Sunday, 24 April 2016

Book Review: The Goddess and The Shaman

As in the pure style of the Goddess world where all is interconnected and nothing is separate, this book came when I needed it most. It came just as I was painfully surrendering to what I perceived as a call from the Goddess and preparing to quit my corporate job.
I read this book in that magical period in between eclipses where time as we perceive it does not follow “normal” rules and the incursions from the Elphame (the name given by the author to the Other World) are stronger and more frequent…if we are paying attention.
So this book was a bit like a manual that had an uncanny way to unfold just as I was reading about it in the book.
It was reassuring, comforting and encouraging to read Kent’s telling of her life in discovering the Goddess and then the ability to cross over in the Elphame. So was her description of the “ontological shock” that is “the mind’s struggle to reconcile and to integrate two diametrically opposed models of reality”. I recognised many such episodes in my life…and I was currently passing through one.
It was a pleasure reading her description of the “Western Magical Tradition” and her referring to it as the “lost shaman tradition of the West”. It felt like it was a reclaiming of our roots and our own land and occult traditions without always needing to go to the other side of the world to obtain a platform on which to allow ourselves to work in and with.
What I feel it is the gift of this book to the modern reader and Seeker, is the author’s weaving in together and blending once again the Western Magical Tradition and The Great Goddess. I have always a hard time explaining to others how, since I was a child, I felt that everything was interconnected and alive. Nothing was really dead or inanimate for me, not even a stone or a computer. It was amazing to read it in a book because it felt it gave me the permission to finally fully acknowledge this innate knowledge and not perceive it as something strange or “heretical” or “insane”.
And as Kent describes in this book, coming into personal contact with the Goddess changes radically one’s life. There is a shifting of values and life purpose and the alignment of the personal will with the Divine will, which is lived in the inner sanctity of oneself without trying to convince any one of anything. That all life’s events have a spiritual purpose, a sentient being  “aware and embodied small part of a greater spiritual Truth.”
I also feel that this book has contributed a very important understanding of “mental health” which I have always felt it was “truer” to me than the concept exposed by conventional medicine. That is looking at what “caused the shattering of the self in the first place” not just popping a pill in the patient’s mouth and that is the end of the story.
Kent brings case studies to support this theory. Case studies I loved reading, not only for the clinical details and sometimes “rawness” of the episodes but because of what emerged from her case studies. According to Kent, “psychotic", “schizophrenic” or commonly known as “mad” persons, who are condemned to live on pills that take their identity away, are actually people who have a heightened sense of the Other World and periodic incursions of the Elphame in their world and do not know how to deal with it. 
In other cases the malady has its origins in the “Other World”  and pieces of the soul has been lost. Through the tools of “magical psychology” Kent was able to help these persons to, not only start living a “normal” life, but also live more happily.
I am particularly grateful for the opportunity to have been given a free copy to review. It is a book I will cherish and re-read with earnest.

A book I highly recommend to those who are on the Goddess path, healing practitioners or simply those who are just curious to hear a different bell about the reality we think we live in.

Published in March 2016 by Llewellyn 

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