NOW-NJ Home About NOW-NJ Join/Donate Chapters Local News FAQs (Q&A) Calendar Links


Barbara Walker was honored by NOW-NJ.  See the bold added below.


Humanist Profile: 

Barbara G. Walker


From, posted January 16, 2005




"Religion's war against fringe beliefs is not a contest of rational and irrational.  It is a contest between different fantasy systems, one having more political and financial clout than the others and, therefore, able to advertise itself into respectability."

       --Barbara G. Walker in acceptance of the Humanist Heroine award

Born July 2, 1930, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Barbara G. Walker turned toward religious skepticism early in childhood.  Later, in her teens, she began to seriously study the Bible, ultimately concluding that hatred of women, and human beings in general, exists in all patriarchal religions.

At the University of Pennsylvania Walker studied journalism, subsequently working for the Washington Star in Washington, D.C.  But after serving on a local hotline in the mid 1970s, helping battered women and pregnant teens, her feminism became heightened.  She then returned to her early interest in religion, mythology, and cultural anthropology, conducting extensive research that led to her most famous and still widely read book, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (1983).

Other major works followed:  The Secrets of the Tarot: Origins, History, and Symbolism (1984), The Skeptical Feminist: Discovering the Virgin, Mother, and Crone (1987), The Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects (1988), The Book of Sacred Stones: Fact and Fallacy in the Crystal World (1989, with Werner P. Brodde), Amazon: A Novel (1993), a children's book Feminist Fairy Tales (1996), and The Essential Handbook of Women's Spirituality and Ritual (2001).  In all of these she expresses her skepticism, often setting the record straight regarding both the problems with mainstream religion and the errors in popular New Age beliefs.  From an underlying atheist outlook she also offers a liberating alternative to established faith systems, advancing a natural and feminist spirituality that celebrates the Earth's fertility and the unique role of women in replenishing and nurturing the species.

Walker was honored with the Humanist Heroine Award of the American Humanist Association's Feminist Caucus in 1993 and the "Women Making Herstory Award" in 1995 from the New Jersey National Organization for Women.

HUMANISM is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion.  Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility.  It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice.  Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values-be they religious, ethical, social, or political --have their source in human nature, experience, and culture.  Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.

Copyright American Humanist Association Jan/Feb 2005







Copyright 2000 - 2008.  All rights reserved.

National Organization for Women of New Jersey (NOW-NJ)

110 West State Street

Trenton, NJ 08608

Tel:  609-393-0156             E-mail:

For web problems, click here to send e-mail to the Web Manager



Last modified:  08/02/2008