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Lord of Light & Shadow: The Many Faces of the God [Paperback]

D.J. Conway
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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I was hesitant to explore this book for fear that I would find another text that falls prey to stereotypical constructions of male deities in orthodox religions, but positive experiences with D. J. Conway's other books spurred me on. I'm glad I didn't pass it up. Conway makes a courageous move, breaking down misconceptions shrouding the true nature of the ancient pagan god, and revealing the importance of balancing the aspects of the Goddess with those of her companion. If you're hesitant to embrace the male aspects of paganism, this book may change your mind and open the door to a balanced and complete spiritual growth.

Book Description

Those interested in the history of myth and religion may be interested in this examination of the roots of the modern patriarchal religions. It claims they often lie in the older myths of multi-faceted pagan gods. Arguing that the modern orthodox God is an echo of the original pagan god - who may be found in Celtic, Greek, Tibetan and other beliefs - D.J. Conway provides examples of older myths that have survived under the sheen of a modern religion. Perhaps most notable of these is the story of Christ's birth. Clues are given to help the reader find traces of these myths in modern scriptures, to find hidden stories of that original archetypal pagan entity - the "Lord of Light and Shadow".

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is not a trivial, "new age", potboiler- it is a book of deep spirituality. Conway has succeeded in showing the proper, traditional interrelation of Goddess and God. Of course, she also points out the patriarchal distortion of the male and female roles in the mainstream Western religions, which no doubt explains the attacks she has drawn from both Fundamentalists and academics that reject the whole matriarchal/patriarchal approach to history. It should be noted that Joseph Campbell raised the same points about western distortion and imbalance in religion.
I cannot think of a better book for focusing on the natural balance of male-female energies in the universe. Conway shows that the true, original God was a complex deity, as opposed to the sterile, one-sided, authoritarian idol that was erected in his place. The original God is examined in all of his aspects: divine child, lover and consort, lord of creation, lord of the forest, hero and warrior, trickster, judge, lord of the waters, etc. The examination of his role as sacrificed savior (long before Christianity) is especially interesting. It is enlightening to find that the concept of double birth is symbolized in Dionysus. He who seeks and finds a true spiritual path is granted a second birth- or is "born again." These are not separate, distinct, non-overlapping aspects of different "gods", but are all aspects of the one. Indeed, it is shown that even in individual human beings, not only do we all contain these various aspects, but we also contain all the various aspects of God AND Goddess, for each person is fundamentally both male and female to some extent.
As for accusations of errors in the supplemental appendix', anyone can use a bad source now and then. Agrippa's three books are full of such errors, yet no one dismisses them. Just take a look at the excellent and extensive bibliography- Conway is a true scholar of understanding and depth.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maybe inaccurate, but worthwhile July 1 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
A friend gave me this book and I'm glad she did. I don't know if the specifics are inaccurate or not (as other reviews have mentioned), and to be perfectly honest, I don't really care. For me, this book was a chance to look at masculine Divinity without instintively associating it with christianity. I was raised catholic and every time I saw the word "God", it brought to mind all of the negative things I associated with christianity (disregard of women, Spanish Inquisition, etc.). But this book finally allowed me to view christianity in the context of other spiritual paths and realize that it no longer has any power over me. It's simply a path that isn't right for me. In my opinion, this book is interesting, thought-provoking, and a good place to start becoming more familiar with the masculine Divine, despite any inaccuracies that exist. It can inspire you to delve deeper into the areas that interest you and hopefully discover your own truths.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God/Goddess- balanced and blended in Man and Universe July 3 2004
By OAKSHAMAN - Published on Amazon.com
This is not a trivial, "new age", potboiler- it is a book of deep spirituality. Conway has succeeded in showing the proper, traditional interrelation of Goddess and God. Of course, she also points out the patriarchal distortion of the male and female roles in the mainstream Western religions, which no doubt explains the attacks she has drawn from both Fundamentalists and academics that reject the whole matriarchal/patriarchal approach to history. It should be noted that Joseph Campbell raised the same points about western distortion and imbalance in religion.
