Gracious Wild Book Review by Paola Suarez in SageWoman Magazine Issue #86: Renewal & Rebirth

We are blessed to have red-tailed hawks nest in our local park. They share the rawness of nature when you see the remains of pigeons they have eaten or watch them swoop down to capture a squirrel. As I admire their beauty and strength, I also hold my six-pound dog close to me and shiver. Our red-tailed hawks are unapologetic about their roles as death bringers, as predators.

Death is a central theme to Stacey Couch’s Gracious Wild. Death of loved ones as a door into discovering one’s hidden potential. Death of expectations we have held for ourselves. Death of fears and ways of being that no longer serve us. Stacey weaves the spiritual lessons of death into its importance in the natural cycle. Nature comes alive for you in her descriptions. You feel her frustration and pain being a wildlife biologist out of touch with her own wild self. Her experience seemed foreign to me at first. I have never been isolated in nature as she has. I have not interacted with wild animals as she has. Yet I easily connected with Stacey as a narrator and woman the more I read the book. Her story encouraged me to look to the animals in my life, wild and captive, for the wisdom they are ready to share.

Stacey shares the doors to her wild self in her book in an authentic manner. This is not a guidebook to shamanism, though she does provide a brief introduction and helpful resources. Instead, Gracious Wild is a woman’s story of her spiritual journey. Stacey Couch has connected to her wild self and is now living her life as a shamanic practitioner. Her story is an inspiration for those of us looking to connect to our wild selves as well. It is told with love and honesty. I can see women coming together to read Stacey’s book, discussing all the doors it opens for exploration. I can see how once you have read her book you won’t see the wild animals around you in the same way.

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