Book Review: The Body Sacred


Two years ago, I started a journey of exercise and healthy eating. At that time in my life I was 200lb and I was loving my body for the first time in my life. I was “fat” but that was okay with me, I felt sexy, I felt like I was beautiful just the way I was, but I realized that my lack of exercise and unhealthy eating was not being good to this body that I loved. So I made a change and I ended up losing 70lb altogether. After that transformation, you’d think I’d feel proud of myself, pleased with my body, and accomplished. That all of that love I’d felt for my body at 200lbs would be magnified at 130lbs.

Truthfully, I despised my body. I felt like I looked hideous.

When you first start losing weight the praise is wonderful. You get so many people telling you how great you look and then slowly the comments become less positive. You hear things like “You’re wasting away to nothing.” “Do I need to buy you a cheeseburger?” “You’re turning into skin and bones.” Not to mention the comments about how you MUST be starving yourself or vomiting up your meals.

It’s terrible. It’s crushing. It’s a sledge hammer to your self-esteem.

It made me feel ashamed. It made me hate my body, and it made me want to eat, eat, eat, and gain the weight back so that people would just be quiet. I started wearing the clothes I used to wear when I was heavier so that it was harder to see my weight loss.

When I was 200lb no one said things like “You’re so fat you need to stop eating.” “You’re looking especially heavy today.” “Do I need to buy you a muzzle so you stop eating?”

It’s not okay to make negative comments about other people’s weight no matter WHAT size they are. I’m not saying you can’t be concerned if someone is being unhealthy, but when you are talking about how someone looks, be kind. Always be kind. Something that you mean as a joke can be hurtful.

The book The Body Sacred by Dianne Sylvan helped me start to accept my body. This book will help you feel good about your body regardless of what size you are, and that’s the point! There are so many things that I love about this book. It challenges your ideas about body-image, society’s image of what the “perfect” female body looks like, and your relationship with food. Even if you don’t agree with some of the things Sylvan writes (there were a few things I didn’t) it allows you to figure out what you do believe.

This book is 287 pages of awesome. There is heartfelt wisdom, thought-provoking exercises, rituals, and meditations that will help you come to a place of body-acceptance.

“There will come a moment when you must decide whether to continue hating your body and allowing others to decide your beauty, or to step up and claim the sacredness that is rightfully yours as a daughter of the Goddess. Perhaps you will find that moment while reading this book; perhaps you won’t be ready until after the last page; perhaps you’re starting at that moment now.”  The Body Sacred – Dianne Sylvan, page 60.

That paragraph is right before a ritual that I have marked with a star-shaped post-it note and I think it was a turning point for me. It is a choice to feel bad about your body and it is also a choice not to. The ritual has you consecrate and bless your body, and with tears streaming down my face, I felt so much power in my body at that moment. I began to realize that I was Divine. I realized that my body was made from God and God is beautiful.

The body sacred is beautiful.

There are six main sections in this book and I thought I’d outline them a little bit for you.

The Reflection: This is all about getting into the correct head-space. Looking at yourself and seeing who you really are and becoming comfortable with your body. Acknowledging that the media is not truth and does not speak for you.

The Mother: is about nurturing yourself and your body. Pampering yourself and taking time for you. There’s also a significant section about eating and how to have a better relationship with food.

The Healer: allows you to acknowledge the health of your body. It suggests things you can do to be healthy – breathing, grounding, getting in touch with your chakras, meditation, and healing yourself.

The Lover: A juicy section about getting in touch with your sexuality which is a big one! When we feel bad about our bodies our sexuality is something that suffers. Embrace how sexy you are and love your body, literally!

The Dancer: This was probably one of my favorite sections and it’s about moving your body. Movement can be healing, it can connect you with the Divine, and it’s good for you. Sylvan gives great suggestions on how to get moving even if you’re not into the exercise thing and she suggests GREAT music. This introduced me to one of my all-time favorite artists, Krishna Das.

The Crone: This section is all about the wisdom and cycles of our bodies. There’s a lot of wonderful knowledge about celebrating menstruation.

So all in all, an extremely well put together book, and one you should definitely have on your bookshelves. It is one of my favorites and combines all of the things I love. Self-love, magic, and wisdom. So let’s say yes to loving who we are, how we are.

You are gorgeous and magical just the way you are.

  • Wow Dominee, thanks for opening your heart and sharing. I'm on my own selflove/selfcare journey and I believe I will be reading this book as well.

  • Melissa

    Oh, Dominee *tears* such a powerful post my dear. I am currently having a love affair with my body and this book seems like some good medicine for me! Thank you for sharing, thank you for loving you- it inspires me so!

    Hugs!
    Melissa

  • This is one of my favourite books of all time, and I recommend it to anyone who even breathes a word of wanting to stop hating their body or wanting to learn new ways to love themselves. I've read it once a year since it came out (about time for it now, in fact), and I always get something new from it. Like you, I picked it up in a time I really hated myself and my body; I'd read Circle Within and was fascinated by the idea of a Pagan body-positive book. Sylvan totally blew my freaking mind. My copy is dog-eared, highlighted, and underlined – something I've only ever done to textbooks. Thank you so much for writing this amazing review and getting the word out to even more people about this fantastic resource.

  • This book sounds Divine, I'm going to check it out RIGHT NOW *wooshing away*

  • I think I need to order this book… 🙂
    Thanks for the review!

  • So powerful to hear women speak their truth. And it is so obvious that you are doing your healing work. Blessings on your journey.

  • I think I need to order this book too. Great review!

  • WOW. Thank you for writing about this and I MUST MUST MUST read this book.

    You raise such an important point – in all the ways that our society glorifies losing weight, we tend to totally skip over the fact that the weight loss process can put us through the emotional ringer. It just feels so damn vulnerable.

  • Renee

    I own this and Dianne lives here so I took classes from her — she has this amazing book and The Circle Within, both of which are among my most favorite books ever written!