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Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics

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Featuring narrative, chants, songs, and rituals, Dreaming the Dark has helped many thousands of women use magic, spirituality, and community to bring about political and social change. This anniversary edition of the best-selling classic includes a new preface reflecting on the fifteen years since the book's original publication. Featuring narrative, chants, songs, and rituals, Dreaming the Dark has helped many thousands of women use magic, spirituality, and community to bring about political and social change. This anniversary edition of the best-selling classic includes a new preface reflecting on the fifteen years since the book's original publication.


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Featuring narrative, chants, songs, and rituals, Dreaming the Dark has helped many thousands of women use magic, spirituality, and community to bring about political and social change. This anniversary edition of the best-selling classic includes a new preface reflecting on the fifteen years since the book's original publication. Featuring narrative, chants, songs, and rituals, Dreaming the Dark has helped many thousands of women use magic, spirituality, and community to bring about political and social change. This anniversary edition of the best-selling classic includes a new preface reflecting on the fifteen years since the book's original publication.

30 review for Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jude

    My edition is the old blue one with the white letters and it was part of opening the interior and exterior world for me back in the day. Starhawk's insistence on the integration of sexuality, politics and the personal power some refer to as magic has aged well, as has her vision of what we risk by not understanding and taking responsibility for that integration. She was my first great teacher in the language of consequence, and i have thought of her a lot this year as i look at my own path of clu My edition is the old blue one with the white letters and it was part of opening the interior and exterior world for me back in the day. Starhawk's insistence on the integration of sexuality, politics and the personal power some refer to as magic has aged well, as has her vision of what we risk by not understanding and taking responsibility for that integration. She was my first great teacher in the language of consequence, and i have thought of her a lot this year as i look at my own path of cluelessness, comprehension and conscience.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Keair Snyder

    This book was amazing. It gave me a lot of great information on groups and organizing while also reminding me how little has changed since the book's publication over thirty years ago. This book was amazing. It gave me a lot of great information on groups and organizing while also reminding me how little has changed since the book's publication over thirty years ago.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laurasmoot

    i read this book all day today in 5 minute increments between 20-minute art modelling poses. as a result, i wrote two songs about banks, cars, girl gangs and some things (during the poses. this is what they pay me for). i also experienced, for a second, an intense urge to get "ecofeminist" tattooed somewhere, on my forehead?, and didn't know who to text or how to explain why i had that urge and to acknowledge that it's funny, not serious, in 160 characters, while also sort of being clear about h i read this book all day today in 5 minute increments between 20-minute art modelling poses. as a result, i wrote two songs about banks, cars, girl gangs and some things (during the poses. this is what they pay me for). i also experienced, for a second, an intense urge to get "ecofeminist" tattooed somewhere, on my forehead?, and didn't know who to text or how to explain why i had that urge and to acknowledge that it's funny, not serious, in 160 characters, while also sort of being clear about how, y'know, it's serious. ohhh, 2008. i think that this book is a good book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Starhawk does to magic what McDonald's has done to the hamburger. Starhawk does to magic what McDonald's has done to the hamburger.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jill Schepmann

    “Transforming culture is a long-term project. We organize now to buy time, to postpone destruction just a little bit longer in the hope that before it comes, we will have grown somehow wiser—somehow stronger—so that in the end we will avert the holocaust. But though power-from-within can burst forth in an instant, it’s rising is mostly a process slow as the turning wheels of generations. If we cannot live to see the completion of that revolution, we can plant its seeds in our circles, we can dre “Transforming culture is a long-term project. We organize now to buy time, to postpone destruction just a little bit longer in the hope that before it comes, we will have grown somehow wiser—somehow stronger—so that in the end we will avert the holocaust. But though power-from-within can burst forth in an instant, it’s rising is mostly a process slow as the turning wheels of generations. If we cannot live to see the completion of that revolution, we can plant its seeds in our circles, we can dream its shape in our visions, and our rituals can feed its power.” “If these words at moments seem to have power for you, take it as a measure of the power you have if you reach for it, if you draw it up from the dark, if you will risk it. And perhaps it is you, your reaching, your voice, your work, your joy, your your love, that will make the difference. Perhaps it is up to you to reclaim the world. Or perhaps it is up to us all, to join our hands, our voices, to reach into the dark and reshape it into a clear night sky where we can walk without fear, into a we’ll of healing from which we can all drink, into the velvet skin of life, the newly fertile ground.”

