Tag Archives: Book Reviews

On Michael Talbot’s “Holographic Universe”.

First off, I want to thank my apprenticeship teacher for recommending this fine book as part of her curriculum, “Elemental Witchcraft”.

This became an indispensable book for me, even after my training was done. It was also a book that helped me to open my eyes even further, to the realities around the area of magic, and the use of our given mental powers to effectuate changes. During the progression of this “Age of Reason”, just about anything that deviated from the held societal view that there is only the physical existence and nothing else, was cast off as “make-believe” and purely fantasy – all because it could not all be reduced to “scientific theory” and reproduced, faithfully and consistently, in a laboratory. Well, time for the nay-sayers to start rethinking their less-than-reasonable assumptions concerning those things that are not so easily reproducible under closed, unbelieving eyes!

I have always considered myself to be of a scientific mind. The subject of Science was always my most favored and best subject in school, since at least the second grade. I have had several major influences in my life, of whom I highly respected and admired; mostly – several of my teachers, and of folks like Issac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, etc. Virtually NONE of them were so willing to dismiss something or anything that did not quite fit into the “mold” of scientific thinking, let alone yield readily available, analytic data and consistent repetition. So what has happened to today’s scientists and their practice of science? That I can reasonably conclude in another written piece.

Anyway, onward to the review.

First thing I would like to consider about this book: It was a very easy-to-follow and educational read. It was a definite eye-opener in that much of what was stated was backed up by source-able examples of various experiments and evaluations as footnoted in its pages, and documented in the list of sources in the back of the book. This book did well to explain where science actually does prove that there are things and happenings that DO happen without being obvious and sometimes even physically-manifested into physical existence. One such means is through Quantum Theory and its associated theories and plethora of supportive examples. This book could easily be read within a few days by an avid reader (like myself), and understood as to what it all means. The title was very apropos toward what the book is about: That much of what we thought was purely the rational and logical (sequential), is more likely holographic and ever-expansive as concerning the Universe, and all things within it. This in regard to the fact that the Quantum Physics theories are among the newest questions, and proposed answers, in the field of science. Many of today’s theoretical scientists are still trying to come to terms as to how Quantum Physics changes the way we think about existence and all things considered.

Quantum Entanglement Theory was well-explained, probably better than I could explain it, even though I have a very good understanding of it. Quantum Entanglement also answers many of the formerly-unanswerable questions on such things as what happens when one observes a particle of matter, and what happens otherwise. This, taken together with the “Observer Effect”, leads to a very chilling surprise on whether our current methods and orthodoxy on observing and measuring particles, particle dynamics and effects, as well as habits are effective or not when it comes to giving us clear, accurate answers and observations on what goes on – both as observed and as not actively observed. This also brings into question as to whether certain particles exist because of their reality, or because we subconsciously “create” them, instantaneously with the power of our “observant” minds. This part of theory has been tested and measured in laboratory conditions to the amazement of the observers. Again, sources cited on those very experiments and evaluations.

The “Holographic Theory” is well-explained and, in some cases, diagrammed with accompanying drawings and sketches. It proposes that we live a “holographic” existence, rather than purely a singular, physical-only entity – on the basis that all matter, down to its particulate level, may exist in multiple dimensions (thought of as multiple-universes or “multiversal” in nature) at once. A given particle, for example, could exist momentarily in one or more points in space simultaneously, and perhaps only for a very brief moment (the moment it is being actively observed by either a living being or even an artificial machine)! So, most matter appears to only exist because WE mentally create them, as a function of our existence. This also goes well with the ancient description of the “Web of Life” idea that many wise-folk taught their newer generations for thousands of years – well before the advent “modern science”.

Though Mr. Talbot was not dogmatic nor doctrinal towards any specific religion or belief system, he did a very good job in seeing and writing of the associated ideas and beliefs as they converged to where we have an even-greater difficulty in separating science from spirituality. I have long held that science and spirituality were always together as part of the common discipline of “higher learning”. One who was a shaman or “medicine man” was not only a healer and seer, but also a bit of a mathematician, historian, story-teller, mediator, counselor, priest, warrior, astronomer, astrologer, and holder of many different areas of expertise in knowledge and tradition. All paths of knowledge were part and parcel of the life-long teachings that went into the making of a “wise-folk”. The Quantum Theories came about in the right time, and do much justice in supporting, although through a bit different colored-lens, some of the vast knowledge mankind has possessed.

For this being such a short review, I hope it explains well that this book should be a good reference and an appealing read. It helped to me begin my journey into the magical art, backed up with some legitimate science. This book is a very nice, easy read that provides some very good detailed information, topped with an astonishing conclusion.

– Rev. Dragon’s Eye,
Founder and Chief-Elder Dragon of the Temple,
TEMPLE OF THE ANCIENT DRAGONS

 

On D.J. Conway’s “Dancing With Dragons”

“Dancing With Dragons” – A Book Review.

For as many “critiques” I have read, on-line and elsewhere, concerning the book, “Dancing With Dragons”, I sometimes wonder if some of the detractors of this written work have any joy or appreciation for the works of others. Sure, we all have our differences in opinion and different ways of doing things. THAT is what makes life the most interesting! My problem comes about when one’s “esteemed” opinion comes out as downright hostile towards the differences of others’ beliefs and/or ritual methods.

 So, please allow me the time here to give my own critique, as less-biased as I humanly can. Then shall we?

