Healing from Patriarchy in the Lap of the Great Mother
JoAnna Silverwitch

 JoAnna is an ordained Minister; Dianic High Priestess; Teacher of Women's Mysteries,  Independent Scholar, Writer, Musician, Artist, Poet,  Ritualist and Seer with over 50 years in the Mystical Arts & Religious Studies;
and 35 years in 12-Step Recovery, Goddess Spirituality and the Field of Rehabilitation.  She facilitates Women's Studies and Seasonal Rituals, Retreats, Gatherings and Celebrations to honor women's lives from cradle to grave. 
She also serves her community as Regional Coordinator for Gather the Women Global Matrix;
and overseer of the Serenity Seekers Recovery Group in Carson City, Nevada.

"It is no measure of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society!"        ~  J. Krishnamurti ~

Rev. JoAnna "Silverwitch" Medina is founding mother of The Sacred Circle
of Maidens, Mothers & Crones,
 a  self- supporting sisterhood of recovering women who blend the Principles of Recovery with Women's Spirituality to recover from Patriarchy and related disorders of Codependency/Addiction; and Lady Liberty Sisterhood an online
 Circle supporting women's mysteries, voices, solidarity and sacred activism in the America's and around the world.
She is Editor, Publisher and writer of Fertile Ground, a quarterly publication for recovering & reclaiming women and author of several Booklets that contain the 13 Traditions and the 13 Step Path
of The Sacred Circle. Her new book:
13 Steps to the Goddess: Reclaiming the Power of the Divine Feminine in Recovery will be available soon on

 JoAnna provides Women's Studies; Empowerment Circles,  Rituals; 
Pass the Rattle Recovery Circles, Seasonal Gatherings, Nature Retreats,
Astrological Charts, Tarot Readings
and Classes both locally and online.

Contact JoAnna at:

775-882-1599 or

" If we're not reclaiming the Goddess in our
  recovery programs, we are NOT recovering!"

~ J. Silverwitch ~

Recovering & Reclaiming 
Ancient Ways & Women's Mysteries to Heal our Lives

The Sacred Circle of Maidens, Mothers, Queens & Crones 
 recovering women everywhere to join the dance of
our sisterhood. We come together to share our experience, strength,
and hope by remembering who we are and by recovering and reclaiming the wisdom
of the Divine Feminine to heal from the
standing effects of Patriarchy; Internalized Oppression, Codependency and numerous addictions that have continually
affected us and our families for countless generations.

In THE SACRED CIRCLE, we are looking at the bigger picture and expanding our awareness of who we are by educating ourselves and embracing our natural spiritual authority as the creators of life! We are also bringing deeper awareness, inspiration, empowerment and support to recovering sisters who desire a deeper spiritual path that mirrors our unique female mysteries and restores the missing link to our divinity,
wholeness,  empowerment, fulfillment, freedom and happiness.

Let's Remember:  

When Women Come Together, the World Comes Together



  A Recovering & Reclaiming Woman is a  woman-born woman
who is healing from the effects of Patriarchy by blending the principles
of recovery with Women's Mystery Traditions to re-awaken her deep biological/cellular/wisdom; explore & reclaim her suppressed herstory;
  realign herself with the waxing and waning cycles of Mother Nature; by participating in circles of women to celebrate the seasons; honor her rites
of passage in ritual and ceremony; and share her experience, strength, 
hope and wisdom with other sisters who are remembering, recovering, reclaiming and returning to who they are as the creators of life. 

As R & R Women, we are liberating ourselves from the mind-sets
and oppressive 
beliefs of Patriarchy by re-educating ourselves;
by exploring HERSTORY rather than HISTORY;
by reclaiming our natural cycles and biological mysteries;
by embracing our deep genetic/ancestral wisdom; by
the natural seasons and cycles of our life from cradle to grave;
by developing our natural gifts, talents and abilities; by
embracing our natural spiritual authority as creators of life,
and by working together in the greater women's movement 
to restore the Goddess and her daughters to their rightful place.

As Recovering & Reclaiming Women, we embrace the
principles of recovery while honoring our
oneness with all
things in the great web of life. Therefore,  we use our natural talents and gifts to support the equality of all living beings
and life-giving systems of Mother Nature while carrying the beautiful message of Recovery & Reclaiming to other sisters.

Join Us!

