Read some of my
recent articles written for the Boston Woman's Journal
with the Spring: The Art of Deliberate Renewal
Goddess Speaks on Love and the Law of Attraction
are Goddesses Too! - Acknowledging the Essence of Pubescence
the Goddess Within - The Roots of Your Feminine Power
A Woman’s Goldmine - Part One
Honoring Women in the Time of Alone
- Goddess Parties Celebrate the Magic and Power of Women
Jewish Journal Staff
Twenty women with sparkling crowns atop their heads join in a sacred circle where they sip herbal elixirs and shake rattles to awaken the divine feminine spirit within them. Leading the joyous ceremony is Marblehead’s Elizabeth Stahl, a licensed massage therapist and natural health consultant who is gradually introducing North Shore women to the concept of Goddess parties.
“My parties offer women a fun and unique way to celebrate bridal showers,
Bachelorette parties, birthdays and bat mitzvahs,” says the soft-spoken Stahl, who has been hosting them since 1998. She points out that each party is different because the alchemy of each group is different.
Stahl utilizes various tools and props during the course of each party to encourage guests to open up and express their feelings. For most women, especially if they are friends, this process comes easily and naturally. Over stories and laughter, participants acknowledge and honor what they cherish most in each other. For many, this becomes a profoundly moving and empowering experience.
In June, Carolyn Perlow, an event planner from Swampscott, asked Stahl to help her organize a 60th birthday party for her good friend Roz. She invited 25 guests. “We were honoring a friend that we love, and Liz (Elizabeth), who is a very joyful and spiritual person, embellished it. We all had the opportunity to tell Roz how much she means to us. It was a wonderful evening of enjoyed friendship. It was a touchy-feely experience that wasn’t intrusive,” she says.
Gale Ann Merle is a teacher of the deaf who lives in Lynnfield. Her friends threw her a surprise Goddess party to celebrate her birthday in August. It was a memorable experience.
“I was blindfolded, driven around and then taken back to my house. Seventeen people were waiting there, including my mother. The only person I didn’t know was Elizabeth. We were encouraged to express our feelings about each other, and there were no right or wrong answers. Elizabeth was very accepting of each person present, and she had a very warm way about her.
“Everyone was given the opportunity to feel like a goddess - not just me,” she continues. “Rather than chatting about our families, we talked about our feelings, which is vitally important. I was given a crown with 17 jewels in it representing all the people there. I will save it forever,” she adds.
Stahl, 37, came up with her unique party idea when she was attending the Institute for Natural Health Consulting in Montreal. After spending a depressing 31st birthday alone, she resolved to make her 32nd birthday special. She invited eight girlfriends over. They feasted on decadent foods like chocolates, figs and port and performed various rituals that made them feel radiant and powerful. Through this experience, the Goddess party concept was conceived.
Thus far, she has orchestrated approximately 15 parties for women ranging in age from 20 to 70. She charges $300 for her services. Hosts provide their own food or ask each guest to bring a pot-luck dish.
Stahl, who is Jewish, notes that many Goddess party attendees are Jewish. “Jews love rituals,” she asserts. “Jewish women are also very expressive, close to their families and friends, and they like to share,” she adds. She points out that in Hebrew there is a word for the goddess - shekinah. It is the feminine face of God. She explains that traits of the shekinah include intuition, nurturing and healing.
According to Stahl, the modern Goddess party is actually rooted in ancient tradition. “For centuries, women have come together to share their stories and secrets. The book, The Red Tent, published several years ago, detailed how women historically came together to massage and feed each other, and braid each other’s hair — all in the safe, enclosed circle of womanhood,” she says.
Stahl believes women have an innate need to come together. “Book clubs are a modern phenomenon. Women get together and start off talking about a book. But then they talk about their husbands, their children and soon they are talking about their sex lives. They wouldn’t miss their monthly book club meeting for the world. It is a deep need in all women to connect and share. That’s why I think
these Goddess parties are so special. It’s ancient and fresh at the same time,” she says.
Stahl, who teaches classes in Lynnfield and at the JCC in Marblehead, emphasizes that her events are not designed to be workshops - they are parties. They are enriching experiences that create deeper bonds between women. “There’s laughter and crying as women remember the important female mentors in their
lives. We talk about the women we have loved. And often, we discover something new and wonderful about our friends,” she says.
Heidi Feinstein, an entrepreneur in Lowell, had a Goddess party for her 30th birthday two years ago. She says guests are still talking about it.
“People had never experienced anything like it. I’ll never forget it. I didn’t want everyone to bring me a present, so we had a bead ceremony instead. Some women bought a bead, while others took one off a necklace they owned. Everyone presented me with their bead and their good wishes, and I made them into a necklace that I wear all the time. I cherish the necklace and the experience,” she says.
Stahl points out that although all ages can enjoy a Goddess party, the older women tend to have the most profound experiences. “The older women come thinking that this is something for younger women, yet they wind up having the best time because they have never had anyone honor them. It’s the older ones who really acknowledge how wise they are,” says Stahl, who adds that it is time for women to celebrate their power as wives, daughters, grandmothers and career women.
Men who are feeling left out of the process can take solace in the fact that Stahl says she will gladly coordinate God parties for men if there is enough interest. Yet for now, her focus is on women.
Sharon Wohl, co-owner of the natural food store Body and Soul in Marblehead, raves about Stahl’s parties. “I’ve thrown and attended a lot of baby showers and bachelorette parties. The only one I can recall is the Goddess party. It leaves an indelible mark on your heart, and it allows you to embrace the intimacy that all women should have,” she concludes.
To schedule a Goddess party, contact Elizabeth Stahl at 781-704-8226.
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