Kissing the Hag : The Dark Goddess and the Unacceptable Nature of Women, Paperback Book

Kissing the Hag : The Dark Goddess and the Unacceptable Nature of Women Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Based upon the old tale of "The Marriage of Sir Gawain", "Kissing the Hag" brings us face to face with the nauseating horror of the hag - the raw side, the dark side, the inside of a woman's essential nature.

Here we find the untamed soul, the wild, angry, selfish, lustful, manipulative and incomprehensible elements of woman: all that makes us unacceptable and badly behaved.

Too often we have been guided to point a finger of blame, accusing our parents, society, our partners of being dysfunctional.

Here Emma Restall Orr doesn't allow us that option. As a Druid and animist, she takes the negative stereotypes of the irrational, emotional woman - feisty bitch to shameless whore, smothering mother to grumpy old bag - and finds the archetypes behind them, the faces and forms of the dark goddess.Instead of dismissing these as unacceptable, she encourages us to ride their wild emotional currents, surfing the awesome tides that threaten to overwhelm us.

In "Kissing the Hag", we come to accept the fullness of our nature, celebrating the deep mystery, the magic and power of all we are. "Kissing the Hag" is a book written for women who long to loose the chains of insecurity, convention, guilt and self-negation, and rediscover the freedom and creativity of their true nature.

It is also a book written for men fascinated but infuriated by the women they love.


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Starting with a well-told retelling of the Arthurian tale “The Marriage of Gawain,” Orr explores seven goddesses (I keep thinking of them as archetypes): the virgin, the whore, the mother, the bitch, the witch, the old bag, and the hag. The book is written for a female audience, but the author welcomes male readers in the hopes that the book will help them understand the women they know a little better, and because under these various goddesses there’s a “current” that is common to human nature and nature as a whole. Orr maintains that any of these archetypes may be uncomfortable for a girl or woman to express, so that she ends up trying to suppress it, at the cost of censoring her true nature.I almost gave up on this book at first, mostly because it didn’t sink in how she had structured it. She says at the beginning that although she quotes from many women, she relates each anecdote in the first person. I read that, forgot it, and read a good chunk of the book wondering how the narrator could have had so many contradictory experiences in her life. With that straightened out, though, it stopped distracting me, and the book instantly became more interesting to me. Some day I may have to reread it, remembering this from the start, and see if I think about those early chapters in a different way.While I’m pretty sure I would’ve found this book to be a worthy read years ago, I don’t think I would’ve gotten nearly as much out of it then. I’m sure I wouldn’t have understood Orr’s takes on the witch, the old bag, or the hag when I was in my twenties, for instance. Overall, I would recommend it for women (or men) who’ve already done some self-exploration and/or who’ve had enough life experience by now to have some perspective on their lives.

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