My Recovering & Reclaiming Story
How the Goddess Transformed my Life 

JoAnna Silverwitch

The Sisterhood of the Sacred Circle was born in the early years of my recovery as the result of a profound spiritual experience that reunited me with the Goddess and ancient spirit of the Divine Feminine. This extraordinary epiphany occurred on a Nature walk in the Spring of 1985 and changed my life in ways I never dreamed possible.

At the time I was very active in a 12-Step program of recovery: attending meetings on a daily basis; cleaning up the wreckage of my past; healing from years of dysfunctional living, assisting others in recovery; raising kids; mending family relationships and working in the Chemical Dependency Field... but in spite of my very busy life, which included weekly jaunts to the seashore, I began developing an insatiable urge to spend more time in Nature.

The urge was overwhelming, not to mention distracting. It came as a gnawing need to feel the dirt between my toes, to bask in Nature's beauty and to satisfy a deep craving from within.  With the divine guidance already experienced in my life I knew this urge was important, that it couldn't be denied. I struggled awhile with this urge, however, because my life was full. I had commitments to women in recovery, to my job and family, and didn't think I could squeeze any more time out of my busy schedule. But, the gnawing urge persisted and I knew it well... so I prayed for guidance.

I soon heard about a lovely rural preserve just blocks away from my house so I decided to check it out. This beautiful "park" turned out to be just what I needed. It had thick wooded trees, beautiful ponds and lakes, dirt trails, wildlife and a wide flowing creek that ran for miles year round. It was perfect, and since I worked evenings I started going there in the morning before my noon meeting while my daughters were in school. 

Sometimes I'd spend hours in this beautiful rustic getaway basking in the beauty of the earth and fragrance of the wildflowers. I would walk on trails along the creek's edge feeling the warmth of the sun on my face or meditate peacefully in quiet groves listening to the wind but it was always a delight that nurtured my soul.  I would also offer silent prayers as I walked, giving thanks for my sobriety, for my recovery, for my healing and peace of mind. This is when the course of my life was changed forever.

One particular morning near the Spring Equinox in 1985, on my day off from work, I strolled in my usual lackadaisical fashion along my favorite dirt path near the duck ponds, basking in whimsical enchantment and offering prayers of gratitude to Mother Nature for the beauty surrounding me, when I was abruptly stopped in my tracks by a feminine "spirit" whispering through my consciousness. She told me I was made in "HER image and likeness, then showed me in a vision how we both brought life into the world from our bodies. Then,  a powerful force of cosmic energy swept through me, replacing all former ideologies with overwhelming feelings of self-love and sacredness never before experienced! My soul and sanity seemed to be restored in a matter of seconds, and I was stunned, but as if waking from a dream I knew exactly who SHE was! At that moment, from a very deep place within me, her ancient memory rose to the surface of my consciousness... and I uttered... “Mother, is that you?”

This powerful awakening was so sudden and unexpected that it prompted me to seek immediate refuge under my favorite willow tree by the creek. I sat down on the cool moss and began weeping, blubbering apologies to my ancient Mother for somehow forgetting Her in a maze of hypnosis that seemed to be just wearing off! I realized I had always been one with her, like her, separated only by illusions of the mind and false beliefs of Patriarchal culture and religion I felt like Sleeping Beauty waking from a spell of slumbering exile, somewhat embarrassed that I had fallen prey to such a thing, but this re-connection with the Goddess assuaged any lingering guilt, for as her symphonic sounds and haunting laughter echoed magically through my natural surroundings I was deeply reassured that the joke was on me! 

My weeping continued all afternoon accompanied by a series of powerful visions, but the cleansing and clarity brought healing, relief and release from years of self-bondage. As I listened by the flowing creek a tremendous sense of clarity also came over me.  I was shown,  in those magical moments, why I had become so dysfunctional and why I was REALLY in recovery. It was clear that I had become the victim of a male-dominated world since birth, captive in its oppressive grip along with millions of others. It was also clear that under this powerful, cultural influence I was taught to give my power away to the dysfunctional systems around me — to people, places and things outside myself — and by doing so developed a soul-sickness that actually severed me from my real nature: from my divinity as a living spirit; from my oneness with Mother Nature; from my power and sacredness as a woman; and from my natural spiritual authority as a creator of life! 

It suddenly dawned on me that this soul-fragmentation was the "spiritual malady" we talked about in our recovery programs, that it was the underlying cause of the shame, codependency, neurotic behaviors, compulsive disorders and  life-shattering addictions that almost took me to my death.

"How could I have been so blind?"  I cried. "How could I have done this to myself?" 

