This is a book I am reviewing as a part of the Speakeasy community. With Speakeasy, you can choose spiritual or progressive Christian books to keep, as long as you review them within a month of receiving. I am terrible at reviewing them within a month and am quite glad that Mike Morrell still lets me stay in the Speakeasy community. I do love free books and while I do not love every single book that I order, I am getting better at picking out books that jive with my personal style and taste. This book, Birthing The Holy: Wisdom from Mary to Nurture Creativity and Renewal, by Christine Valters Paintner, is one book that I absolutely fell in love with! I have been posting quotes from it on my personal Facebook page and will continue to do so for a while. I underlined so many passages in this beautiful and moving work.
Paintner is a really interesting person! I encourage you to check out her website. She writes as a contemplative, mystical Catholic who has much to teach us about the divine feminine, Jungian philosophy, and the importance of beauty. Her work is not just for those who identify as Catholic and not even just for those that identify as Christian. It is for those who want to explore the image of Mary in a contemplative way. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is an important figure to all people who study the spiritual realm. She has much to teach us about grief, love, joy, trauma, creativity, and so much more. Each chapter explores a different name for Mary, well-known and obscure, and is accompanied with a beautiful and thought-provoking block print art made by artist Kreg Yingst. After checking out both artists's websites, I have fallen in love with both Paintner and Yingst. They are both artists in multiple mediums and I now am interested in all of their offerings and art! At the end of this post, I will share a bunch of links. I thought writing this post would not take long at all, but it has taken me almost all day because I have had such fun looking at their artwork and offerings! I have used some of Paintner's quotes as part of some of the wellness activities I facilitate-I would love to do a more in-depth study of her book with a small group one day.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
Underneath all these voices, there is a deeper and wiser voice, which is the Self.
If I come knowing what I want to say, I leave no room for inspiration to enter in.
Mary invites us to consider how we might best nurture ourselves into the wholeness we already are and wait with patient attentiveness for the signs of new life.
We are invited to say yes to holy birthing, the way Mary herself did.
The divine unfolding is dependent upon Mary's full yes. Contemplative teacher Cynthia Bourgeault highlights that, in this moment, it is God who waits upon Mary.
See how your whole life is a threshold and invitation to say yes to enter into holy mystery. Ask for the wisdom to see heaven shimmering everywhere.
Abbey of the Arts (The author's website)
Kreg Yingst (The artist's main website; below are his two Etsy sites)