Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Feminism and Spirituality

I recently re-read At the Root of This Longing by Carol Lee Flinders.  I'd read it in college, when I'd taken a women and spirituality course as part of my women's studies minor, but I didn't remember much of it at all. 

It's great!  It's all about the author's work sorting out the disconnect she felt between her feminism and her spiritual practices, and how she reconciled that disconnect, realizing feminism and spirituality are not only compatible but mutually beneficial to each other.  The book is divided in two parts.  The first uses the story of Julian of Norwich, a Catholic mystic, as a framework, and the second uses the story of Draupadi from the Mahabharata, the Indian epic. 

Flinders makes points that I'd felt but never been able to articulate.  She summarizes these contradictions as "vowing silence vs. finding voice, relinquishing ego vs. establishing 'self', resisting desire vs. reclaiming the body, and enclosure vs. freedom."  In the first part of the book, she tackles them.  In the second half of the book, she talks about using both feminism and spirituality to drive community action, to make change in the world. 

I loved it so much that I emailed the author to tell her.  She emailed me back the next day!  She was really nice, and recommended other things for me to read.

Should you read it?  If it sounds at all intriguing, yes!

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