on June 23, 2008
Ms. Tate's first book, "Sacred Places of Goddess", was a travel log like no other: a compendium of 108 sacred sites around the world, which culled from her vast experience as a world traveler/guide and as a goddess scholar/worshipper.
In this book the author again invites us to walk along side as she (and we) tread "the everything old is new" path of goddess spirituality, consciousness and advocacy. However, this time the fascinating sacred sites take a back seat to personal anecdote and experience. The result is an insightful and engaging read. One gets a sense of the woman behind the movement, or perhaps: every woman (or man) who finds themselves drawn to goddess religion.
I especially liked how the chapters were broken into "elemental" theme sections. The Spirit section introduces us to the author and sets the stage for her spiritual quest. The Earth section is a little bit like the first book, as it revisits select sacred sites, but here the approach is less fact filled and more personal. This perspective makes for an easier read. The elements that drew me in were Water and Fire as these chapters are filled with rituals and practices (or descriptions there of) and practical advice and suggestions. One might even use them as a workbook of sorts or inspiration for your own practice. Other practical aspects are the resource section and glossaries. Not enough books nowadays (or publishers) allow for appendices that are useful.
The Air chapter discusses creativity, and is a nice balance of what one can do out in the community or on their own to honor the goddess and/or advance goddess consciousness. There are several chapters that focus on group/community work or mainstreaming the goddess message. It was refreshing to read about the down sides and pitfalls of her personal journey, as well of her triumphs. It is clear that the author is an advocate and has an agenda, something like: the return of goddess consciousness will bring the world back into balance and act as a force for positive change. Although, I am pretty a-politico, her beliefs didn't come off as heavy-handed or necessarily preachy to me. Thank god/dess! The author tries to present a balanced view via posing questions and is not afraid to question her own beliefs and the views of the community that she is part of. There is much here that encourages discussion and provokes thought, as well as, all that fun stuff--like how to make your own sistrum.
I think this one will appeal to both the newbie, and the seasoned goddess worshipper. There is a lot of rudimentary stuff, no doubt intended for the mainstream, but those who have walked similar paths will see a lot of there own experiences and discoveries in Ms. Tate's special journey.
on May 4, 2009
Ever since reading Dance of the Dissident Daughter several years ago, I've been on my own journey seeking knowledge and understanding of the feminine Divine. Most books about Goddess, Sacred Feminine, paganism, and even Wicca, usually focus on ritual and lore that is very much focused on day-to-day practice. I haven't found a Goddess-related book with the perfect balance of practicum and memoir. Until now.
Karen Tate takes us along her own journey of awakening, learning, and becoming, ultimately guiding us to a place where we can adopt those lessons for our own lives and philosophies. This book is a wonderful mixture of personal narrative, travel essay, spiritual guidance, and how-to rituals and meditation. As you might guess from the subtitle, "Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth," Tate's focus is on illustrating how she and other Goddess advocates believe that our world would benefit from a return to a societal structure based on Goddess principles. Core to Goddess beliefs is a pervasive and prevailing compassion for all beings on Earth: "It is the hope of Goddess Advocates that global issues...will no longer be talking points manipulated by political factions, but instead sincere concerns of humans everywhere working together to uplift and solve problems of our human family." (p. 10) If that aspiration calls to you, this is the book for you.
Tate structures the book as a reflection of the energies or elements of the universe: spirit, earth, fire, water, and air. In this book, the spirit section serves to provide the foundation, inspiration, and personal journey of the author. The earth section is about the author's earthly and physical journey, a recollection of how certain travels have enlightened her. Fire is a transformative and passionate element, so the fire section encourages us to shed the old for the new and embracing change and leadership. The water section offers rituals that help a seeker being their inner journey in search of Goddess. Finally, in the air section, Tate offers guidance on how to apply your newfound knowledge and wisdom to different aspects of your life. A welcome bonus is the extensive bibliography and resources sections Tate provides at book's end.
As Tate mentions in her introduction, no one cosmic element acts separately; they mingle for a beautiful diversity and complexity. That magical metaphor carries through the entire book and left me looking for more, not because the book is lacking in any way, but because Tate's stories and experience inspires me to always actively navigate this beautiful and complex world.
by Becca Taylor
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
on May 30, 2008
Walking an Ancient Path is a moving, insightful and inspiring book, filled to overflowing with experiences, anecdotes, thought-provoking ideas and practical suggestions for making Goddess a transformative living
power in our lives and in the world. From Karen's extensive travels
to Goddess sites around the globe, to meaningful rituals here at
home, there is something for everyone in this heart-felt book. The book includes many b/w photos from worldwide Goddess temples as well as contemporary imagery and altars to the Sacred Feminine by 21st Century devotees.
As a Goddess-centered, Isis-focused person, I found Karen's book to
be a healing balm for the Goddess-soul in us all - women and men alike. If you haven't yet read it, move "Walking an Ancient Path" to the top of your reading list!
Thank you Karen!
on July 1, 2008
Karen's book is a refreshing, truthful and insightful look into everything Goddess, along with the story of her journey from childhood into the world of adults. Karen has studied a great deal of history, politics and mythology and traveled the world over to present a book this complete and fascinating. Karen is an accomplished Priestess and with this book has opened a world to many people that might never have been aware of the Goddess Spirituality movement. I have had the privilege of knowing her and her husband Roy for many years and they are a great team in all they have accomlished over the years. I recommend this book to everyone, it is an informative and fascinating book. I look forward to whatever is next on Karen's list of accomplishments.
