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Books to Feed Your Mind and Spirit

May 27, 2018

Happy (almost) summer! While I am still on my writing sabbatical, I wanted to share some books that I have read in the last few months that you may find inspiring and empowering. These are all books that spurred much contemplation for me, or that transmitted a wisdom I found tremendously helpful. The amazing thing about books is that they have this power to be so much more than words. I hope you find something here that feeds you. And if so, please remember to review these books on Amazon, GoodReads, iBooks or wherever you like to do so – a good, informative review helps others to find a book that may help or inspire them. While you’re at it, if you have worked with my own free little e-book Energy Healing for Sexual Trauma, please consider reviewing it on one of those platforms as well. Thank you and have a wonderful solstice and summer. I plan to return here with more new offerings and writings in the Fall.

Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine by Lama Tsultrim Allione. Like Lama Tsultrim’s prior work Feeding Your Demons, Wisdom Rising adapts the transformative power of a core Tibetan Buddhist practice to make it accessible and relevant to anyone (Feeding Your Demons is rooted in Chod while Wisdom Rising is rooted in mandala work.) Lama Tsultrim combines a Western understanding of the psyche with the Eastern power of mandalas and dakinis. The dakinis represent our intuitive, wild, powerful feminine side, and are something both women and men can access. By working with 5 different expressions of dakini energy – the 5 Buddha ‘families’ – we can come to understand how the same energy within us can manifest as either destructive and obstructive, or as wise and enlightened. The icing on the cake is that she shares many stories from her fascinating life, including her experiences as the first American woman initiated as a Tibetan Buddhist nun, and then as a struggling young wife and mother, and finally as a grandmother and Lama. As most of you know, I study with Lama Tsultrim (and am a Feeding Your Demons facilitator) and I have personally practiced a version of this dakini mandala practice for several years, and can attest to the insight, healing, and feminine power it brings forth.

Transcending the Advanced Path by Mu is another book I have a personal connection too, as I know the author, and I know the awake, wise place from which she lives and writes. This book, and the author’s preceding ones, offer direct guidance on the integration and embodiment stages of the spiritual journey, in which we often need to let go of the very practices, beliefs, and sometimes even teachers that have fueled us so far, in order to discover the true primordial source within us. She guides us through the discovery of our subtle attachments to dogma, mystic states, and ego identifications, all of which can keep us stuck. This is a beautiful and succinct book for the dedicated seeker.

I was led to explore Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna by China Galland because of a vision I had in my own meditation of Black Tara. Many of us are familiar with Green Tara, the embodiment of compassion in action. Black Tara is a wrathful expression of compassionate energy – like the dakinis of Wisdom Rising above, she represents the powerful feminine energy of insight that cuts through deceit, injustice, and cruelty. Black Tara represents this energy specifically in action in the world – something very apropos  to the momentum of women in the world today. This book is a memoir in which the author  undergoes a search for the connections between Black Tara and the Black Madonna, who appears in several churches throughout Europe, as she tries to reconcile her Catholic upbringing with her Tibetan Buddhist practice, and works through her personal demons of addiction, illness, and family dysfunction.

If you have the blog for any length of time, you know I love all things chakras, and I especially love reading about chakra and energy body work based in other cultures, as energy center work has occurred around the world throughout history. In Opening to Spirit:
Contacting the Healing Power of the Chakras and Honoring African Spirituality
, author Caroline Shole Arewa connects chakra work with both Ancient Egyptian mysticism and more recent earth and ancestral based African healing work. It is interesting both for this cultural material, and as a general chakra book, as the author does an excellent job of introducing each chakra and providing many ways to work with each one.

I thought I had read all of Cyndi Dale’s books, but it turned out I had missed this one, and frankly if you can buy only one chakra book, Llewellyn’s Complete Book of the Chakras would be the one to have on your shelf. It is a compendium of just about everything you could possibly ever want to know about the chakras, including historical information, various chakra mappings across cultures, Cyndi’s own 12 chakra system, and just about every chakra-linked healing modality available. Some of my own writings are in fact covered in this book, including on earth’s chakras. Don’t balk at the price – this book is literally 3 inches thick.

Shifting into fiction, I honestly couldn’t decide if I loved or hated The Power by Naomi Alderman, but of course that’s often a sign of a powerful, thought-provoking read. The Power delves head-on into the question ‘what would happen if women were suddenly more physically powerful than men?’ In this version, a lot of great things, and a lot of terrible things – which of course is not much different from what we have now. This is definitely not a ‘if women ruled the world there would be no war’ kind of book, and I appreciated that, as there are a lot of feminine power writings, especially feminine spirituality writings, that get a little too pollyannish in that regard for me. This book will make you think about power, gender dynamics, the human psyche, and many other things.

I read a lot of feminine-heroine magic/fantasy books for relaxation, and Uprooted by Naomi Novik is one of my recent favorites. It starts out along the same lines as many twist-on-a-fairy-tale, YA-fantasy type books, but quickly becomes a much more complex story, and a fascinating exploration of gender, the different kinds of magic and occult power, our relationship to the earth, fear of the ‘other’ and more. It’s a page-turner with just the right amounts of escapism and wisdom. If you like this kind of book, I highly recommend!

 

 The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin will keep you busy for awhile, and is another thought-provoking fantasy/science fiction series that will get you thinking. These books depict a world of gods and mortals caught in mythic multi-generational battles for power reminiscent of all the Greek, Egyptian, and many other god-myths based ancient tales. In all her books Jemisin probes gender, sexuality, power, and the occult like almost no other science fiction writer out there, and her books are always a bit genre-bending. They are not always easy for me to read, and I sometimes detest at least half the characters, but still I read them, and they never fail to fascinate and intrigue.

 

I hope one of these is of interest to you, and that you have a beautiful summer of reading, joy, and transformation. If you are looking for energy work this summer, and haven’t yet taken by self-paced DailyOM course Awakening Your Feminine Chakras, I have added some new material, so consider doing so. Blessings and light to all, see you in the Fall-

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2018 9:45 pm

    Reading this post made me so happy – realizing how aligned the universe can be.
    7 or 8 years ago -my very first attempts at meditation were with your guided chakra mp3s. I loved them and have often recommended them over the years. The past 4 years, I have been studying Tibetan Buddhism, and just attended Lama Tsultrim’s book signing and teaching – which was brilliant! Now I know that you are one of her students and that just makes perfect sense. Thank you so much for this site and starting me on my journey. With love and appreciation!
    Simone

  2. May 28, 2018 12:10 am

    Thankyou for sharing. I always appreciate book recommendations.

  3. May 29, 2018 3:04 am

    Hi Simone, that makes me very happy to hear!

  4. May 29, 2018 3:04 am

    Thank you ChezHealingArts

  5. May 29, 2018 1:25 pm

    So many books! Thank you for sharing this list.

  6. May 29, 2018 5:06 pm

    My pleasure Cate, hope you are well.

  7. June 22, 2018 10:15 pm

    This is a great list! Having an effective system in place is incredibly important as well.

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