Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Review: The Earth Path by Starhawk

The Earth Path is certainly a book written from a Wiccan perspective yet it is one that harbors wisdom for any and all who read it, regardless of their creed. In fact, you could remove all religion/spirituality from this book and still be left with something wholly spiritual and educational.

Topics discussed within The Earth Path include organic and green living, ecology, ecopsychology, bioregionalism, climate change, activism, evolution, social change, permaculture, feminism (though not in the overt manner one would expect from Starhawk), paganism, earth-centered values and wilderness awareness.

The point of this book is to help people become more aligned and connected (or re-connected) with the thing that surround us all and sustains our well-being: nature. Regardless of what we may think, we are not apart from nature but an integral part within it. Nevertheless, until we realize this fact and balance our lives with nature and everything within it, we will always be apart from it.

"Whenever we are able to live for a moment within that consciousness of the whole, we become more whole, more healed." (pp. 28)

While a good chuck of the book (chapters 7-10) go into great detail on the four elements of Wicca and Ceremonial Magic, and while the spiritual matters listed in these chapters didn’t impact me—because I, as a Gaelic Polytheist, have a different spiritual worldview than that of Wicca—from a scientific point-of-view there’s some great information to be found here. Even if it’s something one knows already, seeing it put from the standpoint of aligning ourselves with nature, it takes on a whole new meaning.

Overall, a fantastic read and highly poignant that I can't believe took me nearly six years to pull off the shelf and finally read.

"Bringing our lives into alignment with the earth should not become a burdensome, guilt-filled project, where are constantly in an unshriven state of eco-sin." (pp. 36)

1 comment:

  1. While I don't relate to the author's underlying, "Earth-based-approach = Wiccan-cosmology" assumptions, I was pleasantly surprised by much of the content in this work. I appreciate that she stresses the importance of getting out in nature every day, and learning to listen to the land. Her suggestions of how to do this are surprisingly practical, and I think people of any faith (or no religious faith at all) can learn something important from taking those suggestions to heart.

    I am amused to see how her approach changed when she moved out of the city. Though many of the disciplines can work to some extent in the city, I think what I related to in this book is it is rooted in the land and an understanding of the land that is lacking in her previous works. While there is some degree of awareness that can be attained in the city, especially if one learns in the wilderness and then returns (if one can stand to return) I think there is a piece that will always be missing without that connection to the land.

    It's been a while since I read it, but I recall at the time I was pleasantly surprised how useful this book is, and was considering recommending it despite the Wiccan cosmological underpinnings.