cover image The Body Sacred

The Body Sacred

Dianne Sylvan, . . Llewellyn, $14.95 (287pp) ISBN 978-0-7387-0761-7

Americans are not just engaged in wars on terror and drugs, says Wiccan priestess Sylvan. We are also waging a war against our bodies, trying to prevent our breasts from sagging, our faces from wrinkling and our buns from expanding. Sylvan, a self-proclaimed fattie, has had enough. Marrying cultural critique with user-friendly how-to, she urges readers to reject society's insistence that they spend countless hours and billions of dollars trying to look thin and youthful. Rather, says Sylvan, women should embrace their bodies for what they are—incarnations of the Goddess. Above all, this book is practical. Sylvan suggests exercises and rituals designed to help readers live more comfortably in their own skins: envision five women who hate their bodies, and then note that these women probably look perfectly fine; meditate on Artemis, the divine huntress, an "intensely physical goddess"; tape a copy of Maya Angelou's poem "Phenomenal Woman" to the mirror; dance or take up tai chi. What distinguishes this book more than anything is Sylvan's sense of humor—she's tackling a serious topic, but she'll have readers laughing from page one. Pull-out quotes in the margins offer inspiring wisdom from women ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt to Alanis Morissette. (Oct.)