AbstractsWomens Studies

Reclaiming the feminine : a co-operative inquiry on the embodied experience of the divine feminine in Social Practice

by Dheepa Nedungat

Institution: Unitec New Zealand
Year: 2015
Keywords: feminism, women and religion, goddesses, co-operative inquiry, self-identity, reflective practice, social practice; 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services
Record ID: 1311886
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2566


This research represents the testimony of six women’s understanding of the divine feminine, including myself as co-researcher. Through a co-operative inquiry, we explored how our understanding influences us as social practitioners. Co-operative inquiry offered us an experiential and participative process to engage with the topic, by using a radical approach to research, in which the traditional role of researcher was replaced by a team of co-researchers all in equal positions. In this way, the research outcomes were generated based on a group effort. This study is important because an inquiry into the divine feminine demonstrates the challenges we face as social justice advocates particularly in terms of our personal identity as women and our personal experiences of power. The research suggests if we are truly to engage in practices that are emancipatory, empowering and transformative, we need to address those challenges and review our relationship to power. The results of this research demonstrate how the process of inquiry into the divine feminine calls for: having a balanced view, particularly in activism  reclaiming our power in our relationship to our womanhood and femininity  reclaiming our relationship to our body, our feeling self and to nature We were each touched, moved and inspired by the inquiry process. The inward reflection not only honed our self-reflective skills, it also created a bridge to a deeper understanding of who we are. We learnt through group dynamics, how to collaborate and authentically engage in reflection and meaning-making, despite our differences and beliefs. We uncovered, through transformation of our being, the qualities of the divine feminine. What we discovered, was not a list of qualities to aspire to, rather the transformative aspect of the divine feminine was in the process of inquiry. It was in this process of inquiring what the divine feminine means, that each of us came into relationship with ourselves in a new transformative way.