I hadn't intended to review Jane Meredith's book Aspecting the Goddess on this blog. But then I read her tale of Ariadne, and I just had to.

The book is both a how-to manual of methods for connecting with the divine and a recounting of her own experiences using those methods. Her writing is poetic, touching, and inspiring - and just to be clear, the methods can be used to develop relationships with gods, goddesses, land spirits, and other non-human beings.

Meredith details six different methods for discovering deity and making a connection: walking with, researching, dedicating, presencing, enacting myth, and aspecting. These range from the very casual "walking with" - simply asking the deity to hang out with you while you go on a walk or do some other simple activity, so you can get an idea of what they're about - to the very formal "enacting" (playing the part of a deity in a ritual reenactment of a myth) to the profound: "aspecting" is pretty much a form of trance possession.

Each of these methods can be valuable in modern Paganism, and each has its own place in spiritual practice. Meredith goes into great detail about how to perform each one, complete with examples and warnings. These are excellent methods for connecting with deities whose stories have been lost or fragmented, like those we honor in Modern Minoan Paganism. While researching will only go so far, the other methods can fill in the blanks in ways that are meaningful for us in the modern world.

Among the descriptions and instructions for the various methods of connecting with deity, Meredith includes stories of her own experiences with a wide range of goddesses: Blodeuwedd, Isis, Mary, Ereshkigal, Nephthys, Inanna - and Ariadne. Her experience of Ariadne is moving, even heart-wrenching, the tale of a goddess walking the knife's edge of a changing world, doing the job she must do even if it causes harm to those she loves.

Most of the time, I like to focus on what Ariadne was probably like before the Mycenaeans moved in, before the later writers got hold of her story and demoted her to a girl with a ball of string. She was a powerful goddess, connected with the agricultural cycle and with Fate (that ball of string, don't you know).

But Meredith focuses on her right at that turning point where everything goes sideways for the Minoans, the time in the late Bronze Age when the world was shifting and cultures collided. That's hard enough for humans to deal with, but it hadn't even occurred to me that, of course, the gods have to deal with it as well

So I recommend Aspecting the Goddess to you. It's a touching, inspiring read and a valuable resource.

In the name of the bee,

And of the butterfly,

And of the breeze, amen.