Aphrodite's Daughter

by Jalaja Bonheim

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In the early 1980s, Bonheim traveled to India to study classical dance and, as it happened, to be introduced to an aging devidasa, a woman who had served as a sexual priestess in the Hindu tradition of Tantra. That meeting sparked in Bonheim a previously unacknowledged interest in discovering the role of sexuality in women's spiritual lives. Now a therapist, Bonheim has interviewed dozens of women for this profound and moving exploration of how body touches soul. Here is a nun who found love with another woman and, eventually, turned back to celibacy. Here is a woman who, raped as a teenager, descended into a personal hell from which truly sensuous love saved her. While these and the other stories are gripping as stories, Bonheim's poetic commentary provides the threads of meaning that bind them together into an excellent, unusual, passionate book. Patricia Monaghan

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