  6. 5 out of 5

    Abraxas Abrasaxtes

    After Starhawks legendary "Spiral Dance" I think I was just expecting a little too much out of this one. I read this book many years ago and honestly I don't remember much of it. In fact one of the only things I remember about it was the constant nagging going on in my head "Is this book almost over?!?! It just didn't cut it for me I spent the majority of the time bored to tears hoping I could just make it to the end. After Starhawks legendary "Spiral Dance" I think I was just expecting a little too much out of this one. I read this book many years ago and honestly I don't remember much of it. In fact one of the only things I remember about it was the constant nagging going on in my head "Is this book almost over?!?! It just didn't cut it for me I spent the majority of the time bored to tears hoping I could just make it to the end.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Abilouise

    I didn't expect this book to be the exact thing I wanted to read during quarantine but here we are. Some parts were slow, some parts were irrelevant or confusing to me, but other parts were wildly relevant and radical thinking in my heart, and now seems like a better time than most to read about anti-nuclear activism and spirituality and organizing in a holistic way. I didn't expect this book to be the exact thing I wanted to read during quarantine but here we are. Some parts were slow, some parts were irrelevant or confusing to me, but other parts were wildly relevant and radical thinking in my heart, and now seems like a better time than most to read about anti-nuclear activism and spirituality and organizing in a holistic way.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Basically women's activism in the 70s. Something we might need more of these days. Basically women's activism in the 70s. Something we might need more of these days.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rivera Sun

    I've just started this book and it's speaking straight to my heart. I'm perturbed and inspired that it was published the same year I was born. It reminds me of the longevity of brilliance that Starhawk has offered our world. It also reminds me of the longevity of the existential threats we've been living under. The fact that we have not blown ourselves up in nuclear meltdown is in large part due to activists like Starhawk, the Abalone and Clamshell Alliances, and groups like Nuclear Freeze. Stil I've just started this book and it's speaking straight to my heart. I'm perturbed and inspired that it was published the same year I was born. It reminds me of the longevity of brilliance that Starhawk has offered our world. It also reminds me of the longevity of the existential threats we've been living under. The fact that we have not blown ourselves up in nuclear meltdown is in large part due to activists like Starhawk, the Abalone and Clamshell Alliances, and groups like Nuclear Freeze. Still, the work continues, and this book address the core patterns that plague our contemporary world. As a 36-year-old, this book is a confirmation of what I've always known and the understandings I've grown into over time. It's a must-read in my world.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Candace

