Book Review: Into The Serpent’s Jaws by Spark Deeley

Chispa Publishing: Cork, Ireland ISBN 978-0-9557457-03-6

Into the Serpent’s Jaws is a self published book, written and illustrated by Spark Deeley about a young woman and her journey. Over the 40 pages of verse and beautiful illustrations, the story tells us of how the young woman finds herself in the deep dark jungle and how her journey there happens on many levels. She discovers the jungle as a place of darkness and light, of terror, of rest, of holding and nourishment