The Uses of Darkness: Women's Underworld Journeys, Ancient and Modern (Paperback)
  • The Uses of Darkness: Women's Underworld Journeys, Ancient and Modern (Paperback)
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The Uses of Darkness: Women's Underworld Journeys, Ancient and Modern (Paperback)

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£31.50
Paperback 226 Pages / Published: 31/10/2000
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Laurie Brands Gagn believes the image of God as stern Father or Judge has done much damage over the centuries and has engendered a sense of shame and guilt, especially in women. She sees our own civilization as one that is cut off from the natural world and from the precious part of ourselves that is earthy and sensual. In The Uses of Darkness: Women's Underworld Journeys, Ancient and Modern, Gagn explores women's journeys through the underworld to reclaim the wisdom and sensuality contained in these stories for heirs of the God the Father tradition. She looks at the ancient stories of Inanna, Demeter, and Psyche and the reflections of these archetypal figures in the work of women such as Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, Mary Gordon, Virginia Woolf, and Etty Hillesum to illustrate that the alternative tradition these journey stories represent has much to offer modern Christians. Gagn successfully demonstrates that only by turning to confront the mystery that has been obscured by the image of God as stern Father or Judge can a woman raised in the Christian tradition acquire a sense of self strong enough to integrate experiences of profound loss. Most importantly, by drawing on the wisdom of the goddess tradition, both men and women are able to effect a more meaningful reappropriation of Christianity. Gagn 's examination of the dark experience of the underworld in the goddess tradition discovers the elements of all spiritual journeys: self-transcendence followed by self-transformation. Anyone who has struggled with love and loss and whose spirit has been suppressed by the image of God as Judge, yet who will not reject Christianity, will benefit from this work.

Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
ISBN: 9780268043063
Number of pages: 226
Weight: 318 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 17 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Gagne explores women's psychological and spiritual journeys through the lens of three ancient myths and modern literature. Many feminists seek to recover the goddess of preliterary civilizations. Gagne claims that the literary myths of underworld journeys of the goddesses Innana, Demeter/Persephone, and Psyche are integral to her wholeness as a Christian woman. She says that Innana illustrates that one cannot move from powerless to compassionate without first venting anger, while Demeter/Persephone shows that the discovery of wholeness is never once-and-for-all; Psyche demonstrates the struggle to discover self within passionate relationships. Gagne is convinced these stories are useful because they integrate sexuality and suffering, leading to a new experience of God. Explaining how these themes are explored in the works of Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, Mary Gordon, Virginia Woolf, and other authors, she concludes with reflections drawn from the diary of Etta Hillesum a woman who exemplified the underworld experiences and encountered God. Erudite and well written, this book offers a fresh perspective for Christian feminist-heirs to a tradition that has distanced bodily experience from spiritualities. Those unfamiliar with the literature that Gagne refers to will have limited appreciation of the study those who know it will find her work masterful. For libraries supporting women's studies, literature, and spirituality; upper-division undergraduates and above. Choice, June 2001, Vol. 38 No. 10
"

Three Years of Writing, twelve years of teaching a course on the Woman s Journey, and a lifetime of intense introspection have resulted in a hypnotic, ...monolog that describes the author s journey towards achieving an edifiying sense of self-knowledge. Utopian Studies, May 2002"
"Gagne explores women's psychological and spiritual journeys through the lens of three ancient myths and modern literature. Many feminists seek to recover the goddess of preliterary civilizations. Gagne claims that the literary myths of underworld journeys of the goddesses Innana, Demeter/Persephone, and Psyche are integral to her wholeness as a Christian woman. She says that Innana illustrates that one cannot move from powerless to compassionate without first venting anger, while Demeter/Persephone shows that the discovery of wholeness is never once-and-for-all; Psyche demonstrates the struggle to discover self within passionate relationships. Gagne is convinced these stories are useful because they integrate sexuality and suffering, leading to a new experience of God. Explaining how these themes are explored in the works of Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, Mary Gordon, Virginia Woolf, and other authors, she concludes with reflections drawn from the diary of Etta Hillesum--a woman who exemplified the underworld experiences and encountered God. Erudite and well written, this book offers a fresh perspective for Christian feminist-heirs to a tradition that has distanced bodily experience from spiritualities. Those unfamiliar with the literature that Gagne refers to will have limited appreciation of the study--those who know it will find her work masterful. For libraries supporting women's studies, literature, and spirituality; upper-division undergraduates and above." --Choice, June 2001, Vol. 38 No. 10


"Three Years of Writing, twelve years of teaching a course on the "Woman's Journey," and a lifetime of intense introspection have resulted in a hypnotic, ...monolog that describes the author's journey towards achieving an edifiying sense of self-knowledge." --Utopian Studies, May 2002

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