Book Review: Material Girl, Mystical World

I’d like to hit on the Conjure part of this blog with a book review.

 

I recently read Ruby Warrington’s Material Girl, Mystical World : The Now Age Guide to a High-Vibe Life.

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And by read, I mean I gave up about half way through.

If I had been smart, I would have noticed how often the word “sophisticated” was used in conjunction with the book. On the inside cover it even says “-a sophisticated upgrade on cosmic thinking, from healing crystals to doing your dharma, for women who know that a closetful of designer shoes can happily coexist with a deeply meaningful life.”

Guys, I dont think I’ve ever owned designer shoes. My day to day shoes are Wal-Mart Chuck Taylor knock offs. And I think “sophisticated” would be the last word anyone used to describe me. I know my please and thank-yous and I chew with my mouth closed , but cosmopolitan I am not.

That being said, I believe you don’t always have to personally relate to a theme to learn from it. While I am open to accepting all walks and stations in life, many of the experiences cited in the book fell flat for me. Also, the constant mention of fancy pancy shoes kept throwing me off. Miu Miu shoes may be the cat’s meow, but name dropping them as a status example every few pages gets a little exhausting. (Also, I really dislike feet. So everytime I read about $350 shoes, and it’s mentioned a lot, I end up thinking about the feet that go into them.)

As an author, Warrington is open and friendly. Reading her prose was like listening to a friend talk. But not a good friend. One of those older friends of the family you kinda-sorta know and hang around at BBQs because you hope some of her coolness wears off on you. The first chapter gives an okay introduction to astrology, but it’s under a lot of fluff. The chapter starts with a description of the time the author interviewed a model and they totally “soul sister”ed over their love of astrology. It kind of sets the tone of name dropping in an effort to validate something doesn’t really need celebrity validation.Then we are introduced to The Astro Twins who are everything their name implies, twin sister who do astrology. But, like omg! they are regulars on The Real Housewives of New York ,too. We’ll categorize that as another missed red flag.

As we will the numerous mentions of the author’s online magazine. I am all for getting yourself over, but after the third or fourth time, it’s like damn ,we get it, its called The Numinous. High five for the project, but either write about it in full or move on. Slipping it into to everything discussed in the book makes the whole work feel like commercial.

The rest of part one of the book touches on Tarot (and name drops an American’s Next Top Model judge), Psychic ability, and Karma/Dharma. Even if the writing and narrative voice got under my skin, here and there were interesting tidbits of knowledge,quotes or ideas. Part two focused on Health and Wellbeing. It was full of yoga ins and outs as well as a hashtag word used as part of a sentence. That was almost the point I put the book down. It’s my belief that there is no place in a sentence for #POWERWORD nonsense. Meditation, shamanism, and chakras rounds out the end of part two and I found enough information there that I decided to carry on reading.

Part Three was where it started to unravel. Love, Sex, and Relationships get tied together in a semi logical way. There are interesting thoughts presented in the section. Sex, friendships, and the Divine Feminine are all discussed in acceptable and sometimes humorous ways.

But in the discussion of the many elements of The Divine Feminine, Warrington ventures briefly into conversations about her mother. She writes that our relationship with our mother is first time we get to experience sisterhood. She then says that healing her relationship with her mother was what lead her to her “ultimate self-acceptance”. She reiterates the idea that Mother is name for god on the hearts of all children with the idea that mothers are the first and only true creators. Therefore, Mother is the earthy vestige of The Goddess and the one who tells and teaches us to trust the Universe.

If you know me, you know the relationship I have with my mother prohibits me from seeing any of that as valid. My mother was not the Goddess. My mother did not teach me to trust the Universe. If anything she taught me it was always out to get me. Her lessons were ones not to connect me to a higher power, but to tear me away from myself. Her goal was to mold my fragile mind into something of her own creation, with her own standard settings. So the idea that my self acceptance depends on healing those wounds is a no go for me. It was that vapid thought that ended my reading of the book.

Not everyone has the same privilege. I feel that is the overall message that is lost in this book. Some of us have no relationships we want to heal, no famous friends to chat with, and no fancy shoes to wear. And that means, we have to forge our own paths in New, I’m sorry, Now Age. Maybe someone us aren’t as material as we thought.

Best of luck to Ms. Warrington on her book and her online magazine. While I may not agree with your book, I respect the hardwork you put in it and in all other facets of your journey. Thank you for the experience.

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Shoes, love, and footwashing.

