The Fifth Sacred Thing

By: Starhawk
Narrated by: Maya Lilly
Length: 21 hrs and 53 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (654 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One act of courage can change the world.

The year is 2048. Climate change and bio-warfare have ravaged much of the Earth, and societal meltdown has splintered the US into fragments. But out of the ruins, Northern California has built a thriving culture based on respect for the four sacred things: air, fire, water and earth.

The Fifth Sacred Thing is an epic tale of freedom and slavery, love and war, and the potential futures of humankind. It tells of a 21st century California clan caught between two clashing worlds: one based on tolerance, the other on repression. It is both a love story between two people and a war story between two opposing ideals.

©1993, 1994 Miriam Simos (P)2016 Miriam Simos

What listeners say about The Fifth Sacred Thing

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My Favorite!

I have read the paperback of this book 8 or nine times and given away as many copies. I was initially nervous that the audio version might be substandard, but I should not have worried. The story was incredible. The reader did an excellent job. She saying when they were singing. She read an animated different voices. I highly recommend this!

12 people found this helpful

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Stunningly beautiful and rich with optimism!

What did you love best about The Fifth Sacred Thing?

Connection to character development and the story immediately drew me into this epic adventure. From start to finish, I looked forward to my daily visits to the pages of this book, reading it in paper form first. And now being able to immerse myself and my partner into the electronic pages having the story told to us is even more special.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed how the story wove in and through a story of hope and of optimism. Even in times of fear and terror, the way in which Star Hawk created the environment and the individuals inside of that environment was one that kept me awake at nights. Wondering what was going to happen next. Diving from the heights of pain and the scary possibility of a possible future and existence. To swimming and surfacing in the pools of love and acceptance and joy that we, as a species, have the potential to become.

Which character – as performed by Maya Lilly – was your favorite?

Bird was my favourite. The hardships he faced and the shifts of love and acceptance that he entered into when cradled in his community and the people that helped to shape his life. I can only imagine the fear and uncertainty that he faced in so many ways, to again be able to love and let love into his world.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Oh my goodness... yes. But to be sitting for 21hrs... not so easy. It is something that can be visited and re-visited very effortlessly. Like a television series or movie that you can pause and be with for a time, then return to it's beauty and imagery that is created in the telling of the story.

Any additional comments?

I think it is a very special thing when we can be read to. Told stories to. Share in the feelings as translated from someone's voice when being told a story. It is something that we begin our lives with as small ones, the sharing of imagination and story telling... to then learn how to share these journey's with others as we grow. Taking us back to a time of innocence, comfort and being held in a space of wonder and curiosity.

11 people found this helpful

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I thought it would be more mature or profound.

Although I sincerely appreciate the positivity of this book, which is hard to find these days, I found the flakey "spirituality" too much, including some of the super flakey hippy voices created by the reader.
Although the overall idea is important, the shallow aura-reading-trying-to-get-grounded- spirituality has little depth to it. I have to keep turning it off - I am trying to finish the book in case there is something profound in the end.
I may be too old for this.

5 people found this helpful

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Beautiful story & perfect storyteller

The story itself a little slow to start but feels a little like present day. Beautifully written though. Maya does an amazing job at telling the story with different, distinct voices for each character. Well done!

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The world hurts right now. This book helps.

I've waited a little while to write up this book. I'm glad to do so today. If we can'd imagine the future, we won't be able to live into it. That is where this book comes in. In this work, Starhawk gives a stark showcase of two futures we may live ourselves into: on the one hand, a dystopia of control, dehumanization and inequality ranked by skin and money. On the other hand, a solarpunk future. Not a utopia, please understand. It is not perfect. There are dozens of things in the process of being improved. But this is a future where we choose food over weapons. Water over money. Community over individual gain. A very real cast of characters inhabits this world. They are people: kind and cruel, broken and healing, soft and hard. They are healers and warriors, criminals and los curanderos. They are human, in all our natures: our fears and our loves, our shames and our sins, our connections and our joys. Each character has their own flaws: Madrone's mule head, Bird's anger, Mia's hot tongue. And each has their beauties: Little John's loyalty. The magic of the Bee Women. Resolve. And compassion. Such stunning compassion. While there is a weakness for preaching in Starhawk's style than can come off just a little heavy handed, the beautiful poetry of the prose kneads the lessons into the story, making them easy to take in and listen to. And though some of the characters lecture, they are all such powerful and interesting individuals that I found it a story flowing like water, blooming like flowers. A powerful story that shows us another way to be, it winds together past and present, adventure and magic into a fascinating interpersonal tale that is wound around with an epic adventure. Deftly showcasing what it means to value human rights, ecological rights, and the living world around us, it is the tale we need today. This book shows us an achievable future, and how we could reach it. The future we will live in? That's up to us.

