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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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 

The Power of Ritual: Informative and Intriguing

The Power of Ritual
by Robbie Davis Floyd and Charles Laughlin
Daily Grail Publishing, 2016, $26.95 paper, ISBN 978-0-9874224-9-1
Reviewed by Drs. Susanne van Doorn

 

ritual
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the power of ritual: introduction

Do you remember the eighties when Joseph Campbell talked to us about “The Power of Myth”? It was magic on television. His engaging way of telling a story combined with the way he glued it to the challenges of that time, it made us all feel that mythology was very much alive.

Three decades later, authors anthropologist Robbie Davis Floyd Ph.D., and neuroanthropologist Charles Laughlin explore the Power of Ritual.
In the foreword Betty Sue Flowers, editor of “the Power of Myth” says:
“In The Power of Ritual, Robbie Davis-Floyd and Charles D. Laughlin have done for ritual what Campbell did for myth-tell stories, personalize the study of ritual, and relate ritual to the concerns of everyday life”.

 

ritual
Joseph Campbell in the Power of Myth

 

Even though it is not written as a textbook, it has an academic thoroughness about it. It explores all the facets of ritual: the brain of the Homo sapiens, mythology, the “hardware” of ritual: the drivers, the techniques and the place, the “software of ritual: the emotions and the transformations it can sustain in a certain society.

Where myths are the stories that make us come to terms with the world, rituals are a sword with two edges. Ritual helps you make sense of the culture you live in and it can help you change that culture.

the power of ritual: giving structure

They give a list of 9 core characteristics that constitute the anatomy of ritual, based on Ronald. L. Grimes’ The Craft of Ritual Studies. (Grimes put Ritual Studies on the academic map). This list is the guideline that is used throughout the book.

“Ritual is one of the oldest human activities-often considered as important as eating, sex, and shelter. Why has it persisted so long? Why does every attempt to suppress it result in creating it anew? What makes ritual seems at once so foundational that even animals do it so superfluous that Protestants once imagined they could dispense it altogether?”

Ronald Grimes, Introduction to Reading in Ritual Studies

 

ritual
Art: The Biosphere by designed by Buckminster Fuller, photo by Dennis Bathory-Kisz

 

In eleven chapters there is a diligent search for the power of ritual. In every corner, every room, every symbol, every core symbol is interpreted as a part of a ritual. A ritual can be positive as well as negative. A ritual is dualistic: it has to sustain a culture and its rulers, but it must also be a vehicle for social change.
Not an easy subject.
But it is clear that a ritual gives structure, and it needs a certain place, a certain time, with people acting in certain ways, dressed in certain clothes. Even if a ritual has no effect, people usually blame this on something they themselves have done wrong.

the power of ritual: Personal stories

What sets this book apart from other books are the very personal stories the authors use to illustrate the values that are part of any ritual. The authors take the daring step to share some very personal stories to illustrate the 9 principles of ritual and in doing so they dare to break boundaries. The only thing that was unclear to me as reader, is who is telling the story.

Almost every personal story is told in the third person perspective. To me this was a little confusing at times. There are two authors: has one author told the story, and has the other written it down?
In the final chapter, Robbie Davis finally dares to write in the first person perspective, as she tells the story of the celebration of her deceased daughter.

Her daughter died in a car crash, one of the most heartbreaking experiences any human being can ever experience. And telling it from the first person perspective makes it strong. I was there too, celebrating the life of this vibrant young girl. Being a mother myself, I feel the loss, the desperation and the celebration about the short, but beautiful life she had lived.

“When I was called to attend the lightning of the candles on the birthday cake, I told the caterers to STOP and hold it for a little while, and then I took my sweet time to walk around the beautiful gardens to note how friends and relatives had clustered to eat and talk about Peyton-forever engraved in my memory are the shining candles and my equally shining family and friends. I had learned not to simply ride the ritual train, but to stop it for a little while. so I could simply bask in the moment to drink in from the ritual every single thing it could give me.”

Conclusion

What is the verdict: to buy or not to buy?
pro:

  • The book gives a very good analysis of ritual, and frequently surprises you with new data and insights. For example: have you ever conceived giving birth in a hospital as a ritual? Have you ever realized that a ritual is like an unstoppable train? Have you ever realized that there must be a combination of internal as well as external drivers to change consciousness when performing a ritual? This book gives so much information and so much examples that you will feel more knowledgeable once you have read it.
  • I really like and admire the fact that the writers share personal stories. Having the guts to step outside the scientific anthropological point of view, they practice what they preach. You can not study a phenomenon without having experienced it yourself.
  • There are many models and theories discussed in this book. Nine aspects of ritual, states of consciousness, a cognitive matrix, the cycle of meaning, four stages of cognition… A multitude of ways to analyse ritual.
  • The book is quite easy to read.
  • There is a lot of attention for mythology and dreams in this book. Charles Laughlin is an accomplished practitioner of Tibetan yoga and talks about dreams and dream incubation with ease, and he even shows the box he created to sleep in.
  • There is much attention to the birth process of human beings. Lots of Western women (like me) never get proper educated about it because our grandmothers, mothers and sisters are too traumatized to discuss the process.
    “An electronic fetal monitoring machine, which Robbie has interpreted as the primary symbol of hospital birth (Davis-Floyd 2004), also speaks with many voices, promising to provide full information on the strength of the laboring mother’s contractions and the contraction of the fetal heart rate, representing the vast corporation that created it and the technical know-how that went into making it, and giving women a sense of psychological and emotional trust in the information it provides” (page 57).But this machine also sucks up the attention: the mother is no longer the centre of attention: the machine is. Having given birth twice in the hospital (I was obliged to do that being diabetic) I know from experience that when the heart rate of my second baby dropped significantly, this became the center of my attention for several agonizing hours.

con

  • All the models and theories can become quite confusing. I had some trouble of allocating some concepts into the picture the authors are trying to describe. There are nine major characteristics of a ritual, there are four stages of cognition, there are the twin axes of instantiation, there is the cycle of meaning, there is the technocratic, humanistic and holistic paradigms of medicine there is a cognitive matrix… It can be a bit confusing to get the big picture the authors are trying to paint for you as reader.
  • Unfortunately, there is no e-book available (yet).

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