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The Astral Grail: A Novel Approach to Astral Projection, Tarot and the Qabbalah
D. Jason Cooper
Spilled Candy Books, 200 pages

The Astral Grail
D. Jason Cooper
D. Jason Cooper was born in Canada in 1957 and grew up in Buffalo, New York. His books include The Power of Dreaming: Messages from Your Inner Self (2000), Mithras: Mysteries and Initiation Rediscovered (1996), Esoteric Rune Magic: The Elder Itharis in Magic, Astral Projection, and Spiritual Development (1994), Rune Stones: A Comprehensive Introduction to the Art of Runecraft/Books and 25 Stones (1992), Understanding Numerology: The Power to Know Anybody (1990) and Using the Runes (1987). He now lives in Perth, Western Australia with his wife and their children.

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A review by Steve Lazarowitz

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To say the subtitle of this book, A Novel Approach to Astral Projection, Tarot and the Qabbalah, is misleading, would be a disservice to those who read my reviews. This subtitle runs far beyond the boundaries of blatant exaggeration. The Astral Grail offers little wisdom and speaks of arcane matters in only the most peripheral ways. In fact, the only word in the subtitle that applies is "novel," not in its inception, but the fact that it is a book of fiction, like all novels.

The back of the book lists the genre as Occult/Spirtual Fiction. The author, as a character in his own book, projects himself into each of the twenty-two Major Arcana cards of the Tarot. Knowing something of the Tarot myself, I was frustrated by the interpretations given, such as they were, but even more frustrated by the fact that such information is largely absent from the text. The entire book uses astral projection as an excuse to write a work of fiction. Yet if you judge this as a work of fiction, it is entirely unsatisfying.

Let's take a look at the story. First, the entire thing is written in present tense, not horrible for a short story, but very hard to read for any length of time. There is constant gratuitous violence that has nothing at all to do with the story. It's almost as if the author wanted to write a fantasy novel, and decided to use Astral Projection as an excuse to cover up the fact that he couldn't think of a plot. At best, this book is a frustrated fantasy writer's attempt at a novel.

The author/protagonist seeks the Holy Grail (not too cliché), and during the quest he's joined by a Demon trying to redeem himself. This quest goes awry several times when he's attacked by various Major Arcana influences, such as The Magician, The High Priestess and the Empress. To describe this book as patently ridiculous would be an understatement.

The bits of lessons/philosophy are never explained or delved into. Imagine if you will, a badly written fantasy story, with the occasional misleading hint that some wisdom will eventually be revealed. Unfortunately, in most cases, the author says it takes him several years to realize something, but he never expounds on what it was he realized.

I won't say the author doesn't make an occasional interesting point, but with nothing more than an oblique reference (a paragraph at most) to back it up, whatever might be of interest is lost within in the poor excuse for a plot. I should mention the poor editing doesn't make it any easier to read.

I've never panned a book this badly before, largely cause I've never read a book I've disliked more. I will end with this admonishment. There is little of interest here for a fantasy fan and even less interest for a student of arcane matters.

Copyright © 2003 Steve Lazarowitz

Steve Lazarowitz is a speculative fiction writer, an editor, a father, a husband, an animal lover and a heck of a nice guy (not necessarily in that order). Steve lives in Moonah, Tasmania with his family and four giant spiny leaf insects. You can check out his work at http://www.dream-sequence.net.


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