Leah Farmer

Personal perspectives on faith, literature, and life.

12 Favorite Books: The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

photo-1A woman finds her way to this circle of trees in order to become fully woman, fully herself. But how do you find it? I wondered. Did I begin by creating a container–inner and outer circles of trees–that could hold and nurture me as I began the process of reconnecting to my feminine soul?

I closed my eyes. Yes, I thought. Yes.

Today, more than ever, I’m aware how much a woman needs a container like that. She needs and embracing, open-armed space where she can dissolve, go to seed, and regerminate. A place to be still and tend new roots. She needs a place away from every man-made thing where she can cry, even shout if she wants. In a place like that she can begin to heal what is wounded, recover what is lost. She can remember herself.

I ran my finger around the rim of the circle on the page and prayed my first prayer to a Divine Feminine presence. I said, “Mothergod, I have nothing to hold me. No place to be, inside or out. I ned to find a container of support, a space where my journey can unfold.

This book.

After reading The Secret Life of Bees, I went on a bit of a binge where I bought any book by Sue Monk Kidd. I wasn’t aware when I was doing it that she’d written Christian articles before she’d become a novelist. I picked up a few different books and this one “Dance of the Dissident Daughter” sat on my shelf, unread, for at least two years.

Then I moved to Denver.

All bets were off. I was homesick. Struggling with my faith. Wondering if I’d recover from a lot of church abuse. And really just generally seeking to hear a voice that was going to say something different about the faith study. I needed something new. Something fresh. But also something so old that I knew it had some legs.

This book did that for me. It gave me hope that there was so much more. Her struggle. Her heart. Her desire to know old and ancient stories. It met me where I needed it to meet me. It was a balm for a soul that needed more.  And it helped me think harder. It helped me dig deeper. It helped me find freedom in new thoughts that were outside of the bubble I’d been born, raised, and living in for so long.

(Now I buy used copies every time I see them…and I hand this book out like an offering to women everywhere.) 🙂

1 Comment

  1. Rhesa

    Oh, how i adore this book! For nine years now, it has challenged, guided, annoyed, comforted, and blessed me. Glad to find another sister in this dance!

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