Kissing The Hag: Book Review

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Kissing the Hag: The Dark Goddess and The Unacceptable Nature of Women
By Emma Restall Orr 2009

Kissing The Hag

Often books come into my life when they are needed, and other times I by a book and it takes me several months or years before they get read.  This one is a little of both, I knew of its existence,   when it was first published back in 2009 but never really felt the need to buy it until recently and it is one that I pretty much started to read straight out of the box.

This book is not a how to book, nor does it have rituals, rites, spells or seasonal correspondences, and despite its content and title with the Dark Goddess in it, is not strictly a pagan book either, but then it also is. ..  given that it is written by a practicing druid priestess.   I am also reluctant to call this a self-help book, as it is not telling you that you are broken so much as helping you to more fully experience the different aspects of who you are, as a woman.

This book is about the often unspoken aspects of woman’s nature both the powerful and dangerous sides to the often unacceptable nature of women.  Emma writes about these unacceptable natures in the form of Dark Goddesses, I guess you could class them all as Hags in one form or another.  Emma also uses coarse language in places, using it as an effective tool to get you away from your indoctrinated thinking, and start thinking about difficult topics from a completely different angle.

I have to admit that when I first started reading this book, I was several pages in when I stopped and asked. “ What the blazes is this weird incomprehensible drivel?” however after a few more pages I was beginning to understand that it was not incomprehensible drivel but rather, it is more theological psychological and spiritual in nature.  Emma writes about concepts that will both enlighten and challenge how as a women you understand yourself, and I suspect as a man how you perceive and understand women.  She also writes about  The Bad and The Ugly as society has taught us it is, and how confidence, power and sense of self can be found within the different aspects of these various Dark Goddess types, which are so often seen as The Bad and The Ugly, so to speak.

The Blood, The Virgin, The Whore, The Mother, The Bitch, The Witch, The Old Bag and The Hag these Goddesses of both Light and Dark, as they have aspects of both can been seen in each of us as we go from birth, living, and on towards Death.  Emma posits that they are not always tied up with ageing as we can be pretty much any of them, but she also posits that they do represent women as we do age.

All in all I am very glad that I stuck with this book and have read it, it has certainly been timely, and has given me some spot on concepts and understandings to work through in my own life. I want to recommend this book for all women, but also for pretty much all genders.  I also want to say that it is not a book that should be read quickly, as it can take some time and quiet contemplation to unravel each sections meaning and how that relates to you.  And another  thought, I wonder how a trans-woman would find this, if it would be useful in opening them up more fully to being a woman, embodying the various goddesses both dark and light?

So no this is not a heavy magical occult tome, but it is magical and has an energy that challenges but also comforts.  Kissing The Hag  is a book that will make you think.  It is a book that will confuse you in places and it is a book that will definitely challenge you in interesting and somewhat unusual ways.  Part of me wants to say not for the faint at heart, but you know what, if you are faint at heart, read this book because it will help you understand how to be strong of heart.

I give this book 4 cups of tea out of 5

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Emma’s Website  Druidnetwork Bio   Book Depository


7 thoughts on “Kissing The Hag: Book Review

  1. Sounds like an interesting read, so often books tend to shy away from the dark side of the self though we all have one, I am all for a book that points out a strength and courage too often women slip into the role of victim or believe themselves weak, I will have to pick up a few copies for some friends.


    1. yeah this book didn’t shy away from the dark side.. actually much of it was about that ‘dark’ side, and nature of women.. which was a eye opener to a degree but in a good way. *ponders this*.. 🙂


  2. I like this book too, read it a couple of years ago. It’s nice to read a non preachy book too, especially on this subject where you can get lots of the ‘how to self help’ style ones which half the time seem to be just Wicca based, it can be quite hard to find non Wiccan books in book shops.

    Enjoyed reading your review


    1. Thank you !! *beams* and yes it can be difficult to find good pagan spiritual books that are not full of fluff, or overly complicated, i find grimores overly complicated.. but slowly good non fluffy and non over complicated books are coming out.. hooray!


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