Review of “Wild Mercy” by Mirabai Starr

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Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics

Mirabai Starr’s new book, reviewed by Maggie Caffery

Mirabai Starr’s latest book brings us unflinchingly and inspiringly into the heart of our humanity. Her poetic prose infuses her writing with the feminine mysticism she so lovingly reveals. In incident after incident we become filled with the apparentness of sacred and human co-mingling. We see our lives in her telling, like an internal holy embrace that ignites our own fires of compassion and love. We come face to face with grief, abandonment, death, pain and illness—and are somehow better equipped to recognize and accept the human emotions that ensue.  

Mirabai’s stories offer the inclusion and spaciousness to transmute sadness, terror, rage, anger and despair, by offering a refuge of safety, through terms like, The Holy Land of Mourning, Dancing with the Dead, The Poetry of Emptiness, Reclaim Longing, Treasure Yourself, Holy Desire. Each story expresses an expansion of perception, coming from divine wisdom, offering tenderness and kindness.

Mirabai’s inclusiveness shines as she embraces a myriad of spiritual traditions. She invites the reader to partake of a feast of feminine mystics from Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Native American traditions, Mesoamerican traditions, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Sufism and more. She illuminates innumerable feminine teachings in the form of her beloved friends and family members, as she further shows us how the heart of pain, through loss, relationship, illness or family conflict, can connect us deeply with the sacred.  

Wild Mercy speaks in “the language of love,” and how better to illustrate that love than by gathering these many mystical spiritual traditions together. Each one is a pearl, showing our connectedness through the thread of love and belonging that holds us individually and collectively together. As Mirabai says, this belonging is our birthright.

Wild Mercy is published on April 2, 2019, by Sounds True.

Mirabai Starr writes creative non-fiction and contemporary translations of sacred literature. She taught Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos for 20 years and now teaches and speaks internationally on contemplative practice and inter-spiritual dialog. A certified bereavement counselor, Mirabai helps mourners harness the transformational power of loss. She has received critical acclaim for her revolutionary new translations of the mystics, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich. She lives with her extended family in the mountains of northern New Mexico.


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