For the review published in the special new issue of Caduceus magazine (issue 100, Spring 2019, page 22), click here.
Other reviews will be added in due course. And below you can find a brief selection of comments made by people on reading the book for the first time.
“Catafalque is a book that all Jungians, and others, would be wise to read.”
Camilo Gallardo. Jungian analyst, London, UK
“This is the deepest book I have ever read, and it’s straightening out my mind. Take a look and you will see for yourself.”
Это самая глубокая книжка, которую я когда-либо читал, и она выправляет мои мозги. Посмотрите и убедитесь в этом сами.
Misha Gorelkin. Mathematician and specialist in artificial intelligence, Voronezh State University, Russia
“Catafalque moves me beyond expression – literally. I have cried; slipped into an overwhelm of silence; become dumb-founded, which may be the whole point and purpose of such a beautiful piece of literature and the enlightening guidance shared. The book is magical in the sense of timing and message: both for me, personally, and for the world at large.”
Dr. John Grogan. Marriage and family therapist, Loveland, Colorado
“Catafalque is the most unique and the most significant book on Jung I have ever read.”
Dr. David Johnston. Jungian analyst, Victoria, British Columbia
“Catafalque is a magically crafted masterpiece for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.”
Robert Rigby. Psychotherapist, Turnersville, New Jersey
“Reading and rereading Catafalque turns out to be an experience in itself. Although there have been other books that have touched me deeply, this book seems to mean even more. My experience is that deep, inner, unknown and seemingly lost places in my psyche are touched on different levels. There is a kind of coming home that has to do with the deep recognition of finally, finally entering into a sense of belonging: belonging to an ancient tradition of the Sacred. And all of the traditions Kingsley mentions contribute, in their own way, to this ‘coming home’.
Even though I was raised in a Christian tradition, there was no sense of the Sacred. After I had lost that inner place of love and connection, the only way of being able to survive seemed to be through discrimination and forgetfulness—which Kingsley refers to as ‘separation’.
In his inimitable style of writing, Kingsley writes so many sentences that stab me like a dagger in my heart. Most of the time, the meaning of these sentences is not new to me; but it seems to be the overall framework and context of his whole body of knowledge that sets so much in motion inside me. It is confusing, chaotic and very painful to be reminded of things that seemed not only forgotten but also ‘not-for-me-in-this-life’: prophecies, magic, the language of the underworld and the messages of our ancestors, dreams, all of which are alive if we care to give them our attention. Through all this chaos, the book addresses a quality of healing of my capacity to connect.
In recognizing how much courage is asked of me, to surrender to this process of remembering all that has been lost and suppressed within myself, I can’t even imagine how much courage was demanded of Peter Kingsley himself for the task of writing his lifetime’s work. It seems to me that he needed to use every skill he had at his disposal on every inner level there is: an act which demonstrates not only his erudition and passion but also his willingness to be utterly vulnerable in exposing his most profound beliefs and feelings on a very personal level.
I end with a fragment of poetry from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, written around 1800, which to me is a kind of summary of the book:
Dich im Unendlichen zu finden
Mußt unterscheiden und dann verbinden —
To find yourself in infinity
you must separate and then connect again.”
Addy Korteweg. Psychologist and trauma specialist, Dalfsen, Netherlands
“I had put aside several days to immerse myself in Catafalque. I could not put the book down. It seemed to speak to me of a truth so necessary, and so familiar, that I was greedily eating up every word. Twice I fell asleep. Not out of boredom, but out of a sense of sheer exhaustion and exhilaration that finally here was a book that was taking our ancient past seriously and demonstrating its importance for contemporary times. It was during these periods of sleep that I experienced two horrific nightmares within which I was stripped of everything I owned, and everything I thought I was. I was unrecognised by people, family, friends. I was eaten alive, left with nothing, in the darkness. Indeed, I became no-thing. In this state of no-thing, I felt different. I woke up, unable to understand the world that was forming again around me. The room looked familiar, yet not at the same time. Was I awake or dreaming? Being no-thing felt more real than the world of my waking reality. I finished the book later that evening—exactly 24 hours after starting it. However, I was and am definitely not the same person.
I can only describe your book as a living being that, if entered into seriously, can take the reader on their own journey into the underworld, strip them bare, and show them personally where you, Jung, and the ancient prophets have been. I sense that the repercussions of your text will remain with me for months and years to come and for that I am eternally grateful.”
Louise Livingstone. Canterbury Christ Church University, UK
“I read Catafalque several months ago, and could not summon up this review any sooner. What can one say about such a book that isn’t irrelevant noise? For a while after finishing it, I felt the only right response was silence as long as it still echoed in my head—as if that would ever stop. To say anything too soon would have been to stop listening, and this requires a deep listening.
On the surface, Catafalque offers new and deeply interesting insights about Jung and his real work, and feels like several lines of inquiry brought together and wrapped into one book. But to focus on that level would be to miss the point completely, like travelling halfway around the world only to never leave one’s hotel. The aspects of the book that stay with me most compellingly are nowhere to be found on the page. Filling the whole silent space behind the words is a sobering message: a power that cuts through all the anxiety, denial, false hopes, optimism, pessimism and other mind tricks that prevent us from being present with this moment in our history. It is so direct, there is no room for making up more fables for ourselves.
Catafalque isn’t for the faint-hearted, and it does something to you – I experienced shocking, and permanent, changes within myself while reading and processing this book. As if the power of the Word, which is far more than a metaphor, is at work here once more, when we have forgotten all such things and are destroying ourselves as a consequence. That this book exists at all is a tremendous gift.”
Joumana Medlej. Artist and calligrapher, London, UK