Priestesses MaryClare Foecke and Rev. Areeya Marie Sharpe

Current Priestesses in Residence

The Function of Priestesses

Priestesses are women who live in service with the Divine Feminine.  The functions of priestesses at the Sekhmet Temple include caretending of the temple and grounds, performing daily ceremonies, hosting visitors and retreatants, facilitating public rituals, and taking part in activities that further the mission of the temple.  These include promoting peace, goddess spirituality and gift economy; providing temple outreach; and facilitating an atmosphere and opportunities for learning and engaging with the Sacred Mother.

Priestessing In Residence

The chief caretenders and stewards of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality dedicated to Sekhmet are the priestesses in residence. The current Resident Priestesses are MaryClare Foecke (March 2020-present) and Areeya ~ Rev. Marie K. Sharpe (January 2021-present).

Joy in Birth


Earthsong 2021


Our HerStory of Priestesses and Founder Bios

Candace Ross


Resident Priestess: 2007 – April 2020

Temple Priestess Candace Ross

Temple Priestess Candace Ross

Ever since I was a child, I have sought what I called “The Holy”. After a long and twisting journey, what I was looking for gradually made itself known in the Feminine Aspect of the Divine, the Goddess. How wondrous to be in the lap of our strong and compassionate Mother. How blessed to have been called here, to learn, to grow, to serve Her and Her community. She leads me to protect Her earth and Her people. I have gladly given the remainder of my life to that calling. May the Grace, Wisdom and Protection of our Beloved Sekhmet be ever with us.

Sa Sekhem Sahu

Priestess Candace Peace Ross passed in May of 2023 surrounded by her children and family. Infinite gratitude and love for the amazing dedication and heart in which you tended Mothers Temple and the land for so many years, dear Priestess…


Dr. Anne Key

Resident Priestess: 2004-2007

Temple Priestess Anne Key

Temple Priestess Anne Key

Anne Key was  Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet from 2004-2007. She is currently adjunct faculty in Women’s Studies and Religious Studies at the College of Southern Nevada, teaching on-line courses. Anne received her Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion, with an emphasis in Women’s Spirituality, from California Institute of Integral Studies. Her academic investigations centered on Mesoamerica. She is co-founder of Goddess Institute Press with Candace Kant. Both her memoir, Desert Priestess, and  The Heart of the Sun: An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet, co-edited with Dr. Kant, will be published Spring 2011. Anne resides in Hood River, Oregon with her husband, his four cats (Castor, Pollux, Chloe, and Rachel) and her snake, Asherah.


Rev. Patricia Pearlman

Resident Priestess: 1994-2004


Patricia Pearlman, who for more than 10 years was the Priestess of the Temple of Goddess Spirituality dedicated to Sekhmet, passed away on March 24th, 2006, in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was 66.

CroneWitch Patricia Pearlman

CroneWitch Patricia Pearlman

I met Patricia in 1994 when Cynthia Burkhardt, who was the priestess of the temple for the first year of its existence, decided to move on to other activities. Patricia seemed to have all the capacities necessary for the priestess job, and she was also enthusiastic about doing it, so I hired her immediately. She seemed ‘sent by the goddess’. Since I was living in Texas and the temple is in Cactus Springs, Nevada, I had to trust that Patricia would act on her own initiative to make it work. And she did, with a flourish and energy that were truly admirable.

Patricia had a way of bringing spirituality down to earth, making it a part of every day, as well as maintaining the sense of the sacred. She gave hospitality to all who came in peace, while defending the temple from those who from time to time would want to desecrate it. She also protected the fragile desert environment from possible pollution by guests. And she tried to embody the role and concept of CroneWitch, the title she gave to herself.

She had a great sense of humor and a flair for drama, as she strode the desert with her cane, her cloak, and often with her cigar. Patricia seriously attempted to practice the gift economy at the temple, and gave her services in many ways to the community. Always intelligent, witty and fervent, she established the temple as an institution, giving it a foothold in a very unlikely environment, between the nuclear test site and the airforce base, not far from that  ‘Disneyland for Adults’ where everything is bought and sold, which is Las Vegas. I admired Patricia and sometimes wondered how she could do it, but she did, and she created a community of people who came to the temple for rituals, healing, and advice.

Patricia also collaborated with the Western Shoshone, to whom I had restored the acreage of the land on which the temple is built, in 1992. There were many actions at the test site and elsewhere in which she (and sometimes I) participated, together with the Shoshone, and for some years we were involved in a legal battle to keep a gravel pit from being built less than a mile away. Patricia also valiantly worked at solving many other bureaucratic problems having to do with the land. We had some good times together, too, travelling to Glastonbury in England to the Goddess festival, and to number of other places on other occasions. Patricia loved nature and animals, and she loved her husband, Al, who also contributed a lot of work to the success of the temple. In fact it is not often in these times that we see a long term successful love relationship like they had. I admired both of them also for that.

Priestess Patricia

Priestess Patricia

When she realized she had cancer, Patricia stepped down from her priestess position and helped me in finding and hiring a new priestess, Anne Key, who successfully presided at the temple until 2007.

All those whose lives Patricia so brilliantly touched miss her.

She had traveled rather widely before I met her, and I remember her telling me about the time she danced in front of the Taj Mahal in a red dress. I like to think of her doing that.

~Genevieve Vaughan, Temple Founder


Cynthia Burkhardt
Resident Priestess: 1993-1994

I was born with the sun in Virgo, the moon in Aries and with Capricorn rising, in the year of 1961. I [was] caretaker of the goddess temple on a beautiful piece of land called Cactus Springs, [in] 1993 [and 1994]. It has been a most incredible opportunity for me personally to gain strength and goddess clarity in my own life, and to share with others through prayer, dance, song, ritual, laughter, and tears at this most blessed place.

The Temple was built with the help of the CHAOS affinity group, members of the staff of the Foundation and the ever present gifts of the mother. The Madre del Mundo and the goddess Sekhmet were created by the hands of Marsha Gomez with the inspiration of Genevieve Vaughan. The Virgin of Guadalupe, also graces the temple. This is a very powerful special place for all who come here.

I came out here for prayer, and to listen to this piece of land, to hear what she has to teach me. Surrounded by the Nevada Test Site, Indian Springs Air Force Base, and Nellis Air Force Base, the land has had assault upon assault upon her soil. I feel that the Temple has great potential to heal this piece of Mother Earth, to bring back the fertility of the land and the inherent beauty of this place.

My life is devoted to caring for the Good Mother and to continually aligning my own life so that I am living with Gaia, and not adding to her destruction. This has meant simplifying my life which has not been easy. With all the ways of modem living it is a continual struggle to shed all the non-essentials for the health of us all.

Some dreams and goals I have are to construct goddess temples throughout the country and the world at key places, where the Mother needs healing. Such as the ‘peace pagodas’ that have been constructed at Buddhist Temples, to enliven that particular power place and to bring back the worship of “womins’ way.”

I also see the native ways and goddess ways as overlapping and integral to bringing our planet into healing. I feel that prayer and ritual are the most important parts of living, period. It helps keep the balance.

I would like to have land near the Canadian border, close to the International Peace Park, where native and goddess cultures work singularly and together teaching the young children. The Temple is a rich and beautiful place that gives insight and solace at this time of greater and greater spiritual crisis.

Founder GenevieVaughn: