Merlin Stone: A Foremother of Women’s Spirituality

You may have heard that Merlin Stone died last month. The world, and my world, is a more enlightened, courageous, and spiritually rich place because she lived. She changed so many lives with her 1976 book When God Was a Woman, describing ancient Goddess religions and cultures and how we ended up where we are today.  The waves of spiritual rebirth that began with that book are still reverberating through our universe in more ways than we will likely ever know.

I still have my copy from about 1980, dirty and smudged from 30 years of moves and reading, in the bookcase where my most precious books are kept. Merlin Stone and her book made real our female sacredness and showed us a face of the Divine that looked like our own.

The only time I saw Merlin Stone speak was at a talk I attended on my 25th birthday.  I wondered, as I walked into the room that evening, if the special coincidence of the date meant that something special was going to happen to me, and it did. She discussed the material in her book, but mostly she talked about how the book was written, how she knew it was a book that had to be written because so many magical things happened during its writing. I remember, in particular, that she recounted how she would go to a library and request a book, only to have the librarian bring the wrong book.  As it happened, however, the book brought to her was one she had never heard of but that had just the information she needed. It was a profoundly moving evening during which I learned that women’s spirituality wasn’t just something interesting to read about, but a living, moving force in the world that I wanted to be part of.

Merlin Stone was not only an amazing author, but was also a wonderful sculptor and storyteller. Her book of Goddess lore, Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood, is a complete joy to read. I still find inspiration and learn something new whenever I open it.  I am deeply sad that our world has lost her, but joyful that she lived and gave us all such gifts. I will miss her.

Z Budapest is initiating remembrance celebrations on April 10 and September 24th. You can find more information about the celebrations and Merlin Stone  here.

If you haven’t read her work, do and discover her for yourself.

By Carolyn Lee Boyd

Carolyn Lee Boyd is a writer, drummer, and herb and native plant gardener who lives in New England. Her essays, short stories, memoirs, reviews, and poetry have been published in, among others, Sagewoman, Feminism and Religion, Return to Mago E-Zine, The Goddess Pages, Matrifocus, and The Beltane Papers, and various anthologies. Her work focuses on spirituality in everyday life and encouraging new ways to better live in local and global community by seeking guidance in traditional myths, stories, and practices and creating new myths and stories to find our way to a more peaceful, just, and sustainable future.

1 comment

  1. Merlin will certainly be missed, very sad that she has passed. When God Was A Woman is the most important book I have ever read – many years ago and it changed my life, which sounds dramatic, but I know those reading this will understand it. It WAS a very dramatic and profound change. Where would I be had I not read it?
    May she rest easy in the arms of the Lady!

    Very beautifully said, Elizabeth! Thank you for your comment.

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