Solar Storms by Linda Hogan

From Pulitzer Prize finalist Linda Hogan, Solar Storms tells the moving, “luminous” (Publishers Weekly) story of Angela Jenson, a troubled Native American girl coming of age in the foster system in Oklahoma, who decides to reunite with her family.

At seventeen, Angela returns to the place where she was raised—a stunning island town that lies at the border of Canada and Minnesota—where she finds that an eager developer is planning a hydroelectric dam that will leave sacred land flooded and abandoned. Joining up with three other concerned residents, Angela fights the project, reconnecting with her ancestral roots as she does so.

Harrowing, lyrical, and boldly incisive, Solar Storms is a powerful examination of the clashes between cultures and traumatic repercussions that have shaped American history.

Laura BlakemanComment
If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie

'Rising high up on the heather-covered moorlands, seeping through our bogs, flowing down our streams and into our rivers and out onto the sandy strands of the rock-strewn Atlantic seaboard, are the old Celtic myths and stories … waiting to be reclaimed and re-visioned for the modern world.'

Aged 30, Sharon Blackie found herself weeping in the car park of the multinational corporation where she worked, wondering if this was what a nervous breakdown felt like. Somewhere along the line, she realised, she had lost herself - and so began her long journey back to authenticity, rootedness in place and belonging. 

In this extraordinary book of myth, memoir and modern-day mentors (from fashion designers to lawyers), Blackie faces the wasteland of Western culture, the repression of women, and the devastation of our planet. She boldly names the challenge: to reimagine women's place in the world, and to rise up, firmly rooted in our own native landscapes and the powerful Celtic stories and wisdom which sprang from them.

A haunting heroine's journey for every woman who finds inspiration and solace in the natural world.

Laura BlakemanComment
The Other Within by Daniel Deardorff

Daniel Deardorff knows otherness firsthand. This highly regarded “singer” in the old sense of that word—musician, storyteller, maker of ritual—had polio as an infant and has used a wheelchair most of his life, giving him a lived perspective that deeply informs his views on this subject. In The Other Within, Deardorff starts with a radical notion: to disclose the blessings of outsiderhood, the many gifts and insights contributed to culture by the marginalized and outcast. Unlike studies that stress the plight of the outsider, this one asserts that to be cast down and out of the consensus-worldview affords a difficult yet significant opportunity: to encounter oneself, not as defined by society but as one actually is. An eloquent spokesman for “the man or woman on the weird road,” Deardorff presents dozens of powerful examples from myth and literature to illustrate his message in a richly allusive, complex series of essays. Drawing on the work of mythologians, poets, psychologists, and scholars, The Other Within takes readers on an initiatory journey, uncovering the roots of human identity and imagination and offering insights–including “trickster wisdom”—revealing the mythic underpinnings of everyday life. This second edition includes updated text, a new introduction, and a helpful glossary.

Laura BlakemanComment
The Dream of the Cosmos : A Quest of the Soul by Anne Baring

The Dream of the Cosmos, twenty years in the making, is one of the publishing events of the year: brilliant, profound and magisterial in its scope. In it she addresses the real cultural roots of our multifaceted crisis — spiritual, psychological, ecological, social, political and economic. Much attention since 2008 has been directed to the economic symptoms that are now translating into a widespread social malaise, but few commentators have plumbed the depths as this book does and called for a radically new outlook. For too long the soul and the feminine principle have been marginalised and suppressed, but Anne Baring’s life experience and passionate engagement have enabled her to understand and articulate the imbalance in our Western culture and show how it can be overcome. The book is a symbol of hope and renaissance - essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the patterns of Western cultural history and the potentials of its future development.

Laura BlakemanComment
Matter & Desire by Andreas Weber
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An Erotic Ecology

In Matter and Desire, internationally renowned biologist and philosopher Andreas Weber rewrites ecology as a tender practice of forging relationships, of yearning for connections, and of expressing these desires through our bodies. Being alive is an erotic process—constantly transforming the self through contact with others, desiring ever more life.

In clever and surprising ways, Weber recognizes that love—the impulse to establish connections, to intermingle, to weave our existence poetically together with that of other beings—is a foundational principle of reality. The fact that we disregard this principle lies at the core of a global crisis of meaning that plays out in the avalanche of species loss and in our belief that the world is a dead mechanism controlled through economic efficiency.

