She Rises Book Review by Mary Hazlett

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Legitimacy of female power in a patriarchal world

I’ve seriously explored my spirituality for nearly 40 years, since i began college. Raised catholic, i immersed myself in that religion and its mystical tradition. and for a long time it served me well.

but over time, as i matured in all areas of my life, i saw the effects of patriarchy on society and in my religion. language was and is the most obvious sign of patriarchy. what is wrong with saying “all people” instead of “all men”? i’ve asked over and over? and most people do not care enough to change even in this small way.

the effects of patriarchy in our world, in our history, are devastating. History has almost entirely obliterated Her-story. This book, a collection of essays by many women who are speaking loudly against patriarchy and loudly for the Divine Feminine, referred as Mago. the editor of this book, Helen Hye-Sook Hwang, describes the Divine Feminine in her intro:

“S/HE as the Source of all beings precedes the ‘God’. …S/HE is the First Mother, the Great Goddess, from whom all beings on earth originate for existence. S/HE manifests in the form of Her female descendent, the Goddess. … The Great Goddess is called many names according to ancient peoples of the world. Mago is the one that I introduce.” (p. 3)

The essays in She Rises are extremely powerful. One which particularly resounds with me is “Why Women Need the Goddess” by Carol P. Christ. She says:

“Because religion has such a compelling hold on the deep psyches of so many people, feminists cannot afford to leave it in the hands of the fathers. Even people who no longer ‘believe in God’ or participate in the institutional structure of patriarchal religion still may not be free of the power of the symbolism of God the Father. A symbol’s effect does not depend on rational assent, for a symbol also functions on levels of the psyche other than the rational….The reason for the continuing effects of religious symbols is that the mind abhors a vacuum. Symbol systems cannot simply be rejected; they must be replaced. Where there is no replacement, the mind will revert to familiar structures at times of crisis, bafflement, or defeat.” (45)

“The simplest and most basic meaning of the symbol of Goddess is the acknowledgement of the legitimacy of female power as beneficent and independent power. ….[T]he divine principle, the saving and sustaining power, is in herself, that she will no longer look to men or male figures as saviors.” (49)

The Goddess/Mago is not about a literal female. It is about a deep understanding of the principles of the feminine. Life comes forth from women. This planet provides life, hence she is female. Our rape of land parallels the rape of women.

The Hebrew OT is filled with myths and events, and these myths often taken literally by certain groups within Judaism and Christianity (the Genesis story for example. These myths, these warring stories in the OT, tell of killing the myths of and people who believed in the Great Goddess/Mago. The Mago myths and lives were of peace and respect. The OT myths and people were of war, of a male God Destroyer.

This book will trigger thinking about patriarchy and its negative effects in this world. Wars in the Middle East target women. Politics in the US target women and children. People in Asian countries devalue girl-babies. These are the result of patriarchy.

Mago values life, the image of The Great Goddess. It doesn’t devalue the male. It is a way of life, of peace, of health.

I strongly recommend this book.

Book Reviews & Endorsements

  • She Rises Book Review by Hearth Moon Rising

    She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality (Review) June 26, 2015 The eagerly awaited anthology She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality?, edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill, was released this past Solstice (Summer or Winter, depending on your perspective) and I don’t exactly know what to say about it, except WOW. It certainly does not disappoint. This is a hefty anthology of almost 500 pages. It has scholarly essays, stories of personal experience, poetry, and […]

  • She Rises Book Review by Sara Wright

    “She Rises” uses a thousand perspectives to perceive Her Presence! Yesterday I finally finished this extraordinary book and wanted to share a few thoughts with you. First, once again I am astonished at the amount of labor that went into this amazing creation. Secondly, I wish this volume had been available to me during the ten years that I taught Women’s Studies. I believe that the Women’s movement cannot survive without the goddess in whatever form she may manifest, and […]

  • She Rises Book Review by Mary Hazlett

    Legitimacy of female power in a patriarchal world I’ve seriously explored my spirituality for nearly 40 years, since i began college. Raised catholic, i immersed myself in that religion and its mystical tradition. and for a long time it served me well. but over time, as i matured in all areas of my life, i saw the effects of patriarchy on society and in my religion. language was and is the most obvious sign of patriarchy. what is wrong with […]

  • (Book Review) Helen Hwang’s The Mago Way by Elizabeth Hall Magill

    Dr. Helen Hwang’s The Mago Way makes a significant contribution to our understanding of thealogy (the theological study of the divine feminine) and to the transnational feminism that must be the basis of global change. The Mago Way weaves together several stories—Dr. Hwang’s own journey away from Christianity and toward Mago (the gynocentric principle, rooted in pre-patriarchal East Asian/Korean culture, that encompasses all of existence), the story of Mago as told through the text of the Budoji (made available in […]

  • (She Rises Volume 2) Endorsement by Kathryn Rountree

    See book info here. This second volume of She Rises addresses the practical question of how Goddess feminism makes a concrete, vital difference to the everyday lives of its 96 contributors, and, in turn, how these women make vital, concrete differences in the world. It is a glorious and robust tapestry of prose pieces, poetry and art revealing a vast variety of ways in which Goddess inspires women from diverse religious, ethnic, cultural, and disciplinary backgrounds to act. They are […]

  • (Book reviews) The Mago Way Volume 1 by Mary Blair Petiet and Sara Wright

    The Mago Way: Re-discovering Mago, the Great Goddess from East Asia by Dr. Helen Hye-Sook Hwang. Order it at Mago Bookstore.   The Mago Way: Re-discovering Mago, the Great Goddess from East Asia (Volume 1), is an original and vital contribution to goddess scholarship and feminist studies. Dr. Helen Hye-Sook Hwang’s work provides crucial insight to early eastern goddess centered thought similar to that provided to western goddess studies by Marija Gimbutas. The Mago Way places the great goddess of […]

  • She Rises Vol 2 Reviews/Endorsements

    She Rises: How Goddess Feminism, Activism, and Spirituality?  This second volume of She Rises addresses the practical question of how Goddess feminism makes a concrete, vital difference to the everyday lives of its 96 contributors, and, in turn, how these women make vital, concrete differences in the world. It is a glorious and robust tapestry of prose pieces, poetry and art revealing a vast variety of ways in which Goddess inspires women from diverse religious, ethnic, cultural, and disciplinary backgrounds […]

  • She Rises: A Book Review by Kate Brunner

    She Rises: Why Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality? edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Kaalii Cargill is the product of a collective writing project that began in March 2014 with an open call for submissions that answered the questions now found on the book’s brilliantly beautiful cover. As the project took shape, a total of 92 voices contributed their thoughts, feelings, images, poetics, prose, challenges, & calls to prayer in answer to why– Why Goddess feminism? Why Goddess activism? Why Goddess […]

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She Rises: What Goddess Feminism, Activism and Spirituality? Volume 3 (forthcoming)

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