13 Step Path

1. We admitted we lost our power in Patriarchy;
that our lives became dysfunctional as a result

2.  Acknowledged we could be restored to wholeness
through a natural healing process

3.  Became willing to reclaim our power & authenticity
with the guidance of higher powers & like-minded sisters

4.  Took an honest inventory of our resentment, fear,
shame and guilt to uncover the root causes of our unhealthy
behaviors and to discover the truth about ourselves

5.  Revealed it all to a trusted mentor

6. Became willing to let go of all dysfunctions,
discard unhealthy behaviors, live in the present,
& embrace ourselves with love and acceptance

7.  Invited the spirit of change and transformation
to banish all barriers to our healing & restore us to
wholeness, balance, harmony & empowerment

8.  Looked at ways we had harmed ourselves or others
and became willing to mend our lives

9.  Made direct amends wherever or whenever possible

10.  Continued to take personal inventory; mend our lives;
claim our hearts desires; and follow the dictates of our soul

11.  Continued to deepen our connection with divine forces
through spiritual and magical practices of our choice,
asking only for guidance, vision, wisdom and power
to carry out what's best for all

12. Being graced with transformation & restoration,
we share our experience, strength & hope with all who ask
& strive to be of maximum service to humanity

13.  We honor Nature & Spirit as the Immanent Life Force
& our oneness with all things in the great web of life;
We claim our divinity; Follow our path of heart;
Doing as we will while harming none.

Blessed Be


Some say I'm a miracle
to that I would agree,
for I was born a spirit-being
happy, joyous, free...
But sadly I was hypnotized,
shamed & blamed & criticized
'til false beliefs and twisted lies
were all I came to recognize

I wanted truth & love's embrace
but self-destruction took its place
hence, I became my enemy
imprisoned by disharmony...
In fear and rage I sought relief
that led to heartache, loss & grief,
but at the end, in deep despair
I cried for help in pleading prayer

Thru powers of grace I came to find
hope & trust & peace of mind,
12 Steps became my destiny
releasing my insanity,
And from the ashes I did rise
to find a Goddess in disguise
& with the light of soul displayed
I came to honor ancient ways

Now Nature's laws I do abide
with kindred spirits by my side
sharing rich discoveries
in service to humanity...
Yes, I'd say I'm a miracle
with many blessings be
At last my sacred spirit-being
is happy, joyous, free!

~ Silverwitch ~
Return to Home Page
What is Patriarchy?

A 13-Step Path Story

In the Spring of 1985, while taking a Nature walk,  I had a profound
mystical experience that restored my connection with our ancient mother,
the Goddess. At the time I was very active in a 12-Step Program of Recovery,
attending meetings on a daily basis, raising kids, healing from years of
dysfunctional living, cleaning up the wreckage of my past, sponsoring
women in recovery and working in the Chemical Dependency Field.

This extraordinary epiphany changed the course of my life. It drastically
altered my consciousness in a matter of minutes; swept away every old idea
and religious belief that once held sway in my mind; and revealed that I
was a living spirit, one with Mother Nature, made in her image and likeness,
and sacred as a woman! This experience also inspired me to reclaim my
pagan roots, so I began exploring the earth-based religions and women's
mystery traditions of my European ancestors. As I studied I became
absorbed, amazed to find that these ancient ways mirrored my soul,
the cycles of my life and who I had always been... a divine spirit!

I dedicated myself to the path of the Divine Feminine under a bright
full moon one night and began weaving Women's Mystery Traditions into
my recovery program and it didn't take long for my recovering sisters to
notice a change in my demeanor. Before long they began approaching
me with curiosity and questions about my spiritual path. So, I began,
sharing with them about the Goddess, about women's spirituality,
and they listened with enthusiasm!  This is how The Sacred Circle
began in 1985 along with our 13-Step Path.

The Sacred Circle maintains a strong commitment to the Goddess and
the principles of 12-Step Recovery. It was born out of a growing need
for women to back away from the patriarchal belief systems that keep us
codependent and dysfunctional while reclaiming our power within to
heal at the deepest levels.  Like any collective working together for change
and transformation, bonds of love & trust have developed, strengthened
and deepened through the years. Today, we not only enjoy a solid core
of support. We share binding threads of love, magic, dedication and
commitment as we continue welcoming women seeking sanctuary,
divine reconnection, deeper healing and restoration in their lives.

