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The Moon Under Her Feet

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  527 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
Narrative weaving the biblical account of Mary and Jesus, the Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris, and the Sumerian story of Inanna and Dumuzi to create an exotic tale of a strong, sensual woman.

From Publishers Weekly
This feminist retelling of the conception, birth, life and death of Christ as narrated by Mary Magdalene may cause some uproar in Christian circles. Yeshua (Chri
Paperback, 315 pages
Published February 1st 1991 by HarperOne (first published 1989)
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Sep 03, 2007 Kani rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: open minded women
Wow! This book made sense out of the Biblical tale of Christ and Mary Magdalene. With a goddess worshipping vibe and tie-in to Sacred Marriage, this book relieved for me some of my problems with the mainstream presentation of the relationship between Jesus and Mary (not his mom, although that is explained as well). An eye-opener and great romance. I loved it when I first read it and enjoyed it just as much reading it several years later.
Dec 14, 2007 Lucy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: feminists, people interested in alternative versions of biblical stories
This author did a lot of research and presents the story of Mary Magdalene as priestess in the days of Goddess worship. Some people feel that this was deliberately excluded from the Bible by later patriarchs who wrote it to better serve their needs.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Jun 10, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Pagans?
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Gerri's Gift
This was given to me by a friend whose literary tastes I respect, but I'm afraid this a case of a novel that however well-written I couldn't wrap my mind around. The subtitle of the novel is "The Story of Mari Magdalene in the Service of the Great Mother." It's the first person account of the figure we know as Mary Magdalene in the New Testament and here the wife of Jesus. This was written over a decade before The Da Vinci Code, but given her Notes and Bibliography at the back of the book shares ...more
Karin Gastreich
Jun 25, 2015 Karin Gastreich rated it it was amazing
Kinstler weaves history with imagination to create a vivid account of the life and times of Mary Magdalene.

I don't know whether to call this fantasy or historical fiction; it seems the perfect blend of both. We meet Mary as a girl, when she enters into study as a priestess of the goddess Ashera, and follow her on an incredible spiritual journey that culminates in her service to the ministry of Yeshua, also called Christ.

Kinstler goes to great lengths to reconstruct the cultural and religious co
Dec 23, 2008 Katrina rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 25, 2008 Molly rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Molly by: Connie
Wow! I couldn't put this one down. It's heart wrenching and so beautiful! It's the kind of book that really takes you away. I starting taking my own path very seriously after reading it. I firmly believe that every woman (and any man open to it) could learn a lot from this book and relate to more than one character. Enjoy!
Jun 10, 2008 Carole rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who has an open mind
Recommended to Carole by: Debb
This is the story of Yeshua (Jesus) and his life as told by Mari (Mary) the Magdalene. It's a different slant on the lives and times of Jesus and his followers and family. It parallels a story line such as the Da Vinci Code.
Apr 17, 2008 Marie rated it it was amazing
The "Red Tent" version of the story of Mary Magdalene--makes me look at her in an entirely different way. Exquisitely written.
Aug 12, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing
I have this book over and over. It is a different version of the of Mary Magdalene and Jesus and it is very interesting.
Sep 23, 2007 Devon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in religion
this is a very interesting take on the Christian narrative--fictional, of course, but thought-provoking.
Melissa Frueh
Jul 16, 2008 Melissa Frueh rated it it was amazing
One of the few books I've read more than once. Love it!
Denise Siegel
Oct 18, 2016 Denise Siegel rated it it was amazing
Brilliant book and a great writer. Everyone should read this book! I LOVED it!
Stephanie (
Review @

This book was a gift a few years ago from my sister. I fell in love with it the first time I read it, and have read it more than once…a very rare occurrence for me. I don’t keep many books, mainly for space reasons. But this re-imagining of the greatest story ever told, which brings the role of women back into Jesus Christ’s story, is one that has never, and probably never will, leave my bookshelf.

