Invoking the Scribes of Ancient Egypt: The Initiatory Path of Spiritual Journaling by Normandi Ellis and Gloria Taylor Brown

Invoking the Scribes of Ancient Egypt: The Initiatory Path of Spiritual Journaling
Normandi Ellis and Gloria Taylor Brown
Bear & Company, 2011
xii + 307 pages

reviewed by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

This book has an intriguing concept, and in its scope it attempts to provide (at least) four things to potential readers: a travelogue of an especially inspirational pilgrimage to and tour of Egypt; a series of writing exercises; a group of thematic rituals and guided meditations; and personal accounts by various participants in the pilgrimage and tour that don’t necessarily have to do directly with what occurred on the trip, but may relate to their earlier experiences, or particular reflections on lessons learned as a result of the trip and the writing exercises done on it, often including short poetic compositions. To entitle this entire collection both “Invoking the Scribes of Ancient Egypt” and “The Initiatory Path of Spiritual Journaling,” however, is a bit of a stretch in both cases, unfortunately.

Information on scribal practices in Egypt is not as plentiful as many of us might hope, but it is far more extensive than is indicated in this book. While both the scribes of Egypt and the participants in this tour and pilgrimage were both “writing in Egypt,” the similarities somewhat end there. To suggest that what exercises are given in this book—however useful or profound they might end up being for some readers and writers—is in any sense a continuation of ancient Egyptian practices any more than any other type of writing done in Egypt today, or done anywhere else in the world by anyone, would need to have better lines drawn to indicate such than what is presented in this book. Further, to refer to the practice of keeping a journal of one’s spiritual exercises and reflections (which is, undoubtedly, a useful and enriching practice) as an “initiatory path” is also an overstatement. Initiation is a far more serious, intense, and dedicated spiritual practice than keeping a journal is, and many individuals keep journals as assiduously as (if not more so than) some spiritual practitioners, and yet to call one “spiritual” simply by virtue of some of the topics addressed in it is likewise an exaggeration, at very least.

For those who take the existence of the Egyptian deities seriously, some of the writing exercises might not be very palatable. Writing an “I Am Isis” aretalogical poem, for example, may strike some as impious, since that formulation and the goddess are being used as a projection screen for one’s own self-exploration.

Some of the rituals given in this book—including those at the beginning and end of the pilgrimage—are not Egyptian-specific, and in fact draw upon an eclectic range of spiritual traditions, including various Native American concepts (though no singular people or culture is named, only vague notions of totem-type animals and their desirable characteristics). In both rituals, which have a directional (East, South, West, North, Above, Below, Center) focus, ending with the phrase “…all our relations” and then “Ah ho” is the format followed. I don’t know the cultural background or training of the main ritualist amongst the group, but I can’t help but feel that doing this sort of North American indigenous tradition-inspired practice as a beginning and end to a pilgrimage in Egypt is inappropriate at best, and culturally appropriative at worst.

Egyptian tradition is not my primary area of familiarity, but even I know that some matters are rather inaccurately portrayed. The Great Sphinx is addressed by some participants as a female (p. 47), and even though the gender of the statue is not entirely certain, the Egyptians of antiquity considered it male. The Egyptian goddess Satis is called the “goddess of satisfaction” at one point (p. 57), but the etymologies of the name “Satis” and the word “satisfaction” are not at all connected (and originate in two entirely different, non-cognate languages!), and Satis herself has no direct connection to such a concept. In reference to Imhotep, the architect of the step pyramid at Saqqara (amongst many other venerable accomplishments), Gloria Taylor Brown writes “[He] is the only example of which I am aware where a historical man has been added to the pantheon of Egypt” (p. 245). Brown’s biography in the book suggests she is a lifelong student of Egyptian studies and teacher of Egyptian mysteries. Thus, it is rather upsetting that she doesn’t seem to know about the possibilities for deification of humans that are present in a great deal of ancient Egyptian religion, nor the further examples of it, including Petesi and Paher (whose temple is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York), and which continued through to the early second century of the current era as well with, at very least, Antinous. Granted, few amongst the pharaohs, even, achieved renown as great as Imhotep, but he is far from the only example.

