Miami in Virgo, a mystical feminist novel by Sally Abbott
Fifty years ago, California and other parts of the United States and the world were turbulent, creative, hopeful, and passionately dynamic places where many of those currently active in feminism, religion, and feminist spirituality found their voice and work. of their life. To offer a glimpse of that historical moment through the eyes of a young woman, we invite you to enter the world of the novel Miami in Virgo.
Set in California’s Central Valley in the mid-1970s, Miami in Virgo is a coming-of-age novel narrated by 17-year-old Miami Montague. Insecure and fatherless, Miami struggles to create an identity through photographing her and practicing the Wiccan feminist ritual with her friends. However, she is short-circuited and ambushed due to emotional rivalries, sexual insecurity, and family drama. Her early years with her fundamentalist grandmother in East Texas cast a long shadow.
Disappointments in love coupled with exposure to San Francisco’s nascent *** pride movement lead her to question her own sexuality. Her faith in free fall, Miami enters a reckless one-night stand at a Halloween party that has dire consequences for her moving into a family full of teenage step-siblings when her mother unexpectedly remarries and they move across the county. Her sins take on a spiritual dimension and go through a fiery scrutiny of the soul that ultimately leads to the resolution of her conflicts through the deepening of her character.
The look of his latest love interest is as hard-earned as Deus ex Machina, evoking early disappointment and fulfilling his utopian desires. While the ending of the book is inconclusive in some respects, Miami’s growth and psychological maturation are sufficient and indisputable. She has been through an arduous journey and is rewarded with personal integrity, a loving relationship, and a community of kindred souls.
The book is a Californian story that celebrates the values of the 1970s: the start of second wave feminism, the radical end of the 1960s, and the back-to-the-land hippie movement. The book celebrates the mother/daughter relationship and female friendships and the creative impulse take over, while romantic relationships are often unrequited, full of potential harm, and harder to find.
The novel explores mysticism in its many manifestations as well as feminist themes. She takes seriously the Pentecostal beliefs of the Holy Rollers in the circle of her grandmother with whom she lived in Miami in her youth. She is a true believer with the potential to become a child evangelist. Here is an excerpt from the book that describes her baptism:
I stood on the shore with the others in white cotton petticoats. Pastor Everson was already waist-deep in the river and beckoned me over to him. My friend Marlene Hampton told me that she occasionally saw cottonmouths fall into the river, but my grandmother hinted that she could never be attached to my dad if she didn’t, so I agreed to continue. The bottom of the silt river skimmed between my toes and by the time I reached the preacher, the water was up to my chin and I had to swallow for breath. Pastor Everson leaned down and I thought he was going to pick me up, but instead he pressed hard on my shoulders and forced me into the water.
His Christian ideas gradually fade as he joins his mother and returns to California. They are briefly revived by a handsome guitarist who is involved in a Christian community. That relationship fails and Miami and her friends form a coven and learn about Wicca. Then there are the Native American prophecies in a book his father wrote before he died. The world of the book is a mystical place where spiritual appearances can be as real as everyday events.
Adopting Wiccan beliefs does not guarantee that the world of the nearby coven is free from competition and rivalry, and even these sacred friendships are prey to some very divided forces. Here is another excerpt from the book, the description of one of its rituals:
The sun was high and the sky dappled with clouds and we finally stopped and circled. Each of us took a stick and dug a hole in the ground for the offerings he had brought. The earth was harder than it looked and it took nearly an hour to build. I buried a roll of film to dedicate my photograph to the Goddess. Glenda buried the lipstick, Jane a quartz crystal, and KD a copy of Don Juan Speaks. We wrapped our braid in corn silk and corn husks, tying it with calico offcuts and molding it into a corn doll. KD drew eyes and a mouth with markers and strands of black hair, and we buried the doll in the center of the circle. Jane broke off an ear of corn, cleaned it, and passed it around, and each of us took a bite. It was so ripe and sweet that it looked like sugar cane and in the sacred space of the ritual I thought it was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted in my life. We lay down on the floor and Jane took us on a past life regression.
He didn’t know if he was going to have one or not, he didn’t think he was the type, but actually he had two. In the first, I was a priestess at Delphi sitting on a three-legged birthing stool reading prophecies left by a python in drawings in the sand. The sea shimmered in the distance and other priestesses danced around me in billowing white Greek robes. The second was dark and chaotic, and he could barely make it out. It was somewhere in the Middle East, probably in ancient Israel. There was an uprising, maybe a revolt against the Romans, and the soldiers were chasing people, and there was blood in the sand.
BIO: Sally Mansfield Abbott is the author of MIAMI IN VIRGO, a mystical novel of feminist education. She taught goddess worship in prehistoric times at various Bay Area colleges and universities. She is a poet and peace activist.
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Categories: Earth Spirituality, General
Tags: baptism, mysticism, Sally Abbott, spirituality
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