Deep reading…

November 26, 2006 at 11:20 am 1 comment

Damn, there’s some amazing stuff out there to read lately. Just this week I’ve picked up two books that look to be powerful Outlaw page-turners: Dr. Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief, and Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing.

The Lipton book is a research biologist’s narrative of paradigm-shifting research he conducted, showing that the nucleus of a cell, with its DNA coding, is not the cell’s brain, or processor if you will, but merely its hard drive. He draws from this new scientific finding some very intriguing – and potentially powerful – conclusions about the importance of environment, and of personal thought choices, on the health of the body and its systems.

This is exciting sh*t, folks: hard science beginning to back up what shamans and other traditional healers have known for millennia – that the mind-body connection plays an inestimable role in overall well-being. I’ll be curious to see what recommendations he offers based on this new perspective.

Starhawk you might know as the author of The Spiral Dance, a foundational book in the revival of Wicca and earth-based spirituality. The Fifth Sacred Thing is her first novel, apparently dealing with a group of Wiccans who wish to remain non-violent in the face of corrupt fundamentalist statists taking over society. (Sound familiar?)

The title is a tantalizing question hanging in the air: the back cover blurb makes clear that the first four sacred things to the Wiccans are the elements of earth, air, fire, and water…I bought the book in hopes that number five would turn out to be freedom. I suspect, though, that peace will be Starhawk’s view of the fifth sacred thing.

Some readers have criticized this novel as preachy and overly liberal and feminist. That doesn’t surprise me – Wicca is a goddess-focused spiritual path, and its followers revere nature, sometimes in ways that smack of “tree-hugging” (what on earth is wrong with hugging a tree? Trees are really good huggers. Try it sometime.) and man-bashing. There’s often a strong whiff in the Pagan world of “men are violent and bad – women are peaceful – if women had the power, there would be balance in the world.” Good ideas – the need for a balance of male and female energies, for instance – taken to extremes and meaningless generalizations, and missing salient points because of it.

But I have higher hopes for the book. In my previous life as a Libertarian, I used to argue that blacks, gays and Pagans were excellent audiences for the libertarian message – these folks appreciate deeply what it means to be the outcast minority, and to live and let live, even if they’ve not always been left to live as they see fit.

So I’ll be curious in this book’s case to see whether Starhawk grasps the truth that, if you want freedom for yourself, you must offer it to others as well.


Entry filed under: Free Your Mind, Writer's Life.

A tip o’ me hat… Outlaws of the Soil

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. morrigan  |  November 27, 2006 at 8:01 am

    Looks as if you have some good reading material!


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