Mothering by the Support and Grace of God/dess and Friend Circles

Document Type

Popular Press


Social Justice


Feminist Studies in Religion

Publication Date



I don’t often put an image to God/dess, but when I do I see God/dess as a circle of women of all races in multi-colored dresses, swirling around, laughing, and holding up within their circle whomever is in need of their support. I’m not exactly sure when and from where I conceptualized this divine image. Christian feminist theology’s emphasis on embodiment, interrelatedness, diversity, and solidarity was certainly an influence. My ex-husband’s embrace of the Yoruba tradition and its pantheon of strong female orishas, many of them related to nature, might also have contributed to my image. Whatever its roots, I have called on this God/dess circle many times in the past years to embrace and lift up both myself and my daughters as they deal with chronic illness and I try to be there for them.

Both of my daughters look perfectly fit, happy, and healthy. As is true for many people with chronic health issues, their exteriors don’t always match what is going on internally. My older daughter has suffered from extreme intestinal problems from a young age. In addition, she copes with obsessive-compulsive disorder. For years, doctors told us she simply had irritable bowel syndrome, and they often insinuated that her constipation, bloating, and pain were connected to emotional issues. My younger daughter suffers from daily migraines and 3-5 second blackouts, and most recently from anxiety. Additionally, she has a vision impairment that requires accommodations.

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