The blurbs solicited for books (that is, the quotes from other published authors that praise the new work) are often predictable, and honestly I usually ignore them. AFTER reading "Touch the Earth, Kiss the Sky" I went back and looked out of curiosity. Turns out, they did an unusually great job of telling you what you'll be getting. Christopher Penczak tells us that this is "[a] wise, thoughtful book engaging in the important intersection of science and magic, reason, and intuition," and he's right. Diotima Mantineia has done a fantastic job of bridging scientific study with what some call "animism" and others call "non-theistic paganism". Joanna Colbert notes that "[t]he suggested practices for aligning with the eight-fold Wheel of the Year are deeply satisfying." She's darned right thy are! I have been trying to come to grips with my own non-theistic tendencies amidst my local community's more traditional neo-Pagan beliefs, and this focus on how to consider the Wheel in a different light has been a true blessing.
The title of the book is more clever than you might guess at first. We can break up Diotima's work into the practical, physical realm (Touching the Earth) and the more inward-looking spiritual practices (Kissing the Sky). The author works towards a middle ground by noting, firstly, that as mainstream science works to understand the building blocks of reality, the trail seems to be leading more and more towards Consciousness as one of the foundations. Secondly, the approach from the far end of Magick looks at how many traditions see the working of Magick to be the guiding or imposition of one's will to manifest tangible results. Looking through these twin prisms like a kaleidoscope, you can imagine twisting the barrel until the two images begin to overlap quite convincingly. As Joanna Colbert noted in her blurb, "Touch the Earth, Kiss the Sky" is filled with a series of very practice-able exercises designed to correspond to the Wheel of the Year, making this almost a full-blown workbook in addition to a thoughtful text on the subject of melding science and metaphysics.
This is a satisfying addition to your library if you have any interest in the subject matter at all, and particularly if you are still sorting out your path and feel you lack clarity after your early research. It may be that you need this examination of the less-traveled roads to find your way.
~review by Patricia Mullen
Author: Diotima Mantineia
Llewellyn Publications, 2020
pp. 227, $17.99