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Women’s Spirituality Book List

July 18, 2008

The following is my somewhat eclectic list of favorite women’s spirituality books, divided into 4 categories: Mind Body Spirit, Women Mystics, Memoir/Spiritual Journey, and Fiction. I like books that focus on the practical issues of women’s lives and spiritual journeys, or that highlight women who found their way to mystic truth within the world’s major religions. I have included links to the author’s websites where possible. As with all the Amazon links on this site, if you purchase through them, a few cents will come back to me to help support this site, which is ad-free.

Mind Body Spirit:

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom and The Wisdom of Menopause, Dr. Christiane Northrup – Classics in women’s holistic health, stressing the interdependence of mind, body and spirit. (www.drnorthrup.com)

A Woman’s Book of Life: The Biology, Psychology, and Spirituality of the Feminine Life Cycle and A Woman’s Journey to God, Joan Borysenko – The first focuses on women’s life cycles in terms of physiological and personal growth, while the second is part memoir and more explicitly spiritual. (www.joanborysenko.com)

The Mother Dance, Harriet Lerner – Although a decade old, this is a good psychological book about the experience of motherhood, and how it impacts women on every level. (http://www.harrietlerner.com)

Meditation Secrets for Women: Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure, and Inner Peace, Camille Maurine and Lorin Roche – Alternative meditation techniques geared towards women’s strengths. (www.camillemaurine.com)

Remember Who You Are: Seven Stages on a Woman’s Journey of Spirit, Linda Carroll – Musings on the stages of the spiritual process, integrated with dozens of poems from wonderful women writers such as Mary Oliver, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson and more. (www.lindacarroll.org)

Women Mystics

(for more info on some of the mystics featured in these books, go to the Women Mystics Page.)

Wise Women: Over Two Thousand Years of Spiritual Writing by Women, Susan Neunzig Cahill – This book includes writings from women mystics from every major world religion and time period, with brief historical bios.

Visions and Longings: Medieval Women Mystics, Monica Furlong – Anthology that excerpts the writings of eleven medieval Christian women mystics.

The Receiving: Reclaiming Jewish Women’s Wisdom, Tirzah Firestone – Biographies of women Jewish mystics from several time periods, interspersed with the author’s insights on how their wisdom is relevant to women today. (www.tirzahfirestone.com)

Women of the Way: Discovering 2,500 Years of Buddhist Wisdom, Sallie Tisdale – The life stories of Buddhist women, mostly nuns from Zen lineages, reimagined in a way that highlights their feminine challenges and experiences.

Memoirs/Spiritual Journey

Your Truest Self – Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, Janice Lynne Lundy – Interviews with and lessons from 12 contemporary women spiritual mentors, some of whom are well-known such as Dr. Joan Borysenko, Dr. Iyanla Vanzant and Naomi Judd. (www.awakenedliving.com)

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine, Sue Monk Kidd – Memoir by the author of The Secret Life of Bees on her personal struggle to reconcile her Christian faith with Christianity’s harsh patriarchal past. (www.suemonkkidd.com)

Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert – A bestseller for a reason! This book resonates with many women, and is essentially a spiritual memoir. The psychological baggage she must release to move forward spiritually rings true. (www.elizabethgilbert.com)

Just Like You, Gangaji – Memoir of contemporary American spiritual teacher Gangaji, as told by her to one of her students in interview form. (www.gangaji.org)

Initiation, Elisabeth Haich – Written mostly as a past life memory in Ancient Egypt, this book is a little strange and slow in parts, but the sections on ancient Egypt offer a fascinating glimpse into what temple priestess training might have been like.

The Sorcerer’s Crossing, Taisha Abelar – Written by a female sorcerer who studied within the same circle as the infamous ‘shaman’ Carlos Casteneda, this book profiles a very different journey than his.

Fiction

Strands of Starlight, Gael Baudino – A suprisingly insightful story of female spiritual persecution and forgiveness, based on 14th century Europe, but told within the context of a fantasy world.

The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley – This classic retelling of the Arthurian legend from the perspective of the women characters touches on many themes of women’s spirituality and persecution.

Evensong, Gail Godwin – A novel centered around a woman Episcopalion minister as she confronts questions regarding her faith and the nature of love and marriage.

Keeping Faith, Jodi Picoult – A riveting story in which a young girl begins to experience stigmatas, and claims God is a women, plunging her family and community into turmoil and soul-searching.

Enlightenment for Idiots, Anne Cusheman – A recent favorite of mine (see my Book Review). I included this because unlike the memoirs and fiction on this list, the main character is in her twenties and involved in all the latest urban spiritual trends (i.e. this book is much hipper than most on the list!) (www.enlightenmentforidiots.com)

For more book lists and book reviews, check out the Book page.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. annerkant permalink
    July 18, 2008 10:02 pm

    Dear Mommy Mystic
    I started with a blog a week or so ago in Afrikaans (my home language) mainly to share my spiritual growth. I was also brought up Christian, and still function in a predominantly Protestant Christian family and society. However, I found myself totally distancing myself from religion and spirituality during my student days, but now came to realize that spirituality is part of life. I sought for relevant blogs and blog writers on spirituality in the same sense as I understand it, and find it hard to find any. In Afrikaans I failed so far anything else than Christian blogs. I was therefore very glad to find your blog, and will come here for guidance and information frequently. I tried to put your link on my blog, but I don’t really know how, yet. Will see if I was successful. I am not a mother, though. 🙂
    “Annerkant” literally means “other side”

  2. mommymystic permalink*
    July 19, 2008 1:12 am

    Annerkant – Welcome to blogging, and I hope you find this one useful. Based on your background, you might really like The Dance of the Dissident Daughter from this list. I am adding some more books also, as everyday I think of more that have meant something to me. I’ll check out your blog also…Good luck.

  3. July 19, 2008 6:33 am

    I think it’s important on a Women’s Spirituality Book List, in the memoir section, to include at least one spiritual memoir of a man–namely mine! It’s the male version of Eat Pray Love, in which I don’t really eat much, or fall in love. I do pray, but in the end I utterly fail to get enlightened. It’s called The 99th Monkey: A Spiritual Journalist’s MIsadventures with Gurus, Messiahs, Sex, Psychedelics and Other Consciousness-Raising Adventures. You can read the Prologue here to see if it grabs you: http://www.the99thmonkey.com

    Thanks!
    Eliezer Sobel

    P.S. My women friends have informed me that they found the sex chapter particularly eye-opening, though they weren’t exactly thrilled by what they saw: “Is this what men are really like?” was the question I got a lot.

  4. annerkant permalink
    July 23, 2008 5:29 pm

    Mommymystic, thanks for your reply to my comment, and your book recommendation. I will certainly work through your reading list. I am quite excited about it, and is looking forward to start reading them. You are welcome to check my blog, but unfortunately I am not blogging in English. I will think about writing some posts in English, and if I think it might be worthwhile your trouble to visit them, I will let you know. Thanks again!

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