Friday, May 6, 2011
The Goddess is in the Details
The Goddess is in the Details: Wisdom for the Everyday Witch
by Deborah Blake
Deborah Blake shares with you the life of one who embraces the craft - being a Witch in every aspect of daily life. She includes helpful advice, practical suggestions and yes, even a few spells, to help out those hoping to enrich their spiritual walk.
With me, new age and Pagan books are often hit or miss. There are many good books out there for people who wish to learn about Paganism, yet at the same time, there are many that are a big heaping literary mess. When I first spotted The Goddess is in the Details on the library shelf, I was optimistic. The cover art is appealing. It is warm and colorful - much like the subjects who may read it.
According to the introduction, this book was written "primarily with more experienced Witches in mind" and the target audience is "any Witch who has mastered the fundamentals." I have to strongly disagree with this sentiment. I think The Goddess is in the Details is a must read for anyone who wants to learn more about Pagan beliefs. Not just practicing Witches, but their loved ones as well. Sure, they may not understand right off what an athame is, or what calling quarters means, but they will get the important information - like the pagan views on attitudes, love, tolerance and relationships with nature. Things that may very well shatter any negative preconceived notions that they may harbor.
While it does suggest a few spells to help you out, The Goddess is in the Details is by no means a spell book. If you are looking for spells to get rich quick or win someone's love, you are looking in the wrong place. Or maybe, you aren't, since this book will explain to you why those spells will not work.
One of the things I absolutely loved about this book is the writing style. It is not stiff and impersonal like many other books I have read. Miss Blake writes in a very friendly and welcoming manner, often using humor, which makes it seem more like a conversation than a lecture. You feel as though she is talking directly to you.
While reading The Goddess is in the Details, I experienced several moments where the ideals and stories really hit home, and was inspired to reflect on how these things related to me personally.
For instance, after reading the chapters titled "The Healthy Witch" and "Mindful Eating" I stopped to think about my eating habits, and how the stresses I have faced over the past year have led to me not care about my eating habits as much as I used to. In the last week, I have been more cautious in what I have been eating, and I really can tell the difference.
In the chapter about cleaning, Miss Blake reminds you of the old saying that "cleanliness is next to godliness" and really hits the nail on the head with the statement "it is hard to be pure of spirit if you live in a pigsty." As she points out - "If your home is truly your temple, it only makes sense that you would want to treat it in a positive and respectful way." I will be the first to admit that when cleaning up after the kids, I often get overwhelmed and just don't want to bother with it all, but after reading this I look at it differently.
Perhaps the chapter that got to me most of all was the one on the power of words. I have always been against the use of the word "hate" and have been cautious to only put out the energies that I would like in return, but I still often find myself saying things that aren't one hundred percent nice. After reading this book, I have found that I am being more aware of what I say to people, and even to myself. I am more focused on positive affirmations and not becoming angry when one of my kids does something they shouldn't.
It is possible that I would take these lessons away from any other book I read that covered the same topics, but I feel that it is the casual and friendly writing style that makes you really take it to heart. Miss Blake writes in a compassionate way that shows that she really cares about the readers and wants them to be happy. She knows how to turn phrases that make you feel secure. For example - and this is probably my favorite line in the book - when talking about prayer, she reminds you that "[The gods] may not answer your prayer in the way you want, but if you open yourself to it, their love is always there to wrap around yourself like a warm blanket."
Eating, cleaning, and words are only a few of the broad array of topics that The Goddess is in the Details covers, quite sufficiently, in it's 228 pages. However, just in case you want to go more into depth on any of the topics covered, Miss Blake included a wonderful list of recommended reading books that specialize on the topics covered.
At the end of each chapter, there is a portion labeled "Something to Think About" or "Something to Try" which gives you ways to further reflect on what you learned in that chapter. These are faintly reminiscent to the chapter reviews in old textbooks, but a lot more friendly. Rather than asking you to remember what you learned in the chapter, they are suggesting ways that you can take what you learned and utilize it.
I believe that this is a wonderful book that anyone who feels the need to learn more about Pagans can enjoy. Displaying such warmth and wisdom, Deborah Blake is really in her element here. She is quite possibly my new favorite Pagan writer. I hope to own for myself a copy of this book soon, and I look forward to reading her other works.
Miss Blake says in her introduction that this book is intended mostly for the more mature and experienced crowd. Does this mean you should ban your teen from reading it? Absolutely not. The Goddess is in the Details is a rich resource of moral and ethical lessons for a practicing Witch, and is written at a level that most teens can understand. In fact, if you discover that your child is interested in Paganism, this is a book that I would recommend for them to read. And you as well, so that you understand the feelings they are having and their beliefs do not seem so alien. You could even make it a moment of bonding, by reading it together and discussing the topics, or working together on end of chapter "projects."