Book Review: The Way of the Rose

The Radical Path of the Divine Feminine Hidden in the Rosary

by Clark Strand and Perdita FinnSPIEGEL & GRAU
reviewed by Kathryn Drury Wagner
The Way of the Rose book cover

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You might expect a book about the rosary and Marian apparitions to be written by strict Catholics for a strict Catholic audience. Authors Clark Strand and Perdita Finn are, however, a former Zen Buddhist monk and a feminist former teacher, respectively, and they were surprised to be called toward the rosary. As they share in The Way of the Rose, they’ve found that using the rosary and its prayers is a way to intimately and serenely connect with a Divine Mother/ Goddess, with our planet, and with their own lives.

The book delves into the history of using the rosary for spiritual practice and how prayer beads are part of many religious traditions worldwide. It also celebrates the return of the divine female, who is more important now than ever during our tumultuous era of climate change and uncertainty.

Both Mary/the divine feminine and the rosary have been regulated, controlled, and restricted by the Church over the years. Yet the rosary is surprisingly accessible, Strand and Finn show, and actually encourages self-expression. “Can I add the Buddhist Heart Sutra at the beginning of my rosary, or a mantra to Kali Ma at the end?” they write. “Yes. Of course. Why not?”

In a frantic, modern way of life, the rosary invites us to slow down and to reconnect with the earth. Think of the rosary less as an artifact or object, the authors teach us, and more as a garden you enter—a wild garden where anything can flourish. “This isn’t religion, it’s permaculture,” they write. “The rosary is a garden of the soul.”

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