She Rises: A Book Review by Kate Brunner


cover-final-front-rdcdShe Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality? edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill is the product of a collective writing project that began in March 2014 with an open call for submissions that answered the questions now found on the book’s brilliantly beautiful cover. As the project took shape, a total of 92 voices contributed their thoughts, feelings, images, poetics, prose, challenges, & calls to prayer in answer to why– Why Goddess feminism? Why Goddess activism? Why Goddess spirituality? In the end, the project published the work of familiar names in Goddess circles like FAR’s own Carol Christ, Jassy Watson, & Judith Shaw side by side with names of Goddess practitioners around the world who just felt inspired to share their voices in Goddess community.

She Rises has a unique structure. As the editors explain at the beginning of the book, the structure of the anthology intends to make use of the ninefold mysteries often associated with Goddess. Perhaps because this structure uses different terminology than the reader’s preconceptions are accustomed to, the explanation (and structure) is a bit hard to follow at first. But the further one gets into the work, the more the structure begins to work for the reader. Instead of parts or sections, there are MOTHERS and within those MOTHERS instead of chapters, you find SISTERS. What one must keep in mind every time one enters the domain of one of the three MOTHERS is the question that MOTHER is asking every contributor; “Why Goddess feminism?”, “Why Goddess activism?”, or finally “Why Goddess spirituality?” Many offerings from the contributors begin as if they were engaging in conversation with someone who had just that very moment asked them the question. Keeping that in mind eliminates any potential confusion.

The pace of the book is also another interesting structural feature. Contributors’ offerings in answer to these three core questions vary dramatically in length, style, & voice. This creates an intriguing sense of ebb and flow and highlights the diversity of those devoted to Goddess-based work in the world today. Give yourself time to read this volume in its entirety, though. Longer pieces may need time to settle within you before you’re ready to move on. And occasionally a shorter piece will stop you in your tracks for a little while with the challenge it provides you.

The work is firmly Goddess feminism oriented. There is little to no room for interfaith discussion basically because that is not at all an area the project had any intention of addressing. It is also generally very critical of the monotheistic patriarchal faith traditions; not without reason, mind you. I mention this so prospective readers can adjust their expectations accordingly. This would be a panoramic look for those outside Goddess spirituality at why people choose to practice Goddess-based paths over other spiritual traditions for anyone curious about such things. But do not expect any of these contributors to pull any punches when it comes to their critiques of patriarchal monotheistic paths.

After reading this volume, I’d actually lean towards calling it a living working. It seems to have been a powerful piece of magic to weave for everyone involved in its creation & birth and I find myself speculating about the anthology’s potential to continue to radiate that magic through its readers into the wider world around us. I would challenge anyone interested in exploring it to perhaps consider sitting with the three core questions of the volume before one begins reading. Ask yourself “Why Goddess feminism?” and begin to explore how your relationship with Goddess informs your feminism– or your feminism informs that relationship. Ask yourself how your work with Goddess affects your activism, in whatever form it takes in your life. Ask yourself, why the spiritual path you work is Hers. Spend some time reflecting on these questions. Then engage She Rises. See where the edges of your experience are shared & where they are challenged as you listen to the voices of this collective working.

As author, artist, & anthology contributor, Pegi Eyers, writes, “The resurgence of the Goddess in our time can give us the wisdom, strength, courage and joy that is deeply needed to revitalize ourselves, our communities, and the world.”

Read this volume & explore– How is She rising in you?

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While the volume is available through major retailers like Amazon & such, Mago Books invites you to consider purchasing your copy directly from the Mago Bookstore in support of future She Rises collective writing projects.

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Kate Brunner is a writer, healer, ritualist, & member of The Sisterhood of Avalon, studying at the Avalonian Thealogical Seminary. She is a somewhat nomadic American, homeschooling her children with the world as their classroom. She holds a BA from Tulane University, where she studied Economics, International Relations, & Religious Traditions. Kate volunteered as a presenter for monthly Red Tents and semi-annual women’s retreats before relocating overseas for several years where she hosted seasonal women’s gatherings, facilitated labyrinth rituals, and led workshops on an assortment of women’s spirituality topics. She recently returned to the US and is breathing into the potential of this new chapter of her life.

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Categories: Activism, Books, Divine Feminine, Earth-based spirituality, Ecofeminism, Feminism, General, Goddess, Goddess Spirituality, Mother Earth, Review

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8 replies

  1. I agree that it is a brilliantly beautiful cover.

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  2. It is indeed a beautiful cover, and I’m sure all the essays and poems and other contributions are beautiful, too.

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  3. Glad to know about this book! Thank you, Kate!

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  4. What an delightful book review by Kate Brunner! It feels like you are part of the project team, writing an introduction to the book. Deeply honored and grateful for your Sisterhood! Helen Hwang

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  5. Kate, Thanks so much for this thoughtful review of “She Rises.” All of us who contributed hope that it continues to reach into the world more and more. I say ditto to the words of Pegi Eyers, “The resurgence of the Goddess in our time can give us the wisdom, strength, courage and joy that is deeply needed to revitalize ourselves, our communities, and the world.”

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  6. Reblogged this on MAGO BOOKS.

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  7. The art work for this book is beautiful. I have never seen the feminine body more beautifully glorified than here. Imagery is so powerful, and as an artist myself, I find this small piece incredibly inspiring. I look at the image and I feel empowered; I feel woman.
    I am interested in learning more about goddess theology and how it shapes the lives of many women today. My own theology so greatly affects my world view, and I love to hear how others’ shapes their own.
    I know that there is so much that can be learned from the feminist perspective, and especially women who dare to branch out and re-define the world in a completely new manner.
    Perhaps I come from a different viewpoint of the world, however I value to roles that fellow feminists play in challenging all of us to be willing to engage in new discussions and ideas. As a Christian and a feminist, I am looking slowly to try and identify language that shapes the world around me. I look forward to reading this book; to hear and contemplate the goddess theological perspective.

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