The Saga Award: Contributions to Women’s History and Culture
The Saga Special Recognition Award in Women’s History was created by the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) in 2012.
Named for the Norse goddess of history and prophecy, the Saga Award honors contributions to women’s history and culture. The phrase “women’s history” came into prominence in the Second Wave of Feminism, as a corrective to patriarchal histories that excluded women’s experiences and accomplishments. The ASWM Board recognizes outstanding scholarship that promote a balanced understanding of what is possible for women, and men and children, as we write a new history.
In 2016 this award went to filmmaker and activist Donna Read, “one of the premier visionary artists of our time,” for her role role in making feminist scholarship and the history of spirituality visible and accessible to a wide audience. Her films that include Goddess Remembered, Burning Times, and Full Circle, Signs Out of Time, Permaculture: The Growing Edge, and (with producer/directorDonna Roberts) Yemanjá: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil. In particular the Women & Spirituality trilogy and “Signs Out of Time” document the history of the sacred feminine and its re-emergence in the cultural mythology and activism of our time.
The 2015 Saga Award recipient is Dr. Zsuzsanna E. Budapest, author, ritualist, and tireless teacher of feminist goddess spirituality. Starting with the publication of The Feminist Book of Lights and Shadows (now called The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries), she has inspired a vision of modern spiritual values. Z’s ideas have influenced women to explore both ancient and modern goddess scholarship and to develop their own connections with the divine feminine. Presently she is also focusing on Femina Nation, her TV project that focuses on notable women.
Genevieve Vaughan was honored with the Saga Award in 2014, for her creation of and dedication to projects like the Gift Economy that promote economic and social justice. Her influential book, For-Giving, a Feminist Criticism of Exchange, has set forth feminist economic principles for creating a maternal economy as a basis for social change. She is also founder of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality, Dedicated to Sekhmet. Located in Cactus Springs, Nevada, near the Nevada Test Site, this Temple creates a sanctuary of feminist values of peace in a location where it is needed most.
In 2012 Dr. Heide Göttner-Abendroth was the first recipient of the award, for her work on Modern Matriarchal Studies. Göttner-Abendroth is the founder of Modern Matriarchal Studies and the International Academy Hagia for Matriarchal Studies and Matriarchal Spirituality in Bavaria. Her meticulous research demonstrates that matriarchies are egalitarian cultures based on gender equality and consensus decision-making. In 2005, Heide was nominated as one of 1000 Peace Women Across the Globe for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Other ASWM awards include the Demeter Award for Leadership in Women’s Spirituality; the Sarasvati book awards (in nonfiction and fiction); the Kore Award for Best Dissertation, recognizing excellence in scholarship in the area of women and mythology; and the Hestia Award for outstanding volunteer service to the organization. ASWM developed its awards program so that notable contributions to culture and scholarship would not fade with the passage of time.