At the end of last school year, a flyer was sent home with JoBean for a local Back to School Bash. The Bash was being sponsored by several local churches and small businesses. All those who registered and attended would be given a free pair of shoes, free school supplies, and treated to a hot dog dinner. I spent a day or two trying to decide whether to sign up. While sometimes we have financial struggles, we still do okay. I was worried that us signing up might take a spot away from someone who needed it more. I brought the issue up to my sister-in-law, and we discussed how missing out on opportunities because someone might need it more is detrimental. So I went online and sign JoBean up.

It’s been a while since I posted about the kids. As a refresher ,my lovely cast of characters includes:

  • JoBean– 9 year old boywonder. He’s hilarious but often short sighted. He loves video games, especially Minecraft.
  • D-Man- 4 year old gentle giant. He’s quiet and caring, but hates crowds and sharing. He loves everything JoBean loves
  • MarMar- soon to be 3 year old Queen Bee. She is sassy and playful and loves talking to people. She also loves shoes and animals.

School ended and summer began. We did summer things and soon the day of the Bash was upon us. On the drive over to the event, JoBean and I revisited a conversation we had many times before. We discussed how different people believe in different things. We talked about how most people in this area, and America for the most part, are Christians. He, like pretty much the whole of our family, doesn’t identify as such. He talked to me about what he believes in. I talked to him about what I believed in. He talked about how the other kids at school treated him and how sometimes, it wasn’t very nice. We both agreed that being a part of a religion doesn’t make you a good person or make you an asshole. It’s who you are at your core. I also really worked on him to understand how important it is to allow people to believe the way they want . We don’t have to agree on what we believe, but we should allow other people to believe it.

We arrived about 15 minutes before the start of the event. I snagged us a good parking spot and we took our place in line. A light rain began to fall while we waited. It was a nice reprieve from the temperatures we had endured during the summer. When the doors opened, they started allowing groups of fifteen to enter at a time. We were in the third group taken.

We went in and signed the entrance forms and were quickly directed to the shoe room. It was there that things took a turn. This was not just a find your size and style shoe event. It was a huge conference room filled with shoe boxes, sock boxes, and a row of people kneeling in front of wooden chairs washing children’s feet. Apparently something I had skipped in the initial sign up was that a major sponsor of this event was Samaritan’s Feet. Samaritan’s Feet is a Charlotte, NC based charitable organization that, in their words “serves & inspires hope in children by providing shoes as the foundation to a spiritual & healthy life…”. Part of their mission includes washing children’s feet, praying with them, and providing them with well fitting, brand new shoes.

And that’s what they were doing. It was a like a well oiled machine in that room. Some people were running back and forth finding correct sizes. Some people were wrist deep in soapy water, chatting up giggling kids. Others were power walking discarding and refilling bowl after bowl of water as children and their parents shuffled through the line. We collectively were a little taken aback. When it was JoBean’s turn, we, with both Littles in tow, were shown to a chair and met a very excited lady. She politely asked JoBean if he’d like his feet washed to which he politely declined. So instead of that, they spent a minute chatting about what he was looking forward to in the upcoming school year. While he was being fitted for shoes, another lady came over and offered to let the two little ones get shoes as well. I explained that they weren’t registered and wouldn’t be attending school for a while. She patted Miss MarMar on the head and said it didn’t matter and helped me show them to their chairs. While I buzzed around the three of them, I noticed the the lady with JoBean asked if she could pray for him and he said okay. Together they held hands and closed their eyes. I have to admit, even as a Pagan, this made my heart swell. She didn’t pray that he find God or any of the other backhanded prayers you could imagine. She prayed that he have a good year and had help when he needed it. Those prayers were not much different than the ones I had whispered to my own gods for him. After an honest hug which left me a little misty eyed, we collected the Littles and our brand new shoes and moved on to the next station.

There JoBean received a new backpack and a slew of supplies to fill it up. We ended our walk around the school supply rodeo with more hugs and giggles and some major excitement over brand new shoes. According to JoBean, his new shoes were both “boss” and “baller”. The light rain of the morning had turned into a full on summer rain storm, so we skipped the hot dog line and ran to our car. In stark contrast to the clouds in the sky, the spirits of everyone in the car were light and shining. Even after all the overstimulation, everyone was in an upbeat mood. I drove us home were we rushed in out of the rain for lunch.

This event was so important. All the kids had a chance to be exposed to a belief structure that was much different from their own. And it was in a positive way. They were able to see that just because we are different, doesn’t mean we have to be separated. Love is a connective fiber that runs through all of us. When we tap into it, and extend our share to others, the feelings we create are magical. No matter the name, love is magic. And love for our fellow man is the best magic of all.