For readers who are not interested in a close study of Egyptian precedents for spiritual practice, and who don’t mind a fair bit of New Age material (including references to Edgar Cayce, Omm Sety, and various other New Age-Egyptian connections), as well as spiritual traditions from a variety of other cultures, being mixed into the ever-intriguing cauldron of Egyptian “mystery,” this will be a very satisfying book. What I found the most interesting and useful about it was the photos and the two principal authors’ narratives about some aspects of the various sites that were visited on the tour. The type of writing exercises offered here are found in many other places, and if approached outside of the specific Egyptian tour and pilgrimage context, may be just as effective to pursue for those who wish to do so.

Two pawprints out of five.

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The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook by Tamara L. Siuda

The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook
Tamara L. Siuda
Stargazer Design, 2005-2009
167 pages

Reviewed by Ser

I started reading The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook without any expectations, other than hopefully learning more about Ancient Egyptian religion. I believe having an open mind led me to enjoy this book beyond it’s face value of a book full of prayers.

This book was written with practitioners of Kemetic Orthodoxy in mind, but I believe non-practitioners can still get something from this book, if only a better understanding of what those following KO believe and practice. There are two small chapters at the beginning dedicated to the definition of prayer, setting up shrines, and how to properly pray at a KO shrine (along with some recipes for natron and kapet); these chapters build a brief foundation for the prayers to follow, but I would have enjoyed more background.

Chapters 3 through 11 are each devoted to a different type of prayer, such as prayers for certain holidays, prayers for ancestors and prayers for specific deities. I enjoyed the latter in particular, as for each god and goddess the author included a historical section that included details about the deities going beyond simple attributes. Information in these sections include the origins of worship for that particular deity, the evolution of worship, and even some customary offerings that other practitioners have had good experiences with. Deities are also named in Egyptian style, rather than Classical, which I enjoyed (for example: Aset, instead of Isis). A wide variety of prayer styles is also included, from short mantras to lengthy prayers I imagine are used in full ceremony. There are even a couple of short, non-deity specific prayers that I enjoyed specifically.

Throughout the book are a few typos, but not enough to really detract from the book. (However I think they should have been caught before the second edition was released.) While reading, I would have liked a bit more explanation on the holidays, though I expect that would be better suited for a general Kemetic Orthodoxy book than a specifically named Prayerbook.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and am pleased with the variety of prayers included. This book wasn’t too applicable to my own studies, though it did present me with some new ideas and things to ponder. While I really can’t see this as a stand-alone book by any means, it does well as a companion book to anyone serious about studying Kemetic Orthodoxy or the worship of Ancient Egyptian deities in general.

Four pawprints out of five.

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Nebt-het: Lady of the House by Tamara L. Siuda

Nebt-het: Lady of the House
Tamara L. Siuda
lulu.com, 2010
36 pages

Reviewed by Ser

In the book’s preface, we learn that Nebt-het: Lady of the House started life as a “formal academic paper” for the author’s master’s degree. While Amazon lists the book as containing 36 pages, in actuality the “meat” of this book is only 9 1/2 pages. It reads just like a paper, too: rather dryly.

The preface to the 2010 edition is a spiritual dedication to Nebt-het herself, so I expected the rest of the book to follow suit. It does not. After the 9 1/2 pages of the paper, there is an additional 9 pages of references or “Notes”, another 3 pages of “Bibliography and Works Cited”, and 6 1/2 pages of alternative names and associations of Nebt-het. $12 is a lot to pay for 9 1/2 pages of someone’s school paper, a lot of which (though not all) contains information that I could find online after a few minutes of Googling. Whether this is because of the book or in spite of it, I can’t tell. (It does make me consider publishing my own school papers to earn a few bucks.)

