Guest Author - Deanna Joseph
The stars are sparkling overhead, and somewhere off in the distance a coyote howls. It's chilly out, so you scoot closer to the fire. Across from you, a woman sits comfortably, wrapped in a plain, wool blanket.
As she stares into the fire, she smiles like she's figured something out that the rest of us are still pondering. She could be a shaman, a medicine woman, sage, or a simple traveler who was drawn to the warmth of the campfire. She opens her mouth to speak. Her words are lively as she says, ''I had the strangest thing happen to me tonight.''Ě We lean in to hear her story.
That is the feeling I had from the moment I started reading Saddling Dragons by Chrystine Julian.
Saddling Dragons (Love, Fear and Other Adventures in Mysticism) is a book born from a poem of the same title, and is one mystic's journey through childhood and into adulthood.
This book presents itself in two parts; the first seven chapters are stories and the lessons gleaned from Chrystine's life. This part of the book tends to jump around a bit as she weaves her stories. But like any good storyteller, she'd bring me around again when I'd get lost.
The rest of the book is dedicated to exercises. She discusses taking back our power, the importance of the chakras and some interesting tidbits I'd never heard before, and offers tools for dealing with fear. She also offers a specific list of 50 exercises for Enhancing the Ride, which include changing your mask, mirror gazing, learning to read body language and having a soul retrieval done.
One of my favorite chapters is titled The Button Box. It's filled with lovely, poetic, affirmations; fresh and beautiful affirmations I hadn't heard before. Example: Change ~ Spin the silk of bliss and trust the metamorphosis. Soon the darkness of the chrysalis will fall away beneath the beating wings of beauty. or Such a Cheater ~ My heart is such a cheater; it knows no bounds or rules. Last night after I fell asleep it snuck out. Peeking through the window, I caught it dancing among the stars.
The book ends with a conclusion, and then a reading list.
''Once we limit things to only our capacity to understand, we are cut off from the totality of the experience.'' From the book ~ page 2.
There are so many things I love about this book. First off, itís filled with exercises that Iíve never heard of, which is very refreshing. I get tired of seeing the same old grounding exercises in book after book. And though Chrystine didn't have an easyĚ life (who did?) she has chosen to look back on her life with humor and compassion, rather than with bitterness and regret. It's also honest! There are no promises, channeled messages, or ancient secrets revealed. Just honesty, humor, and the invitation to let go of preconceptions and prejudices.
''Riding the dragon is only a metaphor about facing what scares us, embracing and befriending it, and setting off for adventures with our new found friend and power.'' From the book.
Chrystine says that she wrote this book only to share her journeys and experiences of dragon riding, but that at anytime we are welcome to join her. Though we all travel wildly varying paths, you can bet that at the very least we all have something in common; and that's living with fear of some sort.
Dragon riding is an adventure, and it's up to us to saddle that dragon and ride if we want to truly explore the world around us.
This book was given to Deanna by the author for review purposes.