Monday 30 March 2020

Review: Seasons of Moon & Flame by Danielle Dulsky

So many witches are now remembering inspiration they received from their grandmothers, aunties, and other elderly relatives or teachers. Personally, both my grandma and my aunt were hugely influential to me through the wise words they offered as well as the folklore and knowledge they handed down.

Seasons of Moon and Flame: The Wild Dreamer’s Epic Journey of Becoming, a new book by Danielle Dulsky, is all about the wisdom offered by grandmothers, whether flesh-and-blood relatives or archetypal ancestors of our dreams and visions.

Danielle's publicist, Tristy Taylor, explained that, as a young woman, Danielle found refuge and wisdom when visiting her grandmother’s rustic home. Next to the fire of the winter hearth and sitting outside with the wildflowers of spring, she was loved and nurtured, and received the maternal support she did not have elsewhere. This helped her overcome anorexia as well teaching her to slow her thoughts and become aware of the joys of each day. Tristy said: "These visits with Grandmother Grace were the seeds that eventually grew into Danielle’s deepening exploration into the Sacred Hag archetype and the wisdom that these elder women have been sharing since the beginning of humanity."

Seasons of Moon and Flame is described by publisher New World Library as an ode to the “Hag” teachers so many of us have had in our lives. It is divided into four sections, each with three chapters, covering the seasons of the year and the phases of the moon. These are:
  • House of the Garden Hag: Opening Spring’s Portal
  • House of the Desert Hag: Opening Summer’s Portal
  • House of the Sea Hag: Opening Autumn’s Portal 
  • House of the Mountain Hag: Opening Winter’s Portal
Each chapter focuses on personal, collective, and environmental healing for modern witches. Readers are asked to let go of ideas of linear time, instead considering the spiral of nature, magick and creativity. This spiral journey is something I myself have been reminded of many times over the past months, including inspiration for the cover photograph for my own book on guided visualisations.

Spirals were a big feature of pagan thoughts back in the late 20th century, with Starhawk's book The Spiral Dance, and actual spiral dances being regular features of public Wiccan rituals. The changing seasons of each year are better represented by a spiral than a wheel, even though we talk of the Wheel of the Year. This is because each year is a little different, even if they follow a similar path. Each of us gets gradually older and wiser in our personal journey from youth to maturity to elderhood. Danielle's book reminds us of the importance of this spiral pattern.

“To be a Witch is not only to acknowledge these many seasons but to humbly and humorously live of them,” Danielle writes. “To cocreate a life worth living with time as partner-lover and transformation as teacher-friend. To be a witch is to have begun learning the greatest lesson the wilds have to teach their human children: Time is a spiral dance of eternal becoming, and to move in that age-old rhythm is to remember the wisdom of not only those crones who have come before us but those yet-to-be-born babes who will be inherited by the new world we leave behind.”

I have loved reading Seasons of Moon and Flame as much as I enjoyed Danielle Dulsky's earlier books, Holy Wild and Woman Most Wild. Her style is poetic and full of inspiring stories. She also offers beautiful rituals that you can do on your own, or with a group when the spiral turns again and we are no longer having to conduct social distancing.

Danielle Dulsky is a heathen and a visionary poet. She is the founder of The Hag School and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world.

You can view Seasons of Moon and Flame on Amazon.

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