By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Rather than immediately shooing these poor souls away or calling the cops, the temple's priestesses inform them that they are in a place of worship for women, that they should feel free to send their wives, sisters and girlfriends, and that men are welcomed to special events.
"We love the men," the Rev. said. "They, too, are part of all that is divine."
The Goddess Temple was founded in 32,002.
"No, that's not a typo," she said. "We date not from Christianity, but from the Paleolithic when The Goddess was first honored."
Orange County women have learned of the temple's existence by word of mouth. The curious generally check out a Sunday service—women only, of course—before becoming hooked.
"During services, we do magic, allow sacred energies to move through our bodies, fill ourselves up with these and then send out the extra to those who need it in the world," the Rev. said. "We hold the vision for a new way of being in the world: peaceful, powerful, abundant, joyful. These are our natural rights as humans, but in order to own them, we must claim them. And we do."
Most newbies find this refreshing, having previously only been exposed to churches where one person—usually a man—tells them how things are, what they should think and how they should act.
"In our church, we do indeed have a facilitating woman who guides the transitions from the singing to the drumming to the sharing to the praying to the libations, but we all contribute equally to the energy of what is happening in the room," said the Rev. "It's much more alive and real and immediate and fulfilling."
She insisted that women can only "remember and personally re-experience our ancient spiritual power" without the distraction of men present, "wonderful as they are."
And as all that unrelated goddess talk at the top of this story illustrates, women seem to be craving faiths like hers these days.
"People are realizing that the prevailing Big Five—Judeo, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu—Patriarchy has shown us all it can. The dominator model has run its course."
The Rev. Ava turned Cheney-esque.
"It's still very much operating in the world, but it is definitely in its death throes—it's all but done. We're all becoming very sick of wars and mistreating each other. We're seeing new paradigms of creation."
Then she turned Gore-esque.
"Something is shifting. It started in the 1970s when we saw our home planet from space for the first time, and with temples such as ours arising, the shift is starting to gain momentum. It will take time certainly—those in power don't give it up easily—but people are starting to get the inconvenient truth, as Al Gore—a true, powerful goddess man—says, we can no longer afford to disrespect and abuse our first mother, the Earth."
The Goddess Temple will continue its goal of "bringing a balance" to the women of Orange County in the meantime. But, hey, Rev. Ava: What about the dudes?
"The Women of the Sacred Feminine are already including them! The men are an absolutely integral part of the whole process. We pray for and affirm their peace, true power—not force, as in David Hawkins' Power vs. Force, [a] fabulous explanation of the critical difference—and fulfillment right along with our own. It's all tied together in one great web."
WORSHIP SERVICES FOR WOMEN AT THE GODDESS TEMPLE OF ORANGE COUNTY, 17905 SKY PARK CIRCLE, STE. A, IRVINE, (877) 683-6753; WWW.GODDESSTEMPLEOFORANGECOUNTY.COM. SUN. GUIDED MEDITATION, 9 A.M.; MAIN SERVICE WITH DRUMMING, DANCING, RITUAL AND GUEST SPEAKERS, 11 A.M.