~Book ☣ The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess ♗ PDF or E-pub free
~Book ⚇ The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess ♖ The Original Book That Brought Goddess Worship To The Public Eye Has Marked Its Th Anniversary, Yet It Still Remains An Integral Part Of The Wiccan Canon The Spiral Dance Leans Heavily Toward The Feminist Aspects Of Wicca, But Starhawk S Comments On The New Edition Make It Clear That She Is Aware Of The Growing Male Presence In Witchcraft However, This Edition Is Not Some Watered Down, Politically Correct Revision Of The Original Very Little Is Changed Aside From The Addition Of Starhawk S Observations On How The Book Has Weathered Its First Decade, And What Few Changes She Would Make If She Were Writing It Today Readers Interested In Learning About Contemporary Witchcraft, Whether Considering Wicca As A Way Of Life Or Simply Desiring To Understand This Earth Based Religion, Will Find A Wealth Of Information In The Spiral Dance, And Will Notice That It Becomes One Of The Most Frequently Consulted Books In Their Wiccan LibrariesBrian Patterson
I first read The Spiral Dance when I was 15 or 16 and practicing with a group of awesome older pagan ladies In the 15 or 16 years since then, I moved away from this book and the ladies that I practiced with I forgot about this book Or, rather, what I remembered about this book was very much a misremembering of it The text of Starhawk s chapters is really good And in the chapter text, I can totally get down with what she s talking about a sex positive, earth based, power from within rather than power over spirituality, recognizing our oneness with nature and each other, and valuing that oneness as sacred She presents the Goddess religion as a feminist religion And, on the whole, in the body of the chapters, I love the presentation.Where she loses me is the description of the rituals Some of the meditative practices I have used and found very effective i.e., grounding and centering, the tree of life meditation, focused breathing meditation Others, however, seem kind of forced and false to me There s a lot of invoking this goddess or that god and although she s careful to point out that she doesn t actually believe in gods and goddesses and uses them as mythological symbols , all the god naming and appealing to them really loses me What saves the book for me, however, is the fact that she talks about how personal this kind of spirituality is How everything can be a sacred ritual if the right state of consciousness is brought to it How what s important is finding wholeness and connection, and therefore anything that increases your wholeness or connection to the divine is a valuable and worthy ritual.It s a good book, but to meof an inspirational example of what works for her and the ladies she practices with, than a guidebook explaining what neo paganism earth based religion is and should be. Huh.This was intriguing, and covered a lot of the basic underpinnings of generic modern pagan thought, such as the mortal god immortal goddess stuff, the maiden mother crone stuff, and other stuff I enjoyed all this stuff pretty well Mythology is fun, even if it s something new pretending to be something old But the last half of the book is actually a spell book, with candles and little knives and visualizing the four winds and who knows what else This part I just couldn t read It was just so bloody silly After reading this book several years ago, I realized that, despite my best efforts, I was never going to be a pagan I m a born atheist, and I m finally okay with that now. This book by far is the most influential book on Witchcraft to date I would venture that every Pagan has a copy Which is one reason why I hesitated to read it It is highly feminist which was something I was not looking for History and archaeology show that most of man s history was patriarchal Man was in charge, he wanted to control the womb thus control the future I must say that there were matriarchal societies in the Mediterranean This was not the norm for all over the world Her first chapter gives over a history that most society with exceptions with matriarchal and worshiped the goddess.After all she was the one who gave birth The earth or the womb of the planet was where we returned to when we died in order to be reborn She basically recycles or restates Margarette Murry s thesis albeit with simpler words Her mythos, which she readily states is just that mythos meant to convey a truth It is not fact per se This too me is a strong point in the book The use of mythos used as a tool to get the witch into a proper frame of mind.According to Starhawk and Murray, life in Europe and all over the world was matriarchal Everything was peaceful and fine with absolutely no violence Men hunted and magic was discovered by dancing in circle and visualizing success in the hunt, as drawn by pictures in caves This gave the hunters better success As humankind grew older they domesticated animals and became farmer Their rituals became agricultural and fertility oriented They developed rituals for the solstices and equinoxes Then came the Indoeuropean invaders from the east As they stormed across Europe they brought with them a militaristic way of life and worship