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Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,645 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Featuring narrative, chants, songs, and rituals, Dreaming the Dark has helped many thousands of women use magic, spirituality, and community to bring about political and social change. This anniversary edition of the best-selling classic includes a new preface reflecting on the fifteen years since the book's original publication.
Paperback, 280 pages
Published April 30th 1997 by Beacon Press (first published 1982)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  1,645 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jude by: Gifts of Athena Bookstore
My edition is the old blue one with the white letters and it was part of opening the interior and exterior world for me back in the day. Starhawk's insistence on the integration of sexuality, politics and the personal power some refer to as magic has aged well, as has her vision of what we risk by not understanding and taking responsibility for that integration.

She was my first great teacher in the language of consequence, and i have thought of her a lot this year as i look at my own path of
Keair Snyder
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. It gave me a lot of great information on groups and organizing while also reminding me how little has changed since the book's publication over thirty years ago.
Nov 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
i read this book all day today in 5 minute increments between 20-minute art modelling poses. as a result, i wrote two songs about banks, cars, girl gangs and some things (during the poses. this is what they pay me for). i also experienced, for a second, an intense urge to get "ecofeminist" tattooed somewhere, on my forehead?, and didn't know who to text or how to explain why i had that urge and to acknowledge that it's funny, not serious, in 160 characters, while also sort of being clear about ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Starhawk does to magic what McDonald's has done to the hamburger.

Abraxas Abrasaxtes
May 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
After Starhawks legendary "Spiral Dance" I think I was just expecting a little too much out of this one.

I read this book many years ago and honestly I don't remember much of it. In fact one of the only things I remember about it was the constant nagging going on in my head "Is this book almost over?!?! It just didn't cut it for me I spent the majority of the time bored to tears hoping I could just make it to the end.
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Basically women's activism in the 70s. Something we might need more of these days.
Rivera Sun
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've just started this book and it's speaking straight to my heart. I'm perturbed and inspired that it was published the same year I was born. It reminds me of the longevity of brilliance that Starhawk has offered our world. It also reminds me of the longevity of the existential threats we've been living under. The fact that we have not blown ourselves up in nuclear meltdown is in large part due to activists like Starhawk, the Abalone and Clamshell Alliances, and groups like Nuclear Freeze. ...more
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely transformative!
I first read this book when I was 15 or 16. I remembered very little of it. I knew it was about the kind of politics that follow from a neopagan worldview (or, Starhawk's brand of neopaganism).

I am so glad that I rediscovered this book! This book is a fantastic statement of the kind of political movements and political bonds that are necessary for truly solving the kinds of problems we face today. Her distinction between power-over and power-from-within is a simple, yet effective conceptual
I read this 18 years ago. My main memory is her proposal that the witch hunts were quite a distraction -so the people didn't realize what was going on "behind the scenes" -and didn't revolt. It really struck a chord with me.
But just looking at it that was only one chapter. Certainly I liked it enough to buy 3 more books by Starhawk (2 were novels). I like the way she writes, her ideas are explained and presented well -and she's always VERY interesting and outside "the Box".
I agree with this
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the important people who made the God/dess movement accessible to women and men in literate explorations of where we came from, what we had become and how to best continue on each our own Path.

Seven years after I found this book, I would be on the opposite coast in San Francisco. I attended a seminar she gave at the Earth Day Expo 1990. I danced as one among thousands in her circles under the night sky in later weeks. We healed and were healed. We were blessed.

To those who might be
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Starhawk's classic book is still very relevant to activism today, even if sections are a bit dated or hippy-dippy. inside you'll find her analysis of power-over vs. power-within, tools and activities for groups, discussion of common problems facing collectives, analysis of Marx and others from an eco-feminist perspective, as well as some interesting historical anecdotes from the anti-nuclear movement and others. all of this is in addition to spiritual/magic/witchcraft mythologies which are ...more
Mar 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Very well-written book about self-empowerment as viewed from a witch's perspective. Includes narrative, chants, songs, and rituals to aid in the self-empowerment process. Typically directed towards use by women but can also be very helpful to men who are looking to get more in touch with their emotions and expression of them. Despite the fact that I can be very cynical of anything spiritual such as this, I found it very easy to relate to Starhawk's writing and found myself wanting to read more ...more
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: politicos, witches, anyone interested in the crossroads of spirituality and activism/politics
Starhawk re-centers the left fringe in a way that makes it a natural continuation of universal pre-industrial human values. The book will help armchair liberals and radicals not be so arm-chair, and will help others realize that the shit-kickers (whether they themselves realize it or not) are not wackos from outer space but rather people who are fighting the tides of the disillusioning 20th & 21st centuries in technologically advanced consumer cultures bent on self-perpetuation at all costs.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My first Starhawk book... plucked it off the library shelves in a dark hour and it was the switch to flip my light back on. Very inspiring. About recognizing and fostering one's own power with and power within (empowerment), rather than reacting from powerlessness into "power over" others. A very hopeful book.
Nov 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ecofeminism
Classic ecofeminist work by Starhawk. She covers all the bases: history (citing Carolyn Merchant and Barbara Ehrenreich) ethics, community, group techniques (crosslink to Joanna Macy), sex and politics, and our power to change the future. Loved it.
Sep 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
For my master degree. Its a very good overview of what it would take to move to an egalitarian society with all kinds of suggestions for how group dynamics can work. And it has a excellent appendix on the root causes for the witch burnings.
Apr 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a very informative and well executed book. I enjoyed Starhawk's perspective on many things, and I appriciate the opportunity to read this one; It is probably one of the better books I have read on the Craft and its firm commitment to equality, our environment, and our community
Jul 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: pagan
Re-reading for the CUUPS Book Club.
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
_Dreaming the Dark_ is one of her best books, and still just as relevant today as it was in the 80's, with a good look at how far we've come.
Jan 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anti-hierarchical types
I read this book to steel myself for the hierarchical world of law school- and I feel like it did drive home the importance and power of individuals and a different power structure.
Sep 10, 2012 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
my book is the 1990 edition by Mandala books (Unwin press)- 242 pp
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
starhawk is brilliant. she's reconnecting me to my pagan roots.
Apr 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
More feminist neopaganism from one of the more healthy members I have read or heard in that community.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: social-justice
Starhawk takes magic where it needs to be: into our politics and our empowerment. Doesn't get too woo-woo.
Nicolina Miller
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Written in the '80s and so applicable to today's societal situation it's almost eerie. Practical (group activities) and enlightening.
May 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
This was a pivitol book for me. I read when I was in college at Oswego, probably in 1989 or so.
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
"magic is the art of causing change in accordence with will"...
this book was the magic that I needed now - somethings are timeless and present at the same time.
Andrea Stoeckel
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
These books are amazing as is Starhawk
Jennifer Wyld
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Yes! Let's change the world!
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Starhawk is an author, activist, permaculture designer and teacher, and a prominent voice in modern Goddess religion and earth-based spirituality. She is the author or coauthor of thirteen books, including the classics The Spiral Dance and The Fifth Sacred Thing. Her latest is the newly published fiction novel City of Refuge, the long-awaited sequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing.

Starhawk directs Earth

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“Language shapes consciousness,
And the use of language to shape consciousness
Is an important branch of magic.”
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