There is a line stating something was discussed earlier, “on page 5”. When turning back to refresh myself of the subject, page 5 turned out to be the preface to the 2004 edition. I had to count individual pages of the paper itself to find the location being referred to. A small revision is needed to clarify this point to save the reader time and possible confusion.

That said, it is nice to have the scant information on Nebt-het in one place, as well as a listing of the many epithets of the goddess. I don’t doubt this information would be useful to anyone interested in learning more about Nebt-het and how she ties into Ancient Egyptian theology. As this paper is no longer for school purposes, I feel that there should really be more of the second preface’s contents included – the personal experiences and feelings that can give the goddess personality. I expected to learn of Nebt-het through the author’s point of view; this may be because I was reading Siuda’s “The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook” simultaneously, which does include some of her personal experiences. I believe this book itself would be better served on the internet as a beginner’s reference (perhaps on kemet.org, which I believe is owned by the author?), or as the first chapter in a book on Nebt-het, followed by stories of current worship and encounters.

Three pawprints out of five.

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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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Drawing Down the Spirits by Filan and Kaldera

Drawing Down the Spirits: The Traditions and Techniques of Spirit Possession
Kenaz Filan and Raven Kaldera
Destiny Books, 2009
338 pages

It’s seldom that I get a book for review that’s truly something new under the Sun. While I get lots of good stuff (and some real stinkers, too), most of the books are variations on preexisting topics that have already been written about to a significant extent. Not so this one. While there have been books in the neopagan genre that have touched on spiritual possession, as well as less intense practices such as aspecting and “drawing down”, full-on possession has largely been left to academic perusals of African diaspora and shamanic practices and belief systems. So getting to read an entire text dedicated to the actual practice of spirit possession was a definite treat, particularly as “spirit work” has become more prevalent in recent years.

The text starts with a good theoretical overview of possession work–what it is, where it came from, and what people have been saying about it. Then we get into some of the details that are useful in setting up the actual practice, such as a thorough discussion of cosmologies (after all, understanding “what” spirits and gods are and “where” they are as well goes a long way in having context for working with them). After that, there’s a wealth of information on things to keep in mind when doing your own possession work, to include the good, the bad, and the terrifying.

Do be aware that this book is heavily influenced by the authors’ biases, to the point that some parts could be interpreted as offensive to some readers. For example, they are very much hard polytheists, meaning that they believe that individual deities are just that–individuals, not parts of a single archetype. Those who see deities in a more archetypal form are referred to as “atheists” in this text, which could be potentially inflammatory in its interpretation of what that may mean to the individual archetypal pagan. The dedication to hard polytheism over all other theistic views is a constant theme in the book, and because it comes across as heavy-handed at times could be off-putting to some readers.

However, I say this as a caveat, because I want people to be prepared enough to be able to look beyond it if necessary so that this book can be appreciated for what I really want to say about it: If you have any interest in the practice of spirit possession, you want this book. I don’t do possession work myself, at least not to the extent discussed here, but I know people who do, and this meshes pretty well with what they’ve described of their own experiences. The authors most certainly know their audience–they’re familiar with neopagans who may be themselves unfamiliar with full possession work, and therefore much of the material is geared toward not only helping the individual practitioner do their work with a relative amount of safety, but also doing so in an environment where what they’re doing may be seriously misinterpreted. Also, while the book (thankfully!) isn’t full of prescribed, pre-crafted rituals, the appendix with the detailed ritual outline is a definitely valuable resource.

There’s not much more I can say at this moment without utilizing the material myself, and I do have to wonder how a better environment for full possession might affect the experiences not only for myself, but for other neopagans who have only done such things as aspecting. Will this book help create more opportunities for this sort of work? Only time will tell. Needless to say, this is one of the best resources I’ve read this year, and it’s definitely keeping a good spot on the bookshelf (or off it, as it’s needed).

Five pawprints out of five.

