September Publishing:2nd Revised edition (2016)
Reviewed by Ian Mowll
This book covers the role of the feminine in our western culture, our connection with the land, the eco-feminine mythical journey and how all of these connect with each other. Each chapter has a theme and most of them take their title from some aspect of land or sea, such as ‘Wells and Waters’ or ‘Moor and Bog’. Mythological stories (particularly Celtic mythology) are included to illustrate various points.
The book is also an account of Sharon’s personal journey – working for a tobacco company, living in Ireland, moving to the Outer Hebrides and finally returning to Ireland. She explains how the land, sea and wildlife in each place teaches her something important. What is so good about the book is that the author is deeply honest about her own personal journey, detailing all of her highs and lows.
Sharon continually emphasises the need for balance between the masculine and feminine, and reminds us that we all have our own inner masculine and feminine. She explains the need to reinvigorate the feminine in our culture – which includes such qualities as dreaming, creativity, openness, nurturing and community – and how we need to understand and embrace the eco-heroine’s journey. Moreover, this is different from the male hero’s journey; she says: “I often find myself wondering whether perhaps the biggest mistake made by early feminists might have been in the translation of equality for women into fighting for the rights of women to walk men’s paths”.
From her experiences, I get the strong sense that Sharon is one of those adventurers who likes to move beyond cultural boundaries. Not only in her thinking but also physically: she moved to the far north west coast of Scotland on the Hebridean Isles. It is said that shamans live on the edge of a village and I have a sense that she has that shamanistic quality of wanting to live on the edge of society, where she is more able to reflect and respond to changes because she is away from mainstream culture.
It is heartening to read a progressive view of the women’s movement and one that links with care for the Earth and all living beings. This book is very well recommended.