Reviewed by Mari Ziolkowski
I’m smashed up after finishing the book The Heart of the Fire. With a lovely picture of the ‘Lord and Lady’ on the front cover, I was wondering whether the book would be too much the ‘pagan romance’ to be worth my time, however I couldn’t have erred further from the truth.
Going very deeply into the earth magic and altered states involved in the training of a pagan priestess in Scotland during the late 1500s – as well as her life and loves, the author states that this is her recall of a past life. However the title doesn’t refer only to the fire of passion between her and one of her soul-mates. Any of us who know the Goddess in this life should pay attention to the title’s forewarning reference to The Burning Times, and should consider seriously whether or not we can stomach reading the end of this beautiful, awful story.
The power of her melding with the trees, merging with the animals – her meeting with the fey, her expansion into the starry sky, her merging with her lovers and past life visions – all keep me fully involved despite my worry for the story’s end. Her story has power. This young priestess wielded it, her coven wielded it – the power of love for the Mother is clear.
It is hard for me to face that this priestess had a choice in what happened to her. It is hard for me to face that because of the loss of one love, her grief would not allow her to fully open to a second love. With my own lived knowledge of the power of the emotional life, I must give her process of grieving due respect. However, the author is clearly indicating that she, as priestess in this past life, could have allowed her second love to help her heal, and in doing so, could have avoided a brutal end. As I too have grieved the ending of relationship, I understand the process. I even have an inkling of how it can take you down. But no one should risk unspeakable brutality, and a terrifying death because their grieving process was not complete (let alone for their love of Mother Earth!)
It is at times like this that I am hardly able to understand how to function in a world where humans are allowed to unleash such violence on each other. It almost incapacitates me at a soul level that we are capable of such. How did this come to be part of learning here on the earth plane? Why would I or anyone else come here when learning to love can have such brutal consequences? I see myself standing and shaking my fist at the sky that Spirit could allow such. I wonder how many lives I have taken this stance, raging at the insanity of it all ... I wonder that we are not all broken by the violence, never able to recover in life after life. How do we do it? How does any of us choose the Goddess, choose to love our Mother, choose love in any form when the consequences are such?
Is it true like Stan Grof says in The Cosmic Game that we’ve all been the oppressor and all been the oppressed? Why does this keep coming back to me like a mantra after I finish the story? I want to scream and rage against the patriarchal, inquisitional 'machine' - instead I find myself coming back to this. Why does it calm me? Is it a way to deny the pain? Is it a way to help make sense of things? Is it a way to challenge me to try to keep loving in spite of it all?
The Heart of the Fire is published by Cauldron Publications and can be obtained from Amazon.