Who’s Presenting in 2016? ALisa Starkweather, Tamara Agha-Jaffar & Laney Goodman


ALisa Starkweather

ALisa is a tireless culture worker and the founder of many powerful women’s initiatives including the Red Tent Temple Movement, Daughters of the Earth Gatherings, and the Women’s Belly and Womb Conferences.  Thirty-two years of dedication to women’s empowerment gave her a reputation where she is known for her passionate archetypal work that focuses on transformation, healing, community, ritual and the rebalancing of the sacred feminine.

ALisa began the women’s mystery school, the Priestess Path Apprenticeship in 1998 out of her belief that women are an important part of the change that we need today in our ailing world. Believing that a pivotal part of healing means facing what one disowns, in 1993 ALisa began training to facilitate dynamic healing with both the unlovable and golden aspects of shadow. She is a founding member of the original Shadow Work® Guild.

More recently over the last several years ALisa is carrying her vision out globally by women raising a Red Tent Temple in every village, city and townThe Red Tent Temples hold the possibility for women of all ages to unify and strengthen, to support the greater changes being called for in our culture today. Alisa worked as a co-producer of Things We Don’t Talk About; Women’s Stories from the Red Tent with filmmaker Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost and film music scorer, Ruth Mendelson that debuted in September of 2012. This award winning film has now been viewed by over a million people around the world and translated in to several languages.

ALlisa’s workshop for the ASWM conference is titled, “The Builder’s Daughter: Out of the land, out of the myths, comes our living work”


Tamara Agha-Jaffar

Tamara Agha-Jaffar

Tamara Agha-Jaffar

“After serving all my professional life in academia, first as a professor of English, then as a dean, and then as Vice President for Academic Affairs, I retired in July 2013 to pursue my passion of reading and writing about women in mythology.

“I have written two books of non-fiction: a feminist analysis of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter entitled Demeter and Persephone: Lessons from a Myth (McFarland 2002), and Women and Goddesses in Myth and Sacred Texts (Longman 2004).  (You will find a review of this book, which is a sourcebook for teaching goddess studies, by Johanna Stuckey, right here on the ASWM website.)

“While in the throes of researching and writing my first book, I became captivated with the idea of exploring the Demeter/Persephone story through first person narratives of the characters involved in the events. This concept led to the birth of my first novel, A Pomegranate and the Maiden (Anaphora Literary Press 2015).”

In addition to working on a manuscript for my second novel, Tamara blogs at tamaraaghajaffar.com, where she “seeks nuggets of wisdom in various myths.” You can also find her on Goodreads.

Tamara’s presentation for the 2016 ASWM Conference is “Demeter, Persephone, and Iambe: Three Rebels with Cause.”  


Laney Goodman


“We will learn how to best be in balance together in a tribal way – once again breathing new life into ancient wisdom for our present time, where it is needed for healing our hearts, minds, and the global community.”

This workshop relies on the MOTHER DRUM – a large community drum that can be played by a number of drummers together – to keep the “one” heartbeat throughout our journey together.

Drumming in the Four Directions with the Mother Drum will let you connect to the Great Mother’s heartbeat.  We will experience air, fire, water and earth, the elements of the four directions, with drum and chant in each direction.  Women who attend this ceremonial drum and chant circle will have a chance to play the Mother Drum themselves along with 4 other women in each direction.  So please bring you drum or rattle and experience the deep connection of the heartbeat of the Mother Drum and know that we are all ONE.”

Laney Goodman — visionary drummer, ceremonialist, vocalist, and nationally syndicated radio host — leads ceremonial drum circles “Drumming in the Four Directions” with the Mother Drum.  Her Cherokee heritage from the Great Smoky Mountains blends with German, English and Scot/Irish ancestry to bridge time and tradition in ceremonies of community, especially for women. Laney studied with African-American drum masters and indigenous elders and has professionally presented Ceremonial Drum & Chant for over 25 years.

You can find more information on Laney’s work at: www.sacredwavesofrhythm.com

Note:  You are invited to bring your rattle or small drum to the Mother Drum workshop to participate in this ceremony.

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