cover image Moon Sisters, Krishna Mothers, Rajneesh Lovers: Women's Roles in New Religions

Moon Sisters, Krishna Mothers, Rajneesh Lovers: Women's Roles in New Religions

Susan J. Palmer, Author Syracuse University Press $45 (287p) ISBN 978-0-8156-0297-2

Palmer's splendid investigation of the deep bonds between women's spiritual identity and women's sexual identity inaugurates a significant new series on Women and Gender in North American Religions. Drawing on case studies and interviews with members of a variety of new religious movements ranging from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and the Rajneesh Movement to the Unification Church and the Institute for the Development of the Harmonious Human Being, Palmer demonstrates that women's participation in such religions often allows them to redefine their traditional social roles through a playful reinterpretation of their sexual roles. The religious movements are grouped according to the extent to which they promote models sexual polarity, sexual complementarity or sexual unity. Palmer's dense, often academic, jargon is nicely balanced by the stories of the women themselves. The result is a study groundbreaking in its clarity in recording for the first time the voices of women interpreting the almost palpable bond between the sacred and the sexual. (Jan.)