Although rooted in scientific observation, Matter and Desire becomes a tender philosophy for the Anthropocene, a “poetic materialism,” that closes the gap between mind and matter. Ultimately, Weber discovers, in order to save life on Earth—and our own meaningful existence as human beings—we must learn to love.

Laura BlakemanComment
Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin

Bill Plotkin

Since 1980, Jungian psychologist Bill Plotkin has been guiding men and women into the wilderness — the redrock canyons and snow-crested mountains of the American Southwest — but also into the wilds of the soul. He calls this work soulcraft.

There’s a great longing in all people — a longing to uncover the secrets and mysteries of our individual lives, to find the unique gift we were born to bring to our communities, and to experience our full membership in the more-than-human world. This journey to soul is a descent into layers of the self much deeper than personality, a journey meant for each one of us, not just for the heroes and heroines of mythology. 

A modern handbook for the journey, Soulcraft is not an imitation of indigenous ways, but a contemporary nature-based approach born from the landscape of the Southwest, the traditions of Western culture, and the cross-cultural heritage of all humanity. Filled with stories, poems, and guidelines, Soulcraft introduces over 40 practices that facilitate the descent to soul, including dreamwork, wilderness vision fasts, talking across the species boundaries, council, self-designed ceremony, nature-based shadow work, and the arts of romance, storytelling, and soul-infused poetry.

Book ListLaura Blakeman
Wild Mind by Bill Plotkin

Bill Plotkin

Our human psyches possess astonishing resources that wait within us, but we might not even know they exist until we discover how to access them and cultivate their powers, their untapped potentials and depths. Wild Mind identifies these resources — which Bill Plotkin calls the four facets of the Self, or the four dimensions of our innate human wholeness — and also the four sets of fragmented or wounded subpersonalities that form during childhood. Rather than proposing ways to eliminate our subpersonalities (which is not possible) or to beat them into submission, Plotkin describes how to cultivate the four facets of the Self and discover the gifts of our subpersonalities. The key to reclaiming our original wholeness is not merely to suppress psychological symptoms, recover from addictions and trauma, or manage stress but rather to fully embody our multifaceted wild minds, commit ourselves to the largest, soul-infused story we’re capable of living, and serve the greater Earth community.

Book ListLaura Blakeman
Life on Land by Emilie Conrad

Emilie Conrad

Emilie Conrad’s approach to movement education, health, and healing is as varied and deeply textured as her life story. In Life on Land, she interweaves the story of her Brooklyn childhood and discovery of dance with the psychic and physical collapse that led to the development of Continuum, her groundbreaking movement and self-realization technique. Readable, poignant, and ultimately triumphant, the book melds Conrad’s unique theories of the body-mind frontier with fearless discussions of Jewish heritage, sexuality, female identity, and social pressures.

Book ListLaura Blakeman
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

Richard Louv

"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in—and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation—he calls it nature deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and depression.

Book ListLaura Blakeman
True Meditation by Adyashanti

Adyashanti

What would happen if you were to allow everything to be exactly as it is? If you gave up the need for control, and instead embraced the whole of your experience in each moment that arose? In the fourteen years that he studied Zen, Adyashanti found that most seasoned meditators had used the practice as a means to a goal they never reached. What he ultimately realized: that only when you let go of all techniques?even the concept of yourself as a meditator?will you open to the art of true meditation: dwelling in the natural state. True Meditation invites you to join the growing number of seekers who have been touched by the wisdom of Adyashanti.

Book ListLaura Blakeman
Evidence Poems by Mary Oliver

Poems by Mary Oliver

In this modern spiritual classic, the Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa highlights a common pitfall to which every aspirant on the spiritual path falls prey: what he calls spiritual materialism. The universal human tendency, he shows, is to see spirituality as a process of self-improvement—the impulse to develop and refine the ego when the ego is, by nature, essentially empty. “The problem,” Trungpa says, “is that ego can convert anything to its own use, even spirituality.” His incisive, compassionate teachings serve to wake us up from this trick we all play on ourselves, and to offer us a far brighter reality: the true and joyous liberation that inevitably involves letting go of the self rather than working to improve it. It is a message that has resonated with students for over thirty years and remains fresh as ever today.

