The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman

 

 

The Mindfunda Book review is a guest post written by Meredith Eastwood. Wild Women, it’s time to gather around. Activist, Witch, and author, Danielle Dulsky has published a new book called The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman.

 

The Holy Wild
Click here to buy the book and support Mindfunda

 

Summary

The Holy Wild is a timely literary achievement worthy of a laurel wreath.  It is a poetically written book that explores the power of the wild feminine and her stories of loss, love, and transformation. The themes of the book transcend genre boundaries of any one feminine or goddess perspective.  Readers are addressed primarily as priestesses but also referred to as witches, prophetesses, wisdom keepers, sages, and hunters. Dulsky speaks to the threefold goddess, maiden, mother and crone, in each women while referencing lessons of the elements and associated wild feminine archetypes in the 5 Books of Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether.  

 

book
This photo was taken by Meredith Eastwood at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

 

The reader is invited to journey down the Red Road of healing, wholeness, and integration through verses, rituals, magick, and the revisioning of ancient stories surrounding shamed women archetypes in Western religion. They include Lilith, Salome, Mother of Babylon, Mary Magdalene, and Jezebel.  Each elemental Book provides rituals, and practices to the priestess for releasing social conditioning and for becoming “the authentic embodiment of the woman she needed when she was younger.”

 

book
Photo: Beto Silvestre

 

They involve writing, circles, incantations, divinations, prayers, dances, songs, and spell crafts for grounding, healing, protection, releasing, manifesting, vibration raising, intention setting, and energy infusing. All of these activities help the practitioner heal herself and her relationships, and ultimately enable her to become “a change agent” and “holy weaver” in the outer world. I followed the Red Road through each of the Books of Elements discovering through the rituals and exercises my own personal gifts of insight.

Book of Earth

The earth element is about rightful rebellion and tasting the forbidden. The Wild Feminine Archetype is The Priestess of the Wild Earth. This book offers the priestess validation for understanding how she outgrows a too small life. And how a woman like myself may seek liberation from a comfortable yet confined situation, which often involves a descent of release comparable to Inanna’s journey into the Underworld. 

 

Book
Photo: Thor Alvis

 

I was reminded of how even a perceived garden can feel limited and restricted, and at the same time how difficult it is to leave its safety for the unknown. The gift is to become the largest version of myself.

Book of Water 

The water element is about reclaiming embodied feeling and awakening our creative art and sense of hope. The Wild Feminine Archetype is The Maiden of the Unbridled Sensual. This section affirmed for me of the importance of recovering and experiencing the juicy, joyful, and creative parts of life.

 

book
Photo: Jason Leung

 

The three-part water ritual described for communion, cleansing and succulence is an especially powerful ceremony for helping the Priestess release the too small in her life and to support recovered sensual experiences. The gift is the validation of my right to feel deeply.   

Book of Fire

The fire element is about igniting the pyre of release and purification, followed by maintaining the flame that sustains a holy will. It is the transformer that validates and transmutes righteous anger into soul affirming activism. The Wild Feminine Archetype is The Prophetess of the Wildfire.

book
Photo: Cullan Smith

The exercise, “Handwritten Verses: We Will Keep this Fire Burning,” clarifies the soulful longings the Priestess feels listening to the “sea of small faces,” the children who trust this generation to willfully tend the fire of hope for what has been wounded, that which we have loved. The gift is the acceptance of my anger as a rightful source of energy for holy speech and courageous action that supports change in the world. 

Book of Air 

The air element fills our hearts with the power of love and a desire for connective, supportive, and balanced relationships. The Wild Feminine Archetype is The Witch of Sacred love, which in the revisioned story of the Magdalene reflects the longed for balance between the divine feminine and sacred masculine within our inner and outer landscapes. 

Book
Photo: Eberhard Grossgasteiger

 

And we are reminded that maiden, mother and crone live in all humans, not strictly bound by age or gender. The in-depth rituals for Circle Craft in this section are especially helpful for practitioners who form and facilitate spiritual groups.  A circle formed with clear agreed upon intentions allows bonding and the infusion of nourishing vibrations. The gifts are medicine for my personal support and a fertile ground from which to collectively create a mission that mirrors shared values for healing and changing the world.

