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Record Type: Review   ID: 557

The Motherline: Every Women's Journey to Find Her Female Roots

Lowinsky, Naomi Ruth

 This book is written from the perspective of cultural feminism in that it points up the importance of valuing what has been devalued in the feminine—even by feminists—and that is the culture of the "motherline," or the texts that mothers hand down to their daughters. Lowinsky holds that "the path to wholeness ... requires that a woman make a journey to find her roots in the personal, cultural, and archetypal Motherline" (p. xi) [although it seems to me that one needs to do the same with one’s Fatherline, and regardless of whether one is a woman or a man]. The central experience privileged by this book is "women’s immortality through our birth-giving capacity. Soul here is not separate from body. It is through our full honoring of bodily experience that we become ensouled. Soul does not separate us from ordinary life. It does not float off into the stratosphere as spirit seems to in the distinction commonly made between spirit and flesh" (p. xiii). Lowinsky is strongly influenced by Jung in her view of the Motherline at the personal, cultural, and archetypal levels. The stories that women share that are highlighted in this book are those dealing with "female experience: physical, psychological, and historical" (p. 1). Lowinsky’s aim is to valorize what is usually dismissed as "women’s talk." The impetus for the book was an EHE she had during childbirth, which involved a death and rebirth of herself. Before she had been intellectually inclined and considered whether to "disturb the universe" (T.S. Eliot). In childbirth, she says "I knew in my body the sacred connection of all human life to the female body. I had not disturbed the universe. The universe had moved through me. I was a part of everything that was alive" (p. 3). She connects the Motherline to the Eleusinian mysteries, and calls it "the embodied experience of the female mysteries" (p. 10). The chapter titles are self-explanatory: Conceiving the Motheline: The Source of Our Stories; Feminism and the Forgotten Feminine: Mystery Versus Mystique; Old Wives’ Tales: Relearning the Mother Tongue; Wrestling With the Mother: Of Love, Rebellion, and Our Personal Shadows; Stories from the Middle of Our Lives: The Mother-Daughter Loop; Our Place Among the Generations: How We Are Shaped by Our Times; On My Mother’s Side: The Power of the Grandmother; Ghost Stories: Entering the Realm of the Ancestors; Ashes to Ashes: A Mother’s Childhood Landscape; The Forbidden Feminine: Finding Our Spiritual Roots; Reclaiming Our Feminine Souls.
Publisher Information:New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Perigee, 1992. 237p. Bibl: 225-229; Chap. notes: 217-223; Index: 231-236
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