Review: Temple of the Twelve, Volume 1: Novice of Colors

I first became interested in this series from an off-hand comment made on LiveJournal (I have no idea what it was about). I had some misgivings at first (particularly when I saw that Silver RavenWolf had endorsed the book) but the concept was intriguing enough that I decided to give the book a try.

The concept, in case you’re wondering, is a teaching tool wrapped up in a coming-of-age tale. In fact, it could easily be adapted into a year-long course of study as the reader follows the protagonist on her journey.

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Our main character is Caroline, a young woman who arrives at the Temple of the Twelve seeking to become a priestess. The titular Twelve are personifications of colours, and each one represents a particular archetype and set of correspondences. In no particular order, we have:

Lady Black
Lord Brown
Lady Pink
Lord Orange
Lord Gold
Lady Yellow
Lord Blue
Lady Green
Lady Red
Lord Purple
Lord Silver
Lady White

Each new moon, Caroline is given an assignment by one of the Twelve, to be completed by the next new moon before she can receive another task. Only when she has completed a task from each of the Twelve can she be initiated as a full Priestess.

The reader follows Caroline as she meets and bonds with each of the Twelve, and this is where the “course of study” part comes into play. Each deity gives her a task to complete. Lady Black, who is a goddess of truth (no matter how harsh) gives Caroline the task of painting her true self (body and soul) laid bare, nothing held back. On a lighter note, Lady Yellow’s lesson is about trust, Lord Orange’s lesson has to do with joy and freedom (and as a reminder to us polytheists that even deities like to play sometimes). My Lokean readers should take note: Lord Orange is a Trickster par excellence. The book challenges you to apply these lessons to your own life. You might also find, as I did, that certain colors will appeal to you more than others (I really bonded with Blue and Purple in particular).

Unfortunately, while I could heap praises on this book all day, I feel I should mention some things about this book that bothered me. First is the prose. I guess you could call the prose “serviceable” but oftentimes, it is kind of clunky. Granted, this book is definitely not trying to be the Great American Novel, so I suppose it can be somewhat excused for having awkward prose, it is, first and foremost, meant to be more like a fictionalized course of study. Prospective buyers should make note of this.

The other issue I had with it (and this might turn some of my readers off immediately) is that the book is kind of fluffy in parts. There is one particular moment where Lord Blue becomes epicly angry with Caroline, and the lessons definitely force the reader to confront parts of themselves that they might rather not face, but there’s a lot of, um, cotton candy, in the middle. Now, before you all run screaming because I said the “f” word, I would still recommend this book, because I think it does have some interesting things to say in spite of the prose, the cheesy dialogue, and the cotton candy.

On another note, the author was supposed to be writing eight books in the series, but so far only two are out (plus an experiential journal, which makes it easier to follow Caroline on her journey). This first book definitely stands on it’s own, however. I haven’t heard anything regarding the author or the publisher for quite some time, so for the moment, don’t worry about being committed to an (expensive) series.

In closing, I would still recommend this book, floof and all, and if you know me from Facebook, you know how much I despise love floof.

For a different perspective, here’s Lupa’s review of the same book: http://paganbookreviews.net/2011/06/22/temple-of-the-twelve-vol-1-novice-of-colors-by-esmerelda-little-flame/

Here’s a brief run-down on each of the Colors from the author: http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=&c=words&id=14098

I’m curious to see which colours you find most appealing. My personal favourites were Purple, Blue, Orange, and Green (priest/esses seem to be dedicated to no more than four colors at a time, and they don’t have to be a “balanced” god/goddess pair, either).

BTW, sorry for the lack of hyperlinks, WordPress won’t let me for some reason.

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