Book ListLaura Blakeman
Coming Back to Life by Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy

Many of us feel called to respond to the ecological destruction of our planet, yet we feel overwhelmed, immobilized, and unable to deal realistically with the threats to life on Earth. Noted spiritual and environmental thinkers Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown contend that this crippling response to world crisis is a psychological defense mechanism that has been endemic since the years of the Cold War arms race, when we had to adapt within a single generation to the horrific possibility of nuclear holocaust.

Since its publication in 1983, Joanna Macy's book, Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age has sold nearly 30,000 copies and has been the primary resource for groups of men and women confronting the challenging realities of our time without succumbing to paralysis or panic. Coming Back to Life provides a much needed update and expansion of this pioneering work. At the interface between spiritual breakthrough and social action, Coming Back to Life is eloquent and compelling as well as being an inspiring and practical guide. The first third of the book discusses with extraordinary insight the angst of our era, and the pain, fear, guilt and inaction it has engendered; it then points forward to the way out of apathy, tio "the work that reconnects".

Book ListLaura Blakeman
Everything is Waiting for You by David Whyte

David Whyte

Poet David Whyte grew up with a strong, imaginative influence from his Irish mother among the hills and valleys of his father's Yorkshire. He now makes his home, with his family, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The author of six books of poetry and three books of prose, David Whyte holds a degree in Marine Zoology and has traveled extensively, including living and working as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands and leading anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes, the Amazon and the Himalaya. He brings this wealth of experience to his poetry, lectures and workshops.

Book ListLaura Blakeman
Anam Cara by John O'Donohue

John O'Donohue

Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom offers an exploration of the secret universe we all carry inside us, the connections we forge with the worlds of our friends and loved ones, and the products of our worlds reflected in the things we create outside of ourselves. Anam Cara, Gaelic for "soul friend," is an ancient journey down a nearly forgotten path of wisdom into what it means to be human. Drawing on this age-old perspective, John O'Donohue helps us to see ourselves as the Celts did: we're more than just flesh, blood, and bone; we comprise individual worlds. The comprehension of the sublime architecture of the worlds we are born with will engender a new appreciation for the outside world and the way we contribute to its evolution. 

Book ListLaura Blakeman
The House of Belonging by David Whyte

David Whyte

"The House of Belonging" is David Whyte's fourth book of poetry, following "Songs for Coming Home", "Where Many Rivers Meet", and "Fire in the Earth". His fifth volume of poetry, "Everything is Waiting for You" was published in 2003. He is the author of two best-selling books of prose, "The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America", and "Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity". These books and a highly acclaimed audio lecture series are available from bookstores. "David Whyte makes the reading of poetry a matter of life and death. His writings have moved and changed me." - Pat Conroy, author of "The Prince of Tides"

Book ListLaura Blakeman
Crossing the Unknown Sea by David Whyte

David Whyte

Crossing the Unknown Sea is about reuniting the imagination with our day to day lives. It shows how poetry and practicality, far from being mutually exclusive, reinforce each other to give every aspect of our lives meaning and direction. For anyone who wants to deepen their connection to their life’s workor find out what their life’s work isthis book can help navigate the way.

Whyte encourages readers to take risks at work that will enhance their personal growth, and shows how burnout can actually be beneficial and used to renew professional interest. He asserts that too many people blindly trudge through a mediocre work life because so many “busy” tasks prevent significant reflection and analysis of job satisfaction. People often turn to spiritual practice or religion to nurture their souls, but overlook how work can actually be our greatest opportunity for discovery and growth. Crossing the Unknown Sea combines poetry, gifted storytelling and Whyte’s personal experience to reveal work’s potential to fulfill us and bring us closer to ultimate freedom and happiness.

Book ListLaura Blakeman
The Dream of the Earth by Thomas Berry

Thomas Berry

This landmark work, first published by Sierra Club Books in 1988, has established itself as a foundational volume in the ecological canon. In it, noted cultural historian Thomas Berry provides nothing less than a new intellectual-ethical framework for the human community by positing planetary well-being as the measure of all human activity.Drawing on the wisdom of Western philosophy, Asian thought, and Native American traditions, as well as contemporary physics and evolutionary biology, Berry offers a new perspective that recasts our understanding of science, technology, politics, religion, ecology, and education. He shows us why it is important for us to respond to the Earth’s need for planetary renewal, and what we must do to break free of the “technological trance” that drives a misguided dream of progress. Only then, he suggests, can we foster mutually enhancing human-Earth relationships that can heal our traumatized global biosystem.

Book ListLaura Blakeman