Reviewed by Jacqui Woodward-Smith
Walking an Ancient Path is the most recent offering by Karen Tate, following on from Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations, reviewed by Geraldine Charles in the Beltane 2007 edition of Goddess Pages. This new book is separated into five sections; understanding spirit, earth, water, fire and air, and each section contains something interesting and inspiring.
I feel that Karen’s writing is at its strongest and most vibrant when she is writing about something that she knows deeply and feels passionate about. I found the stories about her upbringing in New Orleans powerful and alive, as were the chapters on feminism and leadership in ‘Understanding Fire’ and would have liked to read more about both (always the sign of a good book!) I also enjoyed the discussion of the need, or not, for contemporary Goddess Temples, which includes comments from many goddess-loving women, as does the chapter on the place of god in goddess worship. It’s always nice to know what other people think, whether I agree with them or not, and I like the sense of balance that Karen allows by relating so many different views without too much comment or analysis. Sadly some sections are less inspiring, although all have interesting things to say and are worth reading. I found the section on ‘Understanding Earth’ particularly frustrating as it seems to cut the accounts of her visits to Goddess sites around the world short and refer the reader to her previous book. I would have preferred something that could stand alone more successfully.
This is a broad-ranging and ambitious book; part autobiography, part history, part practical, and what I was left with was an inspiring impression of what life can be when we fully give ourselves over to following the path of the Goddess, as Karen Tate has. With some good editing it could have been excellent but give it a try nevertheless and I don’t think that you would regret it.
©Jacqui Woodward-Smith, October 2008.
Walking an Ancient Path can be purchased from amazon.co.uk
We've just heard that the book was placed as a finalist
in the USA Book News "Best Books Award" in the
general spirituality category.