The Ultimate Guide to Goddess Empowerment, by Sophia
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 0740734962, 283 (+1) pp., 2003

There are twenty-five Goddesses included in this little book from a variety of cultures around the world. Sophia acknowledges that there are many more, but these are some of her favourites that she has come to ‘know and love’. Associated colours, symbol, element, stone/metal, and scent are listed for each Goddess, accompanied by a small picture representing whichever aspect, or as with of some of the Hindu Goddesses, their mandalas. In some cases, Sophia contacted the Goddess herself to find out what She likes. Practical explanations are given for the application of these symbols to these rites, to ‘make [the Goddess] feel welcomed.’

In the introduction, excellent advice is given regarding various aspects of ritual such as grounding, and the respect you should show towards the powers you are invoking. She notes that ‘the goddess is cool!’, yet does not capitalize ‘G’, or other pronouns associated with Her, which seems strange for a self-proclaimed Goddess devotee.

English translations would have been nice for the non-English words used in the empowerments, as well as a pronunciation guide (only one is given, for a mantra for Tara).

Feminist, as you’d expect in a book dedicated solely to the Goddesses, but without being overly antagonistic toward men.

Sophia has obviously done her research, but unfortunately shares none of it with the reader. No bibliography or even a recommended reading section – which is a little more than mildly annoying. If someone feels a strong connection to any of the Goddesses listed and invoked, it’s going to take a little more work to find further information. Austin Osman Spare is quoted (without attribute), so she must have at least glanced at a few works on chaos magick and, for curiosities sake, it would have been neat to see which.

I don’t recommend it be read cover to cover, but rather pick a few Goddesses each time to read and review for your particular needs and desires. There’s too much information to absorb it all in one sitting. An index would have been handy here to note which attributes you’d like to emulate from which Goddess, and rather than flipping through every one, could have merely cross-indexed.

I’m not sure who this book is intended for, the beginner or the moderately experienced. The introduction gives a brief overview of common neo-pagan ritual procedure, but doesn’t go into much depth, and the reader is assumed to know quite a bit, yet the descriptions of the Goddesses are quite simplistic in most cases. While “fun”, it’s not a book I’d recommended as a corner stone for your magickal/mythical library, but many of the rituals and visualizations are beautifully written, and may be read for their poetry alone.