Mojuba and Todah, respect and deep gratitude to my mother Rita Kolb Grenn, my grandmothers Annie Francesca Kolb and Gertrud Silberstein Gruenbaum, to my father Walter Joachim Grenn—all of whom instilled in me compassion, an unfailing moral compass, and a thirst for knowledge. Thanks, too, to all my ancestors for insisting that I follow my intuition, especially my godmother, educator, activist and spiritual leader Milli Sabath, and dear friend and inspirer Kaye Schuman, z”l, both of blessed memory, for their faith in me, their sage advice and unwavering support.
Modupe/Todah/many thanks also go to my elders and spiritual teachers, especially: Yeye Aworo Fajembola Fatunmise, Ohen Imene Nosokpikan and Iya Isefalona Oshogbo, ibaye, who taught me to hear the ancestors–and to pay attention; and to Rabbi Nadya Gross and Rabbi Shefa Gold, who connect me to my roots and my future.
D’vorah J. Grenn, Ph.D., Kohenet, is the Founding Director of The Lilith Institute (1997), a San Francisco Bay Area-based producer of women’s spirituality/study circles, public and private rituals and a variety of lecture series. She served as Co-Director and later Chair of the former Women’s Spirituality MA Program, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology/Sofia University in Palo Alto, California, and was the founding kohenet/priestess of Mishkan Shekhinah, a movable sanctuary honoring the Sacred Feminine in all spiritual traditions. Dr. Grenn’s dissertation, “For She Is a Tree of Life: Shared Roots Connecting Women to Deity” was an inquiry into Jewish women’s religious/cultural identities, beliefs and ritual practices among the South African Lemba and United States women.
Dr. Grenn co-produced the annual Women’s Rites of Spring Festival in Napa since its inception in 2004 through 2007, with Kahuna Leilani Birely, founder of Daughters of the Goddess. She also created Kol Ha-Ruach/Voice of the Spirit classes.
Her other writings include:
Lilith’s Fire: Reclaiming our Sacred Lifeforce (Universal Publishers, 2000)
“How Women Construct And Are Formed By Spirit: She Who Is Everywhere In Women’s Voices, Kol Isha, Maipfi A Vhafumakadzi” (She Is Everywhere, Volume I, Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, ed. 2005)
“Creator Woman – Deity, Snake and Life-Giving Waters: The Active Female Principle in the Fertile Crescent, Carthage and South Africa” – She Is Everywhere, Volume II (Annette Williams, Karen Villanueva and Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum, eds.; Authors Choice Press, 2007.)
“Claiming The Title Kohenet: Examining Goddess Judaism and the Role of the Priestess” – A paper presented at “Women and the Divine” Conference, Liverpool and later published in the Women in Judaism Multidisciplinary Journal, 2008 (available: https://wjudaism.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/wjudaism/article/view/3545)
“Lilith’s Fire: Examining Original Sources of Power, Re-defining Sacred Texts as Transformative Theological Practice” – Feminist Theology journal, September 2007.
Her most recent book is an anthology of the sacred writings of 72 women from 25 different spiritual traditions: Talking To Goddess: A Collection of Blessings, Prayer-Poems, Chants, Meditations and Invocations (available on Lulu.com.) Comments and discussion are welcome on the blog.
…to a few women without whom this work would have looked quite different.
Thanks to cultural theorist Judy Grahn for giving us a new origin story, and for her extraordinary vision and insight into human behavior. Judy, internationally renowned poet and author and co-founder of the lesbian feminist movement, created Metaformic Theory and teaches a new form of consciousness (see Commonality Institute) which changes all our lives. Her poems and books are treasured, including The Common Woman poems; edward the dyke; She Who; Another Mother Tongue; Blood, Bread and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World; Queen of Swords; The Judy Grahn Reader, love belongs to those who do the feeling, Hanging On Our Own Bones and more. She is editor of Metaformia: A Journal of Menstruation and Culture (www.metaformia.org).
Gratitude to Kris Brandenburger, educator par excellence and author, “THE REDDEST ROSE UNFOLDS: a girl’s own fish stories” — for her feminist consciousness, restless intellect, patient encouragement and wisdom over the years.
Thanks to Dianne E. Jenett for her leadership, compassion, discernment and courage; for co-creating a powerful feminist research method, Organic Inquiry, together with the late beloved Dorothy Ettling, Jennifer Clements and Lisa Shields; and for co-founding, with Judy Grahn, Serpentina, Women-Centered Research for Everybody (www.serpentina.com), a container big enough to hold us all.
Much appreciation also goes to Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Blu Greenberg, shamanic healer Vicki Noble (www.motherpeace.com), feminist peace activist and visionary Starhawk (www.starhawk.org and www.reclaiming.org), feminist historian and artist Max Dashu (www.suppressedhistories.net), change agents Cosi Fabian (of blessed memory), Krissy Keefer (www.dancebrigade.org) and others too numerous to name here, for their pioneering work in reconfiguring our world.
For years, these women have acted according to their consciences as they modeled new ways of thinking and positive social change, following their visions and manifesting their values even when doing so put them in jeopardy or caused them to be ostracized by those with narrower minds. They, and many other cutting-edge scholars, writers, artists, priestesses and spiritual leaders across different spiritual traditions and disciplines, are part of an ongoing paradigm shift.