Growing up in Baltimore, Sharron Rose was enamored
of fairies and princesses, characters she explored
as a serious student of dance and theater, her sights
set on Broadway.
But along the way she traded bright lights for
the pursuit of inner light, and immersed herself
in the study and practice of goddesses, a calling
she now shares with other women.
The Los Olivos resident has spent more than 25
years studying and taking part in goddess culture,
mythology, sacred dance and spiritual practices,
a personal journey outlined in her new book, The
Path of the Priestess: A Guidebook for Awakening
the Divine Feminine.
Now on a national book tour, Ms. Rose will return
to Santa Barbara next week to share her insights
on Awakening the Divine Feminine in a
free lecture and discussion (with music) from 7:30
to 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum,
21 W. Anapamu St. A workshop will follow on June
Ms. Roses work offers an intellectual survey
of goddess culture and mythology, and it explores
the rites, teachings, stories and mysteries of feminine
spirituality in a variety of religious traditions.
It also contains a stinging critique of the patriarchal
and technological aspects of modern culture, which
she says have caused women to forget their innate
sense of divinity and their power to heal, to nurture
and to love the world back into a sense of balance
Its a message that women are eager to hear,
judging from those who have flocked to Ms. Roses
book signings in search of a way to make their lives
more authentic and meaningful.
there is this wave of women, real women,
who are opening up to one another and sharing their
insights, and to me its like a dream, she
said this week, in a phone interview from the East
Coast. I wrote the book so that women could
understand who they are, and to join together with
their sisters, and they are starting to weave the
sacred sisterhood, and they are bringing their daughters.
Its not like the womens groups
of the 1960s, when women got together to bitch about
men. No. This is about women really waking up to
love and support and nurturing.
A longtime feminist, Ms. Rose is opposed to the
Western concept of womanhood, which she believes
has been manipulated and distorted by a consumer
culture that worships male-oriented concepts of success,
leaving women bereft and confused.
The evidence of this can be found in all the women
who strive to obtain fulfillment and self-esteem
through plastic surgery, starvation diets and pharmaceutical
drugs, she believes.
With the rise of patriarchy and disappearance
of womens rites, women were left floundering
in a mans world with no one to help them understand
their true natures, capacities and purposes in life. she
writes Separated from their ancient female
heritage and living lives dominated by fear and repression,
women no longer even knew that it was their task
to create and maintain the psychic-energetic landscape
in a positive, harmonious way. The result has been
increasing disorder and chaos.
An accomplished dancer as well as a Fulbright scholar
in world mythology, religion and sacred dance, Ms.
Rose voyaged into the realm of the goddess while
studying in India in the 1980s, with her young son
by her side. (As a young scholar, she had trouble
being taken seriously because of her beauty and her
lithe physique, another problem women face in modern
culture, she said.)
In India, she became the first American disciple
of the legendary Kathak dancer, Sitara Devi, and
was initiated into the sacred tradition of Indian
tantric arts that had been handed down from teacher
to student for thousands of years. Kathak dancing
involves expressing the myths and stories of Indian
goddesses through movement.
Her goddess world view was further shaped by an
esoteric collection of experiences and study into
Tibetan Buddhism, Gnosticism and ancient Egyptian
practice, as well as from the Hebrew tradition into
which she was born. She also studied trance and psychophysical
techniques with researcher Dr. Robert Masters.
It was during her travels as a student and teacher,
seeker and dance performer, that Ms. Rose met her
husband, Jay Weidner, a hermetic scholar who shares
her interest in the study of spiritual traditions.
The pair plan a second book together, for men and
Her book introduces the reader to various female
goddesses and the characteristics they represent,
as well as giving specific instructions on techniques
for entering the goddess mindset via visualization
There are chapters on Discovering Strength
and Power, Exploring Sensuality, and Experiencing
Love and Compassion. with segments on attaining
majesty, passion, humility and divine love, among
The primary goal of the exercises is to offer
insight into the Divine Feminine, an experience that
will enable you to do more than just see the Goddess
in the inner dimensions of your mind or visualize
her standing before you, she writes.
Through the process, you will begin to re-attune
yourself to the radiant light of her divine current
and like the priestesses, yoginis, and wise women
of old, once again weave the psychic-energetic, emotional
landscape of our world in a truthful and loving manner.
Modern women who fear that they will be unable
to locate their inner goddess need not despair, said
If you have had no training in the ways of
old, in the power of meditation, prayer, song and
dance, it does not mean that the doors to the sacred
inner sanctum of the goddess are closed to you. You
need only knock, and the Goddess will answer.