Women’s Rites, Women’s Mysteries –
Intuitive Ritual Creation
Author: Ruth Barrett
Llewellyn Publications, 2nd edition
One thing that a potential reader needs to know about this book is that Barrett, aside from being a ritualist, is also a Dianic High Priestess, and an award winning recording artist of Goddess songs. She is co-founder of the Temple of Diana, a national religious organization. The foundation for this book, needless to say, comes from the Dianic tradition.
You will find references to such luminaries as Z. Budapest and Shekhinah Mountainwater, both historical references and personal references. Barrett’s own history is tightly woven with the history of these individuals. The reader is gaining insight into feminist history, Goddess spirituality, and the very real day to day cycle every woman goes through. This is all about Maiden/Mother/Crone, and female community.
I personally find ritual to have great importance, as it acts as a cornerstone for my life. I was happy to see that Barrett presents tools and exercises that can be used to create ritual for individual or group purposes, after putting great thought into it. Ritual, to have meaning, is not a cookie-cutter operation. Chapters are presented on focusing on a purpose, developing a theme, creating an alter, working with the energetics of ritual within a group, and facilitating ritual.
The book is developed along the lines of a story, where Bartlett shares her personal experiences, as well as those of others. In this way, the reader is allowed to see how ritual really works, and that the energy of the ritual does not end when the ritual ends. A true gift to the reader is the exercises and practices offered at the end of each chapter.
Whether you are looking to create ritual for personal reasons (dealing with personal issues), to honor life changes (marriage, divorce, moving, the birth of a child), as a form of healing (whether mental, emotional, or physical), honoring the Sabbats, or for some other reason, Barrett gives the reader a thoughtful, safe place to start.
There are two well thought out appendices: one that covers the history of the Dianic tradition, and one that covers the Dianic Wiccan tradition.
This book is a wonderful resource for women just beginning to walk the path of ritual work, as well as for those that are more experienced. There is no “Do this, then do that”, or “Say this, then say that”. The reader is encouraged to reach within themselves for what is important to them, and how they want to present it in ritual format. I recommend this book because I see it as a very big step in women empowering themselves.
© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet