Sunday, August 05, 2007

In Which I Finish a New Age Book
When I went to the yoga retreat with my mother, I spoke with a yogi there who told me about the golden ratio and mentioned something about sacred geometry. I was intrigued and when I saw Math for Mystics by Renna Shesso, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to look into it. I also went into the reading with some degree of caution. I loathe the pseudo-science of New Age-ism because I do not know enough science to argue against what I am reading but I know enough to recognize that what is usually presented as fact in many New Age texts is far closer to myth than truth. Nevertheless, I had hoped to get some fun information out of this book. When I purchased the book, I was mostly curious about the mythic symbolism of numbers, the cultural significance of certain digits, etc. I was not disappointed. For instance, I was not aware that the number 666 is associated with the goddess Aphrodite. I also liked the suggestion for how to use Magic Squares in meditation. The third piece of curiosity for me was the idea of a personal cubit and how one’s personal cubit would be the length of that person’s wand. For some reason, although I have read about it before, her explanation of the correlation between Tarot and the Tree of Life also made sense. Or something just clicked, after having read about this connection before. I was disappointed by the emphasis on goddess history, which normally appeals to me. But Shesso emphasizes it to the point of dismissing the patriarchal hierarchy. There were some tacit allusions to Asian mythology but it is clear that her familiarity and comfort remain in the Western traditions. This was somewhat disappointing. Still, there were some pop culture allusions, including such surprises and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Lord of the Rings, as well as the more expected references (e.g. the Bible, I Ching, et al). Will I read the book again? Unlikely. But it will stay on my shelf, for now. I have a feeling I will use it as a reference in the future. If not, in a few years, I will winnow it from my life.

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