Mirabai Starr

Workshop Leader

Mirabai Starr

Mirabai Starr is an award-winning author of creative non-fiction and contemporary translations of sacred literature. She taught philosophy and world religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos for 20 years and now teaches and speaks internationally on contemplative practice and inter-spiritual dialog. A certified bereavement counselor, Mirabai helps mourners harness the transformational power of loss. Her latest book is "Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics". Mirabai is on the 2020 Watkins List of the “100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People of the World.” She lives with her extended family in the mountains of northern New Mexico.

The Gathering Room


The Gathering Room

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Oct 19 2020 - Nov 16 2020


1:30 pm - 3:00 pm


$200 for the series

Mirabai Starr: Liberating Love: Following the Path of Troublemaking Women Across Spiritual Traditions

Recordings will be available to registered participants for a limited time and with sharing restrictions.

Check out Mirabai Starr’s free recorded Q&A about this program, and her talk, Wild Mercy: the Wisdom of the Feminine.

Mirabai, who is internationally known for her teachings on the mystics, contemplative practice, and the transformational power of grief, will introduce you in this web program to women mystics across multiple spiritual spaces: Hinduism; Buddhism; Judaism; Christianity; and Islam. Their wellspring of courage, intuitive awareness and liberating love that unfettered them from inherited conventions and catapulted them onto a path of direct connection with the sacred have so much to offer us today in these troubled times. 

October 19: Hinduism: Mirabai & Lalla

Mirabai, the 16th century devotional poet, was born into wealth and nobility and left the stifling safety of the palace for a life as a wandering minstrel, singing, dancing and uttering ecstatic love poetry to Krishna, the God of Love.

Lalla, the 14th century Kashmiri mystic, reconciled the streams of Hinduism and Islam in her own wild heart. Her poems are sparse and potent. She weaves nondual awareness with burning yearning for union with the One who transcends all naming. 

October 26: Buddhism: Machig Labdrom & Maura O’Halloran

Machig Labdrom, the 11th century Tibetan yogini, is known for developing Chod, a practice that involves intense visualizations designed to burn away all false concepts and offer oneself as a lamp to light the way for all beings.

Maura O’Halloran, also known by her Japanese name of Soshin, a 20th century Irish American, was the first woman to be accepted into an all-male Zen monastery in Japan. She studied and practiced among the monks and swiftly surpassed them in both concentration and insight. By the time she died in a bus accident in Thailand at the age of 28, she had achieved a rare state of awakening, manifesting as unconditional love.  

November 2: Judaism: Chana of Ludmir & Etty Hillesum

Chana of Ludmir, the 19th century Russian Jew, was the only independent woman rebbe (teacher) in the history of the Chasidic movement. From an early age she defied gender roles and studied the Torah so passionately that layer upon layer of meaning revealed themselves to her and illumined the souls of people from all strata of society. She ministered especially to women, including Muslim women.

Etty Hillesum came of age during the Holocaust in her native Netherlands. She found beauty and meaning in volunteering to accompany her fellow Jews to the camps, even as she was offered a way to escape extermination herself. Etty had a great awakening not in spite of but rather as a direct result of the horrors she experienced.

November 9: Christianity: Teresa of Avila & Julian of Norwich

Teresa of Avila, the 16th century Spanish mystic, was known for her visions and voices, raptures and ecstasies. But she was also a radical reformer. She traveled the rugged countryside by donkey cart, founding convents and monasteries dedicated to the contemplative values of silence and solitude, and to cultivating an intimate relationship with the Beloved in the temple of the human heart.

Julian of Norwich, the 14th century English anchoress, had a near-death experience at age 30 that compelled her to enclose herself in a stone cell and spend her life in prayer and meditation. A contemporary of Chaucer, she was the first woman to write in English. Her radically optimistic theology dares to dispense with sin and concludes that God has to be woman. 

November 16: Islam: Rabia & Fatimah

Rabia, the 8th century Sufi mystic, was sold into slavery as a young girl and earned her emancipation when the man who bought her discovered her praying in the middle of the night with flames leaping from her head. She made her way to the Arabian desert and spent the rest of her life in extreme austerity, both physical and spiritual, forging a direct and unorthodox connection with the Divine that transcended all preconceptions and rooted itself in radical love.

Fatimah, daughter of the prophet Muhammad, lived on the Arabian Peninsula and died in Mecca around the age of 30. Known as “Resplendent One,” Fatimah was wise, outspoken, and indispensable to her father as he dared to speak truth to power and upend the social hierarchy that marginalized the underprivileged, including women. “If Fatimah is displeased, Allah is displeased,” the prophet declared. “And when Fatimah is pleased, Allah is pleased.” Some say it was Fatimah who was meant to carry his lineage, but the world was not yet ready for a woman to lead them into the arms of the One.