Goddess Spirituality in Italy
Based on the findings of a piece of ethnographic research carried out among the Italian Goddess Spirituality movement, this chapter aims to investigate the relationship among secularism, religion and nascent forms of spirituality in order to illustrate the modalities with which they are affected when studied through the lens of gender. Specifically, the Goddess Spirituality movement is a quintessentially female religiosity, based on a regulative divine, symbolic principle of female qualities – the Goddess – and it also appears as an emblematic example of secular–spiritual integration. This aspect becomes clear if one focusses on the historical genesis and the various influences that have contributed to the development of this spirituality. On the one hand, the academic work of feminist scholars in different disciplines have contributed to the revival of this spirituality. On the other hand, the social and political issues promoted by the feminist movement has encouraged the development of this new countercultural form of spirituality where the female is endowed with spiritual significance and considered sacred. As a consequence, in Italy too Goddess Spirituality is slowly becoming an advocate of spiritual and social demands, integrating them into a coherent framework.