"Forged In Darkness" Book Review
Last Updated: September 9, 2023
“Forged in Darkness: The Many Paths of Personal Transformation” by Dr Joanna LaPrade was published May 2022. The Jungian archetypes meeting Greek mythological characters make this in depth exploration of your personal underworld a way to integrate your shadow aspects with love, with reverence and with the guidance needed to make heroic and fundamental changes.
It’s Dr Joanna’s hope that by drawing on the work of Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung we can stop rejecting the darker elements of ourselves that are just as natural as the cycles of death, decay and emotions.
This book covers the context of what an underworld is in comparison to our shadow, it covers the archetypes of the heroes, especially Hercules, Orpheus, Odysseus and Aeneas, and it covers the archetypes within the gods, especially Hermes, Persephone, and Dionysus. Whilst this book is technically academic, it’s poetic in description and makes it for fascinating reading that during your own underworld journeys, and this book is almost psychopomp as it is a balm for your heart.
What's In The Book?
Content: 275+ pages of psychological exploration with an in depth bibliography especially for the different gods.
Artwork: Gradients and very little artwork within. Graphics are credited to Watkins Media
Environmental Impact: TBC; Printed & Bound in China.
Unique Book Points: This book I would say is for those who are going through shadow work in a secular sense, with a passion for mythology and poetry. It’s one of a late-night deep conversation at a party topics, or paying resilient attention to our personal transformations during dark times. Covid-19, for example, impacted a lot of people in a lot of ways, and so this book can aid even in who you are now post-lockdowns, versus grieving who you used to be.
Overall, I think “Forged in Darkness” is an interesting exploration into our personal underworlds in a way that could be provocative and versus what you had thought previously, or tried not to think about, as the case may be for many. It’s academically written but not overly so, making it accessible to all. A great read for those who are looking to make sense of the various cycles within ourselves.
The Downside of the Book
Too short. Not enough gods, not enough heroes. And what about “villains”? Why miss out on the characteristically misunderstood archetype of the villain and its transformational power?
And of course I felt like there is not enough information about how to practically apply these concepts into your life. The book provides a great introduction but doesn’t quite go deep enough into practical ways this could be applied. For example, it would have been helpful to have some exercises or activities that one can do in order to explore their Hellenic archetype. The book content we do have is brilliant, so it wasn’t easy to find a downside. Dead serious – I read this book in cafes, on the train, when my kids napped, and even in the bath – it felt important to know what was happening next.
My Favourite Chapter
“Orpheus”. I work with Chiron in asteroid astrology readings, so the nod to the “wounded healer” aspect about not trying to fight, but to “tend to and accept” harder aspects of living and loving… I really loved this perspective. There were so many moments in this book that I fully loved however, and I really enjoyed the extensive references because I fucking love sources – it’s not often we get to read relevant-to-witchcraft books, especially those supporting shadow work, where they have source after source after source.
Why I Loved This Book
It’s a book I will come back to often, because there are phases in my life where I haven’t been through some of these themes yet. I know that I’ll find some guidance, and the feeling of support, from this book.
I feel that those who would love this book are those who are looking for ways to form a bridge between the spiritual side of personal transformation, and its practical application. Especially if you are into mythology or astrology – I think this is a must read! It offers an accessible way to tap into your inner archetypes, even if you aren’t all that well-versed in either Jungian psychology or Greek mythology. Shadow work can be hard and Dr Joanna LaPrade’s book is a great companion for the journey.
My Advice: Take your time. Don’t cram in all the reading, instead, delve into it and explore as you go. The underworld isn’t a place you want to rush through, so take your time and savour each chapter and each piece of information as it comes. It took me several readings of this to get to this point so far.
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Thank you for reading my review! Until next time xox
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