Friday, December 09, 2005
A Commercial Plug for Starhawk
We’re heading into that holiday season, when even the most dedicated anti-capitalists buy things. Presents, cards, little tchatskies for your Aunt Gladys, that sort of thing. If you need cards, images, mugs, trinkets, etc. and want to support a good cause, check out these CafePress sites, both of which have my own photos on them (did you know I was a photographer before I was a writer?).
www.cafepress.com/earthactivist/ supports our Earth Activist Training scholarship fund, and has cards, journals, mugs, T-shirts, all kinds of things.
www.cafepress.com/belili/ has Solstice cards and postcards, and supports our documentary film company, www.belili.org, where you can also order the documentary made by Donna Read and me, Signs Out of Time: the Life and Work of Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas. It’s a beautiful, hour long film on the woman who did the most important work on the ancient Goddesses of Old Europe. As well, you can get videos of the extended interviews we’ve done with many of the major thinkers in the Goddess movement.
And if you’re still looking for something to give, here’s a suggestion for you—buy books!
Why? Well, for one thing people aren’t buying them much these days. Why should they, when they can get so much reading done on the Internet? Oh, they’re buying Harry Potter and The Da Vinci Code, but there’s a whole lot of other books that aren’t getting bought. And if they aren’t bought, they won’t get published, nor will others like them. And that would be a shame, in my opinion—and not just because, until we succeed in transforming this whole wide world into one Really, Really Free Market, books pay my mortgage, buy the groceries and the biodiesel, and support the massive amount of unpaid work I do in actions and in writing the updates you receive on this list.
There simply are arguments too complex to be made in an email post, and ideas that take more time and thought to develop than you can do in a blog. There’s information you want to have in some solid form, somewhere where you can put your hands on it.
I’ve written ten books. That’s a bit like having ten children—it gets hard to pay proper attention to any of them. If you ask me which is my favorite, I couldn’t really say. But here’s a bit about each of them:
The Earth Path is the newest, and it’s the book I think we need to help us get our spiritual feet back on the ground. We’re in a global environmental crisis, because of our deep spiritual and practical disconnect from nature, and The Earth Path is the antidote. It takes us back through the elements, with both practical and mystical ways of opening our ears to the great conversation nature is having all around us.
On the spiritual side, The Spiral Dance, my first book, is still a great introduction and by now, a classic work, on earth-based and Goddess spirituality. If you or someone you know is ready to graduate from Hogwarts, The Spiral Dance is a fine introduction to real magic.
You could carry on from there with The Twelve Wild Swans, cowritten with Hilary Valentine and drawing on the combined experience of our extended community of teachers and ritual makers in Reclaiming. Swans is a Witchcraft course in a book, or rather, three courses: one on the elements of ritual making and magic, one on inner healing, and one on magical activism. It’s also a great resource for circles and groups to use.
Circle Round, Raising Children in Goddess Tradition, cowritten with Anne Hill and Diane Baker, is for families looking for an earth based practice. It’s got stories, rituals, and recipes for every holiday, and lots of resources for kids. And here’s a secret—I’ve known adult circles that use it, too.
At the other end of life, The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, cowritten with M. Macha Nightmare, is a great guide for anyone dealing with loss, death and dying. It contains stories, prayers, rituals and experiences from many different Pagan practitioners and traditions, and is also used by many chaplains and hospice workers.
Then there’s the more political side (although all of my books bridge them both.) Dreaming the Dark, written in the early eighties when I was in graduate school in psychology, makes the case for an activism that springs from spiritual depths. It also includes a long appendix, an historical, economic and psychological analysis of the Burning Times.
Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority and Mystery, was inspired by observing the strange power dynamics I saw in the course of many nonviolent direct actions. I began looking into the ways we internalize power and images of power. In it I also do a long, historical look at the transition from the Goddess cultures of Old Europe to patriarchy, and how that came about—punctuated with a lot of juicy erotic ancient Sumerian liturgy. Of all my early books, this is probably the one I wish more people would read today.
Webs of Power, Notes from the Global Uprising is contemporary history. Half of it is posts I sent out on the global justice actions from Seattle to 911. The other half is longer, more thoughtful pieces on important issues in the movement, from a fresh look at nonviolence to the question of diversity.
And then there’s fiction. The Fifth Sacred Thing, of all my books, is the one that people constantly come up and tell me how much they love, and how it has changed their lives. When I wrote it, I was tired of footnotes and historical research, so I made up a future history, where Northern California has achieved the ecologically balanced, multicultural, erotophilic society we dream of. Frankly, I could have been happy just describing that world at great length, but fiction requires drama, and drama needs conflict. So Southern California has become the ultrapatriarchal, fascist society we fear—and the main characters, Madrone, a healer, Bird, a musician turned fighter, and Maya, a ninety-eight year old writer, are caught in the crunch.
Finally, there’s Walking to Mercury, the prequel to Fifth Sacred Thing. It’s the most autobiographical of my books—although it’s all made up and you can have a lot of fun guessing what parts are true to my life, what parts are things I thought of doing but thought better of in real life, what parts I wanted to do and never got around to.
And there are other books, besides mine. My partner, David Miller, wrote a really quirky autobiography, I Didn’t Know God Made Honky Tonk Communists, that weaves his experiences as the first draft card burner in the Vietnam war and his prison memoirs together with his research on the Goddess and Mayan mythology and sacred ball games. Don’t ask me how it all fits together, but it does.
Check out his website at www.honkytonkwitch.com/. And if you’re interested in the bioremediation work we’ve been doing in New Orleans, check out Paul Stamets Mycellium Running. www.fungiperfecti.com. It’s a truly amazing journey into possibilities of earth healing you never dreamed of. Thinking about starting an intentional community? My old friend Liz Walker has just put out a book, Ecovillage At Ithaca, telling the story of their experiences building one inspiring model. www.ecovillageithaca.org. And if you want to read more about the struggles in Palestine, the International Solidarity Movement has a powerful collection out, called Peace Under Fire, and check out the ISM Canada website for other suggestions.
And here’s wishing us all a cozy hearth, a good friend, and a good book in this winter season, and a timely return of the light,
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