Written and compiled by George Knowles
Starhawk is an
American social and political activist,
a feminist Witch and the author of several books on Goddess spirituality,
Witchcraft and Paganism. Her most
famous book: The Spiral Dance:
A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess
was first published in
1979, and has been credited with inspiring many people, particularly women, to
join the craft and discover their own spirituality.
Starhawk was born Miriam Simos in St. Paul, Minnesota, on
the 17th June 1951. Her
father Jack Simos (a social
worker) died when she was just 5
years old, while her mother Bertha Claire Goldfarb Simos was a professor of
social work at UCLA (University of
California - Los Angeles). Her
grandparents were immigrant Orthodox Jews from Russia, and so as a child she was
brought up in that same religion. Later
as she became more aware of the bias shown against women in main-line
religions, she gravitated away from Judaism into Goddess spirituality, Witchcraft and Paganism.
Educated in public schools, Starhawk proved to be a natural leader, and while still in high school was involved in organizing Vietnam War peace/protest rallies, her first experience with social activism. This early experience led to her life long association with political activism within the feminist movement, and her active participation in land and environmental issues. More recently she is more involved with anti-Globalization issues and Permaculture (*see definition below).
After finishing high school in 1968, Starhawk moved to Venice,
California and enrolled at the UCLA as a film student majoring in Art.
She graduated from there with
a B.A. degree (cum laude) in
1972. A year later in 1973,
she started a graduate course in Psychology and feminist therapy at Antioch West
University, eventually earning a M.A. degree in 1982.
during the late 1960’s had become one of America’s hot-spot breeding grounds
for the newly emerging feminist
and Neo-Pagan movements, and it was here that Starhawk became involved in
Goddess worship. Throughout the
early 1970’s she studied magick and witchcraft with a number of prominent
teachers, most notably with Victor H. Anderson (founder of the Faery tradition)
and Zsuzsanna Budapest (founder of America’s first women’s only coven, the Susan
B. Anthony Coven Number One).
Budapest - Victor H. Anderson
By the mid
1970’s Starhawk was teaching her own classes on witchcraft at the Bay Area
Centre for Alternative Education in San Francisco, and while there founded her
first coven Compost. On
the 22nd January 1975
she married her first husband Edwin Rahsman, a marriage that lasted until October
1982 (one source says he deceased,
another that they divorced??).
1975, her Compost coven became one of the original member covens that formed the
Covenant of the Goddess (COG). A
year later following on from Alison Harlow their first President, she was
elected to the same high office for the term 1976-1977.
She later founded another coven called Honeysuckle, a women’s
only coven, perhaps inspired by that of her earlier mentor Zsuzsanna Budapest,
however the rituals used in both her covens were based on those of the Faery
tradition taught to her by Victor Anderson.
From 1978 to 1980 Starhawk worked as a freelance film
writer on industrial training films, during which her first book was published
in 1979: The
Spiral Dance: A
Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess.
The Spiral Dance documents her early experiences working with Zsuzsanna
Budapest, and her training in Faery Witchcraft with Victor and Cora Anderson.
Following the launch of her book and while working with Diane Baker,
together they founded a more politically active coven called Raving. This eventually became known as:
Centre for Feminist Spirituality and Counseling.
Based in Berkeley, California, coven Raving taught basic classes called: Elements of Magic, and was focused mainly on Goddess
In 1982 after completing her Master’s degree at Antioch
West University, from 1983 to 1986 she worked as a psychotherapist specializing in feminist therapy in San Francisco. She
later took up teaching positions at Antioch West and various other colleges in
the San Francisco Bay Area. As well
as teaching, Starhawk traveled extensively throughout the USA, and visited Europe
and the Middle East giving lectures on various aspects Goddess
spirituality and workshops on performing Craft Rituals.
During the late 1980’s Starhawk contributed
to and was featured in a trio of film
documentaries directed by Donna
for the National Film Board of Canada and known as the Women’s Spirituality
Series, the first film Goddess Remembered was released in 1989 and
examines theories about
Goddess worship in Old European cultures.
It was followed by The Burning Times released in 1990, which gives
a feminist view of the Early
European witchcraft trials. The
final film of the series Full
Circle was released in
1993, and focuses on Goddess
spirituality and feminist Wicca in the 20th century.
On the 13th
June 1992, Starhawk married
her second husband David Miller, a fellow activist teacher with the Reclaiming
collective and a self-styled guitar-playing singer
fronting a band called the Honky Tonk Communists.
