Books

“Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess”  – Starhawk (1999 (1979)) –  ISBN: 978-0676974676

Spiral Dance gives a detailed introduction to a Witchcraft based in feminism and love of the Earth, with excellent practical exercises, thealogy, and scripts and suggestions for rituals.

This classic work was first published in 1979, before Reclaiming even existed as a tradition, not long after Starhawk was initiated into Feri tradition. It was updated in both 1989 and 1999, not by altering the original text, but through commentaries by Starhawk, reflecting on how her understanding and that of the community which became Reclaiming tradition changed in the intervening period. It thus also gives a unique account of the development of a modern neoPagan tradition.

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“The Pagan Book of Living and Dying” – Starhawk, M. Macha NightMare and the Reclaiming Collective (1998) – ISBN: 978-0062515162

Originally titled “The Pagan Book of Death and Dying” (but changed at the publisher’s insistence), this book is an immensely rich resource for those who are facing their own death or that of a loved one, and also those who work with the dying. Amongst this cornucopia are resources around HIV/AIDS, miscarriage, abortion, and maintaining one’s centre when working with the dying.

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“Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions” – Starhawk, Diane Baker and Anne Hill (2000) –  ISBN: 978-0553378054

‘ “Circle Round” is a wonderful resource for parents of any religion who want to teach their children a reverence for nature. The authors show that the practice of Earth-centered spirituality is not a once-a-week break from the rest of our lives, it is embodied–woven into our eating, sleeping, working, playing, and even breathing. The book’s three main sections cover the eight seasonal holidays of the Pagan calendar, the human life-cycle, and the elements.

‘Each section contains activities and rituals, includingstories and recipes, and covers the basics while weaving in many unexpected gems. Suggestions range from the widely-practiced (carving pumpkins on Samhain- – the Pagan New Year, a.k.a. Halloween) to ones that would seem ‘out there’ to all but the most open-minded of families (a community-wide ‘first blood’ ritual celebrating a girl’s first period). contemporary fable for Brigit (the holiday marking the beginning of Spring), and many beautiful ideas for celebrating pregnancy and birth.’ — From Beliefnet

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“The Twelve Wild Swans: A Journey to the Realm of Magic, Healing and Action” – Starhawk and Hilary Valentine (2001) – ISBN: 978-0062516695

This beautiful book seeks to capture something of the experience of Witchcamp between its pages, working with a traditional story (The Twelve Wild Swans of the title) to explore magic, inner healing and outer action in the world – what Starhawk refers to as the ‘three legs of the cauldron’.

While nothing can reproduce in ink on paper the visceral, social and magical experience of Witchcamp, this book comes as close as possible, and is full of exercises which serve everyone from the utmost beginner to the experienced Witch, magical practitioner, healer and activist.

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“The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature” – Starhawk (2005) – ISBN: 978-0060000936

Over the last decade, Starhawk has been drawing more and more upon the principles of permaculture* in shaping her spiritual approach. This book is the result of the composting of decades of experience in Witchcraft with the practical wisdom of permaculture.

It draws its magic not only from numinous experience of the Divine in nature, but also from the hard science of ecology and plant biology, and is all the better for it. Its approach to the elements is very practical, and focuses on connecting not with ideal images of each element, but with the elements as they exist in our daily lives. This allows the weaving together of spirituality with environmental and community responsibility and activism, one of the key principles of Reclaiming tradition.

* alongside her experiences in the global anti-globalisation movement – see “Webs of Power” (2008)

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