 First off, Ms. Conway’s book, “Dancing With Dragons” IS perhaps the one book of its kind that went into publication on the subject matter of actually working some of the “dragonic art”. Though I am not limited to the practices of Wicca, or its varied traditions ( I actually incorporate quite a bit from several different Wiccan “traditions” in my own practices ), I find this book very interesting in the way information and ideas are presented. The book is well organized and very easy and enjoyable to read. I think this would be a good book for those who are unfamiliar with the concept of the dragon archetype and its ancient legends and lore.

 Though this working-with-dragons methodology seemed a little bit “off the wall” in some of the chapters and passages, there were some very interesting points made clearly when it came to some of the ritual material. With much of it based on the Wiccan methodology, it should be fairly easy for the average Wiccan practitioner who has a strong interest in dragons, to incorporate this into his/her own practices. I found the inclusion of some reference data and correspondences in the appendices to be very helpful. Though, the references were a little few for my needs, but having at least some basic correspondences handy within one book makes size and space considerations for it a bit of planning. The “Dragon Script” was an interesting addition. Though she claimed that they came from one of her prior teachers, I DO see some interesting possibilities in using them, as they have a very symbolic character – good for meditations and sych.

 I really appreciated some of the tidbits about the legends and mythologies of dragons and their “following” in some of the other cultures. I have learned a few new things about dragons of the past cultures because of some of the mythology I had no prior knowledge of, which she included in her book. There were some very neat drawings and artwork of dragons, a few of which I had seen before, that gave an interesting perspective of how the ancient peoples may have “viewed” or imagined these entities, creatures, or “natural energies”. I would recommend that anyone looking into working with the dragon-archetypal forces, do some good research into the various legends and mythologies of dragons around the world. There are some similarities of thought behind the dragon-archetype and the forces that are often associated with being “dragonic”.

 Some may view the book as being completely “off” when they refer to the author’s take on “elemental dragons”. Please allow me to put to rest where I stand on the thought of elemental dragons:

 The Chinese mythologies of dragons, being around for over five-thousand years, viewed that they thought of dragons as being of, like, or masters of particular elements. Chinese medicine, under the “five element” system, recognized certain dragons were peculiar towards certain elements, and wary of certain other elements. They expressed elemental strengths and weaknesses, even about the dragons, in the texts of their recorded belief systems. Other cultures around the world also expressed that one or more “dragonic” spirits, deities, etc. had a certain affinity for one or more specific elemental forces in nature. My own belief holds that dragons can work ANY particular magic they wish, but may choose to be the master of one specific elemental force. Many other pantheistic beliefs have it that certain deities “have charge over” certain activities and certain natural forces, so why not dragons too?

Further on the “elemental responsibilities” of certain dragons, Ms. Conway did well to explain each group, clan, or whichever, in her own terms, certain attributes that can be recognized from certain dragons. Why would there not be some similarities in dragons of the skies between say, Huracan – of the South Pacific – held as responsible for the hurricanes and other sea-based storms, with Typhon – the Egyptian personification of chaos, destructive storms (like Typhoons) – in dragon form. Ladon, the dragon who guarded the golden apples of Greek mythology, could have thought of as either reminiscent of an agent of fire or earth by the common characteristics that are often afforded those elemental forces. I would probably, personally, describe some of the dragons I image a little differently ( there again, we each hold our own beliefs on the matter ). However, the descriptions she gives of how she “sees” the dragons of her practices come out crystal clear.

 Some of the ritual and ceremony material seemed pretty basic. However, this IS a book intended for those new to working with dragon forces and the “dragonic art”. She gives some very good guidelines and beginner-material for proposing “dragonic rituals” in one’s own practices. I do agree with her take that practice and regular meditations and relaxation work are very important. This should be a “no-brainer” for anyone looking to become a good practitioner of the arts. After all, HOW can one truly be able to work effective magic by instigating changes about them, if their minds are too chaotic to pay attention to the needed changes from within?

 In conclusion, I would say that this book was an interesting read and well worth the time in acquiring it. Though some of it may seem a little “soapy” and somewhat opinionated (I would expect this from most creatively-written works anyway), there is a lot of good information for the curious minded and researcher in ancient legends, lore, and mythology. This has to be the first book published on actual ideas for workings using the dragon-archetype and dragon energies. Some of the ritual material was creative and well-applied as far as the methodology and set-ups. I would consider this form of workings to be more of “dragonic wicca”, but that is okay with me. The aspects of wicca are there and clearly understandable. This, alone, makes it simple for others to incorporate these rituals and ceremonies into their own practices.

 Unfortunately, there are some who see more of a “dogmatic” approach to doing rituals and ceremonies in a practice. That is also fine, for group settings like covens, circles, groves, etc. However, the solo practitioner has his/her own methods that will work equally well. Just as many other religious systems have “splintered off” new and unique “traditions”, so would wicca and even the “dragonic arts” practices. I already see many different organizations practicing their brand of “dragonic arts” across the web. Just plain proof that there is no singular answer on how to do something in the area of magics.

 This is a book I would recommend to those who have interest in the mysteries of dragons, and would like some ideas on how to go about workings with them and their power. Take this book as a “primer for ideas” and not as the “bible” of dragonic practices. As one gets more comfortable in his/her art, he/she can surely come up with some new and innovative material of his/her own.

 BTW, I also LOVE the “Celtic Dragon Tarot” also by D.J. Conway (and unfortunately, I forgot the name of the co-author of them). These were some of the most beautiful tarot cards with dragons on them I have ever seen! I use them heavily for my own divination practices.

– Rev. Dragon’s Eye