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The Fifth Sacred Thing

af Starhawk

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Serier: Maya Greenwood (1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,0952618,604 (4.11)28
Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. HTML:An epic tale of freedom and slavery, love and war, and the potential futures of humankind tells of a twenty-first century California clan caught between two clashing worlds, one based on tolerance, the other on repression.
Declaration of the Four Sacred Things
The earth is a living, conscious being. In company with cultures of many different times and places, we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water, and earth.
Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and body of the Mother, or as the blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of the interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them.
To call these things sacred is to say that they have a value beyond their usefulness for human ends, that they themselves became the standards by which our acts, our economics, our laws, and our purposes must be judged. no one has the right to appropriate them or profit from them at the expense of others. Any government that fails to protect them forfeits its legitimacy.
All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity.
To honor the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habitat, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. To honor the sacred is to make love possible.
To this we dedicate our curiosity, our will, our courage, our silences, and our voices. To this we dedicate our lives.
Praise for The Fifth Sacred Thing
??This is wisdom wrapped in drama.???Tom Hayden, California state senator
??Starhawk makes the jump to fiction quite smoothly with this memorable first novel.???Locus

??Totally captivating . . . a vision of the paradigm shift that is essential for our very survival as a species on this planet.???Elinor Gadon, author of The Once and Future Goddess

??This strong debut fits well against feminist futuristic, utopic, and dystopic works by the likes of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ursula LeGuin, and Margaret Atwood.?
… (mere)
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» Se også 28 omtaler

Engelsk (25)  Tysk (1)  Alle sprog (26)
Viser 1-5 af 26 (næste | vis alle)
As the cover indicates, hokey at times, but solid post-apocalyptic fare. A little frightening that it was written in 1993 and seems very near to our future. The terror and ugliness was real and hopeless, but the novel finds a way through it which seems…possible if harrowing, and so all in all satisfying to read.
  BookyMaven | Dec 6, 2023 |
This is a dystopian versus utopian novel with a difference because it is not straight science fiction - at least, the story relies upon the use of alternative medicine and manipulation of ch'i/qi, the body's energy field, by people who have psychic abilities. But I decided to treat it as a blend of science fiction and fantasy and just accept it. There is a very serious polemical intent behind this book: it is quite prophetic in its warning - published in the early 1990s it shows a California beset by drought as well as pollution and disease and uses the term 'climate change' in at least one place. But it is also a character driven story.

The story is set in 2048. Twenty years previously the United States of America collapsed and a political regime was set up in the southern part, run by the Stewards, a military tyranny backed by an extreme religious cult, the Millenialists, who teach that at the second coming of Christ, Jesus decided humanity was too sinful to redeem and went away again. They have used this as a justification for an appalling reign of repression and murder in which large numbers of the population are declared souless and are used as breeding animals for racing, sex slaves and war, and the rest are kept in line by rationed access to water and to drugs which are essential to survival against deliberately engineered viruses, though at a cost to the subjects. The regime is white supremacist and misogynistic.

Meanwhile, in San Franscisco and the bay area, an alternative society was created after the people rose up twenty years before and did not allow the Stewards to impose their rule. This has thrived, powered by collective hard work, and has preserved the scarce water and other natural resources, while seeking to develop techniques to clean up the toxins in the environment. The mantra they have developed is that there are five sacred things: earth, air, water, fire and spirit, none of which can be owned by anyone.

Their society is unashamedly utopian in its collectivism, lack of racism/sexism/ageism and other prejudice, and its complete religious tolerance and in fact mingling of religions. There is also not even any serious jealousy arising from a fairly free and easy attitude towards sex with multiple partners of all genders, and apart from a few incorrigibles who are banned to the outskirts to live off wild pigs, everyone is happy to work in return for a share in the food, water and other resources. The arising of psychic powers has also resulted in 'Witches' as they are known: people who can cure by laying on of hands, or who can manipulate electrical devices - even the computers, which are used for specialist tasks, are based on a crystal technology worked by the mind. But everything is not well in 'utopia' for plagues have reduced the population and the suspicion is that these are artificially engineered and originate from the south.

Naturally the Stewards, living in an area baked by heat and lacking in resources - most of the population there has to work for water and drugs to protect them from the same engineered viruses that have been sent north - and feeling the need to assert their authority over 'Witches' and 'devil worshippers' - decides to invade the north. The story therefore is split between the community in the north and the repression in the south, with the south seen first through the eyes of Bird, a San Fransican who was captured and spent ten years in a prison, and then his lover Madrone, a psychic healer who eventually travels there to try to help the meagre resistence movements. Eventually the enemy makes its move, which results in a harrowing portrayal of the attempts by the San Fransicans to resist non violently against murderous tyranny.

The story does become a bit heavy handed at times in the polemic and also the need for one character to explain to another, and hence the reader, what is going on. There is quite a lot of internal dialogue and scenes do feature head hopping between characters. Some readers probably would find the paganism and ecofeminism a bit over emphasised or the same with the group sex and other sexual scenes. There is also quite a bit of violence. But I found it an interesting story even if the characters were sometimes a bit irritating, or the issue of how the north eradicated racism and sexism etc rather glossed over. A solid 4 star read. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
A deeply flawed book that grapples with a lot of interesting questions. Read it with someone who has a different perspective on nonviolence. ( )
  mmparker | Oct 24, 2023 |
A beautiful, surprising, and challenging book; a book where it is difficult to remember whilst reading that magic isn't real and events depicted withing couldn't happen. A book that also shows a glipse of a beautiful future that could be possible! ( )
  elahrairah | Oct 20, 2023 |
Incredible! ( )
  Windyone1 | May 10, 2022 |
Viser 1-5 af 26 (næste | vis alle)
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Fantasy. Fiction. Literature. HTML:An epic tale of freedom and slavery, love and war, and the potential futures of humankind tells of a twenty-first century California clan caught between two clashing worlds, one based on tolerance, the other on repression.
Declaration of the Four Sacred Things
The earth is a living, conscious being. In company with cultures of many different times and places, we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water, and earth.
Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and body of the Mother, or as the blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of the interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them.
To call these things sacred is to say that they have a value beyond their usefulness for human ends, that they themselves became the standards by which our acts, our economics, our laws, and our purposes must be judged. no one has the right to appropriate them or profit from them at the expense of others. Any government that fails to protect them forfeits its legitimacy.
All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity.
To honor the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habitat, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. To honor the sacred is to make love possible.
To this we dedicate our curiosity, our will, our courage, our silences, and our voices. To this we dedicate our lives.
Praise for The Fifth Sacred Thing
??This is wisdom wrapped in drama.???Tom Hayden, California state senator
??Starhawk makes the jump to fiction quite smoothly with this memorable first novel.???Locus

??Totally captivating . . . a vision of the paradigm shift that is essential for our very survival as a species on this planet.???Elinor Gadon, author of The Once and Future Goddess

??This strong debut fits well against feminist futuristic, utopic, and dystopic works by the likes of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ursula LeGuin, and Margaret Atwood.?

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