Behaving As if the God in All Life Mattered
Machaelle Small Wright
Perelandra, Ltd., 1997
I think what I was expecting in this book was an exploration of animism and consideration of living beings other than our own–but more in the format of When Elephants Weep. Instead, this book is part biography, part New Age animistic philosophy text. It’s not what I expected, but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.
Much of the book is about Wright’s life history–her rough start after her parents divorced and indicated that neither one really wanted her, her eventual ensconcement into a Catholic girl’s high school in which social politics were the name of the game, and how she managed to find a good relationship nonetheless that eventually helped bring her to Perelandra, an eight acre piece of land that became the setting of her work with Devas, the spirits of nature. While I normally am not a big fan of biographic storytelling as a primary teaching device, I found that I really got into her background story. I also found that her transmissions of lessons from the Devas were well-interspersed with the story.
Her conception of Devas is very similar to my conception of totems–archetypal beings that watch over an entire species, and are independent beings rather than figments of the imagination. While her experiences are positive, and she seems to believe that one’s experiences with Devas should never be negative, overall, I found I agreed with a lot of what she was saying. I sometimes looked askance at some of her claims about the actions of the Devas–for example, there were a few anecdotes where garden pests were wreaking havoc, but after she talked to their respective Devas they’d miraculously disappear or move off to somewhere else (within hours).
If you don’t have a lot of tolerance for New Age-flavored writing, this may be a bit saccharine for you at times. However, it’s a great story, and inspiring in a lot of ways.
Four pawprints out of five.