I didn’t want this book. I didn’t want these Goddesses. They were hunting me. A friend posted a picture of she and her lover reading it in bed. I knocked over several from their display at a yoga studio. Looking out from every store window on prominent display. As a lover of Venus, Seeing those colors, verdant green, shocking pink, rich gold, this book just caught my attention, over and over. Each time, I picked it up, flipped through it, decided it looked well done, and put it back.
Finally, at one last bookstore, the somewhat cranky, but helpful old lady came out. She rang up a few customers, two of whom bought this book. She came over to me and said, “This is my last copy. You’d better take it.” and put it in my hands.
This book is fabulous. Kempton is extremely well versed in her topic, having studied it for twenty years in India. This book is rooted in “devotional contemplative tantra”. It brings worship home, and teaches us to incorporate it into our every day lives in a way I have never run across before. She gives an intro to the Tantric philosophy, explains her motivation in writing the book, and then introduces the deities, their consorts, myths and mantras. She also doesn’t shy away from exploring the shadow side of these deities, including explaining how they might show up in real life habits, addictions, or other problems.
Because Kempton is a Westerner, her examples using Western people and concepts come across as genuine, she isn’t “dumbing things down” so you can get it. In addition, she gives us meditations, rituals, and ideas to connect with each deity-from different points of view. This book is accessible if you see deity as archetype, energy, or deity.
Kempton encourages us to work with these deities in our everyday life. There are exercises that walk you through “Installing the Goddess” into your body, so you can experience things as she does, which then informs us. She covers dialog, contemplation, sacrifice, and actualizing. She really does a wonderful job in showing us how the deities move in the world, in a dynamic and obvious way. She takes it much further than your general Pagan: “Look for Odin in the wind.”
The most magical thing about this book is, if you take the techniques, which are very well taught here, you can replace the Hindu Goddesses with any deity you please. If you were willing to do some research on your chosen deity, locate their myths, realms of influence, favorite things, you can use each lesson and technique in this exquisitely written book to become closer to any deity.
As an aside, Lakshmi and Oshun are so alike, I am *this* close to believing my mother cloned herself, changed her appearance, and moved to India.