Review – The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy
I don’t usually like to do book reviews so close together (just recently did Empowering Your Indigo Child), but I find myself recommending The Subtle Body by Cyndi Dale to everyone I know (including recently in a comment on a healing blog I visit, Heal Pain Naturally), so I decided I should just go ahead and review it already! Plus, this book is related to some of the themes I recently covered in Women’s Energy Bodies – Phases and Life Cycles, and that I will be looking at in more detail in my upcoming mystic spirituality for women series, so it actually provides a nice transition post.
The subtitle for the The Subtle Body is ‘An Encylopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy’, and this is exactly what it is. Ms. Dale, an already respected author, healer and writer on the chakras (and sure to be even more so after this work) has compiled and detailed energy body teachings from virtually every known energy healing tradition. Among these are Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, native and shamanic traditions from around the world, Hindi, Tibetan and Kabbalah chakra systems, ancient Greek philosophy, Western mystic teachings such as those from the Rosucrucians, and many, many others. She has combined this material with sections on basic human anatomy, and coverage of cutting-edge science that supports the mind/body/spirit connection, including work in physics and research into various alternative healing methods.
The result is simply amazing, a masterpiece really, for any healer open to the idea that “All medicine is essentially energy medicine, for energy composes the world.” It is also a gift to anyone like myself who is not a healer but an occult geek interested in any and all energy body teachings. The book is primarily written as a reference manual for healers, and as such begins with chapters on general energy healing principles, and a chapter on ethical guidelines for healers. It then moves into a section on basic human anatomy. Although this anatomy section is pretty straightforward, Ms. Dale intersperses research tying energy theories to physical anatomy, such as one on the energetic principles behind DNA, and a sidebar on the different types of brain waves.
From there the book moves into its core topics, with major sections on Energy Fields, Energy Channels, and Energy Bodies. The Energy Fields section provides a primer on energy fields, from both a physics and energy healing perspective. Part of the value of this book is that Ms. Dale manages to explain things like the Unified Field Theory and Zero-Point Field Theory in terms a non-scientist like myself can understand (or mostly understand, anyway.) She then moves into all different kinds of waves, L-Fields and T-Fields, and more importantly, what all this has to do with various energy body theories. If all this sounds a bit too theoretical, don’t worry – since this is structured as a reference manual, each chapter is self-contained, and you don’t need to read it cover to cover. I have to admit to getting a bit bleary-eyed at the various wave theories, but I perked up in her section on Field Pollution, which covers the potential impact power lines, cell phones and microwaves have on our body’s various energy fields. I also particularly liked her chapter on Sacred Geometry, and the patterns underlying our physical world that help us work with subtle levels, including as part of healing.
The Energy Channels section is mostly devoted to a presentation of the meridian system used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which serves as the source for both acupuncture and acupressure. Beautiful color pictures detail all the major meridians, and several comprehensive charts break down their relationships to the elements, acupuncture points, internal organs, and more. The Energy Bodies section then covers my primary interest – chakra systems, including the classic Hindi system, the slightly different Tibetan system, the Tsalagi (Cherokee) system, an Incan system, a Christian version derived from the Bible’s last book Revelations, Egyptian and African systems, and a Kabbalah-derived system. As with the meridians, each system is beautifully illustrated, and charts relate them to physical body parts and ailments. Ms. Dale also provides an overview of the role of chakras in the kundalini meditation practiced within some Hindu and Tibetan spiritual traditions. She finishes up with a section describing what must surely be every energy diagnostic and healing practice in the world – from acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, and crystal use to thai massage, numerology, radionics and mudras.
As I said, this book is a reference, an Encyclopedia, and is priced as such. But it is also expertly organized and indexed, to assure that a reader can return to it over and over looking for guidance on a particular ailment, energy system, or healing practice. Ms. Dale does compare the systems, but doesn’t try and reconcile the differences between them, or offer judgment on which are more effective or provable, leaving that, presumably, to the healer and/or reader. I would think any healer would want to own this book and keep it close at hand, and anyone interested in energy body theories from a spiritual perspective as well.
To check out quotes from the book, see the associated Twitter account homepage (I’ve been enjoying the daily quotes for a couple of weeks), and the author’s website at http://www.cyndidale.com/. You can also purchase the book at Amazon.
And, although I know book reviews don’t normally inspire a lot of comments, please feel free to use the comments on this one to recommend any related resources you have found, or, if you have read any of Cyndi Dale’s other books or know her personally, provide more feedback. I really enjoyed receiving so many of your comments on my last post, and have vowed to encourage more commenting going forward (unfortunately I found out I can’t install CommentLuv without upgrading to WordPress.org, and I just don’t have the mental bandwidth for that right now, but I do love your comments anyway!) I’ll continue the mystic series I started with my last post later this week….