About Starhawk

Starhawk is an author, activist, permaculture designer and teacher, and a prominent voice in modern earth-based spirituality and ecofeminism. She is the author or co-author of thirteen books, including The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess and the ecotopian novel The Fifth Sacred Thing, and its sequel City of Refuge.

Her most recent non-fiction book is The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, on group dynamics, power, conflict and communications. 

Starhawk founded Earth Activist Training, teaching permaculture design grounded in spirituality and with a focus on activism. She travels internationally, lecturing and teaching on earth-based spirituality, the tools of ritual, and the skills of activism. 

Starhawk’s Books

Starhawk’s book The Spiral Dance has been continuously in print for thirty years and revised twice; in 1999 HarperSanFrancisco published the Twentieth Anniversary Edition.

Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery won the Media Alliance Meritorious Achievement Award for nonfiction in 1988.

Starhawk’s first novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing, won the Lambda award for best Gay and Lesbian Science Fiction in 1994. It was released as an audiobook in 2016.

Many of Starhawk’s political essays were collected into her book Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising, which won a 2003 Nautilus Award from the trade association NAPRA.

Her first picture book for children, The Last Wild Witch, won a silver Nautilus from NAPRA in 2010.

Film & Video Projects

In the late ’80s, Starhawk consulted on and co-wrote the popular trio of films known as the Women’s Spirituality Series, directed by Donna Read Cooper for the National Film Board of Canada: Goddess Remembered, The Burning Times, and Full Circle. The trilogy was in the top ten of sales and rentals for the Film Board for over a decade. Starhawk and Donna Read Cooper formed their own film company, Belili Productions, to make documentaries on women and the earth.

Their first release was Signs Out of Time (2004), a documentary on the life of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, the scholar who made major discoveries about the Goddess cultures of Old Europe.

Starhawk and Donna’s second documentary, Permaculture: The Growing Edge, was released in 2010.

Starhawk has also made several short documentaries which can be found on YouTube: The Spiral Dance Ritual, Reclaiming’s Spiral Dance: Three Decades of Magic, and Permaculture Principles at Work, with nearly 200,000 views.

Activism and Permaculture Projects

Starhawk is a veteran of progressive movements, from anti-war to anti-nukes, and is deeply committed to bringing the techniques and creative power of spirituality to political activism.

She is a founder of Earth Activist Trainings (EAT), teaching permaculture design grounded in spirit and with a focus on organizing and activism.  Together with Charles Williams and others, she co-teaches EAT courses in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. She also champions ‘social permaculture’: the application of permaculture principles to social organizations, policy and strategy.

Since its first course in May of 2001, Earth Activist Trainings has graduated over 1000 students who now shepherd projects that range from community power-down strategies in Iowa City to water catchment programs in Bolivia, from inner city gardens in San Francisco to programs in the West Bank of Palestine.

Pagan & Goddess

Starhawk is one of the prominent leaders in the revival of earth-based spirituality and Goddess religion. She is a cofounder of Reclaiming, an activist branch of modern Pagan religion, and continues to work closely with the Reclaiming Community. Her archives are maintained at the Graduate Theological Union library in Berkeley, California.

Starhawk’s tapes and CDs include “Wicca for Beginners” (2002), “Wiccan Rituals and Blessings” (2003), and a four-CD set “Earth Magic” (2006), all produced by Sounds True.

Early Life & Career

Starhawk was born on June 17, 1951. She holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from U.C.L.A. In 1973, as a graduate student in Film at U.C.L.A, Starhawk won the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Creative Writing Award. She received an M.A. in Psychology with a concentration in Feminist Therapy from Antioch University West in 1982. She has taught in many Bay Area colleges and universities, including John F. Kennedy University, Antioch West, the Institute of Culture and Creation Spirituality at Holy Names College, and Wisdom University. She is presently adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies.


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Bibliography: Starhawk’s Books

The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess.  San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1979, 1989, and 1999 editions. German, Danish, Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, and Greek editions.

Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics. Boston, Beacon, 1982, 1988, 1997 editions. French and German editions.

Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery.  San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco,1988. German edition.

The Fifth Sacred Thing (novel).  New York, Bantam, 1993. German, Italian, Polish, and Portuguese editions. Released as an Audiobook, narrated by Maya Lilly, in 2016.

Walking to Mercury (novel).  New York, Bantam, 1997.

City of Refuge (novel): The Sequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing. Self-published through a successful Kickstarter campaign in Winter 2015.

The Pagan Book of Living and Dying.Co-written with M. Macha NightMare and the Reclaiming Collective. San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1997. Czech edition.

Circle Round: Raising Children in the Goddess Tradition. Cowritten with Anne Hill and Diane Baker. Illustrated by Sara Ceres Boore. New York, Bantam, 1998.

The Twelve Wild Swans: A Journey to the Realm of Magic, Healing, and Action. Cowritten with Hilary Valentine. San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 2000. Dutch, Spanish, and German editions.

Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising.  Gabriola Island, BC; New Society Publishers, 2002. Essays translated into Burmese, French, and Italian.

The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature.  San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 2004. Italian edition.

The Last Wild Witch. Illustrated by Lindy Kehoe. Portland, Oregon: Mother Tongue Ink. 2009. Adapted into a stage musical for children’s ensemble by EmilyKion for the Marsh Youth Theater, San Francisco, 2012.

The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups. Victoria, Canada; New Society Publishers, November 2011.