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Article first published as Book Review: ‘Goddess Heart Rising' by Roslyn Elena McGrath on Blogcritics.

May 15, 2014

Goddess Heart Rising:
Paintings, Poems & Meditations for Activating Your Divine Potential
Roslyn Elena McGrath
Chrysaetos Press (2014)
ISBN: 9780615986562

Poetry Book Combines Myth with Meditation

Goddess Heart Rising by Roslyn Elena McGrathGoddess Heart Rising is a collection of poetry centered around different goddesses from history and myth who are used by author Roslyn McGrath to highlight various aspects of the “goddess” in all of us. The subtitle “Paintings, Poems & Meditations for Activating Your Divine Potential” reveals the book’s purpose.

Although a man—this book’s intended audience is clearly female—I still really enjoyed much of what McGrath says in her poetry about the various goddesses. (In fact, I wonder why men don’t write books about the gods of mythology in this vein.) Beyond the poetry itself, Roslyn offers her somewhat abstract but stunning paintings of the various goddesses included in the book. She has painted many of these on large wooden doors, and they are all quite striking—not always beautiful in a common way, but full of swirling energy, peace, passion, and vibrant colors, as suitable for the individual goddess depicted.

The goddesses themselves come from religious traditions around the world and include Cereidwen (Celtic), Isis (Egyptian), Eve (biblical), Aphrodite (Greek), Nogoshkwe (Native American), and several others, including Mo-Ray Angelica, who is also known as The Third Mary (McGrath has written an entire book titled The Third Mary in which she channels this person’s spirit—she was not a goddess, but rather the mother of Mary Magdalene).

Each goddess’s section follows the same pattern—a poem written in the voice of the goddess, a description of the painting depicting the goddess, a meditation on the goddess/painting/message, and a reflections section. Many of the poems read like wonderful dramatic monologues that remind me of Robert Browning. For example, here is an excerpt from what Persephone says:

I wait
in pain
knowing someday
I’ll no longer wander,
knowing someday
I’ll be at home,
knowing someday
I’ll remember
what it means
to be in joy again.

The reflection questions for this poem include: “Where am I in the process of rebuilding from past hurts?” and “What helps sustain me through difficult times?” but Roslyn also encourages her readers to journal and write down their thoughts and feelings from the meditations included.

I think this book is beautiful on many levels, including its words, images, and overall purpose. Any woman seeking to get more in touch with her emotions, talents, and purpose in life will enjoy working through this book and opening to the divine female within her. I suspect even the men willing to read such a book will benefit from it—perhaps one will be inspired to write a male version full of mythical heroes and gods—don’t forget to include Zeus, Thor, Jesus, Buddha, Hercules, and King Arthur.

For more information about Roslyn McGrath and Goddess Heart Rising, visit www.GoddessHeartRising.com.

— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and award-winning author of Arthur’s Legacy

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