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In Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century: From Kabbalah to Quantum Physics, Judith Laura summarizes the Goddess spirituality movement. However, Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century is not just another book on the subject. I am interested in Laura’s emphasis on Kabballah. It is apparent that she has special experience within Kabbalistic mysticism and wishes to share knowledge with readers. Since I have read many general analyses of Goddess spirituality, I welcome a book that uncovers subtle mysticism within the traditional framework of Goddess herstory.

 

While the title does hint at the inclusion of Kabbalah, Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century does consider Kabbalah far more than I have seen covered in most overviews of Goddess spirituality. I do question Kabbalah’s central importance for Goddess spirituality for the 21st century.

 

It seems Laura’s rendering of importance within the Goddess spirituality movement does not match many others’ assessments. In the cases of some historical movements, I would disagree with a radically different reordering of specific historical events. Laura hones in on certain aspects of metaphysical history, not always emphasized in historical accounts, but at least considered present. Because Laura does not disregard social influences I do believe to be instrumental in the Goddess spirituality movement, I find her slightly unusual account valuable.

 

Examining Laura’s testimony further, I wonder if the Kabbalah of Laura’s vision is different from medieval Jewish rabbis’ Kabbalah. Is there something feminist or feminized within Laura’s understanding of the Kabbalah? Laura addresses sexism traditionally promoted by Kabbalistic thought (ch. 4). Laura acknowledges historical problems with a feminist Kabbalistic practice, but concludes that Kabbala need not always manifest in the same form.

 

Descriptions of the sefirot leads to guided meditations on each sphere. The book is much more about Kabbalah from a feminist perspective than about Goddess spirituality in general. I enjoy authors who select a theme and explore it from a politicized perspective, complete with convincing argument and supporting evidence. I would be interested in a workbook on Kabbalah from a radical feminist perspective, which Judith Laura seems able to write if she chose the task.

 

review by Michelle Mueller

Author: Judith Laura

Open Sea Press, 2008

pp. 215, $14.95

 

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