This book was recommended to me by someone whose knowledge on these matters I very much trust, so I found the experience of reading this book abundant...moreThis book was recommended to me by someone whose knowledge on these matters I very much trust, so I found the experience of reading this book abundantly frustrating. In short, the book simply wasn't for me.
The author's background seems to be primarily in the realm of Ceremonial Magic, which is not my path of choice, so we were at odds to begin with. As the book went on, the author demonstrated a tendency toward binary and oppositional thinking--male versus female, right brain versus left brain, Eastern philosophies and mysticism versus Western philosophies and mysticism, natural versus man-made, etc.--which is not my preferred way of looking at the world.
The moment that had me coming very close to setting the book down and not picking it up again came in chapter seven, The Path of the Hearth Fire, wherein the author essentially stated that people who take medication for mental illness (or perhaps any illness, depending on how one reads certain passages) cannot or should not follow an occult path. I appreciate that these are the author's beliefs, and I respect her right to hold them. I appreciate that, in practical terms, she would not want to be in a circle with me (for various reasons), and again, I respect that. However, the passage made me feel just as excluded and looked down upon as any fundamentalist Christian text that states that illness is simply a result of not praying and trusting God enough.
That gets at the nugget of my frustration: not only did I disagree with the author on a number of points, but I felt excluded from her version of the path. I suppose that's okay, in the end. I'll just keep walking my own path as best I can.(less)
Difficult to know how to rate this one. There were parts that I very much enjoyed and appreciated, but others that rang somewhat hollow. Specifically,...moreDifficult to know how to rate this one. There were parts that I very much enjoyed and appreciated, but others that rang somewhat hollow. Specifically, while I appreciated the attempts to include non-western traditions, some of what was included didn't match up with things I already knew--for perhaps the most blatant example, the lwa are not considered gods/goddesses in the Vodou tradition. That said, I think this book makes for a fairly good beginning-to-intermediate reference guide.(less)