Abbess, Abbey of Avalon.
on July 5, 2008
This book, "Walking an ancient path" is a worthy follow-up book on the best-selling book, "Sacred Places" 101 Destinations for sites rerelating to the "Goddess." In fact, I think these 2 books by author Kathy Tate are a great combination together, but "Walking an ancient path can stand up alone by itself. Wonderful! You feel like you are there with the author, great if you want more information on the holy sites for the "Goddess", especially if you can't afford to travel at this time. Let Kathy Tate give you great back-ground on these sites. You can almost hear the "Goddess" whispering to you,"Come away with me."
on August 19, 2008
Walking An Ancient Path by, Karen Tate, is an easy read. It is an incredibly well researched, well organized, and well presented extravaganza of information. Thoughtfully written as well as thought provoking, the pages are packed with words that paint mind pictures. The intuitively selected images help to transport us back along time lines long forgotten.
A "must read" for anyone wondering how we got here from there, and what we left behind.
on August 19, 2008
This is a book about modern Goddess spirituality told through the prism of the personal experiences of one of the Goddess community's most active advocates: priestess, author, radio-show hostess, sacred-tour leader and filmmaker, the Reverend Karen Tate of Venice, California. Tate's purpose in writing Walking an Ancient Path was to help the earth begin to focus again on the Sacred Feminine (i.e., the Goddess).
After a short introduction on spirit, Tate breaks her book down into four major parts: earth (the physical body, etc.), air (the mind, etc.), fire (transformation, etc.) and water (emotions, etc.).
In the first part of the book Tate takes the reader on some of her more memorable trips to international Goddess sites in Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Italy and Jordan. I don't know how she does it, but Tate is a master at making me feel as if I'm right there at her side in, for example, the inner workings of an ancient Egyptian pyramid, experiencing what she's feeling inside this ancient piece of architecture -- and what she experienced is fairly surprising (but I won't spoil it for you -- buy the book and find out for yourself!). Once I started Walking an Ancient Path, I found myself reading all afternoon, carried along by Tate's writing, like a boat bobbing pleasantly down the River Nile on a breezy, balmy summer afternoon.
In part two, "Water," Tate graces us with a series of chapters on the emotional aspects of Goddess worship, including chapters on "calling love into your life" and "attracting healthy relationships," which I have to admit I read first, skipping right over Part one to dive into these two provocative chapters.
Tate also describes an elaborate and exciting seaside ritual developed with her Goddess community and based on ancient rites connected with the Goddess Isis. She also describes a guided meditation ritual; three tools designed to help us cope with "death, divorce, or disconnect"; and an ordination ritual.
In part three (Fire ~ transformation) Tate describes her ordination as a priestess of Isis at the Clonegal Castle in Ireland. She also includes two interesting chapters on "The Power of Prayer" and "Trusting in Prophecy." There's a section on group dynamics, and how to participate in Goddess (or other) groups in healthy ways, both as leader and non-leader. Tate reminds us that we in the Goddess community have important work to do, and that sometimes looking at the big picture -- for example our aims for changing the world -- can help us move beyond our individual and sometimes not-so-important momentary personal frustrations.
Tate also describes her founding of the Isis Ancient Cultures & Religion Society and her response to years of working in and with dysfunctional groups. The IACRS was built squarely on the Partnership Model outlined by Riane Eisler in her The Chalice and the Blade, in an attempt to move away from group dysfunctionality.
In Part 4, Air, Tate describes a multitude of activities for your Goddess-centered group (if you should decide to start one). She also discusses following Goddess in a solitary way; the debate over whether or not we need more brick-and-mortar Goddess temples in the Western world; and the history of the Sacred Feminine (or Goddess).
NOTE: Every once in a while you'll notice in Walking an Ancient Path a few typographical and other errors -- a "to" where there should be a "too," or a "what" instead of a "which." The author confided in me that somehow the last round of text revisions did not get included before the book went to press. Although that's unfortunate, the book has so much to offer that I would hope readers would be able to ignore these errors, concentrating on all the loving and valuable information the book has to offer.
In my opinion the Goddess world is tremendously lucky to have Tate Tate as one of its leaders and leading priestesses. Her dedication to Goddess, and to bringing the world back to Goddess, is a tremendous inspiration. What's more, Tate is probably the world expert in ancient Goddess sites. She's not only visited, studied, and participated in ritual at most of the world's well-known Goddess temples and archaeological sites, she's also scouted out many lesser known sites around the world, and has lead tour groups to these more esoteric locations (see Tate's first book, Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations).
If I were asked to choose the most powerful aspect of this book I would have to pinpoint the complete openness and emotional honesty Tate offers the reader throughout the entire text. Tate relates not only the good times but the bad, the times when she felt like quitting, when she felt alone, lost and abandoned: "While I dreamed of a supportive community valuing sisterhood and brotherhood, all embracing ideals of Goddess Spirituality, in reality I have at times felt lost like Dorothy and her cohorts from the film The Wizard of Oz, maneuvering through that forest of ghoulish trees and flying monkeys...." (p. 246).
But Tate doesn't leave the reader dangling in the darkness. For every negative experience she also describes her journey up to level ground again. She offers us a wealth of positive responses to all the hurt, anger, frustration and trials she's experienced. Her book is limitlessly and refreshingly positive, uplifting, honest, and straightforward from start to finish.
In sum, this is a soothing and healing book. Read it if you want to be soothed and healed -- and if you want to feel hopeful too about our world getting the soothing and healing it so desperately needs.