Note: My blog, “Matrignosis”, was birthed in March of 2010. So far, I’ve written 683 posts. Occasionally I repost earlier ones that I hope will interest you. This one is from July, 2012. It’s a review of Healing the Sacred Divide. I love all my books but this has a very special place in my heart. Not only is it the most autobiographical, spiritual, and playful, but, to my amazement and delight, it won the 2013 Wilbur Award. I hope you enjoy the following review. It begins with my introduction:
It’s such an honor to present today’s post, a review of my new book, Healing the Sacred Divide. Written by guest blogger, N.M. Freeman, it first appeared on her blog. Here’s the link. Natasha is the author of the award-nominated The Story of Q. (inspired by actual events). This book blew me away! You can read what I wrote about it in a post titled Questioning Religion. The Story of Q contains historical facts about the origins of the Christian scriptures found in the New Testament of the Holy Bible and is recognized for contributing to the growth, further education, and enlightenment of humanity. I hope you’ll check it out! And now, Natasha’s post, which she titled “Enlightenment in New Mexico”:
“As promised, here’s my review of Dr. Jean Benedict Raffa’s stunning new book: Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other and the World. Brilliantly executed, this book is a thought provoking pleasure to read – never mind that it can, for some, be life changing. Highly, highly recommended. This review can be found in full in the Summer 2012 edition of “Radical Grace” (a publication for the Center for Action and Contemplation based in Albuquerque, New Mexico). The theme of the summer edition is Unitive Consciousness.
Dr. Jean Benedict Raffa’s new book, Healing the Sacred Divide: Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World, looks at the difference between religion and God through the lens of Jungian psychology, and speaks to the deepest spiritual seekings of the human heart.
“The power in this book lies not in its ability to reveal a recognizable truth, but in the way it communicates this truth. Through memory, psychology, emotion, and the powerfully secret relevance of our dreams. With gentle brilliance, Raffa walks us through the first 3 Epochs of psycho-spiritual development in accordance with Jungian psychology. Incredibly, each Epoch is so identifiable that we immediately recognize our own space on the development scale. This type of self-reflection is, as Raffa iterates, crucial to our ever coming to know the wholeness of God as we are born to know it.
“Refreshingly, Healing the Sacred Divide tackles topics often left to the university classroom in such a way that makes them generously accessible to the mind as well as the soul. Engaging a powerful conversation about the evolution of our God-image (where it comes from and how it came to be what it is today), Raffa reveals the dysfunctions associated with the image, the how and why it often feels incomplete when presented through the orthodox and especially the fundamental religious lens. In this sense, as we learn more about ourselves, we also become powerfully privy to the truth and effect behind the reality that our patriarchal God view is as much constructed as our gender divisions – both resulting in an inability to experience wholeness on the human journey or, in a spiritual sense, as children of God.
“With beautiful, bravely intelligent prose, Raffa loosens the divisions between masculine and feminine thought and reveals them for what they are: 2 realities that apart leave a disjointed experience (emotionally, psychologically, spiritually) but together make a whole. It is in the union of these two spheres or rather divisions of thought, that a sacred space is created within which spiritual growth can occur in abundance. This fascinating expose challenges us to transcend dangerous divisions of thought that can distract from our spiritual relationship with ourselves, each other, and the world, but most of all God.
“Eloquently and far from overwhelmingly, Raffa explores these topics within the context of our own experiences. In anecdotal form, she lays the foundation from which to explore the topics of self, ego, and even the shadow parts of our personalities (which we might not want to admit we have). Ultimately, Healing the Sacred Divide shows us how we are already in a relationship with God – born whole – with only our fears, ego based religions, and desire or fear to conform to societal norms standing in the way. Better yet, the text invites us to not only heal, but to bridge that divide. The psychological speak has the potential to become tedious but it never does. Raffa has woven ourselves through the text so that you spend the book understanding, reflecting, recognizing, feeling love, wisdom, and the comfort of knowing healing the sacred divide is realistic, possible. Here. Now.