Book of Ether 

The ether element connects us to the realm of spirit, the infinite, and the void, a place where the Priestess learns about the autonomy of her spiritual practice. The Wild Feminine Archetype is The Queen of Ethereal Divine. The activity “Meeting the One Who Waits: Simple Pathworking for the Wakeful Dreamer,” is an excellent method for a lucid dream journey where one enters “the fertile space between sleep and awake.” The priestess is asked to imagine a familiar earthy place and set an intention to meet an ancestral guide. Then to surrender within the liminal space, asking what she most needs to know at the moment. This particular method of dreaming opens a sacred space in a place of true knowing and is used effectively within groups led by dream teachers. The gifts are the empowering of goddess divinity within and my right to claim connection to her mysteries.

A Final Word 

Dulsky asks us to look at our own stories and “tiny soulful treasures long buried” for spiritual truth and to embrace our right to an authentic relationship with the sacred. Then to take these gifts to the world in ways that reflect our truth. Her book speaks wisdom to readers of all genders who in her words wish “to craft a world with a soulful voice which rallies against racism, patriarchy, and the spoiling of our planet.” I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it heartily. 

 

 

 

 

Click here to buy the book


Writer: Meredith Eastwood
Photo in Leader: Thought Catalog
The link to purchase the book is an Amazon affiliate link. Buying the book from this site will support Mindfunda

 

Woman Most Wild, 3 Keys to Liberating the Witch Within

Woman Most Wild, three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within
by Danielle Dusky
New World Library, 2017, $10.84 paperback ISBN-13: 9781608684663; kindle $13.51 ISBN-10: 1608684660
reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

witch
Click here to buy the book and support Mindfunda


We are the living feminine, Sister, and we have a cosmically sanctioned right to check in and check out in accordance with our inner resources” (page 12).

Years ago I wanted to be part of a witches coven. I called the number, and an antagonised woman whispered to me: “Please don’t call me at work”. I knew at that moment that this was not the group for me. How can you be a witch and want to keep it secret? So you can imagine that my hopes grew into an internal flame when I got the review copy of this book. And indeed, I love it.

Witch Within

Twenty-five years  after the publication of Women Who run with the Wolves this book promises to help you unleash your inner Witch. Woman Most Wild is clearly inspired by this classic. The inner Wolf-Woman is celebrated as an ideal role model. This book does not use (mythological) stories as often as Women Who Run with the Wolves did. In this book you, as a (female) reader are spoken to in a very direct way by the writer, as if she is sitting next to you.

Danielle explains that there are not one, not two, but three keys to unlock the broom closet and fly away to kiss the moon.

witch
Cartoon: S media cache

 

Danielle says on page 4: “I call you out as a Witch but offer you no religion. Instead, what I offer you in these pages are glimpses of how your soft and perfect being may be infused with the marrow of ritual, magick, and circle-craft”.

In the book magic is spelled with -ck, it is the archaic spelling, not a typo.

“By magick, I mean both the mysterious interconnectivity of the cosmic web that permits alchemical changes in the human community and the outcome of your own agency in creating shifts in your world” (page 85).

This is a wonderful promise. You don’t only get to know yourself better, you also get the promise to learn some magic.

witch
Susanne dressed up as the World Wide Witch 
Photo: Bhaskar Banerji

 I like that. An affordable book, with 242 pages of practical advice and guided meditations.

Witch and the Inner Cycles

The three keys that Danielle Dusky describes, all have to do with (re)connecting with the cycles of nature. The cycle of the moon, the cycle of the sun, the cycle of the seasons, and the cycle of life.

I truly discovered the power of the moon after reading A woman’s Book of Dreams written by Connie Kaplan. It made me appreciate the connection between the moon and dreams.

witch
Illusion of the Square
Leonardo da Vinci drawing sketch

(Re)Connecting with the cycles inside your body and outside in nature, you will be confronted with inner pain. “A true healer promises nothing. She digs deep, calls forth, and busts open” (page 114).

