Stone, Merlin. Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood: A Treasury of Goddess and Heroine Lore from Around the World. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1979). Illustrated. Bibliography. Index.
ISBN: 0-8070-6718-0 (paperback).

From the slant of this volume, I'd call Stone a "feminist Wiccan", but that doesn't make the book useless to the rest of us. Half treatise and half religious meditation, Ancient Mirrors blends research and inspiration in prose poems describing goddesses from Chinese, Celtic, Central & South American, the ancient Levantine/Semitic, African, Oceanic, ancient Anatolian, Indian, Sumerian, Egyptian, Native American, Japanese, Scandanavian, and Grecian cultures. Ethnographic/anthropological sources were used; but Stone is forthright in admitting when sources are scanty. While Stone's historical interpretations owe a great deal to women's studies (didn't any Goddess-worshipping culture EVER conquer anyone and kill off their God?), none of them are so far out as to strain credulity if taken with a little salt.

This is such a comprehensive and readable survey of goddess figures that I wish for a similar volume on male gods. Illustrated with expressive black-and-white line drawings. Extensive bibliography of ethnographic sources.


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© Jennifer A. Heise, 1996