The Earth Path – Starhawk

The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature
Starhawk
HarperOne, 2005
256 pages

I’ll be honest; I normally have a rather lukewarm opinion of Starhawk’s work. It’s not that it’s bad; it’s simply that I don’t connect with it the way that some other people do. This, however, is a wonderful exception to the rule that I am incredibly pleased to be able to review.

This is not a book of political action. It won’t tell you how to protest, or write letters, or reduce your carbon footprint. However, it is an incredibly valuable guide to attitudes and mindfulness. The Earth Path is an exceptional work that demonstrates to the reader how very important it is to be in tune with the environment that needs saving, and how that connection is crucial to understanding why it’s so important to be aware of and act on the problems that threaten ecosystems worldwide. In short, while activism works on the external connections, this book strengthens one’s internal connections to the Earth; properly applied, the material in this text will make it virtually impossible to ignore the impact we have on the environment. The theoretical and commentary material is punctuated by effective and to-the-point exercises designed to bring it all home in a firm, positive manner.

This isn’t, however, a funerary dirge and moan of all the horrible things we do, laying a guilt fest on the reader. Starhawk is quite clear about the fact that maybe we can’t all convert to solar energy; and she admits that even all the things she does can’t completely negate the impact she makes when she flies on planes to do speaking engagements and other activities. This is a book of “Here is what you *can* do, no matter who you are and what your circumstances may be”.

It’s a very thoughtful work, as well. I’m particularly fond of the chapters dealing with individual elements. This book actually came at the perfect time; as a part of my personal path, I’ve been dedicating a month with each of the traditional four elements in turn. I just happened to be at the very start of my Earth month when I read this; I read that chapter, and I’m saving the other three for required reading at the beginning of the other three months, as they’ll make wonderful introductory material to my work.

I absolutely love The Earth Path; this and James Endredy’s Ecoshamanism are the sine qua non of spiritual ecology (or ecological spirituality, if you prefer). In fact, the two books make a wonderful complement to each other, and I highly recommend them to anyone with any interest in magic and/or environmentalism. This includes people of all sexes; while the material is based somewhat on eco-feminism, there is nothing in here that prevents those who do not identify as women from working with it. In short, an effective guidebook for anyone.

Five green pawprints out of five.

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