The Sacred Circle is not a replacement for 12-Step Programs.
It's an enhancement. 12 Step Principles saved my life as well as
others in the circle, so we continue working a program of recovery
while offering our support to sisters who are seeking
a deeper understanding of themselves as women.

12 Step Programs have provided recovery and support to thousands of people
around the world that suffer from codependency, alcoholism, various addictions
and seemingly hopeless states of mind and body for over 80 years now, and
many of us are eternally grateful to them for the restoration of our lives.

However, 12-Step Programs were created by men for men, with a patriarchal
religious focus, and sadly many of the issues unique and vitally important
to a women's recovery are simply overlooked or not recognized. This includes
the vital information about who we really are as women, facts that have been
suppressed by Patriarchy and male-dominated systems for thousands of years;
facts that are crucial to recovering & reclaiming who we really are as women.

When Bill Wilson converted the 6 Steps of the Oxford Groups to the 12 Steps of A.A.,
he wrote them with a man's experience in mind. Back then, in the 1930's, women's
addictions were not talked about, nor were they visible in society like they are today.
Women stayed mainly in the home with limited resources and no political, social or
economic power. Today, we have thousands of women in 12 Step Fellowships and it's
important to address issues unique to women if we want recovery at the deepest levels.

Many 12 Step fellowships are dominated by a man's experience of the world
and the patriarchal religious beliefs that go with it, so it can be very difficult
for women to "identify" when they don't share the same views or experiences.
Many women feel there is something terribly wrong with them, but they don't
know what it is, and they will probably never know unless they find a spiritual
path that mirrors who they really are, and Patriarchal Religion will never do it.

The safety of a women's circle, however, can make all the difference in the world
to those of us who need to identify with our own female experience of the world.
This can include our own mental, emotional, spiritual and biological processes
along with our "tend and befriend" hormonal responses to the world around us.
It is also important to reclaim our biologies and unique female mysteries in recovery,
but unfortunately this cannot or
will not ever happen in groups of men. It's impossible.

Patriarchal images of deity are also used in 12-Step Recovery, images that were
created by the man-made belief systems of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Therefore "God, as you understand HIM" is the common language used
in 12-Step Programs to describe the higher powers or divine forces of life.

Some women don't have problems relating to male images of deity.
In fact, some women find them quite comforting. But many of us never
knew there were feminine images of deity that we could relate to because
these images were suppressed and hidden from view for hundreds of years,
except in the Catholic Church where many insisted on keeping the Blessed Virgin,
Blessed Mother or "Mary, Mother of God" in tact until this day. So embracing
images that speak to us as women can be crucial to the healing our lives. My Greek
and Italian ancestors would agree. Even though they were forced into Catholicism,
they still prayed to the Goddess, under the guise of Mary,
Divine Virgin-Mother....  Queen of Heaven... Lady of the World.

There are women who do not find comfort in male images of deity,
and other women that may not believe in a deity at all. This is the beauty
of a woman's spirituality circle. There is no "one and only deity"... only
images and myths of woman-hood from all over the world which can allow
personal identification with the feminine or a spirituality that mirrors our
own experiences as women, both personally and in the world. A healthy
circle can be a safe place that provides inspiration, comfort and healing,
while reflecting our beauty, power, intelligence and sacredness as women.

The 13 Steps and Traditions of The Sacred Circle were created out of a
growing need to discover and embrace our own mysteries in order to heal.
Healing can be difficult for women in environments that are male-dominated,
especially since many of these systems made us sick, dysfunctional, and
codependent in the first place. Patriarchy makes us feel there is something
wrong "WITH US" when in reality there is something terribly wrong with
the patriarchal system we are living in and our futile attempts to
adjust to it.

When creating the 13 Step Path for The Sacred Circle...
I didn't want to substitute one religious metaphor for another.
I felt the term "higher powers" was sufficient because it is often
used in 12 -Step Programs and would also offer each woman the
opportunity to define "divinity" or "higher powers" for themselves.