I cannot think of a better book for focusing on the natural balance of male-female energies in the universe. Conway shows that the true, original God was a complex deity, as opposed to the sterile, one-sided, authoritarian idol that was erected in his place. The original God is examined in all of his aspects: divine child, lover and consort, lord of creation, lord of the forest, hero and warrior, trickster, judge, lord of the waters, etc. The examination of his role as sacrificed savior (long before Christianity) is especially interesting. It is enlightening to find that the concept of double birth is symbolized in Dionysus. He who seeks and finds a true spiritual path is granted a second birth- or is "born again." These are not separate, distinct, non-overlapping aspects of different "gods", but are all aspects of the one. Indeed, it is shown that even in individual human beings, not only do we all contain these various aspects, but we also contain all the various aspects of God AND Goddess, for each person is fundamentally both male and female to some extent.
As for accusations of errors in the supplemental appendix', anyone can use a bad source now and then. Agrippa's three books are full of such errors, yet no one dismisses them. Just take a look at the excellent and extensive bibliography- Conway is a true scholar of understanding and depth.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D.J. Conway does it again! May 1 2000
By Carol Klavon - Published on Amazon.com
I have two books by this author, the other being "By Oak, Ash, & Thorn," and I must say, I found both of these books to be quite thorough and extremely accurate. "Lord of Light & Shadow" is a must-read for those Pagans who have long shied away from the male aspect of the Old Religion. You will be delightfully surprised...I know I was.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'm my own Grandpa Sept. 5 2000
By Pagan Vixen - Published on Amazon.com
I, too, was very excited to see this book title. There is indeed a dearth of good pagan books about the god aspect. Hopefully, this is something that will change in the future. I totally agree that we are in desperate need of books on the masculine divine. That does not mean we should just meekly accept whatever dross is shoved our way with the title "Men's spirituality" stamped on it.
I don't know if choppy quite covers some of Conway's scholarship in this book. I was frankly surprised as I have read other books by DJ Conway that are positively excellent. I hope this is the exception to her work. A few of the problems I encountered were the following: poor scholarship of pantheons, the throwing in of various deities at the end of chapters with the acknowledgement of a sentence and the reference to some gods as "evil."
As to the poor scholarship of various pantheons, let us look at page 49 where she is discussing Middle Eastern pantheons. I would like to note here that Sinn/Nanna or Nannar is the Mesopotamian God of the Moon. Sinn is Assyro-Babylonian and Nanna or Nannar is Sumerian. Inanna/Ishtar is the Mesopotamian Goddess of the Morning and Evening Star(Venus). She is also a Goddess of fertility and sex. Inanna is Sumerian and Ishtar is Assyro-Babylonian. Finally Shamash is the Mesopotamian Sun God. Shamash is Assyro-Babylonian. His Sumerian counterpart is Utu. Okay then let's look at page 49: "Sinn...said to have been born to Inanna or Nanna, Queen of Heaven.[how can Sinn be born to his Sumerian self(Nanna)???]Sinn was the father of the Sun God Shamash and the Goddess Ishtar.[How can he be the father of his own mother???]" This sort of sloppy scholarship is found throughout the book. It was very frustrating and really annoyed me the more I read.
I gave this book two stars because it is about the Masculine Face of God which is a subject much neglected in modern paganism. Hopefully, we will someday have a better selection of books.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Male path April 30 2000
By Thiago Fernandes de Moraes - Published on Amazon.com
When I saw this book title I kind could not believe. We're always reading about the path, female witches, the Goddess, and it's hard to find some information about the God and "male Witchcraft". Some books and people do not recognize God's value and importance... D.J.Conway's LORD OF LIGH AND SHADOW give us a lot of legends, histories and Story about Goddess' son and lover, and make us see a side of the Craft that have been denied: male's. Both man and woman are extremly important in Witch's cult...their rites and their "ways" could be (and are) diferent, but if we do not see that the Masculine is as sacred as the Feminine, we'll never be able to understand the paganism. LORD OF LIGH AND SHADOWS can help both men and women that are searching for information and culture, and give male witches the support that have being missed in pagan literature.
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