Sea, Land, Sky: A Dragon Magick Grimoire – Parker J. Torrence

Sea, Land, Sky: A Dragon Magick Grimoire
Parker J. Torrence
Three Moons Media, 2002
160 pages

I think one of the biggest questions on the mind of those who pick up this book is, “Is it better than Dancing With Dragons by D.J. Conway?” I’ll admit it was one of the reasons I picked it up in a recent Amazon order. So, having read it on the train this morning (it was a quick read, and I have a long commute), what did I think of it?

Well, it’s definitely an improvement in some ways. Torrence has created a magical system based on multi-layered symbolism. His concept of dragons seems to be rather elemental in nature, though not in the same quasi-D&D manner of Conway’s work. He introduces the concepts of the three realms of sea, land and sky, and adds in some of the areas of correspondence. For example, he equates them, respectively, with the past, present and future, as well as various magical acts. He also creates an interesting meditation with the seven primary chakras, visualizing them as small dragons that hatch from eggs as each one is worked with, then returning to their eggs when the meditation is done. I also liked some of his rituals, particularly the simple guided meditation entitled “To Touch a Dragon”.

The main issue I have with this book is that it reads more like a draft rather than a finished manuscript. It’s obvious this is a self-published work (Three Moons Media is a printing company similar to Booklocker or Lulu). There are a number of incomplete sentences, typos, and weird punctuation throughout the book. It doesn’t make it unreadable, but I did notice it as I read. Additionally, the content has a lot of room for development. Torrence offers a lot of “whats” and “hows”, but not as many “whys”. Why, for example, should a beginner to tarot use only the Major Arcana (p. 26)? Why does he toss in a handful of Enochian for no apparent reason (p. 59-63)? What’s with the random inclusions of Celtic deities? Instead of offering more detailed explanations of things like this, he instead stuffs the book with a bunch of Wicca 101 information (some of it just a little dragon-tinged), and almost 60 blank-lined pages (I don’t think a 160 page book needs quite that much room for notes).

This book does have a lot of potential. If I were editing the book, I would suggest the author answer the following questions throughout:

–How did you get into dragon magick specifically? What are some anecdotes of your own experience with working with dragons?
–Given that the mythology around dragons (particularly those in the West) shows them as fierce beasts, how does a magician safely work with dragon spirits? (This is particularly in light of the fact that a couple of the rituals call on Tiamat).
–How does the Celtic pantheon work into this, particularly the sea, land and sky trilogy?
–Can you go into more detail as far as the relationship between sea, land, sky; past, present, future; and subconscious, conscious and superconscious mind?
–In regards to the various rituals in the second part of the book, how did you develop them? What sorts of results have you gotten from them?
–What are some of the basic principles of working with dragons in ritual, so that readers can then take those principles and apply them to rituals they create themselves?

Those are just some of the points that came to my mind as I read through the book; there’s plenty more room for expansion. I give it extra points because it does have some good potential. And even as it is now, it’s a better alternative to dragon-flavored Wicca than Dancing with Dragons. I think if the author were to get it contracted with an actual publisher, or at least hire an editor to help him expand on his ideas and clean up the text, this could easily be a five-pawprint book. As it is, I’m giving it three pawprints and hoping for a second edition.

Three pawprints out of five.

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9 Comments

  1. July 10, 2007 at 8:16 am

    That three realms of Land, Sea, and Sky are in fact central to the theology of Ar nDraiocht Fein’s system of Druidry and can be found in both Celtic mythology and in noticeably similar forms throughout the beliefs of Indo-European cultures. That might explain why he also uses Celtic deities for seemingly no reason. 🙂

  2. lupabitch said,

    July 10, 2007 at 8:21 am

    Yes, but I want him to explain why he did that. He only briefly mentioned the Celtic deities, and didn’t work them into any of the rituals. They were just sorta stuck there. (Plus he was talking about “pan-Celtic” deities *shudder*).

  3. Eshari said,

    July 10, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    What edition of the book was this? There was supposed to be a second edition, but I forget if it’s already come out.

  4. lupabitch said,

    July 10, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    Looks like the first edition.

  5. lupabitch said,

    July 10, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    I just looked at the Amazon.com page–it has the publication date as March 7, 2003, and the page count as 176. It doesn’t specify which edition. The cover is the same as the one I have, though, which is copyrighted 2002.

  6. lupabitch said,

    July 10, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    And the ISBN number is the same, Generally each edition will have its own ISBN. So I’m guessing that the second edition never appeared.

  7. dragonflower9 said,

    July 10, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Thanks for the review, I’ve been looking at this book wondering just what you said ‘ will this be more in depth than Dancing with Dragons. You’ve definitely shed some light on that! Thanks again!

  8. lupabitch said,

    July 10, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    It’s definitely worth a look; it just could be so much more if the author fleshed it out.

  9. Eshari said,

    July 11, 2007 at 11:55 am

    “And the ISBN number is the same, Generally each edition will have its own ISBN. So I’m guessing that the second edition never appeared.”

    Well, never appeared *yet*. I say this because Parker Torrence himself was talking about it on his blog, but I didn’t remember if he was talking in the past or future tense.


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