The Goddess Path Myths, Invocations, & Rituals — by Patricia Monaghan

This is a beautiful book, in more ways than one. Physically, it is beautifully designed. The cover shows a ripe and burstingThis
is a beautiful book, in more ways than one. Physically, it is
beautifully designed. The cover shows a ripe and bursting pomegranate,
of the yoni, with gold embossing at the borders. The chapter
illustrations by
Nyease Sommersett are wonderful. After encountering the first one in my
reading, I couldn’t resist pa
ging ahead to look at them all. All the
drawings are in the round … am I the only one who looked at some of
them and said, “wow, that would make a great tattoo!”?

The beauty of the book is more than superficial, however. This is a finely

crafted, thoughtful, engrossing work. I thought I’d never finish the book;

each chapter begged to be examined in depth. After the introductory chapters

on the basics of goddess spirituality and ritual, the book has twenty

chapters, each devoted to one goddess. Her myth and meaning, her symbols,

and her celebrations are explained, and then Monaghan gives some suggestions

of how to work with that goddess individually. The chapter ends with a list

of questions best explored in a journal writing session.

The first two chapters in particular spoke volumes to me in my life at this

time. The first one was about Gaia, the creator goddess who feeds us all

from her bounty. The journal work for the chapter revolves around hunger

issues – what we hunger for, how we satisfy that hunger, what we fear we

will never have enough of in our lives, etc. The day I started working on

this chapter was the day after I had joined Weight Watchers and had begun

dialogue with the other folks in my WW group about these issues. I lingered

on this chapter for at least a week – examining on my own, and processing

with my group members. It was extremely revealing, and very helpful as I

started to explore how to feed myself without binging on food.

I had a similar reaction to the second chapter, which focused on Athena,

the protector goddess of the Greek cities. The journal work for the chapter

centered around protection – how we react when threatened or challenged,

experiences with physical assault and martial art forms, etc. The day I

started on this chapter happened to be the day after I had been walking with

my partner near a pond, and we were surrounded by four men determined to mug

us. I was able to deter the attack by screaming “Police! 911!” but the fear

I had felt was still ringing in my body the next day as I read this chapter

and started the journal work. Again, this was a chapter I lingered on for a

long time.

The next chapter focused on Hera. I put the book down for a long time,

dreading that if I started reading that chapter, I’d find out about some

secret affair my partner was engaged in! But eventually I did pick it up

again, and I found the rest of the book spoke more to events in my past than

the first two chapters did. (Much to my relief!) And I found them all just

as interesting, and revealing, and helpful.

This is a wonderful book. I love the fact that the ritual ideas for each

goddess was not a completely scripted rite, but simply an outline for the

reader to flesh out as she sees fit. I loved the ritual poetry to each

goddess that started each chapter, and I’m glad that Monaghan quoted her

sources for these invocations. I highly recommend this book.

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