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BOOK REVIEW: If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Black

Tuesday, August 08, 2017



If Women Rose Rooted: The Journey to Authenticity and Belonging – Sharon Blackie

The Blurb (from GoodReads):

'Rising high up on the heather-covered moorlands, seeping through our bogs, flowing down our streams and into our rivers and out onto the sandy strands of the rock-strewn Atlantic seaboard, are the old Celtic myths and stories … waiting to be reclaimed and re-visioned for the modern world.'

Aged 30, Sharon Blackie found herself weeping in the car park of the multinational corporation where she worked, wondering if this was what a nervous breakdown felt like. Somewhere along the line, she realised, she had lost herself - and so began her long journey back to authenticity, rootedness in place and belonging. 

In this extraordinary book of myth, memoir and modern-day mentors (from fashion designers to lawyers), Blackie faces the wasteland of Western culture, the repression of women, and the devastation of our planet. She boldly names the challenge: to reimagine women's place in the world, and to rise up, firmly rooted in our own native landscapes and the powerful Celtic stories and wisdom which sprang from them.

A haunting heroine's journey for every woman who finds inspiration and solace in the natural world.


My Thoughts:
I have never met Sharon Blackie but we are twitter friends, sharing a love of storytelling, fairy tales, mythology and psychology. Our common interests caused us to occasionally touch minds across the geography that divides us, and so I became aware of her book If Women Rose Rooted as she tweeted about it. The title is inspired by one of my favourite poems by Rainer Maria Rilke: 

If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So like children, we begin again...

to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

It sounded like the kind of book I would love, and so I ordered a copy and began to read as soon as it arrived.

If Women Rose Rooted is a beautiful, intelligent and unusual book. It combines a breathtakingly honest memoir about one woman’s journey towards wisdom, with tales drawn from Celtic mythology and folklore, and interviews with fascinating and inspiring women who are all working to live in harmony with the earth. Unashamedly political as well as spiritual, this is a book which celebrates the strength and power of women, and connects modern-day feminism with ancient gynocentric mythologies. 

It is also beautifully written:

‘If women remember that once upon a time we sang with the tongues of seals and flew with the wings of swans, that we forged our own paths through the dark forest while creating a community of its many inhabitants, then we will rise up rooted, like trees. And if we rise up rooted, like trees … well then, women might indeed save not only ourselves, but the world.’

I’m hoping this book will become the anthem of our generation, encouraging all women to surrender to the earth’s intelligence and rise up, rooted, like trees. 


You may also enjoy my review of Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Please leave a comment - I love to know your thoughts!
Comments
Lisa commented on 09-Aug-2017 09:46 PM
Thank you for this beautiful review. I came across this book in a bookstore and began to read it slowly, deliciously. I didn't want it to end. It struck so many chords in me. I loved the author's wisdom, vulnerability and willingness to share her life lessons and insights for us all. I am descended of Scottish roots and this booth furthered my interest in my ancestry but also the innate feminism of Celtic lore. It has also inspired me to move forward as a nature writer and trust my writing instincts. I now consider myself a proud Cailleach...and will read this book again. Thank you for reminding me of its beauty.

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