North of Oxford Reviews TOUCHING CREATURES, TOUCHING SPIRIT by Judy Grahn

Judy Grahn’s Touching Creatures, Touching Spirit is a thought-provoking study of relationships between human and nonhuman creatures and spirits. It collects ten nonfiction essays, divided into three parts, with a vivid record of Grahn’s observations and contemplations of the sentient world, a historical track of her metaformic consciousness, and a personal encounter with creatures and spirits presenting nature and human nature. As Jenny Factor points out in her introduction, this study is “about capturing a world—our whole interconnected, living world—before it has slipped out of our consciousness and into realms beyond our possible reclamation” (p. 11). Its purpose is to raise an awareness of the world that belongs to both human and non-human creatures.

Grahn is a pioneer in metaformic theory. Her essay, “The Emergence of Metaformic Consciousness,” discusses four varieties of metaform. The first one is wilderness, referring to, in Grahn’s words, “the use of, or more accurately, being in relation with, creatures, formations, and elements of nature to describe menstrual ideas” ( What then are Grahn’s menstrual ideas?