Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Review: Dancing with Nemetona

I've just been introduced to a new goddess. Actually, she's a very old goddess, but one I had only heard of in passing, in discussions of Druid groves. Joanna van der Hoeven's marvelous little book, Pagan Portals Dancing with Nemetona, explores the human relationship not only with this goddess but also with the concepts of sacred space and boundaries.

Known as the Lady of the Sacred Grove, Nemetona teaches us that we are each a kind of living, moving sacred space, and the way we interact with other people, animals and the places we visit affects us (and them) at a very deep level. That's a truly profound concept that we often give lip service to in Pagan practice, but it underlies so much of the Pagan worldview, I think we would do well to focus more closely on it and learn to understand the implications of this interconnection more clearly. This book is a big step toward that end.

Like the other titles in the Pagan Portals series, this is a fairly short book but it's full of valuable information and exercises - a touching house blessing, a visualization of your own inner sacred grove, and more. I love the way Ms. van der Hoeven dovetails the layers of sacredness in our lives, from our 'insides' (mental and physical), to the people we interact with, the world at large and the deities that inhabit it. I also love the idea of the micro-retreat - what a great way to maintain your sanity in an increasingly insane world! - and the collection of essays that depict other people's experiences with Nemetona demonstrates that she is not only ancient and worldwide, but also fully relevant today.