“On a personal note, I’m not sure that I’ve ever been so moved by a book and the truth it proclaims, which is purely identifiable in and by the human experience. (And I have read many a book on this topic.) An extremely important book, Raffa’s work/insight is the very mandorla of which she speaks. For all, from every background and every religion, this is easily one of the most important books of 2012…and the future.”
Thank you again, Natasha. Your words move me as deeply as they did when you first wrote them.
Art Credit: Jake Baddely, “Trust”
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Jean’s new Nautilus Award-winning The Soul’s Twins, is at Amazon and Schiffer’s Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.
Congrats! All the years of work paid off. George
Thank you, George. Yes, there’s a lot to be said for persistence, isn’t there?
Wow, Jeanie! Great review and wonderful tribute to you. This is an amazing “life work”… I know it has been birthing itself for many years. Enjoy the well-deserved accolades. Xoxox.
Hi Beth, Thank you! Yes, 19 years was an unusually long gestation, for sure, and it looks nothing like I thought it would in the beginning, but hopefully that’s because I’ve done some learning and growing and changing over the years! I know you and your Cherokee Creek Boys School have undergone some amazing changes too! Changing Woman has definitely been at work in us!
As I read Healing the Sacred Divide, the wholeness of the god-image you present makes me celebrate. Hoorah!
You are helping birth the feminine side of divinity into the light where it can take its rightful place. Thank you, Jeanie.
Thank you, Elaine! I so appreciate this wonderful affirmation from you! I certainly hope you’re right!!! Yaaayyyy! Jeanie
It sounds like it’s not only healing but awakening the spirit (Der Geist!). Although I believe no one must miss your brilliant teaching, my lovely Jeane – heartfelt congratulations.
You’re right, Aladin. That’s a very insightful observation. (And thanks for your kind words.) I had thought spirituality was a matter of connecting with the God Without by doing good deeds, and listening to teachings, and participating in group worship, and studying the stories of past spirit persons and the things that happened to them, like Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt into Israel. I was totally unprepared to find that it was also a very private inner experience, a journey of awakening to the God within by acquiring self knowledge and unfolding into an enlarged life of increased meaning and authenticity and most of all, compassion and love, not just for others, but equally for oneself.That’s the part I never received help with from organized religion. It’s not just something that happens once, like getting baptized and suddenly seeing the light, although that can be a part of one’s experience. Rather it’s a challenging, exciting, never-ending, and deeply affirming journey of transforming and evolving. Of course, struggle and suffering are part of everyone’s journey, spiritual or otherwise. That’s what spurs our transformation, which is the whole point. With love and gratitude for your friendship, Jeanie
This is such a beautiful review Jeanie by Natasha Freeman. She so eloquently captures the essence of your beautiful book. You really do have a light and engaging touch in your writing. It is one of my treasures on my bookshelf. Anyone who reads it cannot fail to have a wider lens – love, Susan
Thank you so much, Susan. I love your metaphor of a wider lens. Enlarging and accepting a wider view of self, otherness, life, and the mystery of love really is the essence of the spiritual quest, isn’t it? Love, Jeanie
What a wonderful, inspiring review! You must’ve been pleased. Like Susan, “Healing the Sacred Divide” remains a treasure on my bookshelf. I really enjoyed reading it Jeanie, most especially those Cosmic Dialogues between the Gods and Goddess’s. In fact, I’ve just had a quick flick through and decided to move it onto my “to read again” book pile. I’ve read it twice already but the last time was before you published “The Soul’s Twins”, so it’ll be great to return to this one. Love and light, Deborah.
Bless your heart, Deborah! Yes, I was very pleased. I had forgotten all about it until I ran across it when I was running through some of my old posts the other day. It warmed my heart then and now, the way your kind comments to me always do. I look forward to reading Soror Mystica and writing an equally heartwarming and inspiring comment about it. Your previous books have already shown me what I can expect from it. With love and gratitude, Jeanie
Jeanie, “Healing the Sacred Divide” was the first book I read by you and I was blown away! My soul did a little dance and I’ve enjoyed the sharing of your art and heart ever since. I’m very much hoping that your ordering problems re Soror Mystica has now been sorted.
They havn’t yet, but I seem to be talking to a real person now, so I’m expecting closure soon. 🙂