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The Dove in the Stone
Alice O. Howell
Finding the Sacred in the Commonplace
Published by Quest Books in 1988
Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2002


Each time you begin reading a book by Alice O. Howell you enter a magical world of symbols and archetypes. In this book you meet Jung puffing on a pipe in her dream (ffft!), winking as he tells her of a (ffft!) "tree that grows in both of our worlds." "What is it?" Alice asks, seizing the opportunity. "You'll know it when you see it, Alice." Where is the magic in this book? You'll know it when you see it.

You'll find it in the dove that flies out of the stone, in the doctor who appears to her in the Queens Chamber, in the fresh white filter you put in your coffee pot in the morning, in your friend who knew Kahlil Gibran in New York, in the three sides you can't see of a cube, and in the ant crawling across the oriental rug to whom the world is blue one minute and dark red the next.

The sacred in the commonplace we discover as we follow Alice and Walter to the Hebrides' island of Iona. Iona in Hebrew means dove and Columba in Latin means dove. St. Columba was the great saint of Iona. We pick up a stone from Iona and carry it with her into the Queens Chamber of the pyramid of Giza. We shake hands of the doctor who grasps her hand as she leaves the chamber, "Alice! It is so good to find you here!" Like her we wonder later why the doctor is not all hot and sweaty like us and we discover the doctor has been dead for over a hundred years.

Now comes Mercy Muchmore, her childhood imaginary friend to tell us of the anamnesis of Hagia Sophia, the goddess of wisdom, who will be released in our heart like the dove in the stone when we are ready.

To close out the book, in her sweatsuit and two-layered rainbow colored hat, she shares with us exercises for welcoming Sophia into our life as our playmate and teacher, ready to rescue us from the boredom of the commonplace and usher us into the excitement of the commonplace in the sunshine of the Age of Aquarius.

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