Truth or Dare

Truth or DareTruth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority and Mystery. (San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1988). A rich, complex, and radiant examination of the nature of power. Spinning together myth, history, ritual, poetry, spells, psychology, and activism, Starhawk offers new and creative alternatives for positive change in our personal lives, our communities, and our world.

This much-needed examination of the nature of power will enable women and men first to understand the different facets of power, then to act upon that knowledge to create positive change. Starhawk distinguishes three types of power: “power-over,” referring to domination and control; “power-from-within,” meaning personal ability and spiritual integrity; and “power-with,” pertaining to social power or influence among equals.

Drawing on one of the most ancient myths extant, the Descent of Innana, Starhawk develops a psychology of liberation, analyzing our internalized oppressor, the Self-hater; its faces are the Judge, the Conqueror, the Censor, the Master of Servants, and the Orderer.

Interwoven is Starhawk’s reconstruction of a pivotal time in history: how it was that the early peaceful society of ancient Sumer became strangled by warfare and how the rise of kingship led to the institution of patriarchy. And Starhawk tells of her first-hand experience as an activist and organizer in the anti-nukes campaigns. Truth or Dare is rich with insights on personal healing, group process, and accessing the genuine sources of power.

“A magical storehouse of spells, rituals, myths, aphorisms, and games designed to awaken us from an enchanted sleep of compliance to patriarchal forms of authority.” — The New York Times

“Starhawk gives readers an excellent base from which to evaluate their own cultural context…Encourages personal healing as a microcosmic process toward healing our society and planet as a whole…” — Creation

“Starhawk’s brilliance shines brighter than ever. Her astoundingly clear insight into life’s patterns and processes is dazzling. She glides around the earth, observing, then dives into the heart of how destructive modes continue, and soars, finally, to the heights of a better world, taking us with her. She is one of the most brilliant minds of our time.”— Merlin Stone, author of When God Was a Woman

“The spirituality of Truth or Dare is rooted in the wisdom of common people, sustained by the courage of the oppressed, and applied with a concern for all of creation. Starhawk not only confronts patriarchal domination, but provides us with rituals and exercises that will help us reclaim our power and suggests balanced ways to apply that power in our defense. Starhawk has dared to speak truth to power. She has spoken in a woman’s voice — poetic and clear.” –Luisah Teish, author of Jambalaya

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“An important contribution to the development of that ‘deep ecumenism’ which is required if we are to have a spirituality which can speak to the urgent needs of Mother Earth and her children.” –Matthew Fox, author of Original Blessing, and founding director of the Institute for Creation Spirituality

“A dark and complex work with a brilliant analysis of power and a troubling message: that only by entering the nether regions of our psyche can we — and the planet — be reborn. Truth or Dare, Starhawk’s best book to date, lights a path through the abyss. It gives us a method by which our own sacred life-generating powers can overcome centuries of hierarchy and domination.” –Margo Adler, author of Drawing Down the Moon

To read extended excerpts from Truth or Dare visit this excerpt page.