Pagan and the Pit(bulls)

The political musings of a Pagan and her dogs.

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Influential Books: The Body Sacred


CONTENT NOTE: body dysphoria, eating disorders


In high school, I was taken to visit an elderly aunt in Cleveland, Ohio. I don’t remember what my family was doing, but I snuck out to the library saying that I had to  “work on homework”. I didn’t actually work on homework, and my grades can prove it. I sat in a room with the zodiac on the ceiling and plowed through several books on magic and paganism. I couldn’t get any of them at home, it was a troubled time and my first book of shadows was found and thrown out by my mother, so I devoured them in a library several states away from where I lived.

I had a lot of body image issues in high school. Deep in my black heart, I wanted to be thin. I wanted to not eat, but I liked food too much. I would go long stretches where I would only eat orange juice and rice krispies for lunch, and binge on good food when I got it or eat when someone was watching. I was a size double zero for a while, and I felt great. Except the problem with not eating, is it feels like you’re not eating. On this particular day, I had actually eaten breakfast of luxurious honey nut cheerios. And I was wrestling with the guilt when I read The Body Sacred by Dianne Sylvan.

At one point in the book, Sylvan explains why loving your body is a radical act of magick. She goes into detail about how amazing the body is, just in its everyday functioning. High on sugar and carbs, I had to take a moment to digest what I just read. I looked up at the ceiling and saw the Virgo with sheaves of grain. I almost broke down and cried.

That day I started to learn to love my body and see it as a magickal thing I could love and adore. It’s a (slow) work in progress, and on my fat days, I re-read the book. It’s not a huge dramatic story, and it’s not a philosophical or technical book. But I can’t avoid how The Body Sacred let me see my body as something amazing and worthy of love and magick. It was a hugely magickal gift, and one I have to be thankful for.