Let me begin by saying, if you are a person with no wiggle room in yo
Janice(JG) George
Sep 23, 2014 Janice(JG) George rated it really liked it

Kinstler did her homework and presented an interesting (fictional) interpretation of the story of Jesus, his mother Mary, and Mary Magdalene. Some of her ideas stretch credibility a bit, such as the story of Seth/Judas's origins, but because Judas remains a very mysterious figure in both Biblical scriptures and modern scholarship, her concepts are justifiable. I was also pleased to see how much of the Biblical integrity of the story of Christ, especially the crucifixion and resurrection, was mai
Apr 19, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it
This book was a very interesting read and I found it a fabulous contrast to having just finished reading Kathleen McGowan's Magdalene Line.
What I struggled with was how Kinstler's writing felt like a consistent stretch. There were moments where Kinstler nearly quotes verbatim from the Bible and then makes a complete 180 and is telling the story as related to the journey of Osiris and Isis. It felt as though she was attempting to overlay paganism and Christianity in a way that did not feel like a
Shannon Winward
Dec 31, 2012 Shannon Winward rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this as a sort of biblical "Mists of Avalon" - an epic reinterpretation a familiar character from history and myth - and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys that genre as well as those interested in the history of Goddess religions or who are open to speculation on the origins of Christianity.

"The Moon Under Her Feet" is rich with feminine spirituality while still maintaining a reverence for the original tale. I find the author's speculation of Mari Magadelene's origins and relati
Sep 08, 2014 Darceylaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1989, this brings me back to the emergence of the "recovering the goddess" movement, and the feminist midrash on patriarchal stories. Novels like "The Red Tent" for the Hebrew Scriptures, and "Mists of Avalon" for the Arthurian legend feel very similar to this feminist re-telling of the Christian Gospel story.

It is a well-told story. Kinstler did her homework, maybe too well as occasionally the research hinders the writing.

Least favorite sentence: "When he held up the mirror of pol
Dec 29, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful book, and I have read it several times already. Not only is the story great, very involving and well written, but the imagery and historical references are accurate and scholarly. As a woman interested in the often under-represented female perspective on historical events, this book fills a need for fully fleshed out mythical perspectives on life. At first I wondered if the alternate take on Christian myth would be sort of like a vegetarian version of a meat dish, interesting ...more
Kathryn Flatt
Sep 21, 2011 Kathryn Flatt rated it it was amazing
A friend turned me onto this book years ago, and it immediately etched a permanent place in my memory. I'm always fascinated by the foundations of religion, separating the facts from the myths and looking into the people who lived the events as real flesh-and-blood people.

"The Moon Under Her Feet" reads like a novel but incorporates a great deal of research into the events surrounding the life and death of Jesus and the beginnings of the Christian faith. Keeping in mind that at that time in his
Jun 30, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it
Story is okay, but the bibliography is amazing! The story is another take on the whole Mary Magdalene story. In this one, MM meets the Virgin Mary at the College of Virgins, basically an area within a temple for young women to receive religious training. MM is also Mary of Bethany, sister to Lazarus and Martha. MM eventually marries Jesus, who also has a twin brother, Seth, also called Judas. It gets confusing....but it's somewhat interesting. The author is a professor who thoroughly annotates t ...more
Jul 22, 2008 Steph added it
I feel very conflicted about this book. I was struck by Kinstler's vision of the Jesus story and her creation of Goddess culture 2,000 years ago but I was offended by the anti-antisemitism in her writing. While everyone in the book is Jewish, the good Jews have Roman blood, red or light hair, pink bottoms and light skin and eyes while the 'bad' Jews (Herod and his people) are 'swarthy', 'hooked nosed' with 'dark ringlet hair'. Jesus and Mary Magdalene were most likely olive skinned with dark hai ...more
Mar 04, 2015 Erika rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminist-fantasy
My friend gave this book to me to read in 1991 or 1992. Since then I have bought at least half a dozen copies for girlfriends over the years. It is an amazing story: a re-imagining of the priestesses, Mary and the time of Jesus.

I love how this book gave me a sense of the sacred feminine. And how there is quite possibly a very old tradition of subverting those who wish to oppress that sacred femininity. The worst part about the book is that the author never wrote anything else that I can find.
Molly Ringle
May 27, 2013 Molly Ringle rated it it was amazing
Beautiful! I loved the mythological feel of the prose, and how it weaved pagan/Goddessy beliefs into the Judeo-Christian tradition, resulting in one rich and colorful whole. Kinstler makes the characters feel legendary and human at the same time--brought tears to my eyes in many places. Sure, it's probably not the way things "really happened" (neither is the Bible, most likely), but some parts *might* be, which leaves you with a sparkle of excitement. In short, any book that made me this proud t ...more
Sep 15, 2013 Alysha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: goddess-fiction
Well-written retold historical fiction based in the mythos of pagan and Christian belief system. I adore the love story in this novel. If you are NOT open to reading about other spiritual beliefs this isn't the book for you. SPOILER ALERT: If you are ONLY interested in a biblical portrayal of Jesus this book is NOT for you. YES, the author re-writes the historical fictional tale of Jesus a bit from the perspective of his lover, Mary. I personally think her story is brilliant without casting a ne ...more
Jan 02, 2009 Shari rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This imaginitive telling of the Christ story repositions Mary Magdalene as a high priestess of the Goddess and Jesus as the son of another high priestess.

