Review: Dark Goddess Craft

Stephanie Woodfield’s Dark Goddess Craft: A Journey through the Heart of Transformation is a great book for anyone interested in Dark Goddesses or the tougher areas of personal development. It is well written and easy to follow. The spells, rituals and invocations are very creative and the author has a great talent at introducing concepts and goddesses with simplicity and a very entertaining writing style.

Image Credit: Dustin Lee | Edited by: Mat Auryn | CC0 License
Image Credit: Dustin Lee | Edited by: Mat Auryn | CC0 License

I was partially confused about Woodfield’s view of deity. Is it soft-polytheism, hard polytheism or something else? The intro of part one views the Dark Goddesses as an archetype, viewing all of the Dark Goddesses as the same singular being. She writes “We call her Crone, the goddess of the underworld, goddess of death, the dark goddess.” continuing to write that She is the Morrigan, the Washer at the Ford, Hekate, Kali and Sekhmet. She then proceeds to talk about the Dark Goddess as a singular being. However, when chapter one starts she makes statements that the gods are very individual and distinct and different. With this quick switching of gears, it was hard for me to understand what viewpoint she is providing for working with the gods themselves and she never goes into much explanation to explain her understanding of the gods themselves. Normally this would be fine, except that the book seems to be geared towards beginners.

That being said, the book is a great introduction to twelve different Dark Goddesses. These goddesses are divided into three themes in an almost Joseph Campbell styled monomyth of the hero’s journey, which Woodfield seems to acknowledge – except that it’s the journey through the underworld with the Dark Goddesses consisting of the stages of the descent, the challenge and rebirth. For the descent she showcases the Washer at the Ford, Akhilandeshvari, Hekate and Sedna. For the Challenge we have Oya, Kali, Eris and Ereshkigal. Finally for rebirth we meet Blodeuwedd, Scathach and Persephone. I think this is a fantastic and brilliant idea for a book. However, this theme of descending to the underworld with dark goddesses assisting you in a Campbell styled monomyth of personal development has been done in Journey to the Dark Goddess by Jane Meredith, which is a great pairing with this book. The styles and ideas between these two books are very different but the main theme is the same. That being said, I do believe that Dark Goddess Craft is a much easier read than Journey to the Dark Goddess and provides a wider assortment of Dark Goddesses than Meredith’s book.

The book is well written, has some great ideas and is full of beautifully written intros to each goddess, which can be viewed as both a meditation to meet them as well as creating a great scene to portray the essence of those goddesses. Woodfield provides a quick run down of each goddess, their myths and histories and then provides an invocation and a spell or ritual or two. My biggest complaint is that the book isn’t long enough. Each goddess is given a great introduction and how to work with them but it lacks the depth of building a strong relationship with each goddess that I was expecting based upon her previous book Celtic Lore & Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess: Invoking the Morrigan. This book is much smaller than Celtic Lore & Spell Craft which I found odd for a book covering so many goddesses instead of one. However, the main theme of the book is placed upon transformation of the self, viewing the goddesses as allies along the way. So the intention may not have been placed on building deep relationships with these goddesses but rather on the journey itself.

Despite this, the reason I wanted more is because it really is a good book. It just felt like each chapter was the season finale of a different show where you’re waiting for the next episode to continue. It provides enough of a basis to seek out deeper works on each individual goddess and a great springboard for learning about and building a stronger relationship with each one that you meet. What I really liked about this book was that Woodfield presents the Dark Goddesses in a manner that I resonate with. Some people get lost in the idea of Dark Goddesses being this almost demonic-like goddesses or an excuse to do whatever they want using the “darkness” of the goddess as validation for that. This is not how Woodfield presents them. She presents them respectfully and tastefully and anyone who works with Dark Goddesses know, they help you to become the best version of yourself and a better citizen of the world itself, usually invoking compassion in a person instead of revenge. I still think this is a fantastic addition to anyone’s library and I really want Woodfield to continue writing books as she is insanely creative, has a talent for research and writing. I look forward to seeing what she does next.

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