As I sat there by the flowing creek my life flashed in front of me. The roots of my oppression were clear along with the contempt and rage I had always felt for the world. Now, I was beginning to understand why I had such extreme emotional reactions to life; why I viewed the world with contempt and disgust; why I was so defensive, rebellious, defiant and mistrusting; why I was continually fighting everyone and everything around me; why I left the Church in my teens; why I felt like a stranger in a strange land; why I altered my consciousness and buffered the pain of my existence in patriarchy with food, sex, alcohol, drugs,  and any other mind-altering substance that would numb or distract me from "reality." I could see the false beliefs I had internalized: the inequality of males over females. I could see why  I struggled in poverty most of my adult life,  why I attracted dysfunctional relationships, why I suffered with tremendous guilt over my children; and why suffered with guilt in  jails and institutions as a direct result of using mind-altering substances that helped me cope with the painful reality around me.

As the revelations came I began to understand why I resented being a female; why I had problems with my self-image and sexuality; why I sacrificed my own needs and talents to gain love, attention and approval; why I suffered for years with sadness, grief and depression; why I felt odd and "different" no matter how hard I tried to fit in to a world I didn't like or respect. 

It was also clear why the ventures I pursued with sincerity became exercises in futility even with my best efforts to conform to the patriarchal world around me; why I looked for love in all the wrong places; why I hated the roles I was expected to play in marriage or relationships with men;  why sex was boring and unsatisfying; why I struggled for intimacy that never came; why I sought various escapes from reality to survive; why man-made religions turned me off; why I felt there was something terribly wrong with me, and why I had a huge void inside I couldn't fill.

Yes, it was now making perfect sense! My years of shame, suffering, deterioration and disease were the result of a disconnection from my Deepest Self; from Mother Nature, from my power and  inner guidance system; from my deepest "female" mysteries, from the natural forces and cycles of my life as a woman and my natural spiritual authority as a creatrix of humanity!

I had been duped! I had unconsciously surrendered my feminine power, wisdom, beauty and uniqueness to the misogynist, life-sucking systems of Patriarchy along with the hypnotized multitudes around me! I became a pain-filled victim of cultural forces and the illusions of the mind that came with it. The indoctrination, conditioning, false concepts and belief systems that sprang from its male-dominated religions along with its social and political systems had captured ME as it had so many other pathetic people and I had internalized every bit of it! I was absolutely appalled!

That day... sitting beside the flowing creek... my blindfold was removed and my inner sight restored. I knew with absolute certainty that I was a visible Spirit, a divine Soul created by woman, (not a rib), fashioned with the elements of Mother Nature, in her image, in her likeness, and one with it all! Yes, the joke really was on me! 

The revelations of that day freed me from the bondage of the "self" because they  removed all prior religious beliefs and shifted my consciousness in ways that completely altered my perception of reality! I could see that I was a living Spirit... whole and complete in the framework of my design... that there was nothing to add and nothing to take away from my True Self  EXCEPT the false beliefs and illusions that had kept me in states of self-hatred,  bondage and self-inflicted pain for the greater part of my life.

On that day, I also knew  that I would continue my way of life in Recovery...  that I would continue going to meetings and utilizing the principles of recovery to uncover, discover, discard and amend all that prevented me from walking in the sunlight of the Spirit and beauty of the Earth;  that  I would continue carrying this message of recovery and hope to other women, one day at a time.

Now that my long lost connection with my Ancient Mother was restored, I knew she would not fade from my memory again. I left the park at sunset that day, but vowed to keep her in my heart and serve her in any way that I could. I knew that I would have to share this extraordinary experience with others at some point but I didn't know exactly how or when. I had never heard anyone in our recovery program speak of HER... so I decided to remain silent about it for awhile and bask in my newly found reality alone. 

I continued my jaunts to the park and to the seaside, basking in her beauty and praying for guidance. I was willing to let time and prudence take its course, and it did. I  finally got the opportunity to share my "spiritual experience" with a pagan brother in recovery who in turn pointed the way to books I needed to read about our Great Cosmic Mother,  Women's Mystery Traditions of Old Europe, Ancient Goddess Religions, Women's Spirituality, and many others that would help me continue recovering and reclaiming who I was. Another door had opened... and I was elated!

For the next two years I watched films and read everything I could get my hands on about Women's Spirituality,  my  indigenous past, and my  European Ancestry. I was drawn like a magnet to Women's Mystery Traditions because they mirrored my experiences as a female from cradle to grave. I also began living by the seasons, by the waxing and waning cycles of the sun and moon while creating solitary rituals to honor the cycles of my life as woman.

