I love receiving a book in the mail. The minute you open a package, the connection is immediate between you and the sender. I love to examine the front cover, back cover, indexes, resources, contents, forward and prologue, studying the entire piece. I like to get to know the author a bit. Who was the book dedicated to? All these connections going backward and forward. This is exactly what I did when I received this book in my mailbox. To my delight, I found this is the point of Minerva’s Owls by Mary Petiet: connections leading us to the source.
Aesthetically, this is a very pleasing book. The selections of font, paper and artwork are lovely. I especially enjoyed the iconic owl logo printed at the end of each chapter. At 88 pages long, do not let size fool you. This is a beautifully written, rich tapestry that carries one back to the beginning of time. It pleased me to see a chakra and yoga pose reference at the end each chapter. Perfect for a reflective meditation. I thought it would be fun to approach each chapter as a “mini-retreat”.
In Chapter 1, we begin our journey by understanding the definition of “source” and its relationship to the female archetype. On page 9, Ms. Petiet states, “We know we are at source when we can hear our intuition and operate from a position of love.” Imagine reaching back through all the connections you make each day. Now, keep connecting back, further back. When you finally engage with source, you have reached the position of love.
The concept of Minerva’s Owls stems from a quote by German philosopher, Georg Wilhelm Fredrich Hegel, (1770-1831), stating that, “the owls of Minerva fly at dusk“. Interpreted as meaning “an era cannot be defined until it has passed” on page 3, we cannot look back until we have moved forward. Minerva’s Owls are three archetypes that lead us back: Great Mother/source, Sun deity/light, Sacrificial God/energy. Backing up these concepts are centuries of myth, legend and art, which Ms. Petiet does a wonderful job of condensing into a magnificent journey across all of humanity and beyond. Finally, source is tied together with the root chakra, Muladhara, and Mountain pose. By taking Mountain Pose, grounding my feet into the floor, I was able to feel rooted and ready to contemplate the chapter.
Chapter 2 demonstrates the severance and disconnect we feel from society and each other. In some ways, our connections to each other have been accentuated and accelerated by technology and the Internet, but at what cost? Using Edvard Munch’s painting, “The Scream” as an example of the potential hell caused by our disconnect, on page 20, Ms. Petiet says, “Munch’s figure is screaming its spiritual fragmentation to the universe at such volume it must cover its own ears, yet no one seems to hear“. I felt this sentence. Because there are images of all the art and artifacts discussed in the book, I was able to look into the face of Munch’s poor human. Such despair.
The chapter goes into further elaboration on the masculine archetypes and sun deities. On page 29, she states, “The five senses are the masculine essence…“, and continues to show how when we as humans are distracted by unnecessary use of our senses for pursuits other than survival, we cease to connect with our deeper selves. Therefore, one needs to balance externals and internals, masculine and feminine, yin and yang. I finished this chapter with further reflection on the sacral chakra, Swadhisthana, while in a low tree pose.
Subsequent chapters continue to follow Minerva’s Owls back though time, through the rise and fall of goddesses and gods, great religions, civilizations and humans much like us on the endless quest to our source. As I meditated on the expanse of information provided in these 88 pages, I marveled at how complex, yet so simple this journey is. I appreciated Ms. Petiet’s attention to both Eastern and Western religions. Personally, I enjoyed her reflections on Jesus and the place Christianity holds in our human quest for truth. Minerva’s Owls connects all of us, regardless of religion, throughout time. On page 83, Ms. Petiet states, “The divine feminine is awakening with the water-bearer.” We are leaving the Age of Pisces and the patriarchal dominance reflected in Christianity and other prominent organized religions. The Great Mother awaits us in the Age of Aquarius, that we are now coming into, and we only need to follow the Owls.
Over the course of seven days, I spent time really sitting down with each chapter. I took notes, reminded myself of the color connections of each chakra, contemplated the art and finally, made a nice yoga sequence utilizing all the poses from the end of each chapter. As a long-time yogini, I really enjoyed Mary’s reflections on how yoga changed her perspective and helped her through difficult issues. I have never been closer to source than on my yoga mat, although I am still so very much a novice. This one small book provided so much basis for truth, but also gave me a nice overview across centuries of study. I will enjoy keeping this on my bookshelf for future reference.
I also listened to one of Ms. Petiet’s podcasts on her website and found her to be an enjoyable interviewer as well.
Mary Petiet is also a contributor for MotherHouse – you can read her posts here