Patricia Monaghan (February 15, 1946, – November 11, 2012) was a poet, a writer, a spiritual activist, and an influential figure in the contemporary women's spirituality movement. Monaghan wrote over 20 books on a range of topics including Goddess spirituality, earth spirituality, Celtic mythology, the landscape of Ireland, and techniques of meditation. In 1979, she published the first encyclopedia of female divinities, a book which has remained steadily in print since then and was republished in 2009 in a two volume set as The Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines. She was a mentor to many scholars and writers including biologist Cristina Eisenberg, poet Annie Finch, theologian Charlene Spretnak, and anthropologist Dawn Work-MaKinne, and was the founding member of the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology, which brought together artists, scholars, and researchers of women-centered mythology and Goddess spirituality for the first time in a national academic organization.
Patricia Monaghan was born on February 15, 1946. Her parents, Mary Gordon and Edward Monaghan, were Irish-American. Patricia spent her early years on Long Island surrounded by a large extended family. Several years of illness kept her housebound during formative years, during which time she read voraciously as well as learning to embroider, the first of many traditional crafts that were an important part of her leisure throughout her life. When Patricia was in fourth grade, her family moved to Colorado, following the transfer of her father, an Air Force officer. From there, they moved to Alaska.
Monaghan earned her B.A. and her first graduate degree at the University of Minnesota, where she studied English and French literature. She maintained an ongoing interest in French literature, especially in the symbolist poets. After graduate school, she worked as a journalist in both Minnesota and Alaska, writing about culture, nature, and the intersection of the two. She also earned an MFA in creative writing (poetry) from the University of Alaska and a Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Studies (science and literature) from Union Institute in Cincinnati. In 1995, Patricia Monaghan joined the faculty of the School for New Learning at DePaul University, where she taught classes in arts and environmental sciences until 2011, eventually attaining he rank of Full Professor. .