Pamphlet 23: ‘Wisdom, Nature and Spirit’, Carol MacCormack, 1994

Written by an anthropologist, this pamphlet looks at some alternative spiritualities, particularly those based on the wisdom of the feminine. This is a search for alternative or new forms of understanding spirituality in the accepted institutions and religions in the Western World.

The emphasis is on the wisdom of the feminine and the natural world. It is the women who tend to be more involved with life as in birth, nurturing and caring for those suffering. Here she looks at the role of Wiccan rituals. Wiccans (old English for witches) were often the wise women who healed the sick and delivered babies. She warns of the dangers of mystical and symbolic spirituality, citing the emotional and ritualistic rise of Nazi Germany.

MacCormack wrote this pamphlet at a time when civilisation was in deep crisis. Workers were on low pay and socially marginalised. There was uprising against immigrants and refugees. Sounds familiar. As an anthropologist she saw the need for a civic religion which compels a collective humanitarian sense of community. A society that has a more socially and ecologically balance, along with gender equality, is far more peaceful than one dominated by masculine ideologies, driven by technologies or hierarchical structures.

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