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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna A Ten-Year Journey Paperback – September 1, 1991

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Galland's fascination with Tara, the female Buddha of Tibetan tradition, and Kali, the black Hindu goddess, led her from India to Switzerland and Poland on a search for other black images of divinity. "Blending travelogue, free-floating meditation, autobiography and adventure, her intensely personal narrative is a disquieting spiritual odyssey," said PW. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140121846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140121841
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #656,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Chna Galland's account of her spiritual odyssey, Longing For Darkness, is absolutely riveting. Her journey from her disappointment in her male-centered Roman Catholic tradition through Buddhism with its strong female Deity,Tara,only to find that feminine spirit inspiring the Black Madonnas of her own faith.By blending the two traditions, Ms.Galland found a spirituality that satisfied her longing for a feminine aspect of God. Her complete honesty about her inner being makes this book unique. Wherever she wanders, she connects with people of deep faith and learns from every tradition. This book is worth your effort.It may start you on your own spiritual journey, as it did for me.
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China Galland began her pilgrimage at a time of inner turmoil. Alcoholic, a single mother, and addicted to perscription drugs, her story would seem something for us to pity. Actually, we never get the chance to pity her, because of her great strength of character.
At one time a devout Catholic, she found that the old ways could not serve to nurture her spirit. She found the bureaucracy of the Church an obstacle, rather than a source of assistance. Its conception of an exclusively male divinity did not nurture her spiritually.
Turning to Zen opened a door for her, but she needed a concept of divinity which embraced femininity. A chance meeting changed her life, revealing to her two avenues to investigate: the Tibetan goddess Tara, and the cult of the Black Madonna. Her quest became her new lease on life.
Pursuing information about "The Goddess," with the vigor that Arthur's knights sought the Holy Grail, becomes an epic task. Every sojourn becomes a lesson in humility; her own hardships pale in comparison to the hardships of others, and the strength which they can exhibit. With determination, she seeks answers in Khatmandu, Chestochowa, Medjugorje, and many other places. The intensity of her presence apparently matches the intensity of her writing; people everwhere empathize, and help her. She convinces those in Dharmasala to allow her to speak with the Dalai Lama. In Gdansk, she persuades members of the Solidarity party to allow her to meet with Lech Walesa. She draws everyone into her pilgrimage, especially the reader.
China Galland presents a feminine way of seeing, without pushing a Feminist agenda. Her words have great potency, and will have great meaning for most people, women and men.
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If you are looking for scholarly answers to the possible connection between the Black Madonnas of Europe and the Tibetan Tara and Indian Kali, this book will probably frustrate you. Galland's approach is to take us along for the ride as she explores both psychologically and physically the places of the Dark Mother. Not exactly travel writing, and not exactly spiritual memoir, her book combines some of both styles. Sometimes you may wish she spent less time describing the flowers on her walks and the twists and turns of her own anxieties and questioning. But she is a more or less pleasant travel companion, so if you want to cover the same ground, this is not a bad book.

What I enjoyed most was her description of an annual pilgrimage in Poland from all parts of the country to the shrine of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. Who knew that a million people spend two weeks every year walking, praying, singing and camping as they return to the Madonna who represents their nation? Who remembered that Lech Walesa was inspired by this Madonna and that Solidarity banners were flown by these pilgrims in spite of being illegal. I was inspired to recall that a non-violent spiritual movement is what brought freedom to Poland.

I also took comfort in the fact that after abandoning her devout Catholicism and practicing first in the Zen tradition and then the Tibetan tradition, China Galland found herself also drawn to re-integrate her own spiritual heritage. Her experiences in Poland and Medjorge Yugoslavia are as important as her visits with the Dalai Lama and Tara initiations.

Though the book is a bit dated, most of the issues she raises continue to be relevant. I read this to help me understand The Secret Life of Bees better as a teacher, and it certainly does that. I wonder if Sue Monk Kidd may have read it too.
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If you are aware that you are on a personal journey, then it will touch you that China Galland shared hers with us. This book allows the reader to accompany her on this journey that spans more than a decade through many continents and countries on a quest.

China Galland tells us the story of her recovery and reveals herself in a very human, intimate way.

I have never read anything like it. It inspired me as I struggle through some of the most difficult parts of my journey. Sometimes we find that things are the hardest right before we have a breakthrough, when we are on the verge of something. . . Like the expression, "it is always darkest before dawn".

Next, I will re-read Paulo Coehlo's The Alchemist.

This is not for the faint-of-heart, cultureless, or close-minded.

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