Review: Jailbreaking the Goddess

I had been laid off. My apartment was full of something I was wildly allergic to, and a vicious injury basically kept me from doing anything more strenuous than sitting up for longer than fifteen minutes at a time, three times a day.

 

And I was just about to learn that the vision of the goddess that I had had for over a decade was steeped in patriarchal baggage.

 

“No way, nope, there is no possible…wait.”

 

The longer I thought about it, the more I realized this was right—the vision that we have of her has been locked into what man has had for her for years: a virginal maiden, a doting mother, and the wise old crone—and fairly often, a frightening one, to hear men tell of it.

 

Where was the woman in her goddess?

 

There is something lacking in this vision of the goddess, but until I this book fell into my hands, I had no idea how to get past that limited view. Lasara Firefox Allen takes that limited view and breaks it into pieces in Jailbreaking The Goddess as she throws you first headlong into the worlds of both feminism and a new world in which the goddess is not threefold, but fivefold, and no longer bound to biology and linearity.

 

Throughout the book’s chapters and exercises, we are introduced to both the faces of the goddess in this new revisioning—Femella, Potens, Creatrix, Sapientia, and Antiqua—as well as famous and notable women and even goddesses who have embodied each of these faces in history both recent and past. But it’s not just about the information. While each face of the goddess is explored, a bit of the mental programming around the old vision is broken away, and the energy begins to feel different—not all at once, but gradually. Soon enough I began noticing the difference in the energy, noticing the influences and identifying them in different areas of my life; a project would have the childlike but unfettered feel of Femella in and through it; a sudden discovery would have the lightning strike of Potens all through it; disentangling myself from a difficult situation would have both threads of Antiqua and Sapientia in it.

 

And for the first time in a long time, She began to feel real to me again.

 

As a non-binary person of color, this was a very important realization. Far too many interpretations of the Goddess and goddess spirituality take a strange, alienating stance on the transgender and gender-nonconforming, but not this goddess. In fact, a strong point is made on this, as after the examinations of the faces, the work on decolonizing and rewilding begins, with a focus on taking things back from the toxic influences that have had a hold on them for so many years—and yes, this includes the patriarchy (#smashpatriarchy). Exclusion has no place with the Goddess, and here we see that she can welcome and hold all, no matter where they stand in life and what they have to do. To feel welcomed again was phenomenal, a welcome change from what had happened.

 

In Jailbreaking The Goddess we learn lessons at once profound and occasionally cheeky, while at the same time learning about ourselves and how to potentially change the world around us, and the way that it comes to us is presented in such an organic manner that reading it, you might not realize you’ve learned something.

 

If you’ve been a bit put off with the way the Goddess has been set up to you…it’s time to come home.

 

Jailbreaking the Goddess drops July 8th at your local bookstore.

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100 Things #40: Dean Koontz’s Ticktock.

Dean Koontz is known as a horror and suspense writer. My father recommended his work when he saw how quickly I took to Stephen King’s work.

This book…ran a little differently.

With our (most definitely not) fearless hero being an average mystery writer, things start to get really strange when he runs into a weird but beautiful woman. And his not to mention the…CREEPY voodoo doll that’s been following him around, bringing disaster in its wake.

…and it only gets WEIRDER.

And the weirder it gets, the funnier it gets. By the time we know what’s going on, even the disasters are a laugh riot, because by that time we giggle in gleeful anticipation at just how it’s going to get worse. If you think YOUR luck’s bad, this guy will make you feel better.

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100 Things #38: The Book of Enoch.

The history of the Bible is an interesting thing. A collection of stories culled from both the original Torah and writings created later, it is a repository of general scripture that a multitude of branches of Christianity take as sacred. (Some literally, but that’s not the point here.

Certain stories did not make it into the full text, known as the Canon. These are collectively called Apocrypha. Some texts are apocryphal because a) they may have incited heresy (Gospel of Judas), b) were generally disliked by specific people in charge (Song of Solomon, which—let’s face it, is basically the first written erotica), or c) they were just plain weird (Gospel of Thomas anyone?)

