Book Review: “Legendary Ladies” by Ann Shen

I recently added a new book to my collection called “Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You.” It goes over many famous goddesses from mythologies of all origins. Each goddess comes with a synopsis that includes her story, her characteristics, and what she represents. It also has beautiful illustrations. These ladies are categorized into specific themes: creativity & manifestation, love, power, protection, and reinvention.

Studying the famous women from ancient mythology can give females a sense of empowerment, observing the value of the divine feminine that our patriarchal society suppresses. It is a wonder that these stories have survived throughout the ages, stories that acknowledge that both men and women are powerful creatures and how masculine cannot exist without the feminine. In our current age, many people think of it as “taboo” for a woman to have any sort of power or respect — because these are supposedly “masculine traits.” Just recently in the past few decades have women been able to reclaim equality, however if you go way, way back in history you will understand how much of an impact the feminine spirit made before suffering through oppression.

Here are some of my favorite goddesses from this book:

  • Athena — Greek goddess of wisdom, arts, and war. She is the triple threat. Her story explains why an olive branch is representative of a peace offering. Call on her to strategize winning a battle.
  • Ran — Norse goddess of the sea. This goddess is a MERMAID! Sailors kept gold in their pockets for protection so that she would steal their gold instead of their souls.
  • Spider Woman — Native American grandmother whose real name is too sacred to reveal. She created the directions north, south, east, and west by spinning a web and connecting everything together.
  • Aphrodite — Greek goddess of love, possibly one of the most well-known to this day. She was born from sea foam and rose out of a shell (as portrayed in many famous artworks.) She had many lovers including Ares, the god of war, who enviously struck down Adonis — a mortal who she fell for. Sympathizing, Zeus allowed Adonis to live half his time on Earth with Aphrodite and the other half in the Underworld.
  • Freya — Norse goddess of love and death. She rides around on a chariot pulled by CATS! She is very beautiful, lusts after pleasure, and once prostituted herself to four dwarves in exchange for an amber necklace. She represents ambition and determination.
  • Isis — Egyptian goddess of magic. Her great generosity and desire to help others is shown through her stories of teaching humans how to make bread and use plants medicinally. She was able to perform miracles by healing the sick and giving fertility. Her most famous story is the one of Isis & Osiris: jealous Set murdered Osiris and cut his body into several pieces. Distraught, Isis transformed into a falcon and was able to find every piece expect one very important part that she had to form herself with gold. With her magical abilities she was able to breathe him back to life.
  • Laka — Hawaiian goddess of love and wilderness. She invented the hula dance and also invented a way of telling stories through dance. Rain is very sacred to this goddess, as the god Lono united with her in the form of a rainbow.
  • Artemis — Greek goddess of the hunt, wilderness, and moon. She is strong and independent.
  • Kali — Hindu goddess of destruction. She represents time, darkness, and uncontrollable chaos. Seemingly scary and intimidating at first, she is not “bad” at all, but misunderstood. Kali transcends fear by facing it head-on.
  • Bast (or Bastet) — Egyptian cat goddess. She is ruler of magic, pleasure, and intimacy. She adores laughter and uses humor to grieve and heal.

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