Book: The Fifth Sacred Thing by StarhawkI love this book. I didn't like it at first, but I decided to give it an hour before I made up my mind. Now I am really glad I stuck with it, because it is one of the richest, most thought-provoking books I have ever read.
I had this book on my shelf for several years before I actually read it. Although it obviously sounded good enough at the time I bought it, I feared that it would be preachy and overbearing. It was nothing of the sort. The characters are complex; flawed at times, saintly at others. The story is compelling, combining plots about the personal growth of the various characters, adventure stories as Bird escapes from prison and Madrone ventures into the southern wilds to help the freedom fighters, and the ultimate show down between the San Franciscans and the Stewards. It is a bit simplistic, perhaps, but that didn't stop me from wishing things in reality were more like they are in Maya and Madrone's world. The attempts to portray this world as one free of any racial or sexual bigotry do get a bit heavy handed at times, but never so much that it interfered with my enjoyment of the story. I would recommend this book to anyone, and in fact immediately after I finished ran out and bought a copy to give as a gift this Christmas.
One of the greatest questions is - how do people resist the violent advances of others without becoming violent themselves? We can look to others for inspiration - HH the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, MLK - there have been a few who have managed to hold on to their ideals despite the crimes inflicted upon them. But how do we do this ourselves? How do we maintain peace within ourselves?
This book discusses these issues on a societal level, but the wisdom you will gain can be applied on a personal level. You will likely find yourself rethinking how you view numerous things - from illness to monogamy.
And the story is interesting and creative, with characters you will come to care about. This is a fantastic book. Go ahead and give it some time - you will probably love it, too!
The Fifth Sacred Thing
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