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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Writer: Meredith Eastwood
Photo in Leader: Thought Catalog
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