The 2022 volume of the inSpirit Series, Incantations for Rest is an invitation to slow down and rest for those exhausted by the demands of a racist, ableist society.

A 2023 Silver Nautilus Award winner in the Poetry category

Product Code: 6610
ISBN: 9781558968882
Format: Paperback / softback
Publisher: Skinner House Books
Pages: 88
Size: 7 x 5
Published Date: 06/17/2022
Availability:In stock
Price: $10.00

A 2023 Silver Nautilus Award winner in the Poetry category

The July 2022 Justice and Spirit: Unitarian Universalist Book Club selection.

Incantations for Rest is an invitation to slow down and explore every kind of rest, providing sacred space for those exhausted by the demands of a racist, ableist society. The 2022 volume of the inSpirit Series, this stunning collection of poems, meditations, and magic by poet-activist Atena O. Danner is an examination of spiritual spaces, a love letter to Black well-being, and medicine for BIPOC people.

A call to anyone who thought they were alone on the journey, Incantations for Rest is for kindred spirits: neurodivergent folks, parents up late past bedtime nursing resentment, Black people in predominantly white spaces—anyone who has found themselves at the edges of Beloved Community. Within these pages you are invited to savor connection, question assumptions, admit to complicated feelings, and still make room for joy. It is a beacon of affirmation and a vital tool for ritual and reflection.

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Storyteller’s Invocation
Decatur, Georgia Creeks
Prayer for Artists and Creatives
Ancestors of the Page and the Call
Of the Altar
Singing Prayer
Evolution of Worship
Lineage of Magic
Facebook Vespers
Simple Parts of Faith
Sharing Losses
Swimming Alone
The Divine Audacity of Bree Newsome
Reckon: Reclaim
Changeling Generation
Teacher to Teacher to Teacher
Divine Right to Rest
Litany for the Exhausted
Litany of Oops and Ouch
Litanies of Worthiness
Labyrinth Chant
Benediction to Build a World
Psalm of Talents
A Spell for Warriors and Heroes
Thinking of Mathew
Spirit Does
Election Night 2020
Every Storm Runs Out of Rain
Blessing of the Instigators
Giving Each Other Our Flowers
Humble yourself before the brutal lessons of the free Black child!
Combing Liturgy
A Normal Conversation About Attending UU Churches
Unconditional Earth
In Darkness, All Things Are Possible
A Black Daughter Speaks of Rivers
Generational Wealth
Praise Song for a Desert Rock
Spitting Out Rocks
Attention Deficit Invocations
Dear Fear,
Earthen Vessel
Revenge Bedtime Contemplation
Stories and Stars
Kuumba and the Fourth Principle

Ancestors of the Page and the Call

Elders of the Message—

not quiet, not easy, not waiting another moment

Ntozake, Toni, Octavia, Pauli,

Zora, June, Gwendolyn, my mother (not an ancestor,

but a lit fuse . . .)

To my Ancestors and Elders: I honor you all!

My mother spoke to me in your language, so I would

be ready for this religion.

I take up the mantle

and bear the reverberations—the power! It shakes me!

I plant my feet . . .

Ntozake did not come for your comfort: none of y’all.

Mother Morrison did not come to suffer fools.

Octavia E. has an omen for you

Did you think Reverend Dr. Murray would let you off

the hook?

Zora gave less of what the world wanted

and more of what we needed: what needed to be said.

June said it plain and simply undeniable.

Gwendolyn’s quiet pace dogs your steps and keeps

coming and coming and coming . . .

The moment I touch the page, I’m howling the throughline,


the blood and joy.

“Atena O. Danner’s poems invite us into the universal, while also singing praise and honor of what it means to be a Black woman in today’s United States. She covers specifics and love of her community via the heartbreak and joy voiced via such powerful pieces as ‘Generational Wealth,’ ‘Reciprocity,’ ‘Giving Each Other Our Flowers,’ and ‘Ancestors of the Page and Call.’ This heart-centered collection is the balm that can bring all of us to better love, understanding and movement toward a just world fit for our beloved generations to come. —Jen Haines, poet and educator

“Atena O. Danner has offered the world a reflection and revelation on legacy, imagination, and truthful naming in Incantations for Rest: Poems, Meditations, and Other Magic. Moving back in time to visceral memory and ancestral lineage and stretching out into a connected collective future where we leave no one behind, these poems are both a mending to the weary and a hymn to affirming what matters. I will be returning to them again and again throughout the years, for guidance, fortification, and magic.” —Isabel Abbott, author of Salt + Honey: secular prayers for hedonistic hearts

“How deeply we need this invitation to divine rest—these spells for singing out, for swimming alone, for the beauty of Blackness, and for being ourselves, whoever we are. I will be reaching for this book for public worship and private reflection. I love how personal yet accessible and universal Danner’s poetry is, honoring her own experience and ancestors while calling each of us to grow and feel our interconnectedness. I feel honored now to witness the truth and beauty she has nurtured in this book. She has given birth to art and magic. Keep this book in your spiritual medicine kit.” —Erin J. Walter, editor of Care for the World: Reflections on Community Ministry

“My tensed shoulders relaxed while reading the radical care captured within Incantations for Rest. Atena O. Danner wields her powerful magic by bringing the systems that produce the weariness of racial and ableist oppression to light while she also lovingly rubbing a healing balm upon her rest-worthy readers’ spirits.” —Sekile M. Nzinga, author of Lean Semesters: How Higher Education Reproduces Inequity and editor of Laboring Positions: Black Women, Mothering, and the Academy

“Whether you are an avid reader of poetry collections or a casual appreciator of the occasional poem, you'll want to add this book to your repertoire. To call Atena O. Danner's poems ‘incantations’ is exactly right—these are incantations, spells, prayers, recipes, and passionate calls to rest, care, and liberation. A long-time organizer and educator, Atena O. Danner offers balms for the weary, reminding us to rest so that we can show up for others in the ways we most want to. Reading these is a gift for anyone feeling worn down by the big (systems of oppression, especially against Black women and femmes) and the small (the everyday challenges of parenting, for example.) Since I read this collection, I've been keeping these incantations close. They work as monthly meditations or daily affirmations—reminders to breathe, to sing, to ‘pour love into an active volcano.’” —Coya Paz, writer, director, and artistic director of Free Street Theater

Average Rating:
(based on 2 reviews)

Showing 2 Reviews:

by Dana
on 10/22/2022
from Washington, DC
This Book Holds a Sacred Space for Me
I have fallen for this uplifting book. With each page, Atena's poetry and meditations take me back to my breath and self no matter the time of day. I have read the book from cover to cover, but what I do now is pick it up when I need to center myself. I either pick a page randomly or go to one of my favorite poems. 

I encourage women of color, particularly Black women, to purchase this book and keep it on their bedside table, coffee table, or any place where they can easily remind themselves of who they are. Atena's words allow us to believe we have a divine right to rest.
by Isyemille
on 9/29/2022
from Chicago
A true gift!
Incantations for Rest is a true gift. I have gotten much comfort from Atena's words as I slowly read each of the incantations. You can tell how lovingly she chose every word for every stanza. One of my favorites was "Spitting Out Rocks". Her words are so visceral that you are transported through her narrative back to parts of yourself you had long forgotten about. 
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