Magickal Mermaid and Water Creatures by D. J. Conway © 2005

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    Magickal Mermaid and Water Creatures  by  D. J. Conway  © 2005  New Page Books  ISBN  1-56414-784-3                        Paperback   187 pages includes Reading Sources, Index and Biographical data $15.99 (U.S.)

    If you accept Ms. Conway’s basic premise (that mermaids and other magickal creatures once had a physical presence in out world, but now restrict themselves to the astral world, by and large), you will find this an easy book to deal with.  If, on the other hand, you reject that premise, there are problems here.

    Some of Ms. Conway’s ideas are going to be considered unconventional by many.  Unlike many magic-users she subscribes to the idea of using the least amount of energy, in the most efficient way, to cause the changes and effects one wants, rather then just throwing massive amounts of energy at the problem.

    She lists many varieties of mer-folks, from a wide number of cultures.  Some of these may well be unfamiliar to many readers.  Her evaluation of many of these types of mer-folks strikes me as a bit unorthodox.  I’m not sure how she reaches these opinions, but she is consistent.

    Unfortunately, in my opinion, this book is very light in substance.  The first half of the book reads like a compilation of various fairy accounts (or mythological accounts, if you prefer), gathered from a variety of sources.  Suggestions are given about which groups of mer-people to work with for various desired outcomes, but there is not enough space devoted to the techniques for interacting with them.

    In the first half of the book there is one meditation given and one ritual described.  Yet, over a score of various mer-folk and water creatures are mentioned.  It is hard for me to believe that one ritual and/or meditation would be appropriate for meeting and interacting with such a wide variety of beings.

    Ms. Conway has written nearly two dozen books on a tremendous variety of topics (ranging from books with a Celtic flavor to ones on candle, healing and pendulum magic and from Norse magic to cats).  While I understand the value of being a “generalist” as opposed to a “specialist” (an approach I apply in my own magickal life), there may be a tendency to over-simplify things, or to attempt to be all things to all readers.  While I own several other works by Ms. Conway, this one left me disappointed.  I had hoped for better from her.

    I know that I am a bit of a purist in some things, and others are more flexible.  Ms. Conway’s suggestion, therefore, that “artificial forms” of oils may be used (because of scarcity and/or expense) strikes me as merely sloppy thinking.  Pure oils are used specifically because of their magickal associations.  To substitute something created merely to resemble such an oil would be (in my opinion) like buying a Mercedes-Benz automobile body and putting a Volkswagen engine into it to save money.  It might look like a Mercedes to those seeing it from the outside only, but you would know of the difference and so would the garage mechanic when you needed help with it.  It makes no sense.

    The rituals and meditations in the second half of the book aren’t much of an improvement over those in the first part.  The lists of correspondences are very short and really add nothing to the book.  My overall impression of this book is that it was dashed off because Ms. Conway had an obligation to produce a book and didn’t want to put too much effort into it.  It isn’t a bad book, necessarily, but it is not one I would rush out to add to my library.  If this was my first introduction to her writing, I probably wouldn’t look for anything else by her.


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