uk/wordpress/priestessofavalon/.

Heelas, P. and L. Woodhead. 2005. The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality. Oxford: Blackwell.

Johnson, P. C. 2002. “Migrating bodies, circulating signs: Brazilian Candomblé, the Garifuna of the Caribbean, and the Category of Indigenous Religions.” History of Religions 41(4): 301-327. Essays on the Occasion of Frank Reynolds’s Retirement. https://doi.org/10.1086/463690

Jones, Kathy. 2005. “The Goddess in Glastonbury.” Interview by Helen Otter. Where I Live, Somerset, Faith, BBC, Last updated: December 11, 2008. http://www.bbc.co.uk/somerset/content/articles/2005/09/13/goddess_in_glastonbury_feature.shtml.

———. 2001. The Ancient British Goddess. Riverside, CA: Ariadne Publications.

———. n.d. In the Heart of the Goddess: the website of Kathy Jones. https://www.kathyjones.co.uk/on-finding-treasure-mystery-plays-of-the-goddess/2/

Jones, Kellie. 2011. Eye Minded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822393498

Soetens, K. and Brigantia M. 2018. “Site content for Glastonbury Goddess Conference.” https://goddessconference.com/speakers/katinka-soetens/

Rountree, K., ed. 2015. Contemporary Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Europe: Colonialist and Nationalist Impulses. Oxford: Berghahn. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt9qctm0
Published
2019-10-23
How to Cite
Whitehead, A. (2019). Indigenizing the Goddess. International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 9(2), 215-233. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsnr.37621