Jan 7, 2018

Book Review: Burning Woman

Burning Woman is a powerful feminist manifesto, rooted in history but written for the modern woman, by Lucy H. Pearce, published by Womancraft Publishing.

Before I even opened the book, I could feel from the cover art vibe (by Robin Lea Quinlivan) that this was going to be a book that moved me. That was an understatement. This is not a book for the feint of heart. It will challenge you in so many ways. It will suggest that you face utter darkness (literally), and then get naked with your sisterhood around a fire. It will remind you of the shame you carry, as well as the light you project. It has the power to light you up and then make you uncomfortable, and back again. It is both empowering and horrific. It isn't always easy reading. It contains atrocities against women, both historical and ongoing. Things I was horrified to learn were still happening in this day and age.

There are many quotes from people and other books, along with poetry sprinkled throughout the book. The narrative itself often reads extremely poetically. I found it difficult at times to keep my attention focused, as I like to get straight to the point of things, so I sometimes lose my way when things get abstract and take awhile to get to a single point (which a personal issue of mine, I am wildly impatient, not at all a criticism of the author, who writes very beautifully). You can tell that the author wrote this book straight from her raw, open heart. I resonated so strongly with some parts of the book where she bared her soul and fears, it was like she took the feelings and insecurities straight from my own soul and put them down on paper. That connection was so powerful and comforting.

Another point where I felt the author could see into my soul was her experience of social anxiety, trying to be both Burning Woman and Good Girl, not feeling "good enough" to be a Good Girl, and carrying that burden of wanting to be both good and strong, both able to stand up for yourself and nice at the same time. "...as a Good Girl I hate conflict. As a Good Girl I want everyone to like me. But as a Burning Woman I can't stand conformity." YES. There was so much of me nodding my head and saying "Yes!" while reading this book.

This book is exceptional, from beginning to end, even in the minor details. Normally I skip right by the Table of Contents in a book. But something drew me to read the chapter headings in the Contents before beginning. I have never been more excited to read a book based on the chapter titles! I am writing them here for you to see what I mean:

1. Burning Woman
2. A History of Burning Woman
3. The Masculine Dark
4. The Threshold
5. The Feminine Dark
6. Clearing Space
7. The Calling
8. Adventures in Energy Alchemy
9. Embodied Initiations to Power
10. Burning Woman Ceremony
11. Stories of Burning
12. Dancing in the Flames

Doesn't that just light a spark in you already? Without even having read a word of it?

There are numerous exercises and question sections throughout the book that help you absorb the information you are reading, making it personal, making it your own.

My favorite takeaway from this book was the practice of  "Going Dark", which is more than just unplugging or going off the grid for a bit. It can be literally placing yourself in complete darkness, and just BEING in the dark. Living through the fear and discomfort, moment by moment. In a world of living so automatically, Going Dark is a feeling of really, truly, being alive in the present moment. It prompted me to take a night walk in the pitch darkness, with no lights around. It was very, very scary, but also more empowering than I can describe. Another time, I placed myself in a pitch dark room where I couldn't see an inch in front of my face. I stood there, through the discomfort, through the moments of wanting to see, to read something, to turn on a light, to know what was in front of me. The strong, primal urge to see something, to know what I couldn't know in the dark. It will be a practice that I return to and value highly. I feel that everyone will have their own favorite takeaway from this book. I know I will never dance nude around a bonfire with other women, but the darkness ritual is all mine now, and I am grateful.

I experienced a lot of synchronicities as I was reading this book. Synchronicities with dragons, fire, burning. I even burned my finger really badly when reading it. Also, I would find that I would hear/see/experience something which directly correlated with a passage I had just read in Burning Woman. You know you're meant to be doing something (in this case, reading this book) when the Universe is giving you powerful signs about it at the same time.

This book will wake you up. It will stir things inside you. It will make you feel so many things along the emotional scale, from ecstatic to terrified and everywhere in between. It is a call to step into your power, the feminine power that has been held back for so long. It is getting easier to do so, but we have a long way to go until the masculine-feminine power is balanced. This book will encourage you to stop holding back. To stop shrinking from being the strong, powerful, divine feminine being you were designed to be. It verges on making you feel ridiculous for not living your life with more power.

I haven't even touched the surface of this book in this review. There is so much more to it, so much more you will get out of it. And you'd have to be dead not to get something out of it. I don't believe it's a book you read only once. It is one I know I will return to again, and get more out of the next time around.

If you need encouragement to embrace more of your feminine power, Lucy H. Pearce is your guide, your counselor, your shoulder, your cheerleader. If you want reassurance that you are meant to be more than you are currently allowing yourself to experience, Burning Woman is your book.

Book: Burning Woman, by Lucy H. Pearce, published by Womancraft Publishing