The Fifth Sacred Thing

Fifth Sacred ThingThe Fifth Sacred Thing. (New York, Bantam, 1993) Starhawk’s epic tale, set in 2048, California. In a time of ecological collapse, when the hideously authoritarian and corporate-driven Stewards have taken control of most of the land and set up an apartheid state, one region has declared itself independent: the Bay Area and points north. Choosing life over guns, they have created a simple but rich ecotopia, where no one wants, nothing is wasted, culture and cooperation are uppermost, and the Four Sacred Things are valued unconditionally.

But the Stewards are on the march northward, bent on conquest and appropriation of the precious waters. It’s the love story of Bird the musician and warrior and Madrone the healer, and of Maya, Bird’s grandmother, ninety-eight year old story teller, whose vision provides a way for them to defend their city from invasion without becoming what they are fighting against.

Read Starhawk’s updated full description of the transformed San Francisco she envisioned in The Fifth Sacred Thing.

This acclaimed, best-selling novel set a new standard for fiction of its genre, continues to be widely read, and is used in numerous college courses. Winner of the Lambda Award for lesbian and gay science fiction.

“Slated to be one of the great visionary Utopian novels of the century…It’s a rare book to which I give such a high recommendation; but I spent the best part of three days reading it, and at the end, I would have loved it to be longer. I simply fell in love with both characters and setting. It’s a wonderful book.” — Marion Zimmer Bradley, author of The Mists of Avalon

“For the future of our kind, The Fifth Sacred Thing is an anthem of hope. Generations to come will bless the name of Starhawk.” — Daniel Quinn, author of Ishmael and The Story of B

“This is wisdom wrapped in drama.” — Tom Hayden, California state senator

“At once provocative and magical, political and spiritual….An extraordinary book that stands in the great tradition of political and philosophical novels.” — Margot Adler, NPR commentator and author of Drawing Down the Moon

“Each time I think I’ve seen the impressive depth of Starhawk’s wisdom, she dives deeper yet, bring back ever greater insight and clarity. The Fifth Sacred Thing is exciting, magical, and rich with extremely important treasure maps for those who really care about Life and the survival of our planet.” — Merlin Stone, author of When God Was a Woman

“A compelling and ingenious tale of two competing potential futures.” — Earnest Callenbach, author of Ecotopia

“Totally captivating…. Starhawk has created a magic land to which we can return at will for the kind of exotic romance and adventure we all crave. Her celebration of the richness of cultural diversity heralds the possibility of a mutually enhancing multicultural community. Here, too, is a vision of the paradigm shift that is essential for our very survival as a species on this planet.” — Elinor Gadon, author of The Once and Future Goddess

“From The Spiral Dance to Dreaming the Dark to Truth or Dare, Starhawk has led us to places of risk and guided us to think in a new way, a womanly order. Now, in fiction, with the aid of her characters, she will save the earth and all the sacred things that dwell therein.” — E.M. Broner, author of A Weave of Woman and The Telling

The Fifth Sacred Thing is available both as an Ebook and in print form. Follow this link to the Random House page for the Ebook version.

To Order the print version: please support independent bookstores — you should try or your local bookstore, rather than going to one of the corporate mega-stores. Click here for The Fifth Sacred Thing

Declaration of the Four Sacred Things

The Earth is a living, conscious being. In company with cultures of many different times and places, we name these things as sacred: air, fire, water, and earth.

Whether we see them as the breath, energy, blood, and body of the Mother, or as the blessed gifts of a Creator, or as symbols of interconnected systems that sustain life, we know that nothing can live without them.

To call these things sacred is to say that they have a value beyond their usefulness for human ends, that they themselves become the standard by which our acts, our economics, our laws, and our purposes must be judged. No one has the right to appropriate them or profit from them at the expense of others. Any government that fails to protect them forfeits its legitimacy.

All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance; only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity.

To honor the sacred is to create conditions in which nourishment, sustenance, habitat, knowledge, freedom, and beauty can thrive. To honor the sacred is to make love possible.

To this we dedicate our curiosity, our will, our courage, our silences, and our voices. To this we dedicate our lives.


To read extended excerpts from The Fifth Sacred Thing visit this excerpt page.