John Billingsley of reviews Ancestral Airs!

This book, thick and close-texted, is an extraordinary creation. Never clear whether it is a ground-breaking style of stream-of-consciousness novel, or some transmitted treatise from an ancient mind, it is not an easy, but a challenging read, in a very positive sense. The use of language enhances a dream-like unreality – words can deftly sidestep accustomed usage, lifting the reader into a state tending towards a mildly altered consciousness, approaching meaning from unexpected angles, yet without losing it.

This dream-like state is appropriate, for the core story is of a two-way link between individuals 6000 years apart – an American woman in mid-life crisis at the turn of the millennium and a psychopomp shaman in ancient Britain. It is like channelling perceived through the other end of the telescope; and in the process, it comes packed with detail of magical ritual and healing herbs (identified in an appendix) and an animist world-view so all-encompassing and alien to modern minds that it is actually hard to see it as a work of imagination – perhaps more a case of Blake’s capitalised Imagination. However one takes Smedley’s book, it is a visionary construction that steeps the reader in a state of otherness. This work is an experience that challenges one’s expectations – fact or fiction? It could be either, or both. I have to say, when I read the blurb, I wrinkled my nose; when I read the book, I wrinkled my brow – a good sign! Truly fascinating; look for a handbook to the healing details later this year. [JB]

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Responses to “John Billingsley of reviews Ancestral Airs!”

  1. For me Mr. Billingsley’s review is spot on, as when reading your book I have been taken many times into a dream-like state where time evaporates. The whole afternoon by the fire gone, for these journeys I am so grateful. Such a depth of knowledge to be absorbed at times more than once by re-reading sections that pull me deeper. For all of these voyages I thank you.