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This blog is all about all the things that make me up. I am a Mother, I am a Pagan Witch, I am a Wife, I am a homemaker, I am a student, I am Spiritual, I am a Teacher, I am Liberal Hippie, I am a Voter, and I am extremely opinionated! Plan to see it all! If you don't like what you see, feel free to leave! However, chances are, if you stick around, you'll find more to love than hate!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Review: The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk

I'm not sure what took me so long to post the review for this book, I know a few of you have been waiting for it - so here goes...

The Fifth Sacred Thing
by Starhawk

It's rare that I read fiction, but this has been a book on my "must read" list for some time. When I first bought it I was a little surprised at it's size, it's about 2inches thick.  And I thought with the little time I have for reading, it would take me forever to get through.  But once I started reading it, I MADE time to keep reading it.  I literally could not put it down - I even figured out how I could cook and read at the same time.  This book was addicting in a way I have found few others to be.

Without giving away to many "spoilers," the story line follows an elderly women, her grandson and "adoptive" granddaughter through their trials and tribulations in a not-so-distant future war.  Inspirational and Thought provoking this story explores a post-apocalyptic world where the peaceful eco-topian San Fran is being challenged by a cruel overly controlling  outside ruling class.

Personally I found some of this book to be rather terrifying.  Looking back at the 20 years since it was written, I have personally seen many of this books "predictions" coming true. Although a work of pure fiction, the themes of the ruling classes greed and need for control through abuse of power is all to "on the money" for me.

At the same time, I found the characters, their struggle and their new-built society to be pure inspiration.  Great detail is given, explaining how their society works, how it is set up and why.  Centered around the idea of "the four sacred things" (air, water, fire & earth) in conjunction with a solidly interconnected community in where all walks of life are welcomed and embraced freely, this is the society of my dreams!  Never before have I come across a model for society so positive and yet down to earth.  A society which is truly BY and FOR the people, where no central controlling body exists, but where everyone has the ability to speak their part and do their part. Where the elderly and the young are cared for and loved. And where everyone is truly equal and free.  If a place like this existed on earth, I would happily move there! (Seriously, someone should start a Starhawk for President campaign!)

Reading through other reviews of this book I am seeing quite a few accusations of it being Anti-Christian, Anti-Man and even Anti-American... It's none of these. YES, the "villains" are Fundamentalist Christian in nature, but if you really look at their structure, you see their driving force is NOT their faith, instead, like so many through history, they are using their faith as an excuse and a tool, but it is not their faith that is the issue. And this is shown by the fact that, more than once, Christians are counted among those living peacefully and happily in their "new society."  As for it being Anti-Man, one of the three main characters is male, and is by no means shown as being weak, or "second class." Instead, he is shown as intelligent, strong, creative and EQUAL to his female counter parts. To some degree I feel this book does express a slight Anti-American tone, but it also gives an example of what we could be if we only chose to make it so. It works to show the extremes which already exist within our society and it shows both the flaws of our current world and the opportunity which we could have if we chose to fix the issues at hand.

I think the most unfortunate aspect of this book is that it's seen by so many as Pro-Witch and Pro-Pagan. Both of which is very much is. Being Starhawk is herself a Witch, it only makes sense that she would lean heavily towards that belief in her writing.  But this aspect will turn a great many away from reading it, something which I believe is a saddening fact, because although this book is clearly Pro-Witch, it's not about how Witchcraft or Paganism is "right" or even how they could will be what creates change. Instead, it's about how individuals of ALL belief systems can come together and create something better when they put aside their differences and fight for right together. Ultimately it is not Witchcraft or Pagan Beliefs which turn the tides in this book, but "The Fifth Sacred Thing" which we all have inside us.

The one thing I will say I did not enjoy here is the writing style which Starhawk uses.  Although having read some of her other works, I'll say that's simply how she writes.  She tends to "run on" a bit where she could simply have made a simple statement and moved on. But I didn't feel that it in any way took away from the story or the message of the book itself.

I personally would recommend this book to just about anyone who is open to reading it.  Although I should note that due to a few "Adult" scenes and language, it should be reserved for a 16+ crowd at least.

This book is available in both digital (kindle) and physical forms through Amazon:  HERE 

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