Healing from Patriarchy
in the Lap of our Great Mother

JoAnna Silverwitch

 JoAnna is an ordained Minister; High Priestess in the Dianic Tradition;  Teacher of Women's Mysteries,  Independent Scholar, Writer, Musician, Artist, Poet,  Ritualist and Seer with over 50 years in the Mystical Arts, 36 years in 12-Step Recovery and Field of Rehabilitation.  She facilitates Women's Studies and Seasonal Rituals, Retreats, Gatherings and Celebrations to honor the Goddess and women's lives cradle to grave.  She also serves her community as a 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 the Founding Mother of THE SACRED CIRCLE, a self- supporting sisterhood of recovering women who embrace the ancient ways of the Divine Feminine to deepen their  recovery  from Patriarchy, Codependency and various addictions that complicate our lives; Also, LADY LIBERTY SISTERHOOD, an online Circle supporting women's voices, solidarity and sacred activism in the Americas and around the world; AUTHOR of several books and FERTILE GROUND quarterly publication for Recovering and Reclaiming women. Her new book: 13 Steps to the Goddess: Reclaiming the Power of the Divine Feminine in Recovery will
soon be available on

 JoAnna provides Woomen's Studies; Empowerment Circles,  Ministerial classes, Pass the Rattle Recovery Circles, Seasonal Gatherings,  Nature Retreats; Rituals;  Rite of Passage Ceremonies for Women and Girls.

Contact JoAnna:


" If a woman is NOT reclaiming the Goddess in her Recovery Program....  she IS NOT recovering!"    
~ J. Silverwitch ~

Recovering & Reclaiming 
Ancient Ways to Heal our Lives

The Sacred Circle of Maidens, Mothers & Crones invites recovering & reclaiming women everywhere to join the dance of our sisterhood.

By  reclaiming the power of the Divine Feminine to recover from the long- standing effects of Patriarchy; Internalized Oppression, Codependency, numerous addictions and dysfunctional ways of the world that have continually affected us and our families for countless generations... we can collectively bring awareness, change, healing & empowerment to all who honor a path of reverence for Mother Earth and the Feminine Spirit.

In THE SACRED CIRCLE, we are looking at the bigger picture by expanding our awareness of who we are, educating ourselves, reviving ancient traditions,  re-evaluating religious belief, looking for similarities rather than differences, reclaiming our natural authority as creators and embracing oneness with all things in the great web of life.

The Circle brings deeper awareness, inspiration, empowerment, support  and a spiritual path for women that honors our unique mysteries while restoring the missing link to our divinity, authenticity, wholeness,  fulfillment, freedom, happiness and true purpose.

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; to explore & reclaim her suppressed lineage;
to realign herself with the waxing and waning cycles of Mother Nature; 
to participate in circles of women; to celebrate the seasons; to honor her
rites of passage or life cycles as daughter, maiden, amazon, mother, queen, grandmother, elder or crone; and to share her experience, strength, hope
and wisdom with other women who are reclaiming their authentic self.

 As R & R Women, we are liberating ourselves from the mind-sets
and oppressive 
beliefs of Patriarchy by re-educating ourselves;
by exploring and embracing HERSTORY rather than HISTORY;
by reclaiming our natural cycles and biological mysteries;
by embracing our deep genetic/ancestral/instinctive wisdom;
 honoring the natural seasons and cycles of our life;
by developing our natural gifts, talents and intuitive abilities;
by acknowleging our natural spiritual authority as creators of life,
and by working together in the greater women's collective to  
restore the Earth 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 the
life-giving systems of Mother Earth while carrying the message of Recovery & Reclaiming to sisters & brothers  who want to heal their lives.

Please 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 our ancient mother, the Earth Goddess. 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. In spite of my very busy life, however, 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. I had a gnawing need to feel the dirt between my toes, to bask in Nature's beauty and to satisfy a deep craving 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 as well as my job and family, and didn't think I could squeeze any more time out of my busy schedule. But, the 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 Mother Nature. I'd 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, and 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 for my 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 the voice of a  "spirit" whispering through my consciousness. She told me I was made in "HER image and likeness" then showed me in a vision how we brought life into the world from our bodies. A powerful force of cosmic energy then swept through me, replacing all former ideologies with overwhelming feelings of self-love and sacredness never before experienced! My soul and sanity seemed 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 reunion was so sudden and unexpected that it prompted me to seek immediate refuge under my favorite willow tree by the creek. I sat 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 the 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 began understanding 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; 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 deep soul-sickness that actually severed me from my real nature; from my divinity as a living spirit; my oneness with Nature; my sacredness as a female; and 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, pain, 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 Catholic 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 with food, sex, alcohol, or any other mind-altering substance that would buffer me from the pain of my  "reality." I could see the false beliefs I had internalized: the inequality of males over females; why I married only once and refused to marry again.  I could also see why I struggled in poverty most of my life,  why I attracted dysfunctional relationships; why I sat in  jail with tremendous guilt over my children while being punished for using mind-altering substances that actually buffered the pain of my reality in Patriarchy!

As the revelations came, one by one,  I began to understand why I resented being 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 understand.

It was also clear why 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; why I sought various escapes from reality to survive; why man-made monotheistic 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 the natural forces and cycles of my life and my natural spiritual authority as a creatrix of life!

I had been duped! I had unconsciously surrendered my power, wisdom, beauty and uniqueness to the misogynist, life-sucking systems of Patriarchy along with the hypnotized multitudes around me! I became a victim of cultural forces and illusions of the mind that came with it. The indoctrination, conditioning, false concepts and belief systems that sprang from its male-dominated religions 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 a woman, (not a rib), and 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 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 or 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  knew I would continue my way of life in Recovery...  that I would continue attending 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 to other women, one day at a time.

