THANK YOU for this. As one raised Jewish and a JewWitch, honoring my Jewish heritage while practicing my Goddess beliefs and ritual, connecting with other women and founding my own Amazon Tradition, my problem is that in so many womyn's circles, they are still reacting to xtianity and including aspects of it in their beliefs so much that I often feel uncomfortable in a circle, and sometimes neigh invisible because they never go deep or far enough. I don't have interest in Mary Magdelene or any xtian beliefs whatsoever because I've ALWAYS been an 'other' religion. I'm not reacting and overcoming Catholicism, repressive fundamentalist religion, or any of the sort. I was raised in NYC in a liberal reform Jewish household, a Jewish father born and raised in NYC and xtian mother from the deep south....an inter'racial'/ethnic household. Even though she converted to Judaism for our sake, so we could be raised Jewish, she never believed in it, and turned against Jews once my father divorced her. Much of our celebration of the holidays and Jewish ethnic pride came from my grandparents who we visited every weekend, and stayed with every holiday and during the summers in Brooklyn.
Coming into women's spirituality, I've always questioned things, I'm deeply mystical, I study, study, study and have many books on women's spirituality. I don't take ANYTHING on 'faith'. I have to experience it for myself. Unfortunately there has been so many reform aspects to the women's spirituality movement that they don't go nearly far back enough for me, don't unpack many of their xtian assumptions and privileges, don't do the research to ancient Goddess times. If xtians have to go back 2000 years to find a 'prechristian' past, Jews have to go back much much further than that. Perhaps that's why I find the Ancient Amazons attractive, Greek mythology, which I studied way more in grade school than my own Jewish religion, and adopted almost as my own back then when my primary Goddess 'called' to me. I simply could not stop studying Greek mythology, because I so craved Female Diety and spiritual imagery, or about the Ancient Amazons. She called to me in the 5th grade, and has called ever since. Also I am hugely attracted to the Primal Ancient Mothers preceding ALL patriarchal religion. The powerful Venus of Willendorf, Sleeping Goddess, huge gargantuan primal Goddess images going back 30,000 years.
I won't go to a 'WomanChurch' or use any form of crosses in my spirituality, whether it be 4 directional crosses, Celtic or Solar Crosses. I have a huge aversion to these. It took many, many years till I could tolerate Egyptian imagery, having been raised on the powerful story of the Exodus from Egypt and into Freedom for the Jews, in the Passover story, which I really value as part of my Jewish heritage. Passover is an important holiday to me, and one of the few my family regularly got together and celebrated. I also went to Feminist, Gay and LeatherDyke versions of the Passover Seder, so for many years I worshipped with women or primarily women in these, and it was jarring to do a Passover Seder led by my Dad which was entirely patriarchal. Nor could he or his wife acknowledge my need to only use FEMALE nouns and pronouns for a Higher Power. Something I do in A.A. meetings, but I will NOT acknowledge them in any religious service(male nouns/pronouns). Or something generic LIKE "Higher Power" that folks can attach any gender they want onto it...or imagery.
These are things that most Goddess women who are xtian raised don't get and don't completely understand. They bring their xtian assumptions right in with them, especially if they are newer and haven't unpacked alot of these assumptions, or done their ancient Goddess research. The Goddess is not 'God in a dress'. Nor does She need to be a deity of sacrifice. I like the Charge of the Star Goddess for this when she says "I demand aught of sacrifice"....that whole penance and suffering martyrdom thing so endemic to much of Christianity. "Get off the cross, we need the wood."
I could say much much more, but I will say I much prefer it when I circle with womyn from varying backgrounds, including Jewish and Native American. It brings greater balance and perspective with others who can counter xtian assumptions and practices, and get to the deep deep roots of magick, ritual, Witchcraft, and honoring of the Sacred Female within and without..and it's always important to do our magical studies and research to further develop our skills, something I know I internally get from my Jewish roots and the thirst for knowledge and connection around Jewish mysticism and scholarly study. I want my belief to have some connection with what went before, even if I have to look back as far as 3000-30,000 years ago! Then once having done that research, I want to 'let go' and ritual and experience the right brain ecstasy and joy of deep deep spiritual connection as my DykeAmazon Wildwomon Self, and KNOW I am not alone in this!
There is always more to learn, and never take anything a human says at face value, I always question! And experience the ecstasy and joy for myself, much like the Chasids dance together in their ecstasy and joy, in my case, my mysteries are shared with womyn only and for full female empowerment and connection with Goddess and Sacred Female worldwide in connection with MOther Earth and Her cycles! -In Sisterhood, FeistyAmazon