    Absolutely transformative!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I first read this book when I was 15 or 16. I remembered very little of it. I knew it was about the kind of politics that follow from a neopagan worldview (or, Starhawk's brand of neopaganism). I am so glad that I rediscovered this book! This book is a fantastic statement of the kind of political movements and political bonds that are necessary for truly solving the kinds of problems we face today. Her distinction between power-over and power-from-within is a simple, yet effective conceptual dist I first read this book when I was 15 or 16. I remembered very little of it. I knew it was about the kind of politics that follow from a neopagan worldview (or, Starhawk's brand of neopaganism). I am so glad that I rediscovered this book! This book is a fantastic statement of the kind of political movements and political bonds that are necessary for truly solving the kinds of problems we face today. Her distinction between power-over and power-from-within is a simple, yet effective conceptual distinction. And her description of hierarchical organizations and power-over as structures of estrangement really touched me. As someone who reads political theory/philosophy all day and for a living, I can see where this would be a bit off-putting to academic types. It grounds itself in intuitive, metaphysical claims. And it's written for a general audience, so it doesn't conform to the kind of technical, academic language that political theorists/philosophers are used to and respect. However, I think that political theorists/philosophers would do well to read this book. It's a concise statement of the kind of relationships that we need to be forming. All that said, I did find some of it a little too touchy-feely for my own liking. But I blame that on my cold, linear, academic training and my general elitism.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    I read this 18 years ago. My main memory is her proposal that the witch hunts were quite a distraction -so the people didn't realize what was going on "behind the scenes" -and didn't revolt. It really struck a chord with me. But just looking at it that was only one chapter. Certainly I liked it enough to buy 3 more books by Starhawk (2 were novels). I like the way she writes, her ideas are explained and presented well -and she's always VERY interesting and outside "the Box". I agree with this re I read this 18 years ago. My main memory is her proposal that the witch hunts were quite a distraction -so the people didn't realize what was going on "behind the scenes" -and didn't revolt. It really struck a chord with me. But just looking at it that was only one chapter. Certainly I liked it enough to buy 3 more books by Starhawk (2 were novels). I like the way she writes, her ideas are explained and presented well -and she's always VERY interesting and outside "the Box". I agree with this review on back cover "Dreaming the Dark is a brilliant and exciting articulation of a spiritual vision that could lead us to a new and better world. With crystal clear perception and language akin to poetry, Starhawk moves easily between the microcosms and macrocosms of reality, inviting us to join her in viewing the world, ourselves included, as sacred and beautiful" -Merlin Stone.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    One of the important people who made the God/dess movement accessible to women and men in literate explorations of where we came from, what we had become and how to best continue on each our own Path. Seven years after I found this book, I would be on the opposite coast in San Francisco. I attended a seminar she gave at the Earth Day Expo 1990. I danced as one among thousands in her circles under the night sky in later weeks. We healed and were healed. We were blessed. To those who might be searc One of the important people who made the God/dess movement accessible to women and men in literate explorations of where we came from, what we had become and how to best continue on each our own Path. Seven years after I found this book, I would be on the opposite coast in San Francisco. I attended a seminar she gave at the Earth Day Expo 1990. I danced as one among thousands in her circles under the night sky in later weeks. We healed and were healed. We were blessed. To those who might be searching along these same lines, I recommend Starhawk's books. They are not the fluffy pop-pagan writings that flood the market currently. They are grounded and wise.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Starhawk's classic book is still very relevant to activism today, even if sections are a bit dated or hippy-dippy. inside you'll find her analysis of power-over vs. power-within, tools and activities for groups, discussion of common problems facing collectives, analysis of Marx and others from an eco-feminist perspective, as well as some interesting historical anecdotes from the anti-nuclear movement and others. all of this is in addition to spiritual/magic/witchcraft mythologies which are incor Starhawk's classic book is still very relevant to activism today, even if sections are a bit dated or hippy-dippy. inside you'll find her analysis of power-over vs. power-within, tools and activities for groups, discussion of common problems facing collectives, analysis of Marx and others from an eco-feminist perspective, as well as some interesting historical anecdotes from the anti-nuclear movement and others. all of this is in addition to spiritual/magic/witchcraft mythologies which are incorporated throughout, which you'll possibly love or hate. personally i'm agnostic to it, but slightly entertained. highly recommended!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Very well-written book about self-empowerment as viewed from a witch's perspective. Includes narrative, chants, songs, and rituals to aid in the self-empowerment process. Typically directed towards use by women but can also be very helpful to men who are looking to get more in touch with their emotions and expression of them. Despite the fact that I can be very cynical of anything spiritual such as this, I found it very easy to relate to Starhawk's writing and found myself wanting to read more o Very well-written book about self-empowerment as viewed from a witch's perspective. Includes narrative, chants, songs, and rituals to aid in the self-empowerment process. Typically directed towards use by women but can also be very helpful to men who are looking to get more in touch with their emotions and expression of them. Despite the fact that I can be very cynical of anything spiritual such as this, I found it very easy to relate to Starhawk's writing and found myself wanting to read more of her work. Hasn't happened yet, but soon will.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Starhawk re-centers the left fringe in a way that makes it a natural continuation of universal pre-industrial human values. The book will help armchair liberals and radicals not be so arm-chair, and will help others realize that the shit-kickers (whether they themselves realize it or not) are not wackos from outer space but rather people who are fighting the tides of the disillusioning 20th & 21st centuries in technologically advanced consumer cultures bent on self-perpetuation at all costs.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zelda

