Author: Rosa Romani
Trade Paperback, 217 pages
Publisher: Green Magic
Publication date: 2004
Price & More Info: Click Here
Ms. Romani starts this book with an idea which is seldom expressed in today's world - religion and spirituality are not necessarily synonyms. That
assumption underlies the foundation of this book. The desire to connect
with divinity often inspires us to look to mythology, the deep recesses of
the earth and the furthest reaches of the vastness of space. She suggests
that we look a bit closer to home -- to the other inhabitants of this world
through which we travel daily. Let us look to all the creatures that move
upon the face of this planet, as well as to the forces which shape the
planet. And let us not forget the planet itself -- the rocks and waters, the
winds and fires. All of these have much to teach us, if only we will open
our minds to hear what is being offered.
She is well aware of the differences which go into making up humanity. No --
not gender, race and nationality, but different abilities. Many authors
have written about the necessity of reconnecting with the natural world,
often by taking a walk in the forest or on a sea shore without offering
alternatives for those who, for whatever reason, are incapable of enjoying
those activities -- those who are crippled, those who are deaf, etc. Ms.
Romani acknowledges these differing abilities and makes accommodations for
them in her suggestions.
There are no gods or goddesses mentioned in this book. It is not about
worship in any way, shape, or form. It is about working with the
inhabitants of the land -- plant, land, animal, and human constructs. As
such, some Pagans may find this book not to their liking. The ideas
contained within this book are well within the ethics of Paganism.
Ms. Romani has a tendency to see our ancestors as having lived in a
low-impact relationship with the environment, which I am not so sure is in
tune with reality. There is no doubt that industrialization had major
impact on the quality of our environment, but so to did slash and burn land
clearing which came much earlier. As the human population expanded, so did
the degradation of the environment. That occurred long before the impact of
non-Pagan religions. Let us not over-idealize our pagan ancestors.
Ms. Romani advocates a lifestyle which represents a major alteration in
attitude for the vast majority of her readers. Although she stresses that,
in her opinion, it is a necessary part of reclaiming our connection to the
energy of the world around us, I suspect that many readers will be put off
by the hints of radicalism which permeate this book. That doesn't make it
any less valuable, just less palatable to many readers.
Unfortunately, I suspect that this is book which will be agreed with, in
principle, by a large number of people, but followed by very few. She
represents what, I feel, is a very small segment of the Pagan population. I'm not sure if that segment is growing at this time or not, but I have the
personal feeling that it will be a very long time before it can be
considered anything but a fringe element in the worldview, regardless how
many adherents it picks up, simply because of the inertia of Western society
It is a valuable, well-written book, well worth the time and effort to read
and absorb it. My only regret in regard to it is that it will probably be
overlooked by a lot of folks who would find it valuable in their own lives.
It doesn't contain any of the "buzz" words on the front cover (Pagan,
Wiccan, radical, etc.), the cover is fairly subdued in appearance, and there
is nothing to indicate how life-altering the information within can be.
If readers turn to the back cover, they will see that this book is
classified, by the publishers, as "Spirituality/Green Awareness/Wildwood
Magic", which does nothing to clarify the issue. Many people will assume
that it has to do with landscaping or similar ideas, I fear.
Take the time to read this book and you will find yourself questioning your
beliefs about the relationships between humanity and the "natural world."
It may not change your mind, but it might make you rethink your reasons for
believing as your do. If for no other reason, that makes this a worthwhile
Reviewed by Mike Gleason