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The Balance of the Two Lands by H. Jeremiah Lewis

The Balance of the Two Lands: Writings on Greco-Egyptian Polytheism
H. Jeremiah Lewis
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2009
368 pages

Heh–the review I wrote about just before this one, incidentally, was about the blending of multiple religions! Go figure. However, whereas ChristoPaganism was about modern mixing of neopaganism and Christianity, The Balance of the Two Lands is a different critter indeed! It would seem that among some (not all!) reconstructionists and other highly scholarly pagans, there’s a deep bias against mixing traditions–if you’re a Celtic reconstructionist who happens to get a calling from one of the Lwa of Vodou and answer it, then you can’t really be a Celtic reconstructionist any more according to some folks. Worse yet, you might be considered–an eclectic! Horror of horrors!

Yet eclecticism is a very different concept from syncreticism, which is what this particular book deals with. Syncreticism is a much more deliberate and researched effort than the buffet-style picking and choosing of eclecticism (which can still work quite well for some people in its own right, just FTR). Lewis (aka Sannion), over a period of years, found himself courted both by the Greek and Egyptian pantheons and their respective traditions, and spent time in each religious community independently–with each telling him that he couldn’t go to the other and still be genuine. But he found a definite precedent for Greco-Egyptian syncreticism, most famously in the Ptolemies of Egypt–and this book is the result of years of research and practice to that effect.

There’s not a whole lot about modern Greco-Egyptian polytheistic syncreticism out there, and much of what does exist has been written by Lewis himself, as well as other folks, particularly through Neos Alexandrina. If you want a good dead-tree textbook to have on hand both for theory and ideas to formulate practice, this is a great option. Lewis’ essays run the gamut from hard research about the original syncretic practices, to what it is that modern Greco-Egyptian syncretists can do in daily practice.

As with the other Bibliotheca Alexandrina texts I’ve reviewed (and you’ll find all of the current titles on this blog except for Unbound and Echoes of Alexandria), I found this to be a breath of fresh air when it comes to the research. So many pagan texts today are based on half-assed “scholarship”; Lewis has most thoroughly done his homework, both in finding information and in interpreting it in a practical manner. You don’t need to worry about squishy-soft polytheism or claims of ancient Greco-Egyptian UFOs here. Bibliotheca Alexandrina, as a publisher, has represented itself well with its high standards of research, and this book is no exception.

In short, if you want to study and/or practice Greco-Egyptian syncretic polytheism in the 21st century, this will be an invaluable text to you. Highly recommended.

Five pawprints out of five.

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Egyptian Revenge Spells by Claudia R. Dillaire

Egyptian Revenge Spells: Ancient Rituals for Modern Payback
Claudia R. Dillaire
Crossing Press, 2009
192 pages

It’s no secret that the original pagans were no stranger to curses. From tribal shamans to priests to everyday people utilizing folk magic, part of most magic-workers’ arsenal was curses and other maleficio. The Egyptians weren’t an exception to this, and contemporary examples of magic that would make white lighters’ toes curl can still be found today. Of course, “black magic” being antithetical to the Wiccan rede and many other neopagan ethical guidelines (or, at least many neopagans’ interpretations of said ethical guidelines), curses can sometimes be a subject that gets skirted around–or subjected to flame wars.

Kudos, then, to Claudia Dillaire, for writing a book on something new for a change! In this case, it’s revenge that’s the topic of the day, whether dealing with a jilted lover (including those with stalker-like tendencies), ruining someone financially, or simply messing with someone who has already messed with you. There are dozens of incantations, spells and rituals for multiple uses–and while some of them are most definitely for revenge, there are also some for more benign forms of protection, reflection spells, etc.

This isn’t a book of old Egyptian spells, but is instead a collection of modern Wicca-flavored spellcraft with some Egyptian influence. There’s a decidedly Wiccan feel to them, with the common inclusion of candles, crystals, common “witchy” herbs, and incense, and the fairly standard spoken portions. While they do incorporate calling on Egyptian deities, in some ways this could be any of a number of spell books.