I continued remembering and reclaiming  who I was, who I had always been, and my life changed in ways I never dreamed possible! This process eventually led to my ordination as a UCM Minister, a Dianic High Priestess and the Founding Mother of The Sacred Circle of Maidens, Mothers & Crones. Another door had opened. My real education had begun and I was inspired like never before!

My life began filling up with new meaning and real hope because I now recognized my sacredness without the self-hatred that held me captive all my life. The Goddess filled a need in my soul that I didn't know I had. She was the missing link I had unconsciously searched for all my life!  My long wait was over! My happiness was brimming. My eyes were glowing.

In all my years of spiritual questing I never experienced a feeling of satisfaction quite like this one. I was extremely grateful. I now felt genuine hope and inspiration. For the first time in my entire life I was happy to be on the Earth and happy to be a WOMAN because along with my commitment to recovery I was now reclaiming a spiritual path that mirrored my true nature: my natural spiritual authority, my inner mysteries and my divine biology as a female. It was awesome!

Now that I was embracing a true spiritual path for women, patriarchal images of Deity didn't work for me any longer, especially in 12 Step Recovery, which was a program written by men for men with a patriarchal religious focus. As a matter of fact, "GOD, as you understand HIM" -- which is the common phrase used  in recovery programs -- actually began repulsing me because it was so false, misleading and damaging.

My new awareness, particularly in 12-Step Meetings, made it obvious that WE, as individuals and as a culture, had forgotten our true source of life: EARTH- MOTHER-WOMAN! I was deeply saddened by this. I knew that if I had been taken to women's circles throughout my life it could have saved me years of confusion and heartache, particularly in the way I viewed and treated myself as a woman. 

During this time I began recognizing that our deep soul-severance and fragmentation, our disconnection from the natural world, our erased herstory as women and the severed roots of our real indigenous past sat at the root of our insanity; our cultural disorders, our codependency, our numerous addictions and the endless diseases that plague humanity!

I also discovered, in the wilds of nature away from all worldly distractions, the incredible peace I felt when aligning myself with the vibrational frequencies of Mother Nature!  When I was surrounded by the Man-made world, with Patriarchy and all it's insane mindsets...  I became scattered, distracted, irritable, restless and discontent.
It then occurred to me that this incompatibility between Mother Nature and the Man-Made World was the underlying cause of our dysfunctions all over the world! This incompatibility, along with our indoctrination into a world of false beliefs, propaganda and greedy politics produced a soul fragmentation... a separation from ourselves and the ground of our being.... which led in time to diseases of the mind, body, heart and soul; that many others beside myself had been sucked into this world of illusion and the weird form of hypnosis that went with it, even in our recovery programs, and that we ALL needed to WAKE UP and take different actions in order to be happy, joyous and free.

In the months following my epiphany  I continued studying, doing solitary rituals and sharing my discoveries with a couple of very close friends.  I also began aligning myself with Nature's seasons and cycles, with the waxing and waning cycles of sun and moon while weaving Women's Mysteries into my recovery program... and it didn't take long for the people around me to notice a change in my demeanor.

Before I knew it, the women I sponsored in recovery began asking me questions about my spiritual path. This is when I became acutely aware that many women, like myself, had difficulty with the "patriarchal god" of our 12-Step Programs.  Some didn't know what to do about it. Others felt something was wrong with them because of it but didn't know what it was. Some women secretly confided that they had never really believed in a "GOD" at all and just went along with it to fit in. It was amazing.

I finally decided to "come out" of the broom closet and share openly about the Goddess because I knew just how these women were feeling. Although we were repeatedly told in 12-Step meetings that we could choose a Higher Power of our own understanding, it was not our experience. "God as you understand HIM" was continually crammed down our throats, along with patriarchal religious prayers that didn't resonate with our experiences as women. A change was definitely in order, one that would give us a deeper understanding of ourselves as women in recovery.

From that time on, when a woman voiced her discomfort with the patriarchal god of the program, I would share about the Goddess, about Mother Nature, about Women's Spirituality and our unique mysteries as women. I also shared why I needed images of the Divine Feminine to recover from the internalized belief systems of Patriarchy: from the pain, shame, soul fragmentation and internalized oppression that led to my codependency and the numerous addictions that made my life so unmanageable... and they listened with enthusiasm!  