When my long lost connection with the Earth Goddess was restored in 1985 I knew she would not fade from my memory again. I left the park at sunset that day and vowed to keep her in my heart and serve her in any way that I could. I also knew I would have to share this extraordinary experience with others at some point but 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 new-found reality alone. 

I continued my jaunts to the park and the seaside, basking in her beauty and praying for guidance, trusting that time and prudence would take its course. It did too. It wasn't long before I was sharing my "experience" with a friend in recovery and he pointed the way to books I needed to read about our Great Cosmic Mother,  Chalice and the Blade, 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 and who I had always been.  Another door had opened... and I was elated!

I began my education at that time, watching films and reading everything I could get my hands on about Women's Spirituality, my  indigenous past,  my European Ancestry and Women's Mystery Traditions because they mirrored my experiences as a female from cradle to grave. I also began living by the seasons of nature, by the waxing and waning cycles of the sun and moon while creating solitary rituals to honor the cycles of my life.  

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

My life began filling up with wonder and amazement 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 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 because I now felt genuine hope and inspiration. For the first time in my life I was happy to be on the Earth and happy to be a WOMAN because I was now reclaiming a spiritual path in recovery that mirrored who I really was!  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 and, for a time, and I had to make adjustments in my recovery program. Since AA is a program written by men for men... with a patriarchal religious focus... I had to figure out a way to take care of myself while practicing love and tolerance for my piers in recovery.  My new awareness, especially in 12-Step Meetings, made it obvious that WE, as individuals and a culture, had forgotten our true source of life: EARTH- MOTHER-WOMAN! I was deeply saddened by this. I knew if I had been taken to a women's circle or told the truth 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, but I had to accept that this was pretty much the truth for all women and men alike. No one was at fault, so I had to learn to forgive and embrace my new reality with gratitude, and I did.

As I continued participating in my recovery meetings I  began recognizing the deep soul-severance, fragmentation and disconnection sitting at the root of our insanity; codependency, numerous addictions and diseases that plague humanity.

In the  wilds of nature, away from all worldly distractions, I re-discovered the incredible peace I felt when aligning with the vibrational frequencies of Mother Nature!  When surrounded by the Man-made world, with it's insane mindsets,  I became irritable, restless and discontent. It was clear that our severance from Mother Nature and  incompatibility with Patriarchy was the underlying cause of our dysfunctions all over the world! This incompatibility, along with our indoctrination of false beliefs, propaganda and greedy politics produced soul fragmentation... a separation from the very ground of our being.... which led in time to diseases of the mind, body, heart and soul.  It was also clear that all of us had been sucked into this world of illusion and the weird form of hypnosis that went with it, even in our recovery programs! Yes, we ALL needed to WAKE UP in order to be happy, joyous and free. ALL OF US!

In the months following my epiphany I began weaving women's spirituality into my recovery and it didn't take long for the women I sponsored in recovery to notice a change in my demeanor. Before I knew it, they 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 12-Step Programs.  Some didn't know what to do about it. Others felt something was wrong with them because of it. Some secretly confided that they had never really believed in a "GOD" at all and went along with it just to fit in. It was amazing.

I finally decided to "come out" of the broom closet and share openly about the Divine Feminine with the women I sponsored in recovery because I knew 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 being crammed down our throats, along with patriarchal religious prayers that didn't resonate with our experiences as women.  So, a change was definitely in order, one that would give us a deeper understanding of ourselves as women.

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, alcoholism and  numerous addictions that made my life so unmanageable... and they listened with enthusiasm!  

Before I knew it, a small group of women began pouring into my home on a regular basis to view films and  talk about the Goddess and Women's Spirituality in Recovery.  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. She is the  living-breathing-Earth-Mother of which we are ALL a part. But we also discovered very quickly that Girls must recover with the Girls and Boys must recover with the boys ...  because we've been programmed differently in the world and need to reclaim our unique mysteries in order to have healthier lives and become true partners in the greater scheme of things.

Not only that. Males as well as Females suffer from a fragmentation of the soul caused by internalizing the myths of Patriarchy. However, our indoctrination in the world along with our instinctual/ hormonal responses to life are very different. Therefore, 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, so we MUST ALL HEAL by changing our attitudes, respecting our differences, learning to work together to dismantle the domination of Patriarchy and 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 12-Step Recovery Programs. If we desire freedom from bondage and long-term recovery we MUST break through our insidious denial and relinquish old ideas, images and belief systems that keep us separated from true intimacy with ourselves and others.  We must ACT our way into right thinking... not THINK our way into right living.  We must reclaim ourselves on a deeper level of consciousness, one rooted in a very old and ancient truth: 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 who have removed themselves, or want to remove themselves, from the oppressive mind-sets, beliefs, and codependency that results from living in a dysfunctional, patriarchal world; women who want to reclaim their authenticity, to live joyfully while serving their families and the world with their genuine talents and gifts.

For over 35 years now, 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 bigger picture and deeper awareness of our recovery from Patriarchy, Codependency, alcoholism and the numerous addictions we develop while coping with the pain of our existence in a dysfunctional, unbalanced world.

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 change the destruction we see all around us... to take the necessary actions 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 insanity... awaken to the truth... heal ourselves... heal the Earth... and unify with all creatures that depend HER sustenance!  I certainly hope so. Blessed Be.

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

When Women Heal, the Earth Heals

~ 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

Available 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 Sacred Circle of Maidens, Mothers & Crones



The Recovering Goddess 

Healing from Patriarchy in the Lap of the Great Mother
soon to be published and available on


Sacred Wheel Dancing

Reflections of Time in Poetic Rhyme 


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

soon to be published & available on


Books published by The Sacred Circle Books