by Denise Dumars and Lori Nyx
New Page Books, 2003 $13.99 US
It’s rare to come across a book dealing with the darker side of the universe, so anytime someone writes one, I tend to pay attention. When it’s a good exploration, I rate it highly. When it’s done with as much humor and candid insight as this book is written with, well, I recommend it to just about everyone I meet.
Let me tell you how this book is laid out. First, there is a short introduction. Next the authors move to just what they are trying to accomplish with this book, specifying the way they hope they convey this information. Then they give the bits and pieces that apply to anyone they discuss in the book.
From what I can tell, this is the only time these two sat down together and worked on one section. The entire rest of the book consists of articles written by either Denise or Lori. I only counted one article written by both together. The articles had a lot of advice to offer, humor to explore, and thoughts that provoked me to review what I understood to be the dark side of the Gods.
This is a book on the Gods and Goddesses. Part one is the Dark Goddesses; Hekate, Baba Yaga, Kali, Lilith, Hel and even the Dark aspect of the Virgin. These articles average about 4-6 pages each, so they are short reads. Then they move on to the next section, the Dark Gods. As one may expect, Lucifer is in here, but some surprising Gods make an appearance like Shiva, The Grim Reaper and Dionysos as well. Each article is the same format, 4-6 pages of concise, humorous information.
The NEXT section, in my opinion is the real gem. It’s working with each of these deities in rites and rituals. They also offer their thoughts on the aspects that may be useful for day-to-day invocation. I can honestly say that this is not the standard set of rituals for these deities. One example is using Hekate’s aid in making a major life decision. I’ll let the book stand for itself on this point, but trust me, it’s an interesting invocation and use for this traditional deity of darkness.
This section also offers poetry to these deities, a few recipes and thoughts on these deities. It’s obvious that these two ladies worked with each and every one of these deities to gain some of the insights they present in this book.
My criticism of the book: Believe me, I had to think for a while to come up with some point to criticize and this is actually more of a plaint. I feel that the deities in this work could have easily been expanded a bit. There are many deities out there that are dedicated to evil/chaos/mayhem and some that aren’t but who can be seen as having that aspect as part of themselves. It can be expanded to include them. A Deity like Eris is conspicuous in Her absence.
The thing is, I understand why they didn’t include those deities. Had they done that, and worked with each to understand Their nature to include Them with the same depth and sensitivity as all the other deities, this would have taken about 4 times as long to write.
So, to save the reader some time here, I will include a list of the deities that ARE in this work.
Goddesses included are; Baba Yaga, The Black Virgin, Coatlicue, Hekate, Hel, Kali, Lilith, Medusa and Oya. The Gods in this work are; Anubis, Dionysos, The Grim Reaper, Loki, Lucifer, Set, Shiva, Tezcatlipoca and Volos.
Other than that the wish, I find literally nothing I would change if I could. I’m giving this book 4 1/2 stars out of 5. Very well done Ms. Dumars and Ms. Nyx. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.