After many months of diligent reading, I am happy to be able to announce that I have made it through both Exu, as well as Palo Mayombe: The Garden of Blood & Bones. I have been asked lots of questions regarding these two books and thought I’d share some thoughts with you.
First of all, I believe that Scarlet Imprint is THE most important emerging publishing house to come on the scene in the last decade. Hands down, no contest. I will admit to being a complete fanboy for any and all things Scarlet Imprint and recently bought the latest Witches’ Almanac in part due to the interview with Peter and Alkistis that was contained within its pages. The importance of the works being published by this magical wonder-twin duo cannot be down-played. The craftsmanship of the hardcovers, the attention to detail, and the impeccable, discerning choice of just what is being published, mixed with the level of intelligence that is present in each tome, makes me smile with glee. Finally, someone gets it!
That same high level of intelligence is certainly present in Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold, the author of both of these books. This is clearly a man who knows exactly what he is writing about and is coming from the angle of living the words he puts to paper. I would go so far as to call these books definitive works for each subject in question. There is no question that the author has been studying and practicing what he writes about for many years. These are not throwaway, sensationalized books written by the newest author willing to sell out a system of spirituality just to cash-in for themselves. The academic way in which each book is presented, as well as the love and personality of the writer, shines throughout each reading.
These books are not quick reads. They were not for me, anyway. History, cosmology, foundation, and in-depth explanation are all aspects that demand a slow, steady reading to get the most out of each book. I plan on re-reading both very soon, now that the initial reading has come to an end and I have a good base that will allow me to absorb even more on second perusal. The Garden of Blood & Bones has more history and explanation of Palo Mayombe than I have ever had the chance to read. There is never a rush to “get to the good stuff” like some other books because it is all the Good Stuff. Exu has pages upon pages devoted to highly detailing all of the different of Exu manifestations with extensive notes for each. It is a complete grimoire of value to anyone even remotely interested in Quimbanda or Exu and beyond.
I was asked more than once, while reading both of these books, why I was even reading them. I do not practice Palo, nor am I active in the Quimbanda scene. I do however crave knowledge, love to read and learn, and have dedicated countless years of my life to learning as much as I can about the occult, different religions, and spirituality however it is conceived and practiced. There are things in each book that will serve to strengthen my own spiritual workings and practice, as well as many new ideas and ways of approaching things I may not have thought of on my own. That alone is worth the price of any book.
Another topic that comes up whenever I bring up Scarlet Imprint books is a wistful lament about the cost of the books. Yes, there are usually limited, exclusive runs of very special editions, but I would like to take this time to stress that the content of the books is well worth the price of the lesser expensive versions 10 times over. Through Bibliotheque Rouge, Scarlet Imprint offers a very affordable softcover of the majority of their releases. After my last review a few people told me they had purchased the PDF copy of At The Crossroads and were very happy with it. That is yet another option to obtain the information if you so desire. When I think of the money I have spent on the legion of lesser publisher’s books in my lifetime (new OR used, take your pick) it makes the (roughly) 60 dollars US seem like a steal. The 25 dollars for the soft cover, or the 15 dollars for the PDF, is even more affordable.
I am proud to have these books on my shelf, added to my library of information I find myself going to again and again. I was elated to finish each of the two and can’t wait to continue my unwavering support of Scarlet Imprint, Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold, and the stable of writers, past and present, that are given a farther reaching magical voice though these books. The highest recommendation that I can humbly give is bestowed upon these two books.
Exu & the Quimbanda of Night and Fire: http://www.scarletimprint.com/exu.html
Palo Mayombe: The Garden of Blood & Bones: http://www.scarletimprint.com/palo_mayombe.htm
Frisvold’s addictive personal blog The Starry Cave: http://www.starrycave.com/
Scarlet Imprint: http://www.scarletimprint.com/books.htm