Honoring the Dark Lady of Sumer: A Book Review

There were pieces that moved me to tears (like Leni Hester's invocation at the beginning of her piece "The Bones of the Earth" and Erynn Rowan Laurie's "At the Gates") and others that moved me to delighted laughter (several of the pieces to Nergal). There were even pieces that made me want to fall to my knees and cover my face in an echo of holy terror (Callista Evenstar's "Let Me Be Burned in Thy Sight" and Janet Munin's "Naked and Bowed Low"). Above all else, upon reading this book, I was left with a sense of Her presence, as though I had in some way touched the holy ground of Irkalla. I think that the author did a remarkable job in summoning forth the presence of Her Goddess and that is what a good devotional should do: it should enable its readers to make that connection.

Having written half a dozen devotionals myself, I tend to be fairly critical of the genre (and for purposes of self-disclosure, I do have one piece in Queen of the Great Below: An Anthology in Honor of Ereshkigal, an oracle that was given me long ago in meditation with Ereshkigal; though I was in no way connected with the editing, compiling, and publishing of this book). It can be very difficult to balance the need and desire to present as many facets of a given Deity as possible, with the quality of the submissions one receives. Janet Munin managed this admirably. The quality of the contributions is consistently high and those wondering how to develop a devotional relationship with this Goddess will find their questions well met in the resources provided at the end of the book.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina has produced some remarkable devotionals over the past few years. For those new to the Pagan and Heathen communities, I want to take a moment to point out how remarkable the work they and their Northern Tradition equivalent, Asphodel Press, truly is. Ten years ago we wouldn't have seen this outpouring of creative devotion.  Part of that is that the independent publishing industry was in its infancy then, but part of it is that our communities just weren't there yet. That we have individuals not only deeply devoted to specific Deities or groups of Deities, but also willing to share their devotion with others is truly remarkable and something of which our collective communities should be very proud.

All in all, I give this book the highest possible recommendation: five stars out of five. It is truly one of the most beautiful devotional books to any Goddess that I have had the pleasure to read.

11/17/2010 5:00:00 AM