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Be a Goddess!

By: Francesca De Grandis
(Review)By: Phoebe Wray

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Art By: Olga Dunayeva
Art By: Olga Dunayeva

There is cause for celebration! At last, there is a new book about the "wild, natural power of Goddess Spirituality" that is so gracefully written, so endlessly useful, that it is surely destined to take its place on shelf beside Starhawk's The Spiral Dance and Margot Adler's Drawing Down Moon. More than that, it is the book about Wicca and the Celtic mysteries which will be the standard for women and men of the 21st century. The book is Be A Goddess!: A Guide to Celtic Spells and Wisdom for Self-Healing, Prosperity, and Great Sex by Francesca De Grandis. Step-by-lovely-step, De Grandis leads the reader/user on a shamanic journey, explaining, encouraging, and illustrating with stories from ancient to modern times, with songs, poetry, and gleanings from her own 12 years of teaching the Faerie (Celtic) path. The book is organized as a self-help guide, a course that takes 15 weeks, from the first lesson, "The Old Gods Bless Everything We Do," through "Merry Meet and Merry Part" (15th week).

    With great clarity, the user is shown how to cast spells, build an inner altar, cleanse oneself in body and spirit, get silly, meet the Great Mother, keep a journal, put magic in the kitchen, lose loneliness, and serve the Cosmos--all written with a light touch.

    De Grandis is a Wise-Woman, the daughter of a Sicilian Witch, a psychic, a bard (she has a CD of her own songs, "Pick the Apple from the Tree, " released a few months ago), a shamanic counselor, and a very funny woman. You will laugh out loud using this book. The author repeatedly notes that she wishes she could be with the student (the book reader). It is a joke on her --she IS. The personality of a woman who has "been there, done that" is everywhere in this book, and she is a wonderful companion.

    In the chapter about making altars, for instance, she writes:

    "Maybe go through that drawer that you have always filled with "stuff" that you never quite knew why you were saving. You know what "stuff" I'm talking about..." and tells us to put that "stuff" on our altar, because it obviously has some significance for us.

    In the section on casting spells, she tells us:

    "A spell to find a job is more likely to succeed than one to find a million dollars on the street, because the former is a more likely event, more part of the flow. However, don't let this notion limit you; miracles happen every day. If miracles happen as often as that, then miracles must be a very likely thing. Which means you can make magic for some pretty 'unlikely' things and they just might happen. (Does this paragraph seem one big contradiction? Why am I not bothered by that?)"

    And yes, she does lead us through the section on great sex, our personal sexuality, and our attitudes toward it. And, the author makes clear what she is talking about -- "I mean real sex: messy, satisfying, rollin' 'n' tumblin' sex! To think I mean otherwise is to desecrate sex." It is enlightening and witty and honest, like the rest of the book.

    De Grandis trained for seven years to become a Celtic shaman, during which time, in a constant trance-state, she discovered her own powers of healing and wisdom. She talks about that experience and shares the profound lessons she learned--the hard, even dangerous, ones as well as the ecstatic ones. She wants us to understand that the wisdom she passes along in Be A Goddess! is not her own but a gift from the Goddess Herself. You can read this book through and be inspired and maybe even empowered. But you will doubtless find you'll want to start again and do the lessons, one by one, in order, and with the suggestions De Grandis provides. This is a book for adults who sincerely want to find a path of peace, prosperity, and joy. It is an important book, and likely the clearest exploration of Wicca and Goddess Spirituality that is and will be available for some time. Released the first week of February 1998, Be A Goddess! has already gone into a second printing.

Francesca De Grandis has a webpage at:
http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/WiccanMiscellany.html

Phoebe Wray is a Professor of Theatre at The Boston Conservatory and Bradford College. She is a freelance writer with numerous publications on marine mammal and endangered species conservation, environmental ethics, and theatre. She lives in a small town outside Boston, Massachusetts and is currently writing fantasy fiction exploring the ways indigenous peoples are corrupted by wrongly-used technology.

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