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 Prequel to Starhawk's eco-feminist future fantasy The Fifth Sacred Thing (1993), which placed 99-year-old witch Maya Greenwood in the Great War of the 21st century. Here, Maya, an aging flower child and the author of the Goddess-celebrating work From the Mountain, has lost interest in her black lover, Johanna Weaver; is overweight; burnt out; and decides that she needs recharging in Nepal, the home of the gods. While on her Himalayan trek, Maya reviews her life. Others on the journey keep her answering well-meant but irritating questions about matriarchy and the Goddess Mother of the Universe. Maya carries with her the ashes of her mother; she intends to scatter them on high. Maya is a bisexual lesbian, as is Johanna. They had become lovers in high school and have lived together on and off, although the mercurial Johanna has also had a series of male and female lovers. Why can't Johanna call herself a lesbian? Maya implores. ``It's easy for you to call yourself a lesbian, make the great political gesture,'' Johanna replies, ``but I am a black woman before I'm anything else, and the first word in that is black.'' As a witch, Maya tries to teach through rituals that arouse energy and help ``heal our shattered cultural imagination.'' Another ex-lover, the hard-drinking stud Rio Connolly, reenters the scene. They've recently reencountered each other, after 17 years, at the Nevada Test Site Peace Camp, where Maya had joined the protest against nuclear testing. Their youthful love affair (which left Maya pregnant) was severed by Rio's lengthy jail term for second-degree murder. Juggling two ex-lovers, Maya also has agonizing memories of her sister and mother to make peace with while trying to grasp the guidance of the Rinpoche on the mountain and to deepen her understanding of the Goddess. Starhawk's cult will find this uplifting and entertaining, if too loose for great impact. (Regional author tour)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-553-10233-8
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 1997