Thursday, March 22, 2018

Book Review [Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual by Gay Wolff, Ph. D.]

 "Ritual is used as a means of bringing personal empowerment into your life at the emotional, psychological, energetic, and spiritual levels. It is offered as a resource for making changes where conscious techniques have failed to provide the results you seek."

You already know you're going to go deep in Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual by Gay Wolff, Ph. D. just by the essence of the cover picture. A lone drum, herb pack and a pacay shaker on a natural stone mound automatically conveys indigenous wisdom and knowledge. The writer truly fulfills this grand opening well with the expansive information in helping the reader to internalize the great benefits that society and individuals can gain by understanding and implementing the power of ritual in life for growth, problem solving, and possibly spiritual ascension. 

The first part of the book gives two foundation chapters to assist the reader in understanding, clarifying and creating intentions for doing ritual. I think this is an excellent start from a teaching perspective. There are many quotable gifts in these first forty-five pages that entice the mind, however the writer vacillates between plain writing and academic writing, which for the layman may be a bit confusing and way over the head. Aside from that, there are some exciting promises made by the author of what ritual can do for your life. You know when someone promises you something, it make you want to read further to see how to get that promise fulfilled. 

"...when we prepare for and perform Ritual, we are engaging the conscious living energy of the cosmos directly, personally and intimately. We become co-creative partners with the Sacred because Ritual takes us beyond the psychological. It does more than calm the mind and heart. It is a process of thinning the veils between the dimensions of the material world and those luminous realms lying within and beyond oneself. In Ritual, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, certainty becomes mystery, and potentialities become real possibilities." 

As a facilitator of women's rites of passage programs throughout the year, I know that ritual is a significant part of the journey through the desired change processes for the women engaged in personal and group transformation. I found in reading Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual that this information can be very beneficial for helping others clarify and understand the meaning of movement, words, and feelings when engaged in seeking something better in life that eases the soul.

"When we immerse ourselves in a Ritual, quieting the mind and opening the heart, we can harmonize not only our brains, but also our light body with the healing rhythms of the natural world, and sometimes open the inner gateway (the axis mundi) to sacred dimensions."

The second part of the Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual is a small taste of personal rituals that a person can do to begin the process of incorporating these health practices into their life. Appropriately formatted in alignment with the elements, they are described as Earth, Water, Air and Fire rituals. Although they are very basic in nature, I think they fulfill the intention for the beginner of ritual practices to at least get started. Be aware that because of the need to visualize a few of the actions that are described, the reader may have to read the ritual several times. For example in the Sun and Moon Salutation, pictures would have made this ritual so much easier to understand because it is lengthy and has several steps to do.  I particularly like a few of the rituals suggested including: Sandpaintings: Mandala Rituals * Harmony Ritual: Attune with Nature * Reflection Pool Ritual.
My favorite one however that just did it for me was the recipe to make your own Florida Water! I thought you could only buy it! :-)

I recommend this book to facilitators of "Sacred Space" groups and to the serious student of spiritual ascension work. I don't think a person just starting out on their quest for enlightenment will find Tending the Soul with Healing Ritual an easy read. I appreciate the beautiful cover letter from the author Gay Wolff PhD that came with the review copy to me via mail and I hope this is not the last that we will hear from her because it is evident that through her good works and living a sacred life that there is so much more she could share. My rating for this book is 4 ankhs. 

K. Akua Gray
 Author and Self-Help Book Blogger
March 22, 2018
Houston, Texas

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