Cultures We Could Have, Part 2: WomanSpirit, the first magazine of feminist spirituality

Womanspirit Magazine

The first magazine of feminist spirituality, WomanSpirit chronicled the exciting exploration of women’s changing lives through the decade 1974-1984. WomanSpirit showcased art and writing from women all over the world, from the academy to alternative cultures. Produced in forested Southern Oregon by an open WomanSpirit of volunteers, inspired and sustained by editors Jean and Ruth Mountaingrove, it was published quarterly as the seasons turned.

WomanSpirit explored creating women’s culture, ecology, ritual, healing, psychic abilities, feminist politics, women’s life stages, wicca, divination, death and dying, goddess myths and traditions, and many other topics. Gorgeous artwork, photographs, songs, stories, articles, discussions, poems, letters, and book reviews sparked and connected the international web of contributors and subscribers.

Simply and beautifully bound, this magazine is a snapshot of a different (?) era of identity based politics, where folks were developing incredible vernacular cultures, languages and spaces for their own cultures to thrive in, outside and far beyond the dominant culture. It is no coincidence that this mag was published in Wolf Creek, Oregon the sight of many lands set up to be run collectively as womens lands (such as Cabbage Land (1972), WomanShare (1974), and Fishpond, OWL (1976), Fly Away Home, Rainbow’s End (1974), and Rainbow’s Other End, WHO (1972) and We’Moon Healing Ground).

When a magazines and the cultures they speak for get this wonderfully rich , we certainly begin to depart from any kind of traditional patriarchy.

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About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in Tucson, Arizona with Stephanie Smith.