Monday, 29 September 2014

Book Review - Chakra Wisdom Toolkit by Tori Hartman



Chakra Wisdom Oracle Toolkit: A 52 Week Journey of Self-Discovery with the Lost Fables 
Tori Hartman (Watkins Publishing, 2014)

Back in May I reviewed an oracle deck called Chakra Wisdom by Tori Hartman  and then ran a giveaway for the deck (Congratulations, Delphine Sutherland!). The publisher has sent me a sold-separately companion book to review. Here are my thoughts.



Pros

  • The book is complete unto itself and can easily be used for divination by randomly opening the book to a page (bibliomancy), instead of shuffling and drawing a card. In fact, I think the book is more useful than the deck, to be honest. 
  • There are full-colour illustrations of the cards. 
  • The book is a well-constructed softcover with glued (but not stitched) binding that will stand up to reasonable wear. 
  • The system in the book is highly structured and is presented in an easy-to-follow format. 
  • You explore one card for a full week, with specific exercises outlined for each day of the week, Monday - Friday. 
  • There are group exercises included so that this book could actually be used in a group context. 
  • The exercises follow a routine pattern: Monday the fable and intention setting, Tuesday reflecting upon the chakra colour, Wednesday journal writing based on the fable and card image, Thursday 'Connecting with Yourself and Others' which might involve journal writing or active energy work, Friday guided meditation. All of these exercises are useful for self-exploration. 
Cons
  • The information taught about chakras is incomplete and idiosyncratic. Tori Hartman talks a lot about being 'intuitive'. The content in this book does not appear to line up entirely with traditional teachings on chakras, nor on accepted helping/counselling terminology, but rather comes from her intuition and channelings from angels. For example, Hartman claims that the solar plexus chakra is the seat of 'clear thinking, planning and the rational mind'. This in contradiction to the traditional meaning of the solar plexus (manipura, the 'place of resplendence'), which is the centre of dynamism, will power, action and achievement. It is associated with fire and digestion, and is called the centre of intuitive knowing. (As an 'intuitive' you'd think she'd 'know' that.) She also does not give the Sanskrit names for any of the chakras, nor provide any traditional background information. For myself, if I were going to devote 52 weeks to a rigidly formatted programme of learning, I would want it to be something generally accepted. 
  • Some helping/counselling terminology is misrepresented. Hartman makes this puzzling statement: 'Being a neutral observer does not mean being detached, which is energetically a form of resistance.' In fact, detachment is 'a decision to avoid engaging emotional connections, rather than an inability or difficulty in doing so, typically for personal, social, or other reasons. In this sense it can allow people to maintain boundaries, psychic integrity and avoid undesired impact' (Emotional detachment). To detach is not to resist. This might seem like a fine distinction, but it bothered me. 
  • Each card's image and all further study and exercises are based on the 'fable' associated with the card. These are highly personal and sometimes muddled stories that Hartman claims were channeled to her by angels after a near-death experience in 1988. There is no disputing that this sort of experience and these stories might be quite meaningful for Hartman, but their usefulness for others may vary. For myself, if I were to commit 52 weeks to learning this material, I would rather it be devoted to learning tales about gods, mythology, heroes, or ancient scripture -- something that could be widely applied in various other contexts. Instead, these are the personal visions of an individual. 
The cons are the reason I will not be working with this system. You might love this and find it enjoyable and very easy to relate to. I merely share my opinion and experience of this system for your information as you make your purchasing choice. 

3 comments:

  1. Thanks Carla. Excellent review and I concur with your comments on 'emotional detachment'!

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  2. I also agree about the emotional detachment, and would be annoyed at something that doesn't seem in line with generally agreed notions on the chakras!

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  3. This was given to a friend, along with the free book.

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