Every month I share transformational conversations with women who have learned to walk in beauty, with the strength, courage, and pleasure of reclaiming their feminine sovereignty. Women all over the world are rising up to have their voices heard. I like to give some of their voices a platform where they can speak their truth and inspire our you to do the same.
Today it’s my honor to introduce you to celebrated author, Danielle Dulsky who amongst many things, is a midwife for helping us dig deep to access our holy wildness. She reminds us that we were all wild once.
I first introduced you to Danielle during the Goddess Talk Sessions and again when she published her first book, Woman Most Wild (New World Library).
Today we’ll be discussing Danielle’s new book, The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman and why Danielle decided to write about revisioning wild feminine archetypes.
The Holy Wild is the bible for the modern witch (female, male, or beyond the gender binary) who wants to deepen their spiritual power and embody magic at a new level. It is the book that can open up a previously timid or nervous person, who is afraid, yet excited about their energetic power. It is a guidebook for anyone who wants to look at their lives in a new way and reclaim the passionate vibrancy that our patriarchal culture may have stifled or tried to snuff out.
Holy Wild is a potent and powerful read… You can get a copy wherever books are sold.
Show Notes: Listen to the podcast for Danielle’s answers to the following questions. This Goddess Shines!
Your book is called The Holy Wild: A Heathen Bible for the Untamed Woman. How did you come up with this title?
I like to the think of the title as a mini-spell of sorts. The words are ordered in a very specific way that is intended to unbind some of the knots that have been tied around nature-based spirituality, women’s stories, and the sacred in general. The word “Heathen” is derived from “dweller on the heath” or those who were living in rural and as-yet un-Christianized areas, so even though the word invokes a visceral response similar to “Witch” or “Pagan,” it simply means living close to nature, close to the “old ways,” and/or in tune with the land and the wilds.
What do you mean by the words “wild” and “untamed”?
When I say “the wilds” and “untamed,” I’m not speaking about being out of control or immature. The wilds are meeting place between nature and our own human psyche. It is a growing landscape that has retained the beauteous balance between sovereignty and interconnectivity, reclaiming the essence of Earth-based traditions. I think all modern spiritual paths that claim a kinship with the natural world — such as Witchcraft, Wicca, and any number of new age spiritualities — could benefit from stripping themselves down from time to time. White neo-pagans in particular, would do well to examine how their practices have evolved with respect to both colonization and capitalism and to work toward dismantling those systems of oppression to which few contemporary spiritual paths are truly immune. It’s the task of the practitioner to really examine practices and beliefs, dig out what’s not theirs or has been appropriated, and find the connection to nature, which is a deep reverence for the wilds.
Could you give us an overview of the five elements, and how you made use of them in your book?
The Earth element is our ground, the place from where we begin. It’s fundamentally linked to our right to be on this planet and in this body.
The Water element is our emotions, our sensuality, and our ability to connect the sacred to our feelings and sensations.
The Fire element is our crucible, our rage, our activism, and our perpetual hope for a better world.
The Air element is our balance and our breath, our relationship to community and the cosmic web.
Lastly, the Ether element is our sacred solitude, our call to honor the ancestors and those who came before us.
As in nature, none of the five elements exists in a vacuum. You can’t have fire without air. Water needs earth to hold and contain it. While I do think most people feel a particular kinship with one element over the others, it remains that all five elements exist in our stories somewhere. We just need to hunt for them.
You proudly call yourself a Witch. Can you explain what that means to you?
Being a Witch means very different things to different people. For me, a Witch is anyone, regardless of gender, who both practices Witchcraft and has claimed the name Witch for their own; I say this not to disrespect any lineages or traditions but to validate both solitary practitioners who might have been Witches for decades or longer but never trained as such due to a lack of access, or those hereditary Witches who have no name for their lineage, perhaps, but are certainly no less Witch simply because they don’t have a particular label for what they do. To my mind, Witches don’t want to conform to those same hierarchical systems that have defined, and indeed confined, religions over the years, so we must retain some resistance to systemic organization. At the same time, we must also support those who are new to the Craft and encourage safe and skilled mentorships that empower the new practitioner.
What if our listeners aren’t ready to identify as a Witch, but would like to invite more magick into their lives? Do you have any advice for them?
I think the best way to invite more magick into your life is to begin to look at your story. Sift through your experiences and find those moments, perhaps as long ago as childhood, when you felt a true and embodied connection to nature. What elements show up in your story over and over again? What parts of nature feel like home? Begin there. Witchcraft is a homecoming, first and foremost, and the wilds always will welcome your return.
A significant part of the book offers the reader a chance to write their own “verses” and stories. Why is this so important for their experience?
I’m a huge fan of personal myth-writing as a means of making sense of life’s experiences. When we write and tell our own stories in an intentionally new way, we almost always glean some important piece of knowledge or wisdom we may not have noticed before. When we do this, we find that many of the answers we’re looking for are right there in our own lived experiences, and I think that any truly “holy book” will permit those who read it a chance to become a part of it. This is the “embodied spiritual,” or the practice of feeling, sensing, and naming the sacred with the body rather than merely the mind.
About Danielle Dulsky
Danielle Dulsky is the author of The Holy Wild and Woman Most Wild. She is an artist, yoga teacher, energy worker, and founder of Living Mandala Yoga teacher training programs. She leads women’s circles, witchcraft workshops, and energy healing trainings and lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.