Ever since discovering Timothy Roderick's Dark Moon Mysteries I have made a point of teaching others about the power that can be found when exploring the shadow side of one's self.  We do this through a series of working at the dark of the moon in winter.  With little, or contradictory, information available to us, we have been making it up and learning through trial and error what working with the dark moon feels like.

So I picked up Sisters of the Dark Moon by Gail Wood with anticipation, mixed with a distinct sense of 'please don't be fluff.'  To my delight, there is no fluff present in this beautifully written book.  Although written from a Wiccan perspective, I believe that most anyone of a Pagan background will appreciate the knowledge found here, even if the rituals need to be altered in structure.

Wood's love for the Dark Goddess and her moon and is evident throughout the book; this is a path she has explored in depth, found valuable, and is sharing with others.  After an information-packed explanation of the dark moon and its energies, the book focuses on ritual and meditation.  I found the rituals to be simple enough that anyone can do them, although beginners may want to work with other energies first to build their visualization skills. You do not need any props except your mind to do the rituals, and if you just read your first Wicca book last week, there is nothing in this book that will confuse you.  Most deliciously, no matter how long you've been on a pagan spirituality path, there will be something here for you.

Each of the thirteen rituals is based on the zodiac sign in which the Dark Moon falls; they are all self-exploratory and uplifting.  The only thing that may be confusing is that Wood describes a thirteenth dark moon, which is a radical difference from modern astrological data.  This 'Arachne' or 'Spirit' dark moon is one that apparently wobbles throughout the zodical cycle, and therefore has no fixed date.  Although I understood her concept, I failed to understand how I would know when that moon would occur, since my astrological calendars have each dark moon labeled with one of the 12 known signs.  This confusion could have been eliminated with a chart of Dark Moons for the next several years, and the signs they fall into.

Although there are many resources in print and online with rituals working with the Full and New Moons throughout the year, "Sisters" fills in the gap of our understanding of the Dark Moon.  In her introduction, Wood compares the journey through the Dark to an exploration of the unknown part of us that that allows us to weave the sunlight and moonlit parts of ourselves together.  This is a truly wonderful book, with something for everyone.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author: Gail Wood
Llewellyn Publications, 2001
pp. 162, $12.95
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