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Judy Croome: Author on the Prowl

Judy Croome lives, writes and reads in Johannesburg, South Africa.  A novelist & poet, Judy loves cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, rainy days and cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.) Visit Judy on www.judycroome.com or join her on Twitter @judy_croome

Review: God Child by Stefan Emunds

GOD CHILD is a brave attempt to articulate the mystical experience of a person's individual spiritual awakening. Listed as "spiritual fiction" GOD CHILD is more a didactic epistle than it is a novel, so any reader expecting definite plot and character arcs will not find them.

However, much of the content is thought-provoking and succeeds admirably in conveying the main protagonist's ephipany and resulting search for spiritual truth through the "cloud of unknowing."

At times opaque, because of the dense philosophical text, George's personality is both complex and sincere in his search for the truth. A celibate priest, he fears - possibly even distrusts - women and their sensuality, for example, he says, "Emotions are like women: it’s hard to figure them out, it’s even harder to win against them, and once a man manages, they give him a hard time for succeeding." [Kindle Location 2080]

This, at best, patronising, at worst, mysogynistic attitude colours George's choices and the advice he gives to his parishioners. More importantly, it forces him to explore his dualities and embrace the concept that we all contain both male and female enegies within us. This provides an interesting background to the slow awakening of his consciousness.

George's exploration of this, and other changing realities brought about by his "grand awakening", are depicted through a meander down the paths of several traditional religions, science, psychology, karma, astrological zodiac signs and their meanings (described as twelve little egos), the tarot and other spiritual disciplines. These concepts are used to explain George's thought processes as he slowly works his way through the "dark night of his soul" into a changed spiritual reality.

GOD CHILD does require time and patience to read, but then it is representative of the struggle to understand, explain and merge into a cohesive philosophy a vast number of abstract concepts drawn from a large variety of sources. If at times it's labyrinthian, there are beautiful drawings that provide markers along the way and some lovely homilies that we can all learn from, such as, “Evolving self-consciousness is a tedious, lonesome affair. Nobody can do that for us.” [Kindle location 4497] and “I’d rather be kind than strict.” [Kindle location 3109]

There were some issues with the text: for example, the drawings of the Major Arcana cards XVII The Star [around location 1542] and XVI The Tower [around location 1965], while original graphic representations, were not described in the explaining text as an exploration of the meanings of particular tarot cards, but were rather narrated as part of George's mystical experiences.

Also, for such a dense text, with so many theories, some of which I could relate to and others which I couldn't, dividing George's awakening into smaller texts (similar to Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse) or any texts by Jiddu Krishnamurti) may have proved beneficial.

Additionally, in what is essentially a serious philosophical work, the constant use of slang words such as "Wow!" [location 386 and others] and "awesome" ["your awesomely squared Mercury" location 3164] were distracting and undermined George's gravitas.

Ultimately, though, GOD CHILD achieves a difficult and inspiring task: it guides and comforts the reader through the spiritual challenges so many of us face in a material world that is increasingly unkind, materialistic and divided.