I did give the Goddess/Mother Nature a Step of her own, however, because
she's been suppressed and neglected far too long. It's time we acknowledge
the feminine principle along with the masculine, because the female brings
all life into the world and that includes the lives of all great avatars, gurus,
popes, chiefs, kings, presidents and prophets! --- So please join us!
The greatest gift a woman can reclaim and possess is herself!

Let's remember:  When Women Heal, the World Heals!


1.   We recognize that we have given away personal power
by addiction to substances, that this has resulted in dysfunctional living,
that it's time to reclaim our power and restore balance to ourselves and our lives.

2. Came to acknowledge that the Divine Power within
can bring about healing change and harmony

3. Chose to allow the Divine within of our own personal path
to be the central guiding force in ourselves and our lives.

4. Examined ourselves deeply and honestly on all dimensions,
physical, mental, behavioral, emotional, and spiritual.

5. Acknowledged to the Divine, to our egos, and to at least one ally, what is
unhealthy and unbalanced in our bodies, thoughts, emotions, behaviors & souls.

6. Were ready for the Divine within to work transformation
to restore balance to ourselves and our lives.

7. Sincerely invited the Divine within to dispel barriers to change,
and to facilitate transformation

8. Made a lists of all beings we have harmed,
and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such beings as much as possible,
except when to do so would cause harm to them or others
or make a difficult situation worse.

10. Continued our process of self-examination,
acknowledging our strengths as well as our problems, and
promptly acknowledging our mistake & successes when they occurred.

11. Sought through spiritual activities such as rituals, meditations, chanting, dancing,
rhythm making, invocations, prayers, vigils, nature walks, journal writing, and
other practices, to strengthen our relationship with the Divine within and
to allow this dimension of ourselves to be the guiding force in our lives.

12 . Having had a spiritual rebirth as a result of this process of healing transformation,
we continue to work with these principles and are willing to share our story
with those who come to us in need.

by Selena Fox

Circle Sanctuary.org

13 Shamanic Steps

1. Admitted I was miserable; that my soul was unfulfilled;
that I gave my personal power away to outside forces
that  I knew in my heart were wrong or destructive to me.

2. Came to believe that the power of Great Spirit could
restore me to wholeness, balance and harmony within

3. Made a decision to heal my life with assistance
from my spiritual guides, in this world & beyond,
& by opening up to the healing powers of Mother Nature

4. Took a personal inventory of myself to honestly
evaluate my ways of thinking, feeling and behaving
& to examine the root causes of my problems.

5.  Shared my new awareness with the Great Mystery,
along with a human being or elder that I trusted,
and became receptive to good counsel and direction.

6.  Became ready to let go of all that no longer served me
& willing to make the changes necessary to be true to myself

7. Asked my spirit guides to reveal my sacred path,
by removing all barriers to my healing and transformation,
so I could walk with dignity and live in a good way

8. Took an honest look at how I related with other beings on Earth;
became willing to amend the harms I caused myself and others
as well as heal from any harm done to me.

9. Took action to heal my life, to do what it right for me,
to mend all relationships I am not in harmony with while
making sure I didn't cause further harm in the process.

10.  Continued to examine my life and make progress;
to take counsel when needed and correct my mistakes,
so I can walk in a sacred way on our Earth Mother.

11. Seek through prayers, ceremonies and ancient traditions
to improve my spiritual life, asking only to live with good purpose

12. Out of gratitude for my healing and transformation...
I will strive to be of service to all my relations on Mother Earth
and offer my love, understanding and assistance when it is needed.

13.  I will continue  honoring the spiritual traditions of my ancestors
the power of the four directions and path of the sacred hoop;
while striving to live in peace with all of my relations.