I’m not entirely sure how the author interprets Egyptian neopaganism in the first few chapters, where she’s establishing some context for the spells. Sometimes it seems like she’s comparing “Egyptian magic” to Wicca (that in particular, as opposed to general neopaganism); other times, it’s as though she’s trying to differentiate between them. Given that the spells themselves are pretty heavily Wicca (or at least witchcraft) flavored, I would have hoped she’d be a little clearer about how much Wicca and witchcraft influenced the unique brand of Egyptian magic she compiled from research and practice. In fact, if there’s anything seriously missing here, it’s a better explanation of where, exactly, she’s coming from. I was left a little unsure as to where the connection is between ancient Egyptian religious practices that spanned several millenia, and her personal practices today.

I’m also not a Kemetic pagan, and Egyptian religion and culture aren’t things I know a whole lot about, so I can’t speak too much to the quality of research. There was nothing glaringly wrong, and the bibliography had a mix of scholarly and practical source material. I could have hoped for in-text or other citations, especially for the historical information, but it’s a bit late for that now!

If you’re looking for some inspiration to unleash some wicked magic–or at least vent some frustration creatively–this is a good book. Don’t pick it up as an example of historically-based Kemetic paganism, however; it’s rather too eclectic for that. It’s a unique creation of the author’s, and gripes aside, I think it’s a nice change from the usual strict adherence to “Harm none”.

Four pawprints out of five.

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Dancing God by Diotima

Dancing God: Poetry of Myths and Magicks
Diotima
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2008
200 pages

Poetry usually isn’t my preferred reading material, but every so often I find a book of it that I truly enjoy. Dancing God is the second volume of poetry that’s caught my attention in such a way, the first being The Phillupic Hymns by P. Sufenas Virius Lupus. In this particular text, I was treated to a lovely variety of verses, some of which are strongly flavored by mythology–but all of which speak to the human condition.

Diotima’s verses are generally not long, but instead are bite-sized descriptions of her interaction with the world, Divine and mortal alike. There are four themes, each with its own section: Gods, Myths and Sagas; Love; Life; and Death. Diotima has done a lovely job of sorting her works into these categories, but the variety she displays demonstrates an understanding of multiple perspectives on each theme.

The poems in the Gods, Myths and Sagas section may be of particular interest to pagan readers. Her works encompass several mythologies, from Greek to Celtic to Japanese; primarily, though not exclusively, they are snippets of story or honor (or both!) offered to a particular deity. Some are rooted in the deities’ contemporary cultures, such as a rather macabre description of Dionysus’ darker aspects, a retelling of Fenris’ chaining, and a poem to Hekate as “lady of the hounds”. Others, such as Icarus’ musing on human’s common flight in airplanes, a poem comparing the original manifestation of angels to their modern “cute” depictions, and wondering “Do the old gods walk the streets of London?”, are more modern commentary. They all weave together well, and demonstrate that the gods are not, in fact, dead at all. These would all make lovely incorporations into private rituals and meditations.

All of the poems, however, are exquisitely crafted. Both the kind and the painful sides of love are evoked (I was particularly fond of “Communication”, with its recurring line “Damn you, pick up the phone!”). “Life” is a short section full of little slices thereof, commentary on the day to day (and yet how unusual it can be from this angle!). The theme of death is dealt with using everything from grief to black humor, a good catharsis for working through loss.

Having been assaulted with bad verse and worse attempts, Dancing God is a reminder that we still have muse-touched poets today, those who create beauty through carefully structured words. There’s magic in these pages, and Diotima is an accomplished magician when it comes to evoking the feelings she wishes to convey.

Five pawprints out of five.

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Written in Wine edited by Sannion, et. al.

Written in Wine: A Devotional Anthology for Dionysos
Sannion, et. al. (eds) plus individual contributors
Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2008
214 pages

Dionysos is one of those deities that I’m surprised I haven’t had more direct interaction with. I think, perhaps, it’s because I’m a modern-day teetotaler (with the rare exception of small amounts for ritual use), and like so many people I’ve primarily associated Dionysus with drinking and wine. However, this particular collection has given me a much deeper and broader perspective on who Dionysos was and is, and while I haven’t had any urge to devote myself to him, I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for him in places where he’s likely to be found.

While the god certainly likes his wine, he is also a deity of passion and sexuality; of wilderness; of ecstatic and terrifying rites of passage; and of liberty. The wonderful variety of prose, poetry, and plays in this anthology attest to this multitude of roles. While it was all enjoyable–there wasn’t a boring or poorly-written piece in the collection–here are a few of my favorites:

The Mystery of Meilikhios and Bakkhios by Sannion: This, of all the “This is what Dionysos is about”, is one of my favorite guides to the nature of the god. It shows, concisely but thoroughly, the dual nature of Dionysos, and why there are sometimes seemingly conflicting stories about him. (Sannion’s The Paths to Dionysos is an excellent companion to this.)

Black Leopard by Rebecca Buchanan: I love modern fiction that integrates ancient deities, and this story is a particular gem. Leopards–sacred to Dionysos–feature prominently in this heartwarming, creative tale.

Dionysus Sees Her by Allyson Szabo: There are several pieces in the collection that touch on Dionysos’ wife, Ariadne, but this poem really touched me. It focuses on the moment the god found Ariadne abandoned by the sea, and illustrates how deeply he loves. Absolutely beautiful.

Lesser-Known Dionysian Festivals by John H. Wells: This one caught my eye simply because the author collects together details about a few dozen ancient festivals sacred to the god. It could be incredibly useful to those wanting to do regular devotionals to him, and it also shows the great variety in the ways that he was (and still is) honored.

There are so many more pieces I could highlight; as I said, they’re all good. The greatest strength of this book is its diversity, not only because different authors approach different aspects of Dionysos, but also because there is that wide variety of voices in several different written forms. This is an excellent text for anyone wanting to understand this particular deity on a deeper level; it’s also a good model for those wanting to do devotional work to a particular deity, but who aren’t sure how that creative work may manifest. It’s a fitting tribute to a god who is most often relegated only to the wine bottle, but who deserves much more attention, and is more present in this world, than that.

Five pawprints out of five.

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Walking An Ancient Path by Karen Tate

Walking An Ancient Path: Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth
Karen Tate
O Books, 2008
394 pages

Much has been written in recent decades about Goddess spirituality. Some of it has been horrific, full of historical claptrap and stereotypes about both/all sexes. Others have been creations of beauty, allowing for Goddess spirituality to be its own entity without trying to prove or disprove others. This is definitely one of the latter texts; while I personally do not agree with every single thing the book offers, overall I find it to be a valuable addition to texts on this subject.

A large portion of the material throughout the book is dedicates to Tate’s anecdotes of her experiences. She is able to make pilgrimages that most of us wouldn’t be able to afford, going to all sorts of places around the world where the Divine Feminine has been revered throughout history. Lest you think that this makes the text inaccessible, think again: not only does she make these far-away places seem real and relevant to those who remain at home, but she also brings forth some home-grown examples of living Goddess spirituality. The anecdotes show her absolute wonder and reverence for the Divine Feminine, and it’s quite clear what is most sacred to her.

I also really enjoyed how Tate divides the book up by the five modern elements—Spirit, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Each section includes information and practices that resemble these elements, as well as discussing goddesses who are related to them. Sometimes the order of the individual subsections seems a little random, and chapters don’t always segue well from one to the next. Still, the book taken as a whole is a delightful journey through many possible modern manifestations of Goddess spirituality.

I would definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in, or currently practicing, Goddess spirituality. There are numerous ideas for honoring the Divine Feminine, all wrapped up in the passion and joy of a talented author.

Five pawprints out of five.

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