Before I knew it, a small group of women began pmouring into my home on a regular basis to view films and  talk about the Goddess; about Women's Spirituality and Recovery, about flowing with the seasons of nature and honoring our true cycles of life as women. This is how THE SACRED CIRCLE was born and grew into a Queendom of many powerful sisters... each special... each unique... each a Goddess in her own right... and it has continued serving me and hundreds of women ever since.

In the Sisterhood of the Sacred Circle, we feel men as well as women need to reclaim the Goddess because she is our maternal connection to life, the living breathing Earth-Mother of which we are ALL a part. But wen also learned very quickly that Girls must recover with the Girls and Boys must recover with the boys because we are biologically different and need to reclaim our own unique mysteries in order to live healthy lives. 

Not only that. Males as well as Females suffer from a fragmentation of the soul caused by internalizing the myths of Patriarchy but our indoctrination in the world and hormonal responses to life are very different and we can only heal by realistically knowing WHO WE ARE and that takes a process of recovery and reclaiming. So far, we've created a world that keeps us sick and dysfunctional, and we MUST ALL HEAL by changing our attitudes, respecting our differences, and learning to work together to create a more balanced world. 

Reclaiming our oneness with Mother Nature and the great web of Life is a vital key to complete recovery and restoration to wholeness. This awareness is being shared by thousands in our world today but is still a vital element missing in our recovery programs. If we desire freedom from bondage and long-term recovery it is essential to break through our insidious denial and relinquish old ideas, images and belief systems that keep us separated, that keep us from true intimacy with ourselves and others.  We must ACT our way into right thinking; to reclaim ourselves on a deeper level of consciousness, one rooted in a very old and ancient truth: That WE ARE living Spirits... ONE WITH ALL things in the great of life.... and...  WE ARE the "SAVIORS" we've been waiting for!

The Recovering & Reclaiming Path in THE SACRED CIRCLE is for women-born-women who have removed themselves, or want to remove themselves, from the oppression, mind-sets, beliefs  and codependency of a dysfunctional world, women who want to reclaim their true authenticity and natural spiritual power so they can their lives joyfully while serving their families and other in the world with their genuine talents and gifts.

For almost 35 years I have shared my experience, strength and hope in Rooms of Recovery and The Sacred Circle... and today I am proud to be a recovering and reclaiming woman.

I now offer this wisdom to you, not as the only way, but as one that creates a deeper awareness of our recovery from Patriarchy, from Codependency, and from the numerous addictions we develop while coping with the pain of our existence in the dysfunctional world around us.

My deepest desire is that we will quickly awaken from our hypnotic stupors and work together as Children of the Earth -- one with Nature, One in Spirit, One with all things in the great Web of Life -- to heal ourselves at the deepest levels so balance can be restored here and now.  Maybe then, and only then, will the light of our spirits shine brightly enough to reverse the destruction we see all around us.... to heal ourselves... heal the Earth... and unify all creatures that depend on Her sustenance!  Blessed Be.

 Let's remember... 
When women come together, the world comes together.

When Women Heal, the Earth Heals!

      ~ JoAnna Silverwitch ~



An excellent book for everyone in recovery who
honors the ancient ways of Nature & Spirit.

A useful tool for Earth lovers who are healing from
Western Civilization & the Diseases of More!

An excellent book for men and women who are
reclaiming the Divine Feminine in their personal life.

An inspirational Gift for our Loved Ones, Family,
Friends and Relatives in or out of recovery!

 A helpful study guide for Pass the Rattle Circles;
Healing Circles; Earth-based Recovery Circles

 Learn More about JoAnna & The Sacred Circle
along with upcoming gatherings, retreats & circles at:

JoAnna is a Regional Coordinator in Carson City, Nv.

She is also the facility overseer of the
Serenity Seekers Recovery Group in Carson City,
which holds eclectic 12-Step Meetings that focus on
women's issues and honors all spiritual and secular paths.

JoAnna is also founder and facilitator of:
which provides support to all women in the Americas
& around the world in our current political climate.

Check it out on this website or on Facebook



Blessed Be

Upcoming Books & Booklets


Recovering & Reclaiming in The Sacred Circle 

The 13 Step Path

Reflections of our Steps and Traditions


The Sacred Circle
of Maidens, Mothers & Crones

13 x 13


The Recovering Goddess 

Healing from Patriarchy in the Lap of the Great Mother


Sacred Wheel Dancing

Reflections of Time in Poetic Rhyme 


13 Steps to the Goddess
Reclaiming the Power of the Divine Feminine in Recovery


Books published by The Sacred Circle Books