Book Review: “Dark Goddess Craft”

In my coven, Society of Witchcraft and Old Magick, a lot of us have currently been studying about shadow work and engaging in it, as it is in fitting with the dark time of the year in which we currently find ourselves.  As Witches, we strive to do the personal work that keeps us most in tune with the natural energies and cycles around us, as these cyclical changes are within us all, and reflect universal truths and mysteries that we seek to embody and understand.  We had just read “Shadow Magick Compendium” by Raven Grimassi for a coven book club read, and when I finished that one, I dove into “Dark Goddess Craft” by Stephanie Woodfield.  I was thrilled with what I found, and the comparison between the two books really helped me to see what it was that was so important and well done in Stephanie’s book.  The Grimassi book is good for beginners to the idea of shadow work, and tends to talk about the shadowy aspects of magick from a whole lot of different topical perspectives, but doesn’t actually lead you through or provide any support for the real personal work.  Right away in Woodfield’s book, her tone of writing conveyed how deeply and personally she has done her work and is not afraid to share some of the gritty truth of it.  When working with dark Goddesses (which, as she points out, is often a form of personal shadow work) I have found that plenty of consideration, personal preparation, and even caution is often needed, and I was happy to see Woodfield speaking about this in a forthright manner.  She is honest about the ways in which many of the dark Goddesses interact with humans, letting us know that we have to step away from the idea of simply pleading to these deities to help us with things,  but rather, in working with them, to being ready to “man/woman up”, take a hit, face parts of ourselves that are difficult, prepare for life to change in ways we hadn’t wanted, and have the courage to allow real destruction in order to make room for transformation.  I will admit that my favorite parts of the book are the introductory pages to each section where she speaks from the heart about this work and how she came to experience the dark Goddesses, because I love the style of her writing and in relating to it, felt that we’ve had a lot of similar personal and group experiences with dark Goddess work.  But I also think that this book is simply a valuable piece for any learned Witch to have in his or her magickal library, because it serves as a reference tool on a lovely variety of dark Goddesses, telling about the mythology, traits and magick of each, as well as offering lovely guided meditations that can be used as a start for personal work with any of these deities as desired.  In offering these openings for deep intuitive work, this book goes beyond general concepts and gets the reader really going in terms of considering some of the tougher aspects of shadow work.  Not only that, but Woodfield’s wise words and obvious personal experience are a support to the reader that inspires confidence paired with the necessary cautions for diving in.  I definitely recommend this book to Witches who consider themselves polytheists.  Not only is the reading experience an inspiring one, but you’ll love having the spells, offering and devotional suggestions, meditations and information on your shelf for each of the amazing Goddesses described within.  Enjoy, and Blessed Be!

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