Dianne Sylvan, the author of the brilliant The Circle Within, has tackled the sensitive subject of body-image and self esteem using humor and joy in her new book, The Body Sacred . North American witchcraft has been influenced by feminism, and yet we continue to struggle with the issues of low self-esteem and negative body image. As the author says, this book is for everyone who had a ‘fat day,’ which pretty much means all of us, doesn’t it? She points out that while a person would get into trouble telling a black man that fried chicken and biscuits is the best food for him, no one raises an eyebrow at telling a fat woman that the carb-free diet is the best for her. In fact, the stories she tells from her own experience are hilarious and painful all at once.

The Body Sacred starts from the premise that we are Goddess, and as such manifest different incarnations of Her. By working with the different incarnations of Reflection, Mother, Healer, Lover, Dancer, and Crone we come to understand who we are and how we manifest within the physical world. Using journaling, exercises, and some of the best guided visualizations I’ve seen, the reader begins to explore what it means to live comfortably within our own bodies. A self-proclaimed fattie, Sylvan isn’t talking about low self-esteem from some distant perspective, she is with us in the trenches struggling with self-acceptance.

Earthy, blunt, and unapologetically outspoken, Sylvan’s viewpoints may not always win her accolades, but she engages you as if you were old friends with humor and personality. Highly recommended.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author:  Dianne Sylvan

Llewellyn Publications, 2005

pp. 287, $14.95