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The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature Hardcover – September 28, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans and followers of Starhawk (The Spiral Dance; etc.), a founding member of the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft, will welcome her latest offering. Well organized, each chapter contains reminiscences of personal and group experiences, exercises and suggestions for prayer and ritual. Many of her tenets apply not only to those interested in the practice of Wicca but to readers seeking a better understanding of the world around them: "Once we have learned to hear, then we can begin to understand. And only after we understand do we begin to speak, to intervene." Yet she astutely cautions: "To change a drum rhythm in a group of drummers, you first have to match it and join with it. But when you are within a system, part of the whole, that system is also changing you. It is difficult to maintain your own rhythm and not simply become part of what you are trying to change." Starhawk presents an array of exercises and practices for sharpening observation and listening skills. She engages readers' spirits and minds through her illustrative storytelling, offering ways to communicate more fully with the world and suggesting ways to act. While those unfamiliar with her passion for protest may find themselves distracted by the all-too-frequent appearance of her political soapbox, they will appreciate her tools for connecting with nature.
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About the Author

Starhawk is the author of nine books, including her bestselling The Spiral Dance, The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, and Webs of Power, winner of the 2003 Nautilus Award for social change. She has an international reputation, and her works have been translated into many different languages. Starhawk is also a columnist for beliefnet.com and ZNet. A veteran of progressive movements who is deeply committed to bringing the techniques and creative power of spirituality to political activism, she travels internationally, teaching magic, the tools of ritual, and the skills of activism. Starhawk lives part-time in San Francisco, in a collective house with her partner and friends, and part-time in a little hut in the woods in western Sonoma County, where she practices permaculture in her extensive gardens and writes.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition edition (September 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060000929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060000929
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Hart on May 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
One of the most widely read and respected authors in Wicca and Earth-based spirituality, Starhawk, has written no less than ten books on the subject. Her most recent book, "The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature" that was published in 2004, is an amazing combination of spiritual, emotional, practical and even political aspects of Earth-based spirituality. Written in twelve chapters with ample footnotes and references, the first four chapters deal primarily with understanding and recognizing what is sacred in Earth-based spirituality: the Earth and all of its many components, from the land, the water and all living things from the smallest to the largest. The most important lesson here is to realize that the Earth is much more than its individual components, which runs counter to Western science and philosophy that tend to view things in a purely mechanistic and compartmental manner as exemplified by the seventeenth-century French philosopher René Descartes. Granted, great scientific understandings have been attained by this philosophy; but it fails in its understanding of emergent characteristics and patterns of complex systems as described elegantly by Fritjof Capra in his book "The Web of Life". However, where Fritjof Capra presents his book from a purely secular perspective, Starhawk expands this view into the spiritual aspects, including the realization that our ancestors aren't just humans, but also the myriad of single-celled creatures and bacteria that gave the Earth an oxygen-based atmosphere through the gifts of chlorophyll and photosynthesis. For without these, we would not exist.

The next aspect that Starhawk examines extensively is observation.
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Format: Hardcover
Starhawk has been a great favorite of mine ever since reading her book "Dreaming the Dark" for the first time many years ago. And she continues to impress and inspire me with each new book she brings out. "The Earth Path" is a definite step forward into a very mature view of the practice of witchcraft. It stands out from all others I have read -and I read a lot. In "The Earth Path", Starhawk moves away from the usual focus on rituals and meditation, and instead grounds the book in practical ideas of observation and creation, and her writing is as always witty, intelligent and politically informed. Her wiccan spirituality here focuses on learning to see the beauty and magic in the natural world. Rather than filtering nature through a goddess mythology to gain some esoteric appreciation, she shows how by taking the time to observe and reflect on the patterns and structures around us with open eyes, we cannot help but to be awed by the magic that moves grows dies and is reborn again everywhere we look. Once again Starhawk, I thank you for sharing your vision with us.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for something to read that will change your life you cannot go past Starhawk's latest book "The Earth Path" which is her best so far. Whereas her previous book "Webs of Power" was about explaining the international global justice movement and what it is fighting for, in this new book Starhawk focuses on the local intimate landscape and gets down and dirty with permaculture. Permaculture is a holistic method of horticulture, agriculture and landscape design, originally invented in Australia by Bill Mollison, which seeks to establish a kind of perpetual, self-sustaining `wild' bounty. Why is this important for Witches? Starhawk wants to emphasise how so much of modern magick is abstracted into intellectual concepts, nature is idealised, romanticised and despite our claims to "worship" nature, most urban Witches are really not particularly familiar with just what "nature" actually is. Starhawk urges us to dispense with tokenism regarding Witchcraft concepts such as the four elements and the Goddess and God, and instead become cognisant of the real elements - real tangible fire, water, air and earth, real sky, real plants, real land. How does water actually work in your environment? What are its cycles, what is its source? What is the relationship of fire to you, to your environment? How does fire behave out in nature compared to on a candle wick? Starhawk has an enthralling story-telling ability which makes this book really interesting, plus to help us to observe and participate in grounded reality she provides eighty exersises, meditations and rituals. Personally, I'm a huge fan of seeking truth in nature even if what we find there may not always be pleasant or good for our egos.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Earth Path is largely a discussion of nature, ecology and environmental sustainability/stewardship. It's a welcomed and wanted addition to the Earth Spiritualist/Pagan library. Ironically, in religious and spiritual traditions believing the Earth to be sacred and in which holiday, ritual, and wisdom are founded in the rhythms of nature, too many of us aren't well-schooled in the science and ecology of those rhythms. Sure, there are clues in our liturgy, symbols, metaphors, much of our ritual... all beautiful elements of Pagan culture, but not the whole story, in my opinion. As Tori Amos sings, "I think the good book is missing some pages." Or perhaps... the Earth, herself is the "good book" and she's missing some readers! :) It isn't just a problem of Earth Spiritualist culture... education and awareness about ecology and sustainability are not yet standard, stable parts of public education. I've even seen environmental science teachers have to fight for their right to remain in curriculum, threatened alongside other disciplines like art and music that are tragically considered expendable.

Earth Path is a vital effort to raise awareness and introduce readers to a study of ecology with Earth Spiritualist sensibilities. What must we know and what can we do to become better citizens of the Earth community, to be in right relationship, both physically and spiritually, with sacred Earth? How do we expand beyond anthropocentric interpretations of her ecology? We must do our best to learn her many languages, her curves and crevices, how she breathes, what tones her muscles and makes her bones strong, what she likes for breakfast, and what she doesn't: what makes her stressed and unhealthy, what gives her a yeast infection, what makes her hair fall out.
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