THE NIGHT SKY by Richard Grossinger


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Richard Grossinger has always been interested in the night sky. As a poet and editor, he named a literary journal lo, after his favorite moon of Jupiter and because it represented a sense of ""remoteness and mystery."" It is the same sense of wanting to recapture or re-embrace remoteness and mystery that inspires Grossinger in this second (after Planet Medicine) of a projected trilogy. The ""night sky"" is both reality and metaphor, then, for Grossinger's excursions into myth and religion, the origins of spiritual nature and modern science. As an explicator, he knows whereof he writes; his chapters on the history of astronomy and on the planets and the solar system would pass muster with most orthodox scientists. But his zeal is for something else: no less than combining the occult with the current scientific stream. The text is dense with the theme: ""The hermetic texts contain the cumulative attempt of Western mystics to discern the hidden correspondence between man and the Cosmos. . . . Their significance lies in the fact that they are our only history of the spiritual universe . . . and represent a collective cultural experience over many aeons . . . our single thread going back to the beginning."" So it is the One in All and the All in One: the Jungian/Reichian/Druid world of astral trips and astrology melded with the Big Bang and relativity, black and white holes. All this is warp and woof for Grossinger's stylized prose that is sometimes hypnotic, but sometimes sedative. The book is for the mystically-bent, consequently, who prefer Bruno and Kepler and Koestler to Gamos, Asimov, and Sagan. There are some lovely insights--historical parallels between voyages on earth and above earth; there are admirable references to Levi-Strauss, critical comments on superficial mysticism, apt quotes from contemporary poets (as well as overlong plot summaries of favorite science-fiction works). But Grossinger is not for anyone restless at the thought of shaping nature and destiny in intimate communion with the stars.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 1981
Publisher: Sierra Chub--dist. by Scribners