Circle of Stones (2) Book review
Most of us have a number of books which have marked defining points on our life’s journey. For me they are mainly women’s books. And all non-fiction. Each is like a marker in the sand, a point when I can say that my conception of myself and my world changed forever. They marked a deeper knowing: a tangible shift.
I think of my life in terms of BB and AB (rather than AD and BC!) Before X book (BB). And after X book (AB)!
Each marked the transition into a new part of my understanding of what it means to be a woman.
Such books included:
The First Sex,
Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom,
Women Who Run with the Wolves,
The Beauty Myth,
Birthing from Within,
What Mothers Do, Especially when it looks like nothing
And of course…
Circle of Stones.
Circles of smooth stones on a table top…dream images of a stone…primordial places of devotion, the sacred grotto…attending the Goddess. For modern woman, the circle of stones as the place of centred stillness…”
For me the circle of stones is about building, and finding, community: your own circle. A community of different women, each as different as pebbles on the beach. The colour and texture of each is as different as their own story, but all are united in their essence, the bedrock of their womanity. All have had their edges rounded by storm seas of life. All have been wave-tossed, and all the while thought they were losing themselves and alone. Yet they have emerged from the ocean to find themselve more polished, ground down to a deeper core. A circle of stones provides a womb, a safe haven for sharing the wisdom which storms and sunny beach days have taught us. It is a campfire of comfort to the woman spirit. It is a conscious ordering of disparate female consciousness. A coming together of these solid, old, stone parts of ourselves, in the pattern of women: a circle.
“How might your life have been different, if, through the years, there had been a place where you could go? …A place of women away from the ordinary busy-ness of life…a place of women who knew the cycles of life, the ebb and flow of nature, who knew of times of work and quiet… who understood…in the dark of winter, that your energy would return as surely as the start of spring…Women who could help you learn to light a candle and wait…How might your life be different?”
My favourite element of Circle of Stones are these poetic “invitations”. Each opens a space, a wondering a yearning, a sense of new possibility. It asks you to look back and ask – have I received what I needed in my learning to be a woman? And then invites you to look forward and see how can I create this for myself from now on?
The book combines poetic expression, dreams, reflections, visions, history, myth and women’s personal experiences to weave a soulful web of womanity. One which values what a woman really is, and queries what the world might want her to be. Duerk reflects on the importance of a woman’s tears, depression, menstruation, self reflection and deep sharing as core parts of what it means to be female. She gives permission and value to what our world belittles and ignores.
It was this book which inspired me to start our women’s group. Our very own circle of stones. What greater accolade can there be?
Have you read it? What do you think? And what are your life changing women’s books? Share them with us, you might just change another woman’s life!