The Book of Enoch—or if we’re being really careful about technicalities, 2 Enoch (read as “second Enoch”) is the story of Enoch—the second Enoch if we’re being neurotic still. (I wonder if this was intentional. If not, it’s just weird.) Enoch, an ancestor of Noah, was evidently going about his business when sudden an archangel is like “HEY! LISTEN!” and drags him into something strange. Under the angel’s tutelage he learns the secrets of creation—including the ones that the Watchers, fallen angels, taught humanity against the supreme god’s will.

Stumbling over this fact, one of the Watchers petitions Enoch to act as a go between, trying to be let back into the heavens. It’s back and forth, as Enoch learns more about what is going on and what he has to do. He is forced to be the conduit through which the divine decree—permanent exile—is delivered.

It isn’t an easy message to deliver. In fact it’s such a difficult message to both deliver and take that neither Enoch nor the Archangels take it particularly well—there is a spat between Raphael and Michael, wanting to rush in and beg an alternative decision—ANY alternative but exile.

So yeah, fallen angels beg for mercy, don’t get it, Archangels concur and want to stop it. Not a message that the church would want out there. TO THE APOCRYPHA IT GOES.

There are a few good translations out there. The Book of Enoch is considered an important part of Ethiopian Christianity, though not generally accepted as canon. I recommend it—it is an interesting read, especially for comparative religious study or for metaphysics/mythology buffs.

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100 Things #37: Chuck Wendig’s books on writing.

OK, give me one more and then I’ll be done fangirling, OK?

Though the lists and advice is pretty much all available on his blog, I have one problem with whitespace—don’t get me wrong, his layout’s classy and understated, it’s just…well, white space hurts my eyes. I picked light bulbs with a warm, redder light because the blinding white walls of my apartment—which I am not allowed to paint—gives me blinding headaches.

There’s something about having some of that snarky, profane wisdom handy at all times. There are lots of places where I got stuck, and actually caught myself asking, “WWCD?” What Would Chuck Do? With all of his work on the subject available at my back pocket, I can find the proper brain-grease to unstick the gears.

It’s not all writing advice, though—there’s life advice, there’s essays on various things, like life in general, and also blisteringly funny satire.

I’d recommend it to any creative types. It translates to every medium.

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100 Things #35: Sherlock(s).

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a staple of classic reading. However, I will admit that until a year and a half ago, I hadn’t read a single Sherlock Holmes story. And this at the time where the BBC reboot was getting big, and I had a friend prodding me to watch.

Luckily, I had two things: A brand-new Nook Simple Reader, and the URL of Project Gutenberg. Basically all the classics are available, and so I pounced on it, reading as much of the canon as I could (though admittedly out of sequence).

I went in without expectations, but the ‘classics’ were well known (by my folks, who colored my expectations) as stuffy old things.

So when the first thing that happened was the science of antemortem bruise formation, I cracked up laughing. The series as a whole has a strange, sardonic wit to it. I dove headfirst into the thrillers then, enjoying the thing without the preconceived expectations of before.

If someone’s trying to sell you on any of the reboots, I’d totally read the originals first. …then again, I’m a purist.

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100 Things #34: Colorful Fortune, Harold Budd’s collection of written work.

This time around, I will gush.

I was introduced to Harold Budd by proxy. I found out that he had a hand in a few of the Cocteau Twins’s songs, and I had to find out who this man was, on account of the fact that I am a HUGE fan of the Cocteau Twins. To my surprise I see that not only has he got his own work out there, there is a lot to choose from.

I begin my exploration with an album co-created by him and Zeitgeist, titled She is a Phantom.

In the middle of the gentle, chamber ambient, there are pieces that have…not lyrics, but verse, recited over the music. The man’s poetry lifts over the music, creating images at once lovely and disturbing—and in the case of “We Step Across,” humorously jarring. I start hunting around, discovering that a small imprint has printed a limited edition collection of his work: 50 hardbacks and 200 trade paperbacks.

I was lucky to score a paperback. It’s one of my treasures now, stored on the shelf carefully shielded from damage.

I did read it first, after washing my hands thoroughly, drying them on linen towels, drying my hands a second time on a different towel, and then very carefully before opening the first page and getting a strong hit of that delicious new-book smell. I read slowly, savoring the text, and the feel of the expensive pages under my fingertips. Then, carefully, I took the text down, saving it to a document I could put on my readers and safely carry everywhere.


I have no idea if there are any remaining copies to be had. That can always be checked, though.

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