Manifest Divinity by Lisa Spiral Besnett

Manifest Divinity
Lisa Spiral Besnett
Megalithica Books, 2013
116 pages

Reviewed by Devo

When I first looked at this book, I will admit that I expected it to be a lot of fluff. However, I was interested in reading about another person’s conception of what divinity is, and how it can be seen in the world, so I decided to give the book a shot.

I was very surprised by this book- in a good way.

The author herself expresses that the intent of her book is to:

“My hope in this book is to help establish a framework to talk about spiritual experience that is not dependent on a particular religious practice or belief.”

And I think that she does a pretty good job with this. She starts the book off by discussing some of her own approaches to divinity, or the Divine, and also goes over what the Divine is. To summarize it briefly, her definition would be as follows:

“I consider any awe experience to be a manifestation of the Divine. Manifest Divinity actually implies that the Divine is present and obvious. We simply bring our attention to it, or bring the Divine into our awareness. When this comes as a surprise, without any effort on our part, the result is awe.

I believe that anything which leaves us awestruck is a manifestation of the Divine. I dare say being filled with a feeling of love that makes one want to hold the whole world in their arms is a manifestation of the Divine.”

The author also discusses some of the shortcomings of our modern society to approaching, seeing and understanding the divine. And finally, she goes into five different forms of Divine manifestation and how we can work to see the Divine in these manifested forms.

All in all, I liked the book. I thought that it was well written and that people of various faiths and practices could read the book and find a way to understand the concepts being brought forward. On the by and large, the author keeps her discussion of the Divine broad and general enough that you don’t feel like she’s necessarily writing about any one type of divinity, or for any particular faith.

The language of the book is approachable and easy to read- you could easily read this book over the course of a few days. And the content within the book could be re-read for new ideas regularly. The author also includes questions at the end of each chapter for you to utilize for becoming closer to the Divine- which should allow the reader to utilize the book over time as they expand their relationship with the Divine. I also think that some of the concepts and discussion points brought forward in this book could be useful for someone who is trying to create their own religion, or for someone who is new to a polytheistic faith, or is trying to explore divinity structures outside of a monotheistic frame.

I think one of the most important things that the author brings forward in this book is the idea that the Divine is bigger than us, and that the Divine’s goals and morals may not necessarily line up with our own. She does cover the idea that you can tell a divine entity no, and that each of us needs to understand where our stopping point for the divine is. So the author does cover topics that I’ve seen a lot of authors gloss over.

If I had to pick something that I dislike about this book, it’s the constant reiteration that the Divine is unknowable, and mind breaking. I’ve never been a big fan of that idea, and the author’s concepts relating to that particular concept didn’t do much to change my notions on it. I would have preferred the focus to be more on “don’t put the Divine in a box” over “you are too human to really grok the depth of the Divine”.

However, despite this, I think that the book does have a lot of merit, and I think it’s worth reading. I feel it can be useful for helping people to further understand ways that the Divine can present itself in the world.

Four and a half out of five pawprints.

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1 Comment

  1. November 26, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    […] Read the full review […]


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