Mama Silverwitch

13 Steps for Wisewomen
by JoAnna Silverwitch

1.  Admitted I gave my power to Patriarchy
and the dysfunctional ways of the world;
that my soul became fragmented and my life became
painful and dysfunctional as a result

2. Came to believe that the divine forces of life
could restore me to wholeness

3.  Made a decision to reclaim my authenticity
by following my soul's inner guidance system;
by taking specific actions in recovery;
and by living in harmony with Spirit and Nature

4.  Looked deeply and honestly at my life,
naming all fears and resentments that prevented me from
living my truth and following the inner promptings of my soul

5.  Shared all discoveries with a trusted mentor
while remaining teachable and open to council

6. Become entirely ready to let go of all self-defeating behaviors;
strive for progress rather than perfection; live in the moment;
honor myself above all; and heal at the deepest levels

7.  Evoked the divine source of power within myself
to banish all barriers to my recovery so I could live
in balance and harmony with nature, myself and others

8.  Examined the ways that I betrayed my self and others
and became willing to make amends

9.  Righted all wrongs to the best of my ability
except when to do so would cause more harm

10.  Continued uncovering, discovering, discarding and amending
while honoring the desires of my heart and soul
and living in the present with gratitude.

11.  Continued deepening my connection with divine forces
and heeding the wisdom of my inner guidance system
through spiritual, mystical and magical practices of my choice
and fulfilling my unique gifts, talents and purpose.

12.  Being restored to my authentic nature
I share my experience, strength and hope with others
and try to be of maximum service to my community

13. I honor my oneness with Spirit and Nature,
and respect all things in the great web of life;
Align myself with seasons and cycles of Nature;
Celebrate my feminine mysteries and uniqueness
while sharing my gifts and talents with the world.

Blessed Be

13 Simple Steps of Recovery

1. We admitted that our lives needed healing;
that we were powerless over people, places, things
and certain substances outside ourselves

2. We believe we can be restored to wholeness

3. We acknowledge we are spiritual beings
& trust in the laws of Nature for healing.

4. We write our resentments, fear, shame & guilt
to get to the root of our dysfunctions

5. We share our discoveries with a trusted person
who has been through this process

6. We become willing to stop all dysfunctional behavior
take the necessary actions to produce harmony within,
& make progress as we go along

7. We follow the guidance of our inner wisdom
& create new and fulfilling ways to live our life

8. We become willing to heal our relationship with others
& to follow the desires of our heart

9. We continue taking action to clean up the past,
righting all wrongs to ourselves and others
so we can live freely in the present

10. We continue to mend, learn, change and grow,
while living in the NOW with gratitude

11.  We continue to improve our spiritual lives
so we can live in balance and harmony, inside & out

12. We continue sharing our stories & progress
with others in our recovering community

13.  We continue to love ourselves, above all,
while honoring the ways of the Earth and all living things

by Mama Silverwitch

Traditional Steps of Recovery

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions;
over people, places and things outside ourselves;
that our lives had become unmanageable

2. Came to believe that
powers greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives
over to
higher powers of our own understanding.

4. Made a searching & fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5.  Admitted to ourselves and another human being
the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have
higher powers
remove these defects of character

7. Humbly asked
higher powers
to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed
and became willing to make amends to them all

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible,
except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory
and when we were wrong promptly admitted it

11. Sought through prayer and meditation
to improve our conscious contact with higher powers,
praying only for the knowledge of the right way for us
and for the power to carry it out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps,
we tried to carry this message to others
and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

13.  Continued to be true to ourselves;
to honor the Laws of Nature and Spirit
while living with reverence for ourselves
and all beings in the great web of life.

Grant us the Serenity to
Accept the things we cannot change;
Courage to change the things we can;
and Wisdom to know the difference.

The Six Step Program
of the Oxford Groups*

1. Complete Deflation
(The admission of complete defeat in the world)

2. Dependence on a Higher Power

3. Moral Inventory

4. Confession

5. Restitution

6. Continued Service to Others

*  The Oxford Groups were an Evangelical movement founded by a Christian
Missionary in the 1930's, who believed the root of all problems was fear and
selfishness, and the solution was surrendering one's life over to God's plan.
The Six Steps above were the original steps of recovery presented to Bill Wilson,
Dr. Bob Smith, Ebby Thatcher, and the first 100 men and women of AA.
Bill Wilson converted these 6 Steps of the Oxford Group into the 12 Steps
of Alcoholics Anonymous... and through the years these same 12 Steps
have been adapted and used by many other 12 Step Programs
that we see in our world today. It is now estimated that more than
24 million Americans are in Anonymous Recovery Programs.