Every now and then I read an out-of-print book and wonder why it's out-of-print. The SILVER WHEEL by Marguerite Elsbeth and Kenneth Johnson is just such a book. I can't believe the content of SW is so esoteric most women won't understand it. Maybe it didn't get enough publicity when it was released to keep it in print or maybe those "really important" critics writing for mainstream news organizations ignored it thinking it was some kind of new age arcane book at best or "silly" feminist stuff at worst. If you read Marion Zimmer Bradley's THE MISTS OF AVALON, or if you're fascinated with Joseph Campbell's works, or if you consider yourself a fan of Jung, or if you are working a 12-step program, or all or none of the above, but are fascinated with the relevance of mythology for our "modern" age don't miss this book.
The authors, provide a test in the early pages (similar to the Myers-Briggs personality test) to help a woman determine her location in the process of finding the self (growing self awareness). Unlike the MB, however (which is often misused), this test does not pigeonhole you into a type, but rather helps you get in touch with your current phase of development.
Elsbeth and Johnson present a paradigm consisting of four phases: Queen, Sorceress, Woman Warrior, Lover. During the course of her lifetime, a woman experiences each of these aspects but not all women experience all aspects in the same order, with one exception, the Sorceress is the final phase. Although she experiences the phases of growth at different times in her life, one facet will be more dominant than the others at each point through life. You can probably work out the order of dominance for your own life. Perhaps you became a Queen (mother), divorced and became a Lover, then became single again and a Warrior Woman who earned her daily bread and protected her kids.
The end game of every life is to become the Sorceress (the male equivalent is the Shaman). Sooner or later, you will become a Sorceress because you are going to die. Only the Sorceress, Shamaness, or Saint, is capable of a mystical union with a higher self.
The authors make connections between the Celtic world view and the views of Zen Buddists, American Indians (North and South), the Kabbala, and other Indo-European mystical practices. The metaphors and myths of the Mabinogion presented by Elsbeth and Johnson can work to heal your life. I found many similarities between SW and ANATOMY OF THE SPIRIT by Caroline Myss, and I liked the SW much better. If you are pursuing the path of healing knowledge, this book can provide you with wonderful insights.
This is a book for every woman who feels that part of her soul has been lost in the tribulations of life. For every woman who seeks a significant other to "complete" her, for every woman who feels the need to live vicariously through her children, and for every woman who feels like she is "asleep" as she goes about her daily life, PLEASE read this book.
Following the myth of Rhiannon as an outline, Elsbeth and Johnson lead the reader through a story of a woman coming into her power. Every woman has felt that she was forced to give up some precious part of herself at some point; that feeling of incompleteness can simmer and seethe, leading to depression, neurosis, or violence when she finally "snaps". Or, the woman can look deep within herself, face some tough questions, and come to realize that her "self" was never lost at all, and can be awakened through meditation and dreams. The meditations presented here are useful, but simply reading the text _without_ doing any of the meditations can be invaluable. This is a book of empowerment. Read it, and realize that you are complete in yourself--and in your new-found self-esteem, you won't need anyone else to complete you. And when you don't _need_ others, then you are truly free to _love_ them as people.
The use of the Celtic myths as a metaphor for the journey will draw in a crowd of mainly Pagan women, but any woman can benefit from this book. Read it, and find your power.