Jailbreaking the Goddess by Lasara Firefox Allen introduces a new way to look at Goddess worship.
Firefox Allen takes critiques every progressive person has about the traditional Maiden, Mother, Crone Goddess path (ugh, virginity! ugh, wombs!) and offers a much-needed alternative in her book Jailbreaking the Goddess. Lasara Firefox Allen’s FIVEFOLD Goddess path gets us away from ‘woman = body’ and creates a nuanced, full look at Goddess energy. Not only is this line of magick much more welcoming to trans Goddess worshippers, but the additional faces of the Goddess offer a whole new world of opportunity and understanding in our spiritual practice.
Jailbreaking the Goddess is broken into a few different pieces. Firefox Allen has a chapter for each of the five faces of the Goddess as she reimagines them. They are:
- Femella, the child.
- Potens, Woman of Power.
- Creatrix, She Who Creates
- Sapienta, Woman of Art and Wisdom
- and Antiqua, the Ancient One
The path outlined by Firefox Allen moves us away from equating female gods, and therefore feminine power, solely to what their body is doing.
Whether we realize it or not, that is what we’re prescribing with a traditional Maiden, Mother, Crone path all too often. The threefold path equates femininity with motherhood, and there’s a whole mess of harmful beliefs that get tangled up in that mindset.
Each of the five faces imagined in Jailbreaking the Goddess has a fully fleshed out chapter that gives an overview of what this aspect of the Divine Feminine is, what it can do for you, and lists examples of dieties and real humans that fall into this category. These chapters also give significant dates to these Goddesses, examples of witchcraft that would befit them, and explores their cultural history and status. This book honestly feels crucial for all Goddess worshipers to read. Not all women give birth, are able to give birth, or have the reproductive system that gives birth, and keeping our Goddesses neatly tied up in Maiden, Mother, Crone system implies that that is all women are in life too. The Jailbreaking system instead poses that women are full of power, women create, and women have always been & will always be.
Firefox Allen pulls no punches when discussing cultural appropriation and colonization of spirituality.
While those of us who have been doing feminist and anti-racist work for awhile may find a few chapters a little “Radicalism 101”, for many picking up this book they are a necessity. A lot of white witches get really uncomfortable or even combative when we start talking about cultural appropriation or colonization in our spiritual lives, but the reality is we are hurting people of color with our practice far, far too often. We are stealing from cultures that aren’t ours and claiming their gods as our own. We are taking symbols and guides steeped in culture and tradition and using them for decoration.
This is neither respectful nor effective, and Firefox Allen walks us through the steps we need to take to decolonize our spiritual practice without taking away our ability to practice a faith that calls out to us. I love her easy-to-follow guidelines and musings on this topic. It’s accessible, almost bite-sized, but they make a huge difference in the impact your practice has on others. Firefox Allen also ties together that the cisnormative, heteronormative approach to the Goddess in the threefold path is fallout from colonization of Pagan spiritual beliefs.
The overall message of Jailbreaking the Goddess is not a judgment or assignment towards your spiritual life, but rather a fresh take on what our spirituality could be and a necessary call-in to think deeply about our current practice.
My only real critique of Jailbreaking the Goddess is that the journal prompts are too frequent. You may pick it up and decide I’m wrong, but since I tend to highlight, take notes, etc. when reading, an additional prompt after basic material introductions threw me off. I complied in the beginning, but by the third face of the Goddess, I just read several sections at a time and then journaled my reactions to the questions that came up either in prompts or random thought processes of my own. Even with that distraction though, this book significantly deepened my relationship with the Divine, helped me heal emotionally in regards to my spiritual life, and completely altered how I think about spiritual energy for the better.
Even as someone who wears their queerness, their feminism, and their radicalism like a second skin, Jailbreaking the Goddess opened my eyes to new ways to practice my faith in a more conscientious, decolonized way and blew my actual Goddess work wide open.