Pros: A wonderful exploration of sites around the globe that are rich in history and tradition.
Cons: The focus on the Goddess may be offensive to some.
Unfortunately I have neither the time nor funds to travel the globe, but certainly Karen Tate's "Sacred Places of Goddess" make me wish otherwise. Within its pages there are 108 sites around the world that are, or were, sacred to one of the faces of the Goddess.
The Goddesses in this text include those who were worshiped in ancient times and those who are still worshiped today. Additionally, the title Goddess is given to figures in the Judeo-Christian mythos (Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Sophia) as well.
The books opens with a brief "Karma Statement" by the author and approximately 17 pages of general information relating to both explaining the Goddess to those who follow Patriarchal religions and to traveling wisely, safely, and consciously.
The rest of the book deals with the destinations themselves. Ms. Tate has chosen sites which have spiritual, cultural or historical significance and which are accessible to travelers. Additionally she has chosen sites which fall into the following categories:
- Goddess Remembered -
- Living Goddesses
- Goddess Redefined
- Goddess as Nature
- Goddess in Art
The sites she has chosen span the globe. She explains the history of each site, as well as its modern use. She even provides information of "how to get there."
In Europe we find ourselves visiting Glastonbury, Clonegal Castle, and Fatima. In Africa we travel to the Isis Temple of Philae and the Temple of Oshun. While in the Middle East we find ourselves at the Temple of Ishtar and in India we spend time at Kamakhya Temple.
In Japan we travel to Ise Juingu and in Hawaii we gaze upon the Rainbow Falls. In Brazil we soak up the the Sacred Waters of the Orisha and in Mexico we spend time at the Sanctuary of Coyolxauhqui.
For those of us in North America we can gaze in wonder at the majesty of the Grand Canyon, visit the Temple of Sekhmet, or worship with the witches at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve.
In addition to the information that relates direction to "places to see" there are articles that fall under the headings of "Gaia Alert" and "Goddess Focus" and serve the purpose of alerting the reader to an ecological crisis or explore modern themes (such as sacred sex or genital mutilation) which impact women in today's society.
Additionally, the book is replete with maps, illustrations and photographs (however, only a handful are in color) as well as wonderful reference pages at the back of the book. These pages include a glossary of goddesses, recommended resources, a huge bibliography, and a thorough index.
The book is easy to navigate, a pleasure to read, and is a book I can see myself reading again just to travel in my imagination and dream of the day when I can do more than that.
Obviously this is a book who's primary audience would be those who follow a faith that honors the Divine Feminine. However, it would also be of interest to those who have a passion for history, culture, and mythology.