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The Feminine Face of God: The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women Paperback – July 1, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The authors interviewed women across the country about "the unfolding of the sacred in their lives." A Seneca elder in upstate New York tells how the stones speak to her. "I'm just a vessel that God works through," says a community worker in Watts, Los Angeles, who radiates love to her "extended family." Other interviewees include a massage therapist, a professor of English, a rabbi, an ex-nun, artists, a Jungian analyst, Maya Angelou and members of a feminist spiritual community in Maine. Anderson, a Zen teacher, and Hopkins, coauthor of Good-bye to Guilt , conduct workshops across the country on feminine spirituality. If their writing has a rosy New Age tinge, the in-depth personal stories they relate are insightful, and their illuminating narrative is structured like a spiritual journey (childhood, leaving home, gateways, entering the sacred garden, relationships) to assist women in defining for themselves what is sacred.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Running the gamut from Anglicanism to Zen, psychologist Anderson and consultant Hopkins present an uncritical examination of uniquely feminine aspects of faith. Offering a complex, densely layered montage, based on extensive interviews with over one hundred women--each of whom has ``found her own direct relationship with the divine or the real''- -the authors seek to extend studies positing a distinctly feminine moral development to a consideration of ``the way women experience the sacred in their lives.'' Included are ministers, rabbis, priests, nuns, and former nuns (both Christian and Vedantic), spiritual healers, tribal elders, and contemplatives, working variously as therapists, teachers, writers, artists, and social activists, and all meeting a basic requirement of striving to ``embody'' their beliefs ``in everyday life.'' Most compelling within this spiritual supermarket are several detailed looks at individual quests--ranging from that of the Kabbala teacher who returned to Orthodox Judaism after exploring secularism and Sufism to that of the one-time southern beauty queen who transformed herself from a drug-addicted, alcoholic prostitute into a pioneering massage therapist for AIDS victims. Unfortunately, the frequently intriguing material is shoehorned into an unoriginal garden metaphor (leaving home to enter ``sacred'' gardens, cultivating plots with a variety of tools, etc.) that becomes cloying. Also a bit disconcerting are the constant references to the authors' own struggles to shape the work, usually resolved through meditation and never as interesting as the research itself. Still, there's much food for thought here--more than enough to sate human-potential devotees and to provide tantalizing tidbits for everyone else. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (July 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553352660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553352665
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
Upon reading this book for the first time I found myself pleasantly surprised. First published in 1991, this book is as germaine to women's spirituality today as it was then. Instead of being a book about Christian women only, Anderson and Hopkins have included a cross section of North American women in their study. Women of many different faiths candidly discuss their personal revelations regarding their spiritual growth and their relationships with the divine.
Interspersed with the women's stories are the experiences of the two authors as they struggled to research and write this book. This sharing of the authors' experiences makes the book accessible to anyone, reminding us that we are all only human - subject to doubts and questions as easily as we are to revelations and joy. Instead of being a dry, preaching, self-help book, the combined experiences of Anderson and Hopkins and their subjects create a story full of laughter, joy, pain, sorrow and, most importantly, a sense that as women we must explore our own spiritual lives in our own ways in order to live at our fullest potential.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Joyce Reed (dreed167@aol.com) on June 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
I just finished this book last week while on vacation. It made for easy, fascinating reading due to all the personal stories. No matter where you are in your life journey, you will be able to find a story in this book that speaks to you. The authors did an excellent job of interviewing a cross-section of women at various points in their life journeys. I especially appreciated hearing from women of different faith traditions. The book challenges women to seek a new language and experience to express their spiritual longings. Too often we have settled for the male models, and frankly, they don't work very well for us! It was refreshing to be given permission to pursue the tangents I know I have felt in my own spiritual journey, but have not always given credit to their validity. This book is an excellent gift and is appropriate for women in their mid-20s on. It also should appeal to the woman who has never set foot within a "church" setting, as well as one who has. The book has excellent endnotes as well as a selected bibliography to seek out further resources.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sheilah. Bockett on June 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The first part of the title attracted me to this book, as well as the first few pages in which the authors explain their need to seek the feminine face of God. I particularly liked the reference to the Shekinah, and looked forward to reading more about this aspect of God. After a lifetime (75 years) of hearing and reading so much of the male perspective of God (which I accept as part of the Taoist yin/yang concept) I wanted to learn ways to think of God in my own, feminine terms. After all, do we really want to speak to a Sacred Masculine Essence about PMT and other female issues? Traditionally men have had male metaphors to empower them in their sacred work, but women have not had any feminine metaphors. An early Bishop insisted that women do not even have souls! Women need collective healing from that. Clarissa Estes gets close to the mark when she refers to La Que Sabe, 'The One Who Knows,' as representing the Sacred Feminine Essence. But will there ever be an inclusive title? I expected to read about the early representations of the Mother/Father God and how we could use that in contemporary ways, but this concept is not included.

The book concentrates on the second part of the title: The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women. It focuses largely on individual women's struggles to find their spiritual path and says very little on what they discovered about the feminine nature of God. I was disappointed because of this. However I do not think the one star review is at all fair, and certainly not how I consider a feminine voice should be expressed with regards to the sacred. Surely the feminine face of God represents compassion and mutual respect, no matter how opposite our views.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Pat Lowe on April 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
The authors spent a lot of time researching and interviewing various women that are considered extremely spiritual. The result is a book of many stories of women from different backgrounds and the many paths to took to find their spirituality.
I found the book very inspiring and wanted to read it again as soon as I finished the last page. I recommend this book for every woman out there.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 28, 1997
Format: Paperback
I first read this book several years ago when I was about 25. After reading the book, I felt as though I had looked into what the future might hold: Women have a lot in common. We may have different paths and destinations, but our internal struggles are similar. It's tough being the nurturing woman (wife, mother...) while retaining a sense of self. Some women need two lives to be complete; others work very hard to evolve their life with a balance. I'm now shipping this book to several friends - two who are about to be married, one who's contemplating divorce after raising two kids, and another (my mom) who's happily married (2nd marriage) after raising two kids. I wish them all well in their continuous journey.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Fran Stewart on July 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
The first time I read THE FEMININE FACE OF GOD (a gift from a friend) I browsed around a bit, and saw a reference to the consequences of locking away the fearful experiences of our lives, and the idea that they will come pouring out, like the Furies from Pandora's box - dangerous not because they were freed, but because they had been locked up in the first place.

When I read that, I knew that this was a book that could help shine some light in my life. Years later, and many readings later, I still feel the same way about Anderson & Hopkins' masterpiece. It is as fresh and as timely now as it was then. And my life is richer indeed for having read it and learned from it.
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