Coyle’s first book, Evolutionary Witchcraft, was a sensuously spiritual exploration of an intensely personal tradition. Kissing the Limitless is, in some ways, the next step in that exploration shared with readers. In other ways, however, it is a stand alone work that invites the serious practitioner to expand her perception and achieve an ongoing state of mindful awareness.
Written in lush prose that constantly echoes Coyle’s poetry in its phrasing and word choice Kissing the Limitless challenges the reader to accept new perspectives and is the equivalent of graduate level Work. Divided into three parts, Breath, Will, and Desire, Coyle herself says that she expects it to take between two and four years to actively work this book, and I whole-heartedly agree.
Breath includes the work of the mind: becoming aware and doing the Work needed to achieve self-possession. She does not see this as a process of getting rid of the parts we don’t like, but instead it is one where the many facets of our Self are brought into an ongoing conversation with one another, thereby providing integration. She offers a combination of journal work and ritual to the reader to assist in this process. Her frank discussions of the pitfalls of integration were refreshing – Coyle does not shy away from the problems inherent in self-integration. One example is thinking you are integrated (all done! I’m whole!) when in reality one facet is running the show. Coyle’s point is clear: self-delusion comes in a number of subtle guises.
Will is the Divine Twins, the polarity of life that is vitally important and an elaborate illusion at the same time. It is clear at this point (if not sooner) that Coyle doesn’t use language in obvious ways – Will in magickal work usually refers to the process of manifesting one’s desires. For her, however, Will is the next step in the journey of integration. This section takes us deeper into the exploration of the self with increasing awareness. She does an excellent job of discussing resistance and avoidance and its relationship to fear.
Desire completes the triangle of Coyle’s practice. Here we explore our connection with the Divine, and take great risks in our exploration of its transcendent immanence. “Desire . . . arises when want and need become one thing. It comes into being when what we want is not just superficial but is something that feeds our souls (p. 197).” This section is ultimately about love, which Coyle defines as “passionate engagement with life (p. 243).” It is about taking risks – for how can you love when hiding within a protective layer? Desire evokes within us an opportunity to become more than we are, to reach beyond what we think we can do into places we never thought we would go. Coyle tells us frankly that we may fail to achieve what we reach for, but the trying is a necessary part of our integration, and the alternative is to willingly choose to ‘tune out’ and give up, becoming numb and disengaged.
Kissing the Limitless is as much psychology as it is spirituality and I believe that most readers will dip into it again and again finding new meanings and ways to work the exercises and rituals provided as their own integration becomes more complete. Coyle has given her community a powerful and moving gift, one based on her practice, but accessible to anyone with a willingness to take the risk. Any one of the sections would be worth a book by itself, as a whole this becomes a powerful, transformative work that I recommend to any magick worker.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: T. Thorn Coyle
Weiser Books, 2009