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[Review] Coruscatio! The Magical Cactus Voice


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Review of:  'Coruscatio!  The Magical Cactus Voice'.  Frater Shiva, 2011 [Desert Star Temple]. 

In writing this review of Coruscatio, I’m concerned that I shall not do it justice.  Why?  A review is usually some type of analysis but Frater Shiva’s book is an excellent synthesis of his learning with his unique life experience, and this is precisely what makes the book an invaluable guide and a worthy work to replace the gap left by the loss of Crowley’s ‘The Cactus’ after WW2.  So in seeking to review this book I have to find a different way to convey my impressions of it to the reader.  I find I don’t wish to pull at one string,  or another to describe the elements that have went into the tapestry that is Coruscatio.  In any case, to do so would simply be to watch my review unravel.  So how shall it do it justice?

We haven't had a review of this book yet, and I think it's because it's just darned hard to describe it.  It's not hard to read - just the opposite infact.  Since it arrived I've read it a few times now.  It's the sort of book that you read a section, and find you've put it down so you can meditate on it and really take it in.  There's absolutely no superfluous padding in this text, even when Frater Shiva is being humorous. 

This book has a great deal of integrity to it, and what is very clear is that the writer has set out with the intention of doing justice to his subject, and has succeeded admirably!  This is not an instruction book, although advice and wise opinion is there.  It is not simply a book of academic facts, although there is much for the scholar here.  This a book that goes to the heart of the cultural phenomena that was the reinvention of the shamanic path in the 60’s.  The last book I read that managed to be the voice of it’s  culture was ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’, by Robert Pirsig.  However – to maintain the spirit and that ‘voice’ for over 50 years, and still sound as fresh and alive today as ever it was in the past, and to pass it on to the succeeding generations as a living flame – now that is truly something special.

Frater Shiva is going to need to reprint this one I think.  Required reading?  Hell yes!  😀


Reviewed by Dar es Alrah.


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