THE BLACK GODDESS AND THE UNSEEN REAL by Peter Redgrove

THE BLACK GODDESS AND THE UNSEEN REAL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

At once, a call for the revival of romanticism, a celebration of Jung, a diatribe against 'Oedipal patriarchal"" society, and a compendium of fact and fancy pertaining to invisible forces and sensibilities said to lie at the core of humankind and to establish our kinship with nature. English poet and writer Redgrove argues that we are surrounded by these potent ""invisibles"" (also dark, black, unseen). We have chosen to ignore them, however, in our embrace of the Western analytic tradition of science and industry--a tradition that hallows vision as the queen of the senses, effectively blinding us to the power and knowledge that lie within us. The Black Goddess embodies this wisdom and power; she, the feminine principle, precedes the White Goddess. Myth and religion have both invoked and rejected the Black Goddess; indeed, the anthropological/historical record is one of ambivalence evident today in the fear and attraction of the feminine: in envy of the creative power, but in condemnation of instinctual sexuality. Many of these points are well taken and well stated by Redgrove, who provides an extensive bibliography of the scholars and critics who have explored myth and history--in particular, individuals such as Gerald Massey, who preceded Robert Graves as a poet and mythographer. To underscore his points, however, Redgrove glorifies animal sensibilities to the point of absurdity--""Rats can be trained to identify schizophrenics""--all the while denigrating the human senses as either inferior, degenerated, or undeveloped. In this ""Extrasensous perception"" section and elsewhere, Redgrove reports on myriad forces affecting mankind in anecdotes and case histories that would do credit to the National Enquirer. A long third section, ""Mary Lucifer,"" explores the guises of the Black Goddess. Here, Redgrove is on safer literary ground, and includes some eloquent personal accounts and interesting testimony from female artists. A final chapter offers guidance to the unseen real through writing, dreaming, and titillating sexual practices. Altogether, a mixed brew, unpalatable to some, intoxicating to others.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1988
Publisher: Grove