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Inspiring and applicable

Story: Really nice character development and insights into the struggles that we all have in communication and growth as we strive to be better humans. Explored and described equality in daily life, alluded to the path that some modern practices (medical and governmental) could lead us if not resisted. Very beautiful depiction of a utopian society and the structure of how it worked (which was appreciated greatly).

Narrator: The narrator did a great job of representing a vast variety of characters, sexes, ages and attitudes. Used some nice techniques to make voices sound like they were coming from the back of the room or far away, even a voice for a character with a speech impediment. Perfect narration for for subject - soothing and peaceful for the characters of that ilk, and variably strident, aggressive, dry, old, sad, or just palin desperate for the wide variety of characters in this lovely book.

Highly recommend for those looking for inspiration, strength, social diversity, or a model of how life could be when we finally tire of insanity.

3 people found this helpful

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the spanish...uugggh

wish they would have gotten a Spanish speaking actor. loved the story but distracting to hear accents on characters.

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This is an important and wonderfully written book.

Being a conscious hippie from California, I understand implicitly the culture shown in this book. The pardigm is expressed so well and the drama is real. Explore this book with an open heart and rewards await.

3 people found this helpful

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Finally on audible!

I have loved this story for over a decade and was so happy, but a bit nervous when I heard it was coming out in an audible form. I was not disappointed. Maya Lilly (this cannot be her real name, but brilliant!) was amazing. You will be moved.

3 people found this helpful

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most important book of modern times

a book for brave souls who have the courage and willingness to peek into a world that is not so far off from our own and come to terms with the harrowing realities of it, and also be inspired by what is possible. also, the narrator is wonderful

2 people found this helpful

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  • mrs j paterson
  • 07-18-17

Grippingly brilliant

Would you listen to The Fifth Sacred Thing again? Why?

Yes

What did you like best about this story?

The message

Have you listened to any of Maya Lilly’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Listen up while there's still time

Any additional comments?

Please get the sequel "City if Refuge" on audible asap .

2 people found this helpful

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  • Miss.N.M.Young
  • 11-24-16

Beautifully Apt in These Dark Times..

Full of hope.. beauty.. love.. truth and connection.. A stunning story wound around the premise of living in harmony with each other and All Our Relations.. Cutting and honest.. not afraid to name the darkness faced in cruel hearts, minds and actions.. Or the paths that led to those states of being.. The fierce inner and outter battles we face in this and every day.. in our past.. and stretching into the future.. all seem aptly bound in this masterful story telling.. one can only hope that love and truth will eventually win in the face of adversity.. and evolve into a kinder future..

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  • Bo
  • 10-23-17

Awesome utopian adventure

Such a great book. Brilliantly read too. I really hope they record the sequel - City of refuge

1 person found this helpful

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  • kewina
  • 12-06-16

Excellent story and good telling

An excellent story well told and very apt for these times of major change in the worlds' politics.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-18-19

Incredible medicine for our times!!

What a stunning work of art! So happy I listened. Beautifully narrated, easy to read, engaging and currently relevant. I definitely noticed some of the old 90's language and themes which were a bit funny, but just served to make even more accessible in some ways. Loved it!!!

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  • Katherine
  • 09-05-18

An incredible story we need to hear!

So grateful for the performance offered here, such a delight to hear them alive, powerful enough to change the world!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-19-18

Story and narrator outstanding!

I absolutely love this book, I was totally hooked. The narration was next level, the voices of the characters and all the subtleties, so good. I wish she could narrate all my books! Such a great story, earth magic teachings woven through these incredible characters and story line. 10/10