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This is surely the year's most beautiful and most inspiring book of many books that honor the Great Goddess in Her many manifestations, past and present, literary and artis­tic, great and humble. An anthology of both art and literary excerpts, The Return of the Great Goddess celebrates the jubilant holiness in all women. As the editor, who also created the 1993 and 1994 Return of the Goddess calendars, writes in the Introduction, "After a five-thousand-year reign of male icons in the Western world, we have the exhilarating privilege of witnessing a global reappearance of the Divine Feminine in the arts and in religious ceremony."

 

And what a reappearance of the divine this is! Open the book at random. On each left-hand page -- a poem, a few sentences, c from a book or essay on the Goddess or another work. On each facing page -- a full-color painting, photograph, sculpture, fiber art, collage, or drawing. Emily Dickinson leads the divine procession: "We never know how high we are/ Till we are asked to rise/ And then if we are true to plan/ Our statures touch the skies,” and our eyes are next drawn to “Air” by Linda Post that shows a woman leaping among the clouds. The final image is one of the NASA photos of a beautiful blue earth 23,000 miles away. It is accompanied by three simple sentences by Virginia Woolf: "As a woman, I have no country./ As a woman, I want no country. / As a woman, the whole world is my country."

 

And in between – one of Judy Chicago's plates, photographs of old women, two of Mayumi Oda’s charming goddesses, a photograph of Vicki Noble with her snake wound about her neck, a Goat Lady, and dozens of other stunning images. In between -- quotations from Gimbutas, Spretnek, the Book of Ruth, and the Tao Te Ching. Poetry by Patricia Monaghan and Walt Whitman and dozens of others. Let us remember Judith Anderson’s “Remember Us":

 Re-member us, you who are living, restore us, renew us.Speak for our silence. Continue our work.Bless the breath of life.Sing of the hidden patterns.Weave the web of peace. 

Re-membering the Great Goddess who lives and breathes and moves in all Her children is what Burleigh Muten has done in her work. This is the book to buy (or ask for as a gift) and then to open every morning for a better way to start the rest of your life.

 

~review by Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D.

Edited by: Burleigh Muten

Shambhala Publications 1994

$20.00

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