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

The Art of Divination

A review by Joey Madia

Before I begin this book review, some background on the author is essential.

For several decades, William Douglas Horden has focused on the I Ching. Of his more than twenty books, nine are part of a series that concludes with the book being reviewed. The others—directly or by way of energetic and experiential connections—further explore the ancient tool of divination and spiritual practice called the I Ching.

Interested readers should read my previous reviews of Horden’s works for details on his background and training, which are extensive and impressive.

The Art of Divination is a handbook for those who are diviners and those whose path may be leading them there. My wife, a psychic medium, makes her living in large part as both a diviner (with tarot, other readings, and communications with the dead) and when using aspects of divination in her work as an energy healer.

As for those who may be considering divination in whole or in part as a focus of their life—the category into which I fall—The Art of Divination will provide invaluable insights into what is involved. And, I have to tell you, it is quite a lot.

But don’t let this daunt you. Horden is a Master Teacher, a statement I base on having been blessed over the last decade to experience his skill through books and exercises, I Ching readings, and in-person visits. Continue reading

The Before Heaven I Ching: Reading the Text of Creation

Review by Joey Madia

Modern life is admittedly complicated and complex. I am just old enough, having turned 50 last November, to say that it wasn’t always like this. Not to this degree. Ubiquitous technology, overpopulation, climate change, and shrinking resources have resulted in a fast pace, profound changes lurking like subtext between the sure-faced politicians assuring Business as Usual, and multiplying reasons to not be hopeful for the future.

Tools of divination and insight—such as runes, astrology, Tarot, the Kabala, and the I Ching—can be helpful as organizing principles. If you listen closely and take what is useful, they have a way of burning away the blinding, disorienting, low-lying fog the artifacts of the twenty-first century have produced. Given, as stated in this book, that we take in much more information than we can process, tools such as these are essential to creating Stillness and taking stock of where you are. Glimpses at what is really at work in your life, the forces that are helping and hindering your journey, can bring the Attention and Awareness that just might save your Soul.

For the past several decades, William Douglas Horden has focused on the I Ching. Of his more than twenty published books, eight of them are part of a series that concludes with the book being reviewed. And all of the others—either directly or by way of energetic and experiential connections—further inform the ancient tool of divination and spiritual practice called the I Ching. Continue reading

Way of the Diviner

Review by Joey Madia

Half a dozen years ago, a package arrived in the mail from a publisher. As I made the half mile walk back from the mailbox toward my house on a hill on the far side of a West Virginia hollow, I pulled back the tab on the top of the mailer and out spilled The Toltec I-Ching, a beautifully illustrated new take on the venerable divining method of ancient China.

Sending an email to the publisher that afternoon, I said that I would put the book thoroughly through its paces as a self-help guide, as I was in the midst of making several important decisions, both professionally and personally. The Toltec I-Ching, my review of which is available at New Mystics Reviews, was more than helpful—it was life changing. Taking the complexity of the trigrams and hexagrams of the I-Ching and breaking them down into understandable explanations, Horden, along with his illustrator, allowed me to access insights that yielded immediate results on application. I recommended the book to others, and shared it with many visitors to my home who were also seeking some guidance. Continue reading

The Tao of Cool

“Not Your Grandma’s Tao”

Review by Joey Madia

“You’re not cool, you’re chilly. And chilly ain’t never been cool.” [George Carlin, from one of his HBO specials]

You best get ready—this isn’t your (normal? regular?) traditional review. I am not even sure, after reading The Tao of Cool, that a review is even a COOL thing to do, nontraditional or not. Nothing about this book, which is [loosely] (as in, shares a common word in the title and the same number of chapter-poems) based on the Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu is presented in an expected way. For instance, the subtitle is on the back of the book, and reads: “Deconstructing the Tao Te Ching [:] from the Notebooks of Snafu Trismegistus [,] Bodhisattva of Universal Cool.”

Now, (normally) I would question such a statement. In one of my other lives as an academic editor, at least once a year I edit papers from a writer who promotes himself as a “thought leader.” That always makes me cringe. But, in this case, Bodhisattva of Universal Cool sort of elegantly, exactly sums it up. Continue reading