of male warlike gods The original inhabitants fled to the hills and stayed hidden They would have their rituals in secret In time there would be some intermarriage between the conquerors and the conquered The conquered people became known as faeries or Pixies after the people name thee Picts.A complimentary mythos which I have never seen written anywhere else before was penned by Starhawk Miria the star goddess is the primal creator she sees her reflection and falls in love with it and decides to create an other The others starts out close and then slowly moves away First he is the God of the hunt and then god of the crops His intention is to reunite with the stargoddess Miria has many connections Marian is the sea goddess in Robert grave s work White Goddess There are a few other connections as well.Leaving aside the myths and pseudo history this book has some great practical information for the beginning witch or magician There are a gazillion exercises for both covens and solitaries to use The range is from meditation, trancework, rituals, spells and group bonding exercises These alone make the book very valuable to the beginner Starhawk also traces her own development she started of like most of us reading books and doing it from there She formed her own group , The Compost Coven As leader she really got into the leadership role and sort of hogged it all But she learned and grew out of it She then went on to learn the Feri tradition from Victor and Cora Andersen This is her primary model of spirituality Starhawk would later found the Reclaiming movement.There are several views of magic Several magicians put forward the view that magic is causing a change in reality in accordance with ones will Dion Fortune posited that magic is altering consciousness at will Starhawk subscribes to Dion Fortune s view of magic In the spell section and through out the book she gives techniques on raising energy and directing towards a magical goal She gives techniques on making poppets and how to charge them Starhawk is realistic about what magic can do It will will not work miracles for you Magic has limitations Limitations are based on how much energy is required to reach a goal Other energy currents which may hinder the reaching of a goal Magic used as a transformation agent which forces our evolution seems to be the most realistic and effective magic.Witchcraft is also about making things work for you Tweeking it to meet your individual and group needs Practical down to Earth leaving no room for a central or absolute authority to come in and tell you how to do things Most witches work in covens or circles These small groups are intimate, cozy, nourishing and involved Witchcraft is not a passive religion Gaining access to the divine is based on reaching states of ecstasy to alter your consciousness Speaking of the mind Starhawk uses a modified Freudian Jungian view of things There is the Talking Mind which is our everyday conscious, the younger mind or our unconscious and Deep mind which functions as our higher self or connection to the divine Accessing the deep mind via the unconscious mind is what magic is about.The view of witchcraft is one of a transformational model We transform our selves, our environment and our world.Starhawk is a staunch feminist and environmentalist She uses her magic to change the situation This comes through as she traces through the autobiographical elements of her life The beginning witch or just the casual reader should enjoy reading this book If you wish to go further I would advise reading the back and delve into the bibliography and suggested reading. Ok so who s in on the coven If you read this book, I highly recommend getting the 20th anniversary edition This allows you to read how Starhawk s thought has developed in the decades since the book was published The two introductions were some of my favorite parts, highlighting her changed thinking on gender, political engagement, and other issues I love to see a wise old witch remain open to learning new things, queering her old beliefs.And I m also a sucker for all her wild and weird ritual write ups A valuable how to for covenless, rootless, secular witches like myself Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again, Starhawk This book is by far the very best book for those interested in pursuing Wicca Starhawk writes from a strictly Dianic view basically, emphasis in placed on the Divine Feminine There are many men involved in Wicca, but for the most part, they are Gardnerians Ceremonial Magicians The reason for this, as Starhawk explains, is that women are farconnected to the earth than their opposite gender We give birth and, in the old days, washed the bodies of our loved ones, and prepared them for burial.The Spiral Dance itself is as old as time I would unhesitatingly recommend this book to anyone who does not have a fellow Wiccan around, to answer some of the many questions that quite naturally occur First, read Scott Cunningham s Wicca a Guide For the Solitary Practitioner then, if this appeals to you, follow with The Spiral Dance. Easily the most bogus of the three Wiccan books I ve read Scott Cunningham s book does a better job of understanding that the laws of Wicca are very much made up by individuals