Reviewing: Sacred Land

I hope you get this book and read it, because it is an extremely important text, not just for for the pagan religions thriving in the world today, but for future generations as well.

This succinct book was by Mathew Sydney and subtitled, “A Workbook for Developing a Pagan Spiritual Ecology.” (Full Disclosure: Mathew is a good friend of mine and I was there for much of the process of writing this book. Which is to say, the moment we mused about needing such a text in pagandom, the day he announced he would take a crack at writing it, and the weeks that passed as he wrote/channeled through the material.) I am quite proud to be able to read and write a review about it on my blog, given that this is precisely my cup of pagan tea.

The book is truly a mix between a very well researched thesis–with historical, mythological, philosophical footnotes that I was thrilled to discover–and the workbook it promises to be. In either case, it calls upon modern pagans today to sink our roots into the Land, and not just metaphorically. In fact, banish the metaphor entirely! The book calls for a lived reality where we become watchers of the seasons, the plants, and animals; where we seek out the spirits/guardians/sovereigns of the Lands we inhabit (and visit) and make alliances with them. All of this falls under the traditions still evident in our ancestral, European and Mediterranean roots. It is the work of the ancestors that we’re called to do today, and Sydney has no problem laying it out for his audience.

True, there are some harsh criticisms of the “state of modern paganism” today in the book, but a clear reading will easily find the passages where this emerges as hard truths that must be confronted. Sydney speaks like Lady Mormont in the North–harshly, but truly–and we’d do well to heed this message now, as ecological devastation approaches. Will “developing a pagan spiritual ecology” prevent the worst of what’s to come? Probably not, and the book admits it. Even if we fueled all our activism with authentic, powerful, Land-based magics we still wouldn’t hold back the storm to come. But we’d know why it is happening, we’d find wise and clever ways to deal with it and survive.

All along, Syndey peppers the book with examples of a spiritual ecology developing right here in south Florida, centered around Our Lady Florida. He is, after all, the second person I went to for perspective and (yes, I can say it now) confirmation about my visions and revelations. I was extremely happy to see it featured so prominently, and while there are many more blanks to fill in–and some new things the book does not disclose–I truly hope it is an inspiration to others. After all, Florida Man and Florida Woman have the spotlight too-well trained on their misdeeds. Perhaps one day we can reclaim this societal meme-slash-spirit for a more spiritual purpose?

I thoroughly recommend this book, and not just because I had a front-row seat to see it come into the world, nor because my friend wrote it. This is what I wish I could say beyond these blogposts, and what more pagans would “awaken” to. This is a marvelous first step in the direction of a better future.

Buy it, then leave a review.

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