EarthSpirit Directors

Deirdre at Rites of Spring 1997  

Deirdre Pulgram Arthen


Deirdre became involved in the Pagan community early in 1980, having grown up Unitarian with a strong background in theater and music. She felt an instant connection with Paganism because of the potency and immediacy that she found in its rituals. Paganism proved to be a path which combined all the things that were most important to her, including attunement to the sacredness of Nature, artistic expression, and a means of connecting with other people and the world that went beyond anything she had previously experienced.

In June of 1980 Deirdre was initiated as a Witch in the Glainn Sidhr Order. Soon thereafter she created the EarthSpirit Community with her partner Andras Corban Arthen, as a way to provide an outlet for and access to Paganism in the greater Boston area. From its modest beginnings, EarthSpirit now includes several thousand members. While the majority of EarthSpirit's activities are concentrated in the Northeast, its membership reaches throughout the country and abroad. Deirdre's work as Director of EarthSpirit has included coordinating monthly programs for members and non-members, ranging from open seasonal celebrations attended by 100-300 people, to a monthly study group, classes and workshops, outreach presentations, concerts by Earth-centered musicians, publishing a newsletter, and weekly training groups in Glainn Sidhr Witchcraft. She provides spiritual counseling for members, and creates and performs in public rituals which incorporates elements of theater, music, dance and poetry. In addition, Deirdre spends time writing articles, writing and telling stories, creating ritual chants, designing and participating in sacred circle dance, and performing Pagan-related music.

One major focus of Deirdre's work with EarthSpirit has been the development of four seasonal Pagan conferences, ranging in size from 100 to 700 participants from all parts of the country. These conferences Rites of Spring, Suntide Celebration, Twilight Covening and A Feast of Lights each designed around a theme appropriate to the season, provide an opportunity for Pagans to network and learn from each other, and in the process to develop stronger community ties. Rites of Spring was first held in 1979 and has become one of the largest and most well-known such gatherings in the country.

Deirdre has developed a counseling approach which incorporates not only traditional and holistic methods, but also includes spiritual practices derived from her experience in the Glainn Sidhr Order. She often works with clients to create personal rituals of Empowerment, transition and transformation, also a focus of her public classes and workshops. Since the birth of her first child in 1987, the theme of spiritual birth, both literal and symbolic, has become a major aspect of her work.

In addition to teaching, Deirdre has been active in a wide variety of networking and inter-faith activities. In November of 1997 she joined an international group of religious leaders in planning meetings for the 1999 Parliament of the World's Religions to be held in Capetown, South Africa. In December she will attend the this Parliament - offering presentations and networking with religious leaders from all over the world. In 1993, she offered presentations for the previous Parliament held in Chicago - an interfaith conference gathering 8,000 representatives of the world's major spiritual traditions together to dialogue and move toward world peace and a deeper understanding of the diversity represented. At the 1993 Parliament, Deirdre wrote and executed an open full-moon ritual for several hundred delegates and media representatives in Grant Park and led one of the morning interfaith services.

In 1990 she also helped to plan, and execute an interfaith service for 250,000 which opened Boston's celebration of Earth Day. She has offered presentations for a number of civic and religious organizations, including the National Organization for Women, the Unitarian-Universalist Women's Conference, and several universities. She has been featured in local and nationally syndicated television and radio programs and interviewed for numerous publications, notably Woman of Power magazine and the Time-Life Books series "Mysteries of the Universe".

In working with the performance group, MotherTongue, Deirdre has found a natural home for her training in music and theater. MotherTongue has performed for Pagan and non-Pagan audiences nationwide, sharing the essence of Nature spirituality through music, dance, drumming and ritual. Deirdre was a producer of the three recordings released by the group.

Deirdre is the mother of two children and has written children's books centered around the spirituality of nature. The first of these, "Walking with Mother Earth", has recently been released by D&J Publications. She and Andras Corban Arthen have also released a recording of folk music with similar themes titled, "We Believe".

  • Born: November 5, 1956
  • Education: B.A. in History and Drama, Tufts University, Medford, MA; 1978.
  • M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Lesley College, Cambridge, MA; 1986.
  • Director of the EarthSpirit Community.
  • Past National and Regional Board member of Covenant of the Goddess.
  • Elder of the Glainn Sidhr (Glenshire) Order of Witches.
  • Included in A Biographical Dictionary of Modern American Religious Leaders, 1991
  • Who's Who of Young Women in America, 1992.
  • Producer of "MotherTongue" a ritual performance troupe
  • Author of the children's book "Walking with Mother Earth", D & J Publications, 1993.
  • Recording artist: "We Believe" with Andras Corban Arthen and several with MotherTongue
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