Like so many, I was attracted to the Greek and Roman myths as a child. My father was interested in World History and taught it in the public schools, so I also had exposure to Norse and Egyptian stories and even some Hinduism and Far East materials. I especially felt drawn to Athene.
I was in college during the 60’s and took naturally to Feminism (“Feminism is the radical notion that women are real people”), which led naturally to Feminist Spirituality, Divinity expressing itself as female divinities as well as male. I received a B.A. in English with a German minor from Michigan State in 1964. I married a Classics Prof – a valuable resource for Mythological and Ancient Languages matters – in 1964 before obtaining a M.A. at Northwestern.
While at a planning meeting choosing the Women’s Spirituality Group meetings for 1991-1992, I remarked that the March ’92 meeting was scheduled for my 50th birthday. “How’d you like to have a Croning?” someone asked. “I’d love it!” What a contrast to the 50th birthday party a friend of mine had recently had – an “Over the Hill” party with black decorations, jokes about age and decrepitude, and the borrowing of a wheelchair to push her up and down beside the busy street; instead I had a celebration of reaching the Wise Woman Elder stage of life, a status with its own beauty and power. There were several other Cronings in the group as others reached 50, and I found a specialty. Not only have I led individual Cronings for several individuals (some UU’s, some I knew from other groups), but several times over the years I have organized and led Open Cronings at our UU church for any women members – or guests – who wished to be Croned. These rituals obviously are deeply moving and empowering both for those Croned and for those who come to participate in their celebration.
In 2003, I received “Knight Errant” status from the Grail, an honorary status recognizing substantial contributions to the Pagan community by one not a formal member of the Grail itself; it grants ordination and allowed me to legally marry couples under Nebraska State law, a status I wished, having been asked to perform such a ceremony. In return, I was asked to assist the group in various ways, including helping to teach in Grail classes, participating with the Inner Circle in interviews for those seeking Initiation, and performing a role in the Initiation rituals themselves. I attended the Full Moon rituals and the public classes regularly, but as I was leading my own Circle elsewhere, did not formally join the group until 2006, and by 2007, I was serving as co-High Priestess.
For years I led most of the Grail’s reading groups sessions to study the articles in the Student and the Scion (advanced student) manuals, composed many of the group’s rituals, and served as Secretary of the Church 501(c)3 Corporation. I do some mentoring and counseling, and generally help running the group anyway I can, including baking the cookies for the Simple Feast at all the monthly Open Full Moon Circles! You can reach me using the contact sheet below.
Name: Joanna Fink