Though there is archaelogical support for much of the historical information presented, the characterizations of Mary and Jesus are ultimately disappointingly weak. Both characters are described as charismatic, inspiring the devotion of a multitude of followers, but none of this charisma is conveyed. I didn't feel especially drawn to either cha
Jan 27, 2015 Alexa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fab-15
This attempt to breath life into feminist religious mythology is unfortunately an abject failure – this writer doesn’t appear to have the requisite skills to breath life into anything! Flat, wooden, stilted and boring, what more can I say other than that it was abysmally awful. This was the worst of both worlds; it had none of the facts, explanations, or theories that might have made this interesting as non-fiction, and it had none of the plot or characterization that fiction should have given u ...more
Feb 11, 2009 Janet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is one of my favorite examples of creative myth-making. Kinstler draws a compelling (if non-historical) portrait of Goddess worship carried out in the temple in ancient Jerusalem and places Mary Magdalene and Jesus squarely within the larger Ancient Near Eastern tradition of sacred/sacrificed kings. Kinstler supplements the canonical gospel accounts with material drawn from the Gnostic gospels, adding an additional level of authenticity to her fiction.

If you take the story on its own t
Apr 16, 2009 Awallens rated it really liked it
this is a feminist take on the birth, life and death of Jesus, told from the point of view of Mary Magdelene. The fictionalized account tells how Mary Magdelene was dedicated to the Goddess, how she became a prostitute, (in the eyes of the patriarchial society that was forming), and how she met Jesus.
This was overall a great take on the life of Jesus and I will return to it again. There were a few points, though, where I had to stretch imagination. Overall, it was a good read.
Nov 22, 2008 Kitty rated it really liked it
This book isn't for everyone. While it is fiction, it tells a rather different version of the story of Jesus Christ, through the eyes of the women in his life. If the idea that Jesus might not have been the product of immaculate conception bothers you, than I wouldn't try this. If, on the other hand, the idea that there might be another explanation for life intrigues you, then I can't recommend this one enough. It's beautiful written, and very compelling.
Apr 07, 2016 Gaile rated it really liked it
This is an integration of Egyptian, Greek and the ancient Gooddess mythology with the biblical story of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. It is well written. There are quite a few surprises in here. I did not buy everything but it is true there is much similarity in the life of Jesus to that of that of the Egyptian God and Goddess.
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The F-word: January FICTION selection THE MOON UNDER HER FEET 10 34 Jan 22, 2015 11:08AM  
  • Magdalen Rising: The Beginning (Maeve Chronicles, #1)
  • The Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Mary Magdalen and the Holy Grail
  • The Goddess Path: Myths, Invocations, and Rituals
  • The Sea Priestess
  • Maiden, Mother, Crone: The Myth & Reality of the Triple Goddess
  • King Jesus
  • Confessions of a Pagan Nun
  • When Women Were Priests
  • Women in Celtic Myth: Tales of Extraordinary Women from the Ancient Celtic Tradition
  • Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reader from the Biblical Archaeology Review
  • In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth
  • Celtic Myth & Magick: Harnessing the Power of the Gods and Goddesses (Llewellyn's World Religion and Magic Series)
  • The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World
  • Crossing to Avalon: A Woman's Midlife Quest for the Sacred Feminine
  • Fire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit
  • Northern Mysteries & Magick: Runes, Gods, and Feminine Powers
  • Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic
  • The Betrayal: The Lost Life of Jesus
Clysta Kinstler teaches philosophy, religion, and women's studies at American River College in Sacremento, California.
More about Clysta Kinstler...

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“Simon, you gave me no water to wash my feet, but this woman as washed them with her tears. You gave me no kiss, but she has not ceased to kiss my feet. Do no reproach her Simon for you did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed me for my burial.” 3 likes
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