Starhawk is a leading theologian, writer, and activist of feminist Wicca, eco-feminism.   On June 17, 1951, Miriam Simos (who later took the name Starhawk) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota to Jewish parents. In 1982 she received a Master's degree in the feminist therapy program at Antioch University West. She worked as a psychotherapist in San Francisco from 1983 to 1986, then taught at Antioch West and other colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area focusing on feminism within the mental health field.

After becoming active in the Bay Area pagan scene and training with both Zsuzsanna Budapest and Victor Henry Anderson, Starhawk became a major voice in the feminist spirituality movement. This would lead to the development of her views of Wicca and witchcraft as a goddess religion and the creation of her first book The Spiral Dance: A Re-birth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess in 1979. Acting as both an introduction to early Wicca and as a manifesto for a spirituality that was focused around feminism and the divine feminine but that still welcome men amongst its ranks.  Starhawk explored the roots of the Wiccan revival through the lens of the anthropological Great Goddess hypothesis,  connecting the modern Wiccan movement to prehistorical goddess religions that continued in secret to the modern-day. While this theory is much debated today it acted as the basis for much of feminist neo-pagan philosophy during its infancy. This first work provides a foundation for her eventual activism in ecofeminism and social justice. 

Her next work, Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics (1982), explored the role of ritual as a focus for societal change through her experience during the 1981 blockage of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear power plant, her thoughts on nuclear annihilation, and her imprisonment for this protest through the lens of the prosecution of women for witchcraft during the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe. Later books--Truth Or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority and Mystery (1987), and Walking to Mercury (1997)--continued to explore the existential threat of nuclear annihilation and the power of feminist spirituality through semi-autobiographical stories as well as the creation of rituals for fellow Wiccan practitioners to use in their own life. 

Her work in the 1990s led he into various teaching positions at universities and spiritual institutions on the West Coast and brought her into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church and other socially conservative institutions. In more recent years her focus has moved into permaculture and environmental activism through her work Earth Activist Training Program but she is still currently active as a leader in the Reclaiming Collective, a feminist-focused again spiritual group.

Her archives are maintained at the Graduate Theological Union library in Berkeley, California. https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt638nf53z/entire_text/

Biography Date: May 2022


WICCAN | Feminism | Women's spirituality | Author/editor | Theology | Budapest, Z | San Francisco | California


“Starhawk | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed May 20, 2024, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/starhawk.


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