Top critical review
Nice fantasy, shame about the theology!
on 11 January 2016
One presumes that the white haired woman wearing a shawl on the cover with her back turned to the reader is the aforementioned Dona Soledad The trouble with the whole "New Age" business so eagerly promoted by Castaneda is that assumes or posits that all forms of spirituality and spiritual beings are by definition benign- when as many observers(not least in the Christian Churches- full disclosure: I myself am a Roman Catholic convert) make the point that the"fallen angels" and their leader Lucifer( commonly known as Satan or the Devil) have never ceased in their attempts to beguile and drag humanity down to the depths of Hell. If you want to regard Carlos Castaneda's books as simple fantasy /escapism, then there could be little protest, but it is if and when we try to use them as a guide to spiritual life in the real world that we have problems. Which is not to say that "The Second Ring of Power" does NOT have genuinely funny moments such as the sequence(p25) whereby the unnamed narrator(presumably Castaneda or the late Castaneda as he passed away nearly 20 years ago) engages in a wrestling match with the transformed Dona Soledad( or "Mrs Pyramid" as she accuses him of referring to her behind her back to an acquaintance, citing her body shape, which begins in a very small head and tapers down to an equally big behind). She not only makes him trip over her by rolling her enormous body under his feet, but ultimately pins him to the ground by using not just her legs in a "Boston crab" wrestling manouever but also her greater body mass. A cynic might note that Dona Soledad not just used her sex (as well as her aforementioned greater body mass) but her age; she knew that he probably had reservations about using his greater strength against her- not just a woman but a comparatively old woman at that. Anyway it was possible that even hitting her would have little effect- just the Marvel Comics character known as The Blob, it would be like punching a bag or sack of Jell-O).
In short, just enjoy "The Second Ring Of Power" as a work of fantasy but DON'T use it as a guide to spirituality in real life!