Warrior Mothers: Stories to Awaken the Flames of the Heart, by Thais Mazur (Rising Star Press, 2004), 211 pages
Bursting with impassioned stories and detailed information on a wide variety of vital issues, Warrior Mothers will have you jumping on the internet to research how you can get involved in changing the world. Whether you are interested in environmental issues, indigenous rights, empowering those without a voice or organizing your own farmer’s market, the stories of the women in Warrior Mothers will fan the flames of your own pet interest and incite you to action. Culled from interviews and rewritten into first-person narratives, Thais Mazur, an investigative journalist and choreographer, offers stories from artists, writers, therapists and activist women from across the country who are effectively changing the future of the planet in positive ways, both large and small. Diane Wilson faced the terror of having her fishing boat sunk beneath her, and the heartbreak of her own husband locking her out of her house as she successfully fought for zero discharge from chemical companies. Jodie Evans’ endurance through hardship and abuse formed her into the activist and founding member of CODEPINK that she is today. Demonstrating that the new paradigm required for positive change is rooted in the blending of the mythological female warrior and the nurturing mother, the warrior mothers profiled in this text demonstrate that not only is it possible to change the world while holding a small child in your arms, but indeed it is the compassion and wisdom learned in the caring for this child that both makes the activist work vital and creates the source of strength and endurance required for success.
Shiva: The Wild God of Power and Ecstasy, by Wolf-Dieter Storl, Ph.D. (Inner Traditions, 2004) 312 pages, $19.95
What do the Black Madonna, the pop-singer Madonna and Muhammad’s daughter, Fatima, have in common? They can all be seen as manifestations of the Hindu god, Shiva, in one of his female personifications, Kali. For his devotees, Shiva has both male and female faces and represents God, all of existence, as well as the soul and core of every being. It is said that Shiva is so powerful that his hand drum creates the universe, brings about life, ecstasy and just as easily brings death. As a cultural anthropologist and ethnobotanist, Wolf-Dieter Storl expertly traces the history of the lore of Shiva through the influences of invading cultures and religions, and relates a wide variety of seemingly diverse influences to Shiva’s story, such as the Celtic Christian legend of the Holy Grail. As engaging and entertaining as he is informational, Storl opens your eyes to Hindu culture and religion as though you are a tourist traveling the land for the first time. Introducing you to the burning ghats of Benares, statues of the lingam and yoni, snakes, pitchforks, tantra and ganja, he immerses you in the land of Shiva and his all-pervasive worship. The archetype of Shiva continues to wield its influence far beyond Hindu culture, and modern-day pundits even insist that the shape of the nuclear power plant is an expression of the Shiva lingam. There are as many icons and rituals as there are devotees, for each manifestation helps to lead the human soul on its individual path to enlightenment. In Shiva, Storl creates a vibrant and comprehensive portrait of this omnipresent wild god.
Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self, by Anodea Judith (Celestial Arts, 2004), 488 pages, $18.95
Whether you are seeking help with a shopping addiction, fear of public speaking or poor digestion, Anodea Judith’s engaging integration of psychology and the chakra system charts a clear path to optimal health and happiness. This revised and redesigned edition of her authoritative text offers astounding levels of insight into the mind-body-spirit connection for those seeking healing, and those guiding others through healing. Whereas many contemporary energy work techniques engage the chakra system and bring about short-term change, few offer the depth of information and guidance leading to true awakening available in this text. Shifting effortlessly between the universal philosophical system of the chakras to their mundane application, the text examines the manifestation of energy blocks and suggests approaches to remedy their imbalances. Eloquently describing each chakra’s basic characteristics, the traumas and abuses that most effect each chakra, the characteristics when in excess and deficiency, and the physical symptoms indicated by each chakra imbalance, Judith guides the reader to an in-depth understanding of this complex system, including the chakra’s overlapping influences and subtleties. If you find yourself clinging to food, security or routines, you may have experienced a form of abandonment during your formative years. To balance this excessive first chakra, you will need to reconnect to your body. Try drawing your body, practicing yoga or other forms of grounding movements. If life seems to be full of black-and-white choices but you are beginning to yearn for the intricacies of living color, the text offers exercises for working with your second chakra. Effortlessly synthesizing a mind-boggling array of theories, Judith creates an accessible, yet intricately woven, cohesive and comprehensive system of physical and psychological health.