Explore the ancient and vibrant world of the Divine Feminine….
The Supreme Goddess
An Embodied Theology of Elemental Enlightenment
This course offers
the unique opportunity to
The tradition of Shakti/Mahādevī offers a multidimensional theological ethos that integrates transcendence and immanence, the masculine and feminine, life and liberation, dynamic creativity and contemplative tranquility, and the intuitive and empirical dimensions of experience
This course will transmit the deeper meaning – beyond ceremonialism and sensationalism – of this richly hued wisdom path.
The tradition of the Divine Feminine offers a vast vision and wide-ranging potential application for critical, contemporary, eco-social challenges.
We will explore the traditions, texts, and teachings of this rare theological path of the Divine Feminine, which still remains globally extant as a major branch of Hindu spiritual life.
What are we afraid of? Is it possible to move beyond fear to flourishing regardless of circumstances?
How can the ancient and still vibrant tradition of the Great Goddess (Shakti) offer new pathways to justice, empowerment, and emancipation? Explore a pathway to an integrated experience of life and death, toward a life lived in peace yet imbued with passion.
This course offers a journey into the world of the Divine Feminine and the profound insights of her sacred texts.
Participants in this course will learn to:
4 On-Demand Lectures
Study at Your Own Pace
10 Hours of Content
Three Bonus Resources
A Philosophy Of Divine Presence
People often associate the Mother Goddess with fertility rites and ancient icons with swollen forms, indicating the gift of life. But this aspect is far more subtle and sophisticated in Shakta theology because it owes its understanding of reality—material, physical, energetic, and creative—to philosophical principles honed over millennia. She is known as Devi (Divine Feminine); Mahadevi (Supreme Divine Feminine); Shakti (the Power, Force, Capacity, Creativity of the sacred source); and Brahman (Ultimate Reality). She is the fount of the process of creation, continual creativity itself, the consciousness that infuses the cosmos, and the cosmic dynamism and Earthy biodiversity that results. When the divine is understood to be innate in matter-energy, then She/He/It is latent within physical beings, hidden within sentience, and alive inside ecosystems and their inhabitants. All of these are understood to be endowed with intrinsic value. Embodied sacrality opposes all forms of oppression and injustice.
The Story Of Shakta Bhakti
The Concept of the Supreme Goddess (Shakti), envisioned as the Source, Sustenance, and Support of the Universe, is nearly four millennia-old in Hindu experience. But Shakta Bhakti, the devotional loving surrender and service to the Divine Mother is relatively recent. It emerged between in the early modern period in the 17th century and became known internationally in the 20th century as the life story of the mystic Ramakrishna—the most renowned of the Shakti bhaktas—spread across cultures. With the arrival of modern Western scholarship on Hinduism, a broad and extensive study of the texts and festivals of the tradition of Mahadevi (lit. the Great Goddess) filtered into the reaches of yoga communities and into the quests of other spiritual seekers. But a indepth experience is difficult without access to an interlocutor with an internal understanding of the religious history and culture not only of Hinduism or India, but of West Bengal (a major state and sphere of cultural influence in India in medieval and modern India). We will not merely study this fascinating time and context; we will also explore the esoteric background of this period and the genesis of Shakta Bhakti.
The Universal Mother’s Love & Justice
The most famous text of the tradition of Shakti/Mahadevi is the Devī Māhātmyam (circa 500 CE) which sets forth—in rich, imaginative, fantastical narratives—the theology and theodicy of the Supreme Reality, the Divine Mother. This text combines ancient narratives, the concept of Mahadevi as Brahman (Supreme Reality), and Divine Mother who cares for and seeks justice for her creation. According to the tradition of this canonical sacred text, her justice is loving and liberative, and she dissolves the knots of ignorance, selfishness, and malevolence in the heart of beings. She does incarnate only in majestic forms, or even human ones, but states that she will return as a “Bee” at a time of great drought and lack of produce on Earth. The first Asian festival to be recognized as an Intangible Human Heritage is “Durga Puja,” the autumnal festival of the Great Goddess, Mahadevi, Shakti, in her form as liberator— celebrated with unique iconic art, aesthetics, liturgy, food, theatre, and sacred dance and song.
The Yoga Of The Divine Feminine
The vision of the earth as a sacred hierophany and material form of the divine is perhaps most dramatically displayed in Goddess theology, first crystallized in early and late medieval narrative philosophical theology. This vision finds further expression and culminates in the sophisticated systematization of the nature and functions of Shakti (the highest Feminine Principle) in the tantric tradition. Hindu Tantra, especially in its Shakta (Supreme Goddess-centered) strains offers a rich and nuanced resource for the construction of an ecologically-conscious spirituality. In this module, we will explore the ontology of Hindu Tantra as a viable source of inspiration for the development of a Hindu ecofeminist theological vision.
Dr. Rita D. Sherma is founding Director and Associate Professor at the Graduate Theological Union’s Center for Dharma Studies in Berkeley, California. She is Core Doctoral Faculty; and Co-Chair of Sustainability 360 at GTU. She holds an MA in Religion, and a PhD in Theology & Ethics from Claremont Graduate University, CA. She is the founding Vice President of DANAM (Dharma Academy of North America)—an eminent scholarly society for research on Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist religion, philosophy, and culture. Dr. Sherma has published eight books including Contemplative Studies and Hinduism: Meditation, Devotion, Prayer & Worship (2020), Swami Vivekananda: His Life, Legacy, & Liberative Ethics; Woman & Goddess in Hinduism; and numerous academic articles. Her forthcoming book (2023) is Radical Divine Immanence: A Hindu Ecological, Liberation Theology of the Goddess, Mahadevi.
Three Additional Bonuses Available for a Limited Time...
Learn about the origins of the Lalitā Sahasranāma, its place in the Śrīvidyā tradition, and a broad understanding of its philosophy. Learn selected verses from the hymn along with a meditative verse that describes the iconography of Lalitā Devī. The best ways of learning a long hymn, and the importance in personal spiritual practice will be explored.
Laura Amazzone explores four emanations of the Divine Mother in this mini-training, looking at goddesses Sarasvati, Durga, Kali, and Lakshmi. In each episode, she will discuss the symbolism, philosophy, and iconography of each deity, connecting these individual forms to the teachings of the śakta tradition. At the end of each of the four episodes, Laura offers a short mantra practice to help integrate the teachings of each aspect of the divine feminine.
Following the Non-Dual Path of the Divine Feminine
A Mini-Training on the Devi
In Praise of Lalitā Devī
An Introduction to the Lalitā Sahasranāma
Spiritual teacher and author Sally Kempton discusses non-dual Shakta tantra, the three ‘faces’ of spirit, and what it means to see the universe as Shakti. The program includes a powerful series of meditations on Goddess Lalita, as well as important teachings on deity practice itself.
The Supreme Goddess
4 Modules | 10 Hours of Educational Videos
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Join scholar-practitioner, Prof. Rita Sherma, in a fascinating journey into the heart of the mystical tradition of the Divine Feminine.