“In this wonderful novel, Zaia, a beautiful young temple dancer, came to me in a Breathwork session many years ago. I had no plans to write such a book until, at the end of the session, behind my closed eyelids, I saw this Dancer standing in the archway of a Temple in her magnificent Dance garb. She seemed to beckon me into that Temple and that world. Quickly acquiring a name, a family, a story, she lured me into her life and into the world of the Goddess.
In spite of her mother’s strong objections, as a young girl Zaia goes to the Temple to learn sacred Dance. She becomes one of the Temple’s best Dancers and takes a pledge to go on the road for five years, walking from place to place, Dancing in villages too small to have a temple and a Dance troupe of their own.
I have enjoyed the journey that Zaia has taken me on; and it feels as if she took me rather than the other way around. Once her training is over and she starts her travels, each chapter is a new place, a new Dance, and a new adventure. The people in the little towns and villages where she Dances welcome her joyously. While she is Dancing for them she is a living embodiment of the Goddess in their midst.
But not everyone she encounters in her travels is so pleased with her. Men from the patriarchal cultures to the north see a woman traveling alone as a challenge to everything they believe, and they confront her on the road. She is witness to the very beginning of the invasions from the north, invasions that will eventually shatter her world as well as shape ours – and that will force her to find new ways to survive.
This is not an academic treatise on certain Goddesses from certain areas. Rather it is as if you have been snatched out of your own time and plunged back into the Goddess world – full of beauty, surprises, and dangers – with Zaia as your guide.”
Author Diana Rivers is a Lambda Literary Awards finalist and a winner of the Golden Crown Literary Award for Speculative Fiction. Diana is also author of the seven novel Hadra Series. You can read about Diana in this entry from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.
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Photo Credits used with permission: Book Cover Art work by Cedar Kindy, photo: Diana Rivers.