Miller is also the author of an autobiography called:
I Didn’t Know God Made Honky Tonk Communists (2001).
In it he gives his own account of how on
the 15th October 1965 during a Vietnam
War demonstration in Washington, he became the first person to publicly
destroy and burn his draft card in protest, an action that later caused him to
serve 22 months in a Pennsylvania federal prison.
After the release of the Full Circle film, Starhawk and Donna Read formed their own film company called Belili Productions. Their first film production was called Signs Out of Time (2004). This is a documentary about the life of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, a Lithuanian-American scholar whose Neolithic and Bronze Age research revealed major discoveries about Goddess cultures in Old Europe (a term she coined herself). Starhawk and Donna are now working on a new series of documentaries about Earth healing, Regenerative design and Permaculture.
As a political activist for more than 40 years, since her
early involvement in the Vietnam War peace protest rallies of the 1960s, and
through the anti-nuclear demonstrations of the 1970/80’s, Starhawk has
supported and helped train and organize peace activists ready for non-violent
action in many area’s of the United States.
She has also worked on countless land and environmental issues, and was a founder of the Cazadero
Hills Land Use Council in Western Sonoma County. Outside of the US, she has worked with Witness for Peace
in Nicaragua and El Salvador in support of their sustainability programs, and
more recently has visited the Occupied Territories of Palestine working with the
International Solidarity Movement (ISM) a Palestinian-led movement using
non-violent, direct-action protest methods in their efforts to secure peace
on both sides of the Israeli conflict.
In 2001 Starhawk co-founded the Root Activists’
Network of Trainers (RANT), who provide training, education and information
to local, national and international organizations working for global peace and
justice. She also co-teaches with a
group called Earth Activist Training (EAT), who provides intensive
training seminars combining permaculture design, political organizing and
earth-based spirituality. In more
recent times her focus has been on the anti-globalization movement.
She took part in the 1999 anti-WTO (World Trade Organization) action in
Seattle, and the 2002 anti-IMF (International
Monetary Fund) and World Bank demonstrations in Washington, D.C.
Today Starhawk continues to work with and support the
Reclaiming collective network fusing together activism with earth-based
spirituality and healing. She also
continues to travel both in the United States and internationally, giving lectures and workshops on the Goddess
spirituality and activism. As well
as books, she writes a regular column for the Reclaiming Quarterly, and
is a columnist on the Web for http://www.beliefnet.com/
She spends part of her time living in San Francisco sharing a collective
house with her husband and friends, and for the rest of her time, lives in a
quiet secluded cabin located in the woods of western Sonoma County, California,
is sustainable land use design. This is based on ecological and biological
principles, often using patterns that occur in nature to maximize effect and minimize
work. Permaculture aims to create stable, productive systems that
provide for human needs, harmoniously integrating the land with its inhabitants.
The ecological processes of plants, animals, their nutrient cycles, climatic
factors and weather cycles are all part of the picture. Inhabitants’ needs are
provided for using proven technologies for food, energy, shelter and
infrastructure. Elements in a system are viewed in relationship to other
elements, where the outputs of one element become the inputs of another. Within
a Permaculture system, work is minimized, “wastes” become resources,
productivity and yields increase, and environments are restored. Permaculture
principles can be applied to any environment, at any scale from dense urban
settlements to individual homes, from farms to entire regions.
(Extracted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture)
The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of
the Great Goddess.
Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics.
Boston, Beacon, 1982, 1988, 1997 editions.
Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and
Mystery. San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco,1988.
The Fifth Sacred Thing. New York, Bantam, 1993.
Walking to Mercury. New York, Bantam, 1997.
The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, co-written
with M. Macha NightMare and the Reclaiming Collective. San Francisco,
Circle Round: Raising Children in the Goddess Tradition.
Co-written with Anne Hill and Diane Baker. Illustrated by Sara Ceres Boore.
New York, Bantam, 1998.
The Twelve Wild Swans: A Journey to the Realm of Magic,
Healing, and Action, co-written with Hilary Valentine. San Francisco,
Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising.
Victoria, Canada; New Society Publishers, 2002.
The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of
Nature. San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 2004
The Last Wild Witch. Portland, Oregon: Mother Tongue Ink. 2009.
many more to mention.
- 25th September 2010 ©
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek
Mythology) / Esbats &
Full Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders and Elders)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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