The books listed below are some of my most cherished companions. They have provided me with awakenings, a sense of place in the priestess arts, hope at times, and insights that are both imaginal and historical. It actually isn't that easy to correspond them all to our specific months of focus, but as we move through the months, I will highlight which books would be most relevant. In the meantime, just follow which of them draw your curiosity.
The books are not necessary to glean the fullness of Her Mystery School, but I wanted you to have some options for further exploration......and in some cases, meaningful, hilarious entertainment that deeply relates to what we're exploring.
These are of course not anywhere near the full breadth of what's out there, but they do occupy a dynamic range from epic historical fiction to dense spiritual/historical nonfiction. Enjoy!
The Moon Under Her Feet - Clysta Kinstler
This may be my favorite of all time. An incredible weaving of the story of the Magdalene and Jesus, as part of the lineage of Isis and the ancient rite of the Sacred Marriage. Though this is a fiction, it does an amazing job of exploring the reality that in the time of Jesus the more ancient priestess traditions were alive and well and very much still woven in the contemporary culture.
The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul - Llewellyn Vaughn Lee
A gorgeous book, written by a Sufi man interestingly enough, all about the mystical relationship between the deep feminine and the World Soul. A really, really soulful, beautiful book.
Wild Feminine - Tami Kent
This is the core work that woke me up to the sacred bowl. Tami is grounded, intuitive, and incredibly experienced as a holistic pelvic care practitioner. This book goes deep and detailed into energetic and physical care for the whole sacred bowl....womb, ovaries, and feminine essence.
The Maeve Chronicles - Elizabeth Cunningham
There are four books in this series - Magdalen Rising; The Passion of Mary Magdalene; Bright, Dark Madonna; and Red-Robed Priestess. Elizabeth's incredible story of the Magdalen, from her birth until her death, is so wonderfully imaginative, full of a mesmerizing fusion of sass and the sacred. A rich exploration of the sacred prostitute and the full breadth of a woman's life, from maidenhood to elderhood.
The Return of the Goddess: A Divine Comedy - Elizabeth Cunningham
Another wisdom-infused, rather outrageous story, of an Episcopalian minister's wife and her unbidden awakening to the Goddess. So much real life wisdom and compassion and hilarity.
Jesus, the Son of Man- Kahlil Gibran
The most exquisite, soulful expression of Jesus I have ever encountered. If you love Jesus or would like to, this book is pure poetry, literally.
Ode to Minoa- Theresa Dintino
The story of a snake priestess in ancient Minoan Crete. A captivating and for me, very resonant portrayal of how life may have unfolded in that extraordinary culture, infused with the sacred. There is a sequel, as well, Stories They Told Me.
Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God- Caitlin Matthews
This is a dense, rich, take-it-a-few-pages-at-a-time thorough exploration of Sophia as the White Virgin, the Black Goddess, and the Red Bride. Spans many spiritual traditions, and brings Sophia forward in Her wholeness.
Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth- Diane Wolkenstein and Samuel Kramer
This book offers direct translation of and some very factual context around the stories and hymns to Inanna, the cherished Goddess of Sumer. Ancient Sumerian and Babylonian spiritual traditions and mythologies are the foundation for what arose in Christianity as a holy mystery of Resurrection. There is something incredible (and sometimes incomprehensible) about reading the stories and hymns to this Goddess as they were written thousands of years ago. Aspects of Inanna's Descent into the Underworld are central to our fourth month in the school.
The Return of the Mother - Andrew Harvey
If you don't know Andrew Harvey, I'll just say he is an insanely articulate, passionate, Oxford scholar progeny-turned-mystic, gay male voicepiece for the Mother. He's incredible. This book is an exploration of all the world's major religious traditions and his assessment of to what extent the Mother, the true feminine of God, is really represented or welcomed. You might be very surprised at some of what he has to say, and in which traditions he finds the most authentic presence of the Mother.
Priestesses- Norma Lorre Goodrich
This book is intended to be historical nonfiction, and I think she does a pretty good job. It gathers together most of what survives in terms of historical reference or evidence for the infinte variety of priestesshoods that spanned the world up until really just a couple thousand years ago. It's a spotty record at best, much is left in mystery. But still, this is a great book from which to glean a real, living awareness of the vast, mundane, historical and mystical reality that was the varied global priestesshood, for many thousands of years. Helps you realize we're not just making this up......there is a legitimate, real-life lineage of which we are a part.
Women Who Run With the Wolves- Clarissa Pinkola Estes
This is a more dense, more rich read - again one of those that you'll probably take in a bit at a time, digesting and considering. She is a storyteller and Jungian analyst, and offers a brilliant exploration of deep feminine psyche, rites of passage, and becoming. A very, very empowering piece of work.
Grandmother's Secrets - Rosina-Fawzia Al-Rawi
This book explores the ancient rituals and healing power of belly dance, from the words and experience of deeply rooted, sufi mystic. If you have been drawn towards belly dance, or temple dance, and yet feel that there is much depth to it that often doesn't get touched in more westernized, or entertainment-focused forms, this book is full of incredible gems. Even if you aren't drawn to the dance itself, there is so much in this book that captures what it is to embody femininity with power, purpose, and grace.