 

The 3 keys to unlock your broom closet are:

  • your wild rhythm;
  • your wild ritual;
  • and your wild cycle.

 

Key #1: Witch and the Wild Rhythm

 

The wild rhythm is to be found in the moon, the sun and in the blood. I really like the thorough knowledge of cycles. This knowledge will help you hear the music to dance to while living your life.

witch
Photo found on Flickr

Danielle talks with ease about the cycles of the moon and how they affect each woman.

“Living in alignment with lunar changes will serve you so much more than living in accordance with any calendar. Your soul will be nourished every time you invoke the essence of a lunar phase, harnessing the warrior-woman energy of a new moon, the sheer, electric force of a full moon, the release and acceptance that comes with the waning phase, and the oh-so-potent thick void of a dark moon” (page 17).

witch
Cartoon: Calvin & Hobbs

With the same ease she talks about how the sun, the seasons affect each woman.

“While the moon calls you to surrender to your soul’s purpose on Earth, the sun begs you to remember your role in the cosmic dance” (page 35).

Finally  the chakra’s are discussed as another manifestation of the cycle of the body.

“The bones of our social structures are hard and masculine, but the marrow, my love, the juicy marrow is feminine. The bones have forgotten what lives and breathes inside them — the Maiden’s sensuality, the Mother’s generative creativity, and the Wise Woman’s intuitive knowing — but harvest the marrow, Sister, for you truly are a Woman Most Wild” (page 82).

Key #2: Witch and the Wild Ritual

Rituals are important for the human psyche. One of the best books I have read about rituals is The Power of Ritual, written by Robbie Davis Floyd and Charles Laughlin.

But this key describes a specific kind of ritual, one that constitutes magick. First of all, Danielle Dusky acknowledges how almost all contemporary women are too  busy (we have to take care of our homes, our jobs and our children).

witch

The rituals Danielle describes are filled with a wisdom that resonates with me as reader. If you are interested in creating magic, in healing (and honestly, who isn’t?) this book will be very useful.

Another very important point that is addressed is the mother wound. I know I have one. Even though I honour my mother for all the work she has done during her life, I always missed the feeling of being loved accepted and honoured by her. I have made a conscious effort to make my children feel blessed and loved.

“We women have suffered the loss of the powerful feminine divine. With deity presented to us solely in its male form, we stand as orphaned sis- ters who share the same wound. Very often this wound manifests in the unconscious placement of lofty expectations on our own human mothers; we are looking to them to ll a great void, a void they too feel as women, and a void that can only be lled with a thorough embrace of the divine feminine on a social level” (page 112).

Key #3: Witch and the Wild Cycle

The last key is the Wild Cycle. “I am calling you out now as a Wolf-Woman who can and will find her pack” Danielle promises on page 149.

witch
Art found on martinekenblog.tumbler.com

“The Witches’ Circle is unique in structure as well as function, with feminine energy bolstered through both deep communication and magick work” (page 154)

We can only dream about such a circle of supporting women and Danielle urges us to visualize such a circle into existence.

CONCLUSION

PRO

  • This is a book about healing: reconnecting with the cycles of nature;
  • The cycles of life are discussed in-depth with very practical exercises;
  • I am convinced that this book can help you hear the soft whisper of the tune of your own song;
  • If you are interested in discovering your personal myth, this book has some good exercises for it, like writing the story of your life as an epic myth titled “The Woman Most Wild”;
  • The book makes a promise with every key, which is not only clever marketing, it is also a very clear statement of what to expect before reading a segment;
  • If you are, or want to become a priestess you will appreciate the practices in this book.

 

CON

  • This is not a book for everyone. It is aimed at a specific target group of women. This can easily also be a Pro, I am aware of that;
  • Danielle Dusky assumes there is a predestined path for everybody to wake up to. This will not ring true for everyone, even though it is a charming and appealing assumption;

 

Mindfunda verdict:

9/10

 

Click here to buy Woman Most Wild, three Keys to Liberating the Witch Within and support Mindfunda.

 

I like nothing better than to give away valuable information to make your life better. Here are two books to choose from: 10 tips to remember more dreams and a report on Mutual Dreaming