Twilight Goddess: Spiritual Feminism and Feminine Spirituality

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9781570624995: Twilight Goddess: Spiritual Feminism and Feminine Spirituality

This book is a guided tour of the feminine principles, symbols, and imagery found in Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, and the Sufi tradition of Islam, with insightful meditations on the deep meanings of these manifestations of the Divine. Goddess worship is among the original forms of human religious expression, and it is re-arising today among modern women and men who understand the importance of the feminine in symbol and reality. Thomas Cleary and Sartaz Aziz show how the divine feminine has never really disappeared from religion—in spite of its suppression by patriarchal culture. Whether conceptualized as divine person, saint, mythic figure, archetype, or abstract principle, the Divine Feminine inevitably arises, manifesting in hidden ways, as well as obvious ones. Some examples: Hinduism: Source of literally thousands of goddesses, including Devi, Maya, and Kali. Taoism: Characterized by the importance of the feminine yang principle (counterpart to the masculine yin) and by reverence for the Mysterious Female. Buddhism: Where the feminine is found in the supreme symbols of compassion, perfect intuition, absolute truth: the Bodhisattva Kuan-yin, or Kannon. Sufism: In which an inner tradition of feminine spirituality and reverence for women was preserved within the outwardly male-centered Islamic milieu.

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About the Author:

Sartaz Aziz was born in Pakistan and educated at Dhaka University, Bangladesh. She now lives in the United States and teaches courses in women's literature, ethnic literature, and Asian-American literature in the California State University system.

From Publishers Weekly:

This disappointing introduction to Goddess worship in Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism and Sufism is marred by poor writing, a confusing organization and overly technical language. This is a shame, since the book contains potentially significant insights into the inner world of Goddess spirituality, particularly as it is ritualized in daily practice. Much of the material will be familiar to any student of the Goddess, but the book also contains new information offered in too complex a way (the chapters on Tantric Buddhism and the Taoist traditions, in particular, misfire). Where there should have been a much-needed corrective to the usual male-centered discussions of Eastern religions, there is largely a garbled narrative that tries unsuccessfully to disentangle the various intricacies of Indian cultural diversity. Chapters are arranged haphazardly, with no overarching narrative thread; the oft-subtle differences among the religions covered are elided by the authors' determination to approach too many topics from a thematic perspective. (The various threads on female sexuality in Eastern religions become particularly confusing for the reader, who may feel lost between the similar treatments of "Left-Hand Tantra" and Taoist sexology.) The irony here is that Cleary is an important scholar of Eastern religions (though not of feminist spirituality per se), and should have been able to bring clarity to this project. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Cleary, Thomas; Aziz, Sartaz
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