Starhawk is the public name of Wiccan priestess Miriam
Simos. She is an international spokesperson for neo-paganism,
feminist concerns, and social activism. Through the 1970s she
studied magic and witchcraft with a succession of prominent
teachers, including Sara Cunningham of the Temple of Tiperath,
Victor H. Anderson (founder of the Faery tradition), and
Zsuzsanna E. Budapest.
In the mid-1970s she founded the Compost Coven and was
one of the original signers of the Covenant of the Goddess
(COG), serving as COG’s first officer in 1976–77. She cofounded
Reclaiming A Center for Feminist Spirituality and Counseling
in Berkeley, California, for which she served as a director,
teacher, and counselor.
In 1979 Starhawk wrote the first of her three books, The Spiral
Dance, a textbook on witchcraft that became one of the most
popular introductions to Wicca in the 1980s. In the wake of the
book’s success, Starhawk lectured extensively in both America
and Europe. She followed it with Dreaming in the Dark (1982)
and Truth or Dare (1987). During the late 1980s Starhawk figured
in the conflict between Catholic priest Matthew Fox and
the Roman Catholic Church. Among many complaints, church
officials objected to Fox using Starhawk as a faculty member at
his Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality at Holy
Names College in Oakland, California. Most recently Fox has
left the Roman Catholic Church.
Starhawk. Dreaming in the Dark. Boston Beacon Press, 1982.
———. The Spiral Dance. San Francisco Harper & Row,
———. Truth or Dare Encounters of Power, Authority, Mystery.
San Francisco Harper & Row, 1987.