Loose Canon

“Different mirrors; different reflections.”

A review by Joey Media

“Loose Cannon”: an expression that derives from the danger posed by an unsecured cannon on the deck of a ship.

Irish poet Michael McNamara’s newest collection plays on this definition. If he is the first to do so, I applaud him. The implications of this homonym certainly fit and the implications are profound.

Edgar Allen Poe said that a novel is a cannon, while a short story is a rifle. But what of poetry? We might say that a collection is a cannon, while the individual poem is the rifle.

Inserting the homonym, this loose canon of collected poetry can certainly do some damage: to the established canon and to our perceptions of time, place, and death.

These themes, prevalent in McNamara’s work, are the primary reason I am deeply engaged with it. I recently reviewed his collection, This Transmission (Argotist Ebooks, 2019), a complex work on the amorphous nature of identity. As founding editor of newmystics.com, I have promoted McNamara’s work through his author page and recently had the opportunity to read an as yet unpublished piece of his that is Gregory Corso–esque in its ruminations on death.

In Loose Canon, which features the poet on the cover, photographed with what appears to be a thermal-imaging camera, McNamara takes us around the world, looking at love, identity, death, and art. His image on the cover is done at a Dutch angle, cuing the tilt that will set that unsecured can(n)on—the poet—in motion. Continue reading

Connect to the Light

“It Is Already There, Awaiting You”

A review by Joey Media

A number of years ago, when I was living on the beautiful Crystal Coast in the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina, an author client referred me to the writing team of Carisa Jones and Sylvia Lehmann, collectively known as Receive Joy.

During a long lunch on the waterfront of my beloved Beaufort, we talked at length about their exciting work in positive thought and manifestation. By the end of the conversation, I had agreed to be the editor for their first book, Ask and You Shall Receive.

A truly dynamic duo, I was most impressed with their energy, enthusiasm, deep belief in God and His Gifts, and their commitment to write the book using only positive words.

During the course of my work with them, I attended several of their Miracle Group meetings and have since worked with them in other capacities.

Between Ask and You Shall Receive and the current book, they have stayed active in their mission to teach and mentor others in manifesting and positive living. They have also published several CDs, their Daily Asking Journal, and the Inspiration and Focus Wheel workbooks.

In addition, they co-created the Million True Millionaires, a Family of Wealth. For $225 a year, you can benefit from this business networking and support organization, which carries the same positive energies as Receive Joy’s other projects (www.milliontruemillionaires.com). Continue reading

A Search in Secret Egypt

“Spirits, Sphinx, and Serpents”

A Review by Joey Media

Paul Brunton, perhaps best known for his Short Path to Enlightenment and theories about the Oversoul, was an explorer, spiritualist, and thinker in the great tradition of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As humankind grappled with the Industrial Revolution and the question of the moral validity of Empire, Brunton and others like him sought to understand the varied religious, historical, and political systems of the world by experiencing them firsthand.

Prior to going to Egypt, he traveled to India, writing the precursor to this volume.

As Timothy J. Smith writes in the introduction, this journal is not only outward but an “inward journey of initiation.” When I first received it I anticipated a travelogue with valuable information about Egypt and its wonders through the lens of the 1930s. Although it is certainly that, detailed in its descriptions of buildings and people and filled with pictures—most taken by Brunton—it is also a great deal more.

If you’re interested in a spiritual explorer’s insights into the magick and mystery of Egypt, this is a treasure trove of unique experiences. Brunton heard the Sphinx speaking to him early on in his visit, and when he later spent the night in the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid he had a profound encounter with Demons as well as Angels of Light.

Brunton is not shy about his theories. He talks about Atlantis as though it is absolute fact (and it very well may be), based on what he hears whispered by the Sphinx and his own extensive studies. Continue reading

The Divine Dark: Mystery as Origin and Destination

A review by Joey Madia

It has been my privilege as a reviewer over the past twenty years to have the opportunity to track the growth of a handful of writers whose new works I have been sent year after year by themselves or their publishers. For a mind like mine, that looks at all things—most especially narrative—through myriad, multilayered lenses, it is instructive and often inspiring to see psychological growth, refinement of perspective, and narrative skill with the written word develop over time.

William Douglas Horden is one of those handful of authors. Since returning home eleven years ago to find a package from Horden’s publisher on my porch with one of his first books, The Toltec I-Ching, coauthored with Martha Ramirez-Oropeza, I have read, on average, one of Horden’s twenty-plus books every year. Sometimes two or three. Many I have reviewed, although review has become, at this point, an inaccuracy. It has become my challenge to absorb, process, and distill for readers of my reviews the essence of Horden’s work, whether it takes the form of workbook, poetry, or novel.

The Divine Dark is a masterwork. In a recent conversation (he was a guest recently on my weekly Livestream, “Into the Outer Realms,”  I likened this book to the statue that emerges when the marble is carefully chipped away and shaped by the master sculptor. It is a sparse work, in the sense that there is much white space on the page and the words are carefully chosen for maximum power. Continue reading

Bliss

“Life and Death in Balance”

Review by Joey Madia

As a fantasy writer, I know quite well the challenges (and rewards) of writing in a genre with abundant tropes and forebears with names like Tolkien, Lewis, and Martin. There is much to live up to and every opportunity to make anew, with a fresh perspective or unique element, must be seized.

Daniel Lawley has succeeded in honoring the fantasy genre, while emphasizing adventure and religious–philosophical elements that allow his novel to stand on its own amidst excellent company.

Each chapter of Bliss begins with an excerpt from an ancient book, rhyme, song, or proverb. This is a crucial device in Fantasy to give the world depth, history, and substance. These epigraphs also cue the reader to the philosophical themes being explored in each chapter, working, in quatrains, like a Greek chorus.

The world of Bliss has two suns, which is interesting because the story is rich with dichotomies… life and death, light and dark, powerful and powerless, good and evil… all the things we expect in a Fantasy–Adventure novel. As the two suns shine down upon the characters, they are constantly reminded of these dualities, which operate in dynamic tension throughout, yielding notable effects. Continue reading