[Deleted material is indicated by the ellipses (dots). The length of the actual Preface about twice the length of this excerpt and includes endnotes not shown here.]
I am gratified with the reception this book has received since the publication of its first edition in 1997. Readers and reviewers have expressed enthusiastic appreciation, and excerpts from the book have been included in other works and publications. For instance, parts of chapters were reprinted in The Beltane Papers, and a condensed version of chapter 4 on Qabalah appears in the e-journal Matrifocus, Beltane 2002 issue. The invocation from the Waning Crescent Moon Ritual in the last chapter is reprinted in the anthology, A Pagan’s Muse (Kensington/Citadel 2003) and was included (in slightly different form), along with the blessing, in the Goddess 2000 Ritual created by Abby Willowroot and M. Macha NightMare and used at the turn of the century in hundreds of Goddess 2000 celebrations.
This second enlarged edition is graced by a Foreword by Rachel Pollack, author of The Body of the Goddess (1997) and many other books. . . .I am very grateful for her early and continuing encouragement of my work, and her discussion of it in her book, The Kabbalah Tree (2004).
Goddess Spirituality Evolves
Since the initial publication of Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century in 1997, the greatest influences bringing change to Goddess spirituality in general have been the Internet, Goddess Temples, and the increasing acceptance of Goddess imagery in some forms of Christianity and Judaism.
The general public was just starting to use the Internet when the first edition of this book was published. Early on, the phenomenon of “mailing lists,” discussion groups connected by email, brought into world-wide community people interested in Goddess and in women’s role in religion. . . . With the growth of the World Wide Web, hundreds to thousands of websites arose with information about the divine personified as female. This made information about Goddess studies, theory, groups, individuals, and rituals available in a way that was unimaginable at the time I began writing the first edition of this book in the early 1990s. . . .
The emergence of Goddess Temples as well as the increased acceptance of female divine images in Judaism and Christianity may be, at least in part, related to Internet influences and to the feeling that it is time for an organized, public community in real life. . . .
Validation of Kabbalah Approach
Research made more readily available to the public in the last decade or so about Ancient Near East cultures has bolstered the theories I set forth in the first edition of this book about the probable relationship of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life to ancient Goddess cultures. I’d like to thank Alexandra Genetti, creator of the Wheel of Change Tarot, for bringing to my attention shortly after the publication of the 1997 edition of this book, similarities between the Kabbalah tree glyph and the iconography in an illustration from Views of the Biblical World 2: Former Prophets. . . .This illustration shows a “cosmetic spoon” from the Late Bronze Age temple at Lachish. . . .A few months after I received this information, I found through the Internet many similar illustrations from Ancient Near East archeological digs, often representing the Tree of Life with sphere shapes similar to the sefirot. Goddess feminists’ books, such as Asphodel P. Long’s In a Chariot Drawn by Lions (1993) and Jenny Kien’s Reinstating the Divine Woman in Judaism (2000), provide additional evidence of the connection of Tree of Life symbolism with Goddess worship in the Ancient Near East. A recent book by archeologist William Dever, Did God Have a Wife? (2005), shows an ancient Egyptian drawing of a “tree goddess” (a tree with a humanoid breast) nursing a human, and a jar dated 9th-8th century B.C.E. that has a stylized palm tree with a goat on each side. The tree itself resembles the later Kabbalah tree glyph. . . .As it turns out, many Israelite artifacts show either a tree or a downward-pointing triangle with two lions (or other animals) on either side, understood by the Israelites to be the Goddess Asherah ("the Lion Lady") accompanied by her animals. . . .
Interest in the relationship between Goddess concepts and scientific theory is increasing in the Goddess community, but there is still room for more growth, which I believe will occur as an increasing number of Goddessians with advanced degrees in various sciences explore this area further. Of particular current interest are the relationships between Goddess and such topics as black holes and chaos theory, as well as other aspects of quantum physics and cosmology. . . . Of course the environmental sciences, as well as evolutionary theory, have been friends with Goddess spirituality for some time.
Second Edition Changes & Additions
The second edition of Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century includes the first edition in its entirety plus some new material. In general the changes in this second edition represent fine-tuning rather than extensive revision of the material in the previous edition. For example, chapter 5, titled “Re-Visioning Kabbalah” in the first edition has been re-titled, “Re-Visioning the Tree,” in this second edition and contains a new drawing of the Re-Visioned Tree showing the remarkable pattern made by the sefirot gender. Discussions of some subjects, such as the “Nature of the Goddess” in chapter 1 and new gender imagery in chapter 5, have been expanded with added information that clarifies and provides additional understanding to material in the previous edition.
Entirely new sections in this second edition are:
―Foreword by Rachel Pollack
―Appendix 1, musical notation for songs in the rituals
―Appendix 2, “Tree of Life” tarot spreads that use the symbolism from the Re-Visioned Tree
―Appendix 3, a discussion guide
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