Book Review: 'The Last Scabbard' by Josephine McCarthy
Josephine McCarthy’s new novel The Last Scabbard is not a novel indeed. It is an exercise in magical vision waiting to be activated. In ancient Tibet sacred text were buried to be found by designated people in the future and unfold their power when the time was ripe for what they had to say. Similarly, there is a secret text in this book, buried in the earth of a fantastic novel, waiting to be released by each one of us as a reader.
The occult author Gustav Meyrink once said, the novel that doesn't has to say anything about the non-physical world isn't worth being written. I guess what he meant was, we do not need to waste our imagination on the things we can actually see and touch and experience on a material level? If this is what we are looking for, the world is right in front of us. Adventures in Malkuth are to be experienced, not be imagined. Rather let's use our imagination to see the things that our physical eyes weren't made to see. Let's allow her to be the instrument she was made to be. Magical novels like Josephine’s are wonderful expressions of such visionary work - opening gates for us that our physical eyes might still be blind to see.
For Meyrink - an early and highly advanced student of the GD and a lifelong pursuer of the occult - this was the true art of storytelling: to clothe dynamics invisible to the human eye in characters and shapes that can become real and tangible in our imagination. What Magical story telling really is, is a voice passing through the treasure house of Yesod, using the shapes and images of the Moon-gate to help us understand things that dwell beyond the borders of Malkuth. Magical stories are keys to unfold levels of understanding that are so deep and raw that they might stay locked to our conscious mind for a long time after we read them. Yet, the patterns still start working in us from the moment we touched upon them.
This is what you'll find in Josephine McCarthy’s book The Last Scabbard. A raw voice speaking from a point of knowledge beyond the gate of the Moon. An echo if you want, flowing back to us through the treasure house of Yesod. An exercise in visionary magic.
So what is this exercise about?
The book is a riddle, a puzzle that pretends to tell a story about a woman called Lumis and her journey through several lives. And while you will hear about Lumis and her experiences passing from one life to her next, Lumis herself is a gate. Her character is a passage, a shell, a mask that talks about the things that naturally don't come veiled in words: About how spirits are magically anchored into bodies, about the forces of the land and the role of humans to maintain or destroy it, about how ancient spells were bound to humans, about how architecture can be leveraged on the astral plane, how dead bodies were used as soul traps. And - most importantly - how our physical world is a world full of instruments, full of strings constantly touched and vibrating in resonance with fingers playing it. Invisible fingers that reach through the land, through the living and dead, through the weather, through our dreams, through our minds and tongues and the people we fear or love.
Travel safely, my friends. It will be a wild ride. A ride that will teach you as much as you are willing to take on. And when you are done reading - go out into your dreams and talk to the Moon-gate called Lumis. She might have more to tell you, that wasn’t mean to be caught on the pages of a novel.