Brian Griffith,
A Galaxy of Immortal Women, The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization
(Exterminating Angel Press, 2012)

This book is a bit dry and is not an easy read. However, if you are interested in Chinese folklore, especially from the "yin" side of the culture, you'll find everything you need to know right here.

In A Galaxy of Immortal Women, The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization, author Brian Griffith begins by comparing the major beliefs of China, such as Daoism and Buddhism, with those of the other major world religions and their patriarchal aspects. In Chinese history, there was a great appreciation of women and their contributions to society before that began to be eradicated with the rise of warlords around 2100 B.C.E. Griffith explains that in the present day, there is still a counter-culture of goddess religions that have "flourished among the common people, rather than in the dominant cultures."

Griffith explains that China was a matriarchal society for thousands of years, dating back to the earliest recorded history. Each village had its own "wise woman" within this shamanistic society. Men and women thought "they had a lot to learn from each other."

However, although the information here is very interesting, it makes for bland reading; it reads like a textbook. While Griffith shows the slightest bit of humor when discussing the "toilet goddesses," this is not light, casual reading, and is not something you want to curl up with in front of a fire. Can't sleep? This is the perfect choice. It took me a long time to force my way through this entire book.

If you are writing a term paper on Chinese culture or folklore, you don't want to miss it. While Griffith illuminates Chinese yin culture from the shamans to the major cultural figures to the little-known goddesses, I think this book is better used as a textbook, not for someone who is looking for lighter reading.

Two thumbs up for the research and information poured into this tome. Two thumbs down for "readability."

book review by
Lee Lukaszewicz

20 June 2015

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