    A riveting account of activism, intersectional eco-feminism, and Her-story. Profound inspiration on every page, a must read that I recommend to all looking to deepen their understanding of the craft. The chapters magnificently cover just how incredibly related that sex, magic, and politics really are. Starhawk covers issues from our collective past that are still relevent and parallel to today's political climate. A beautiful book all around. A riveting account of activism, intersectional eco-feminism, and Her-story. Profound inspiration on every page, a must read that I recommend to all looking to deepen their understanding of the craft. The chapters magnificently cover just how incredibly related that sex, magic, and politics really are. Starhawk covers issues from our collective past that are still relevent and parallel to today's political climate. A beautiful book all around.

  18. 5 out of 5

    MotherMagic

    My first Starhawk book... plucked it off the library shelves in a dark hour and it was the switch to flip my light back on. Very inspiring. About recognizing and fostering one's own power with and power within (empowerment), rather than reacting from powerlessness into "power over" others. A very hopeful book. My first Starhawk book... plucked it off the library shelves in a dark hour and it was the switch to flip my light back on. Very inspiring. About recognizing and fostering one's own power with and power within (empowerment), rather than reacting from powerlessness into "power over" others. A very hopeful book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maurean

    This was a very informative and well executed book. I enjoyed Starhawk's perspective on many things, and I appriciate the opportunity to read this one; It is probably one of the better books I have read on the Craft and its firm commitment to equality, our environment, and our community This was a very informative and well executed book. I enjoyed Starhawk's perspective on many things, and I appriciate the opportunity to read this one; It is probably one of the better books I have read on the Craft and its firm commitment to equality, our environment, and our community

  20. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    For my master degree. Its a very good overview of what it would take to move to an egalitarian society with all kinds of suggestions for how group dynamics can work. And it has a excellent appendix on the root causes for the witch burnings.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    Classic ecofeminist work by Starhawk. She covers all the bases: history (citing Carolyn Merchant and Barbara Ehrenreich) ethics, community, group techniques (crosslink to Joanna Macy), sex and politics, and our power to change the future. Loved it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    carl

    More feminist neopaganism from one of the more healthy members I have read or heard in that community.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This was a pivitol book for me. I read when I was in college at Oswego, probably in 1989 or so.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    starhawk is brilliant. she's reconnecting me to my pagan roots. starhawk is brilliant. she's reconnecting me to my pagan roots.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Peony

    I read this book to steel myself for the hierarchical world of law school- and I feel like it did drive home the importance and power of individuals and a different power structure.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kelda

    Starhawk takes magic where it needs to be: into our politics and our empowerment. Doesn't get too woo-woo. Starhawk takes magic where it needs to be: into our politics and our empowerment. Doesn't get too woo-woo.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Corinne

    _Dreaming the Dark_ is one of her best books, and still just as relevant today as it was in the 80's, with a good look at how far we've come. _Dreaming the Dark_ is one of her best books, and still just as relevant today as it was in the 80's, with a good look at how far we've come.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dick

    Re-reading for the CUUPS Book Club.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicolina Miller

    Written in the '80s and so applicable to today's societal situation it's almost eerie. Practical (group activities) and enlightening. Written in the '80s and so applicable to today's societal situation it's almost eerie. Practical (group activities) and enlightening.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Saleris

    my book is the 1990 edition by Mandala books (Unwin press)- 242 pp

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