Other reviews will be added in due course. And below you can find a brief selection of comments sent in by people after 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
“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