as they go along and explains the principles behind the practices in psychological terms I guess Starhawk tries to do the same here but she also gets buried in lengthy descriptions of her own esoteric rituals and she is, let s face it, not an expert in any of the fields that this book touches on besides witchcraft itself so her attempts to explain her ideas with snatches of Jungian psychology were somewhat cringe worthy.Another problem with Wicca is that the whole thing has all been made up by a bunch of enthusiasts in the 20th century It is a religious movement that so desperately wants to connect itself to a tradition that undoubtedly existed in some form many centuries ago but unfortunately actual historical documents that might tell us anything about the real druids and witches and pagans of the dark ages are extinct All the knowledge and wisdom inherent in this religion has been created anew and the elements of historical tradition are based on highly speculative academia and modern mythologising Starhawk answers this point by saying something along the lines of just because the popular history of Wicca may not actually be true, that does not mean that it isn t true to us in an emotional sense Well, that s a fair point but it doesn t really explain why any of the rest of us should care to read about this wild speculation, which she bombards us with throughout the book.I guess the function of this book is to provide us with some of her own, seemingly effective Wiccan rituals, examples of how the ideas can be put into practice That s a worthwhile premise, but it only really justifies about 20% of the content of this book Compared to Scott Cunningham s book, this is overlong and excessively subjective Compared to Margot Adler s Drawing Down the Moon, it s just a bad piece of academia. I struggled most with the historical presumptions of this book I realize that, at the time the first edition was written, Starhawk was referencing history as proposed by other authors However, I read the 20th anniversary edition and I was disappointed that glaring historical inaccuracies were not called out until the last two chapters of the book, which were appended with later editions Her version of events paints a pretty story but it s painfully incorrect.I honestly found the majority of this book to be a bit of a slog I felt like it wandered all over the county from mortifying herstory to romanticized personal accounts of rituals, back and forth through various feminist perspectives, occasionally touching on environmental activism Sometimes it read like a manual, sometimes it read like a personal journal, sometimes it read like a fairytale I just got lost with it and, unfortunately, not in a good way.I was going to give this book one star But I enjoyed some of Chapter 13 the last original chapter and the notes added with later editions So I thought I d give it an extra star for that.All that being said, I d strongly recommend reading Adler s Drawing Down the Moon Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America instead of or before Spiral Dance. I borrowed a 1970s copy of this book from a friend It belonged to his mother complete with notes in the margins I absolutely loved this book Yes, it is in part a product of its time describing the God as rape fighter, heavily peppered with social justice statements, heavily feminist oriented I would be very excited to read the 20th anniversary edition in which the author comments on how things have changed since then I also know the history presented here is a little romanticized, but that being said.This is the religion I wish to follow almost Some of the rituals suggested are a bit theatrical for me, and I do not think I would ever want to be naked in front of coven members, and I disagree when she says magick is best worked with a group However, the basic outline she provides here is fabulous and empowering The mythology to follow, the way to view the self and emotions, how your every day life is magickal and how YOU are the divine.I especially love, in the last chapter, her view of science and religion As a scientist by career, I greatly resonate with her feeling that science IS religion and religion IS science when you view the entire world as mystical and powerful, and you view the very processes taking place as holy, there is no fight.I would say this book is a must read for anyone interested in Paganism It is not a must follow most definitely not however, I think it offers great insight that anyone would benefit from reading. I read the original back in grad school in the 90 s Even then it was dated I think there s good information here but it s biased by an assumption that is not known to be true The ancient religion of the goddess is just a hypothesis by anthropologists based on artifacts There is no proof that such a thing ever existed Modern witchcraft is very much that modern These things are important to keep in mind when studying about modern paganism.That said, even if ancient goddess worship never existed who knows , Wicca and other modern day pagan belief systems are no less legitimate for it Starhawk does a good job of talking about how 20th century people blend ancient folklore with modern tradition in their worship and spirituality.