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Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister: Religions Dominated by Women

by Sered, Susan Starr

  • ISBN: 9780195083958
  • ISBN10: 0195083954

Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister: Religions Dominated by Women

by Sered, Susan Starr

  • List Price: $27.50
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publish date: 01/01/2009
  • ISBN: 9780195083958
  • ISBN10: 0195083954
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Description: In this fascinating and pathbreaking work, Susan Starr Sered uncovers, describes, and analyzes religions, scattered throughout the world, in which women are both the majority of leaders and the majority of participants. How are these women's religions different from those dominated by men? What can we learn from them about the ways in which women experience and interpret the supernatural? How do women construct religion? Looking for common threads linking groups as diverse as the Sande secret societies of West Africa, matrilineal spirit cults of northern Thailand, Christian Science, and the Feminist Spirituality movement, Sered asks whether there is anything particularly "womanly" about women's religions. She finds that women's concerns and identity as mothers play a vital role in these female-dominated groups. Nurturing and concern for others are at the center, as are healing arts and ways of dealing with illness and the death of children. Religion not only enables women to find sacred meaning in their daily lives, from the preparation of food to caring for their families, but can offer intense and personal relationships with deities and spirits - often through ecstatic possession trance. These religions provide women with opportunities to celebrate and mourn with other women, as well as forums for advancing women's social and economic rights and security. In all of these religions, women priestesses, shamans or ritual experts embody the spiritual power available to women. By examining the shared experiences of women across great cultural divides, Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister offers a new understanding of the role gender plays in determining how individuals grapple with theultimate questions of existence. In the process, it not only highlights the profound differences between men and women, but the equally important ways in which we are all alike.
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