Reviewed by Daniel McIlvenny-Cox
'Naming the Goddess' is a must-have-book for all Witches and Pagans, Shaman and others of that ilk. For those of us who follow a spiritual path incorporating or solely representing the Goddess path, this book is a beautiful read, and a treasure to add to our book collection. Written by a long list of Goddess representatives, the first half of the book contains a comprehensive guide to Goddess in all Her many aspects. What touched me most was the raw honesty and personal accounts of the writers and their experiences with Goddess. To truly know Goddess you must experience Her, and commune with Her, meet with Her in the dark forests and glades, feel Her within you, whether it be Her love in your heart, or the ache in your bones, so reading about Her can sometimes feel a little flat, but not in 'Naming the Goddess'; She is alive here, and She seeps throughout this book. She gently touches each page with a gentle trickle of wisdom and sometimes humour, and occasionally she vents her rage and terror as a torrential flood that pours out. Reading each chapter is like sitting within a sacred circle of brothers and sisters of Goddess, hearing their accounts and listening to the stories and histories of Her, seeing how She has shaped our societies, our views on spirituality and of women generally, and as a gay man myself, I found this book wasn't exclusive (like many Goddess books) to women. With references to Her consorts, lovers, husbands and Gods I felt I could connect, it even included a very interesting chapter on 'The Queer of Heaven: Goddess Culture and the Empowerment of Gay Women and Men' by David Salisbury, which I found fascinating.
The second half of the 'Naming the Goddess' is a classical cornucopia of Goddesses, beautifully and alphabetically listed from 'Aine' the Irish Goddess of the sun and the moon to 'Yinggarna' the Australian Mother Goddess and Rainbow Serpent. Amongst the histories and stories of each Goddess, is a feeling of who She is, and more importantly, how to connect with Her and build your own relationship with Her, Each Goddess chapter contains a passage about who She is, Her history and story, and includes her sacred days, what offerings were and still are gifted to Her. Whether you believe these Goddesses to be an aspect of the Divine Feminine, or sentient and singular Goddesses in their own right, this book offers the opportunity to discover more about Her and to connect to Her on a deeper level.
Thank you to all who contributed to 'Naming the Goddess', I can see this book sitting next the other great books published about Her on my shelf, along with a feather, a crystal and a set of bone runes.
"Naming the Goddess" is published by Moon Books and is available from their website and from Amazon.
Daniel lives in Berkshire where he practises shamanic healing sessions. He lives with his husband and their 20 month old son, and a cat called smudge.