Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
Not as good as I was expecting....
on 14 December 2016
Unfortunately this book is not as good as I was expecting. Before purchasing, I looked at many different crystal books (including some of the other ones that this particular author has churned out) before settling for this one as it appeared to be the most comprehensive (going by what I could see on the "look inside" feature anyway).
First the good points:
The book content is well laid out, and the stone entries are done by colour, so broadly speaking, this should make identifying a certain stone easier. The stones covered are also listed alphabetically in the front of the book. There is also another index in the back which lists stones by attributes or 'ailments' if you will. There are a reasonable number of stones covered and the text and pictures are nicely set out. Each stone has a picture and a little reference section which lists things like the crystal system (e.g. monclinic, teragonal, amorphous etc) the crystal belongs to, plus its chemical composition, it’s degree of hardness and its sources of origin. It also lists the associated chakra, a number and a zodiac sign that each crystal is corresponded to and then there is a short section of keywords as to what it is beneficial for.
Now for the more dubious points:
I found there were quite a few stones (and reasonably common variations thereof) that I had expected to see in the book but which were not listed. I know no book can list every crystal known to man and new ones are being discovered all the time, however given that this book professes to be an encyclopedia, I guess I was left a little disappointed in that respect. Surely, out of all the numerous crystal books on the market I should be able to find most of the ones I want in a book of this size, and given that Judy Hall has also written 3 other crystal bibles (and many other books on associated topics) it is clear that she has a vast array of them at her fingertips so to speak! So why do they not all make it into the encyclopedia? Perhaps there will be an encyclopedia volume 2 in due course, much like the crystal bibles?
The second disappointment was actually the lack of information given for each crystal! In some cases only a few short sentences! Take as an example Epidote in Quartz (page 114). "Bringing together the regenerative properties of quartz and epidote, this hopeful stone provides rejuvenation and the courage to bounce back after enormous setbacks adding new impetus to soul growth". That is it. Under the "Beneficial for" entry in the reference header for Epidote in Quartz it lists bruises and sprains (amongst other things) yet it gives zero guidance on how one might ‘apply’ epidote in quartz for such an ailment! Now don't get me wrong, I am not expecting to grind up a piece of epidote in quartz and apply it as a paste to a bruise!! (I'd probably just reach for the arnica gel instead). But my point is simply that there are so many "its good for x,y or z" listed under each of the stones, yet there is no information whatsoever ventured as to 'why' this might be! In other words, readers are just meant to take it at face value that stone x will ease maladies a-z just because Judy says so. I mean that as no disrespect to Judy Hall, however even a bit of description would have been more useful here. Another thing that I found annoying was for many entries they all start in the same manner such as "As well as carrying the generic properties of (insert crystal name..." before adding a sentence or two about that particular variety. It makes it feel like it is not a true encyclopedia when some entries just feel like 'add on' extras to boost the number of crystals that are covered.
Finally, my third point is that I find Judy's analysis far too prescriptive. On entries (that is, where there is more than a few sentences of elaboration on what the crystal is and what it is meant to be beneficial for) the language used is often very cut and dried e.g. "it does this and it will do that" rather than making suggestions such as "with its cooling colours, you may find that this crystal helps you to feel calmer and more relaxed". Instead we get "it creates a protective bubble around your aura that keeps you safe no matter where you may be". Really? What about if I have the misfortune to be in the path of an oncoming vehicle at high speed? Will it "protect" me then?!! Without wishing to sound too cynical (and again I mean no disrespect to anyone who takes these things as given) unfortunately it does make me question the premise of the book and I am very disinclined to just 'take her word for it' regardless of how many similar books she has produced on the subject! To use another example: "Amazonite blocks geopathic stress and, placed between you and the source, it absorbs microwaves and cellphone emanations protecting against electromagnetic pollutions". I'm sorry, but that is a very strong claim to make and there is no rationale provided as to how a piece of Amazonite is going to turn into a shield wall and not allow any electromagnetic emissions to pass!!
The last and final straw I think is regarding the index of "ailments" in the back of the book. Are you having some "karmic guilt?" then look to Yellow Apatite. Are you feeling "gender confused?" well try some Golden Enhydro Herkimer apparently! Yes those are two real examples taken directly from the rear index - not entries that I just made up just in case anyone is wondering. My point is, by being so prescriptive in her recommendations, coupled with overtly 'new age' language ("Dalmation stone is said to sound a warning when danger is near...it physicalizes the soul, assisting in coming joyfully into incarnation" ?? -page 250) I feel that Judy is actually alienating people who are genuinely interested in and appreciate crystals for both their aesthetically pleasing properties as well as their history & lore, but by trying to bamboozle people and "telling" them what a stone WILL do (rather than humbly suggesting what it may (anecdotally or potentially) assist with should one be inclined to experiment with the stone in such a manner!) I feel that the book unfortunately tends to invalidate itself by trying to be a healthcare prescription akin to “take this pill but don’t ask what is in it or how it works”.
This is just my opinion of course and I like to think that I am an open minded yet pragmatically sceptical individual – I will not dismiss new theories, concepts, or alternative ways of thinking or healing out of turn. But I do feel that Judy has gone a step too far in this particular book by expecting us to take every entry at face value without any explanations whatsoever. Of course, it may be entirely down to the fact that I have not been “fortified” by my Dalmation stone today in order to “transmute my negative energy” and “outgrow patterns” (such as one’s capacity for critical thought perhaps??)! That said, Dalmation stone is also a stone of fun ;) and it helps to avoid over-analysis - so I guess I better now close this review and go find myself a piece of it in order to cure that!! ;)
Disclaimer: I do actually love crystals, and have enjoyed owning and using many of them for the past 20 years or so. I find them beautiful, tactile, mystifying and fascinating. This book has done nothing to reduce my love of these wonderful creations which I will continue to admire and enjoy - only now I will be making doubly sure not to allow any “karmic guilt” to impede that enjoyment!!! :)