By Hailey D.D. Klein
Conari Press, 2004 $14.95 US
Blue and deep pink is what struck me first with this book. When you see the cover, you will understand that statement. One could almost say it’s garish.
Bad cover design aside; I opened the book and began reading. It quickly became apparent that this was a book that men were not invited to. Within the first few pages, I saw several references to men who were repressive and oppressive people to the detriment of women everywhere.
I tried to ignore the feminist leanings, as I try to be a feminist myself. But in this case, I felt that I was intruding on a slumber party. Every page I read talked about how women were powerful, wonderful, good, and above reproach. It implied that the only reason that the world was not right was because of the screw-ups of men.
Now, I am exaggerating somewhat, but not a lot. It is very biased toward the feminine. Understandable and laudable in this case, but I think that this point could have been somewhat less obviously made.
Given the content bias, it has some good advice for exploring the feminine through divinity. However, this has absolutely nothing to do with the worship of deities. It has more to do with sewing circles and “lady’s night out” get togethers. Throughout the book, there is advice on how to start such a group, how to promote a group, group dynamics of such a group and using a group to invoke a deity to work with.
That disposes with the first 40 pages or so. The rest of the book is page after page of goddesses. The description of the goddesses is light, and one is tempted to say “fluffy” since they are deliberately presented as sweet and light. The author even admits that she deliberately presents the happy face of the Goddesses. Her reason for doing this is since the world is dark enough, that we must seek out the light and happy so that the world can be brightened through that. She calls it “worshiping the Goddess Pollyanna”.
The Chapter with the Goddesses is actually interesting, if you ignore the slant and lack of historical accuracy. It has recipes, baths; get together nights and themes, meditations and gifts that the Goddesses may like. It gives impressions and what the Goddess may be like, and some short stories. If you are just looking for suggestions for getting together with the Goddess of your choice and aren’t too concerned with accuracy, then this is a good book for you.
Now, this is the place where I give it my “star” rating and give some final pithy comments. But in this case, I don’t think I can. Were I to rate it with stars, it would be a very low rating, since almost nothing in this book appeals to me or would appeal to Wiccans/Pagans as a whole. Since this book is not written for those audiences, then it would be monstrously unfair of me to do so.
Were I to judge it on it’s merits and it’s use to those the book was written for, I would not be qualified to judge it in that scale as I am NOT a woman, I am not looking to start a group of Goddess worshipers who shoot out life-sized paper dolls of supermodels, and I am an intellectual snob. So I can’t judge it there either.
It is an interesting book, and could conceivably work for feminists and Dianics, and may even help out those women who need to discover a sense of self-identity. For almost every other group, however, I think that this book can be passed by.