Spiritual motherhood: Finding common ground in the ‘sacred feminine’

Is there a special spirituality in motherhood? Different religions have different answers. In Catholicism and Mormonism, motherhood is upheld as a special, sacred realm for women — a vocation or calling all its own. In other faith traditions, motherhood is acknowledged but is not often a focus of sacred texts, exegesis or preaching.

But virtually every world religion has some revered mother figure — Durga (Hinduism), Tara (Buddhism), Rachel (Judaism), Mary (Christianity), Khadijah (Islam) — and even some newer religions have strong female mother figures, such as the Heavenly Mother in Mormonism. Scholars say many are linked to the prehistorical idea of the “sacred” or “divine feminine” — the worship and reverence of the female.

Is there something intrinsically spiritual or religious in motherhood? In the feminine? How might this be a bridge between different faiths? What role does the ancient concept of the sacred feminine continue to play in contemporary religions? In the religious and spiritual lives of contemporary women who are — and are not — mothers?

Recent developments

The concept of womanhood has been at the center of several developments in world religions recently:


Academic centers

Online resources

  • TheJewishWoman.org, a project of Chabad, maintains online resources for Jewish women and spirituality, including a page titled “Spirituality and the Feminine” and another on birth and parenting.
  • The Spiritual Motherhood Sodality was established by Pope John Paul II to foster a sense of motherhood as a vocation for women within the Catholic Church. It was founded by the Rev. Joseph Aytona and is based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Contact 800-818-0584.
  • The United States Institute of Peace maintains a special section on its study called Women, Religion and Peace. Its website contains videos and interviews on the subject of women, religion, spirituality, peace and conflict resolution.
  • Women’s Spirituality Forum

    The Women’s Spirituality Forum in San Francisco is a nonprofit group focused on Earth-based and Dianic religions and spiritualities and women. Contact via founder Z Budapest.

International sources

National sources




  • Zsuzsanna Budapest

    Zsuzsanna Budapest — more commonly known as Z Budapest — is one of the founders of the revival of Earth-based, women-focused spirituality movement of the 1960s and 1970s. She is the author of more than a dozen books on women’s spirituality and Earth-based religions and teaches in San Francisco.

  • Rose Cole

    Rose Cole describes herself as a “visionary” and is frequently on television describing spirituality and womanhood. She promotes something she calls “rituality” — the creation of rituals for women based on their everyday lives — and offers private coaching and training for “high priestesses.” She offers coaching classes in “sacred motherhood.”

  • Phyllis Curott

    Phyllis Curott is one of the world’s first public Wiccan priestesses. She is founder and president of the Temple of Ara, a shamanic Wiccan community. She lives on Long Island in New York and is the author of multiple books on Wicca and goddess spirituality, including Book of Shadows.



    Contact: 888-507-9934.
  • Grandmother Flordemayo

    Grandmother Flordemayo is on the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the wisdom of indigenous women. She is Mayan, originally from Central America, but now living in New Mexico. She is a trained curandero, or healer, and travels to speak about indigenous women’s wisdom and spirituality.

  • Heather MacFadyen

    Heather MacFadyen is a Christian podcaster and blogger who writes about motherhood at GodCenteredMom.com. Contact via her website.

  • Anne Scott

    Anne Scott is a Sufi teacher and founder of the DreamWeather Foundation in Sebastopol, Calif. She develops and leads workshops and retreats on women’s spirituality in the United States and other countries.

  • Charlene Spretnak

    Charlene Spretnak is one of the founders of the women’s spirituality movement in the U.S. She is the editor of The Politics of Women’s Spirituality and author of Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-Emergence in the Modern Church.  She is a professor emerita at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She lives in Ojai, Calif.

Regional sources


  • Kelli Bickman

    Kelli Bickman describes herself as a “spiritual warrior” and multimedia artist. Her art has been called part of the “Neo-Goddess” movement. She can talk about her expressions of the divine feminine through art. She lives in Woodstock, N.Y., which she describes as “the epicenter of peace and love.”

  • Lindsey Carlson

    Lindsey Carlson is a Christian, a pastor’s wife and a mother of four who writes frequently about Christian motherhood on several blogs, including her own, Wisdomrejoices.com. She lives in Maryland. Contact via her website.

  • Kumkum Pareek Malik

    Kumkum Pareek Malik is a psychologist originally from India who now practices in Wellesley, Mass. She focuses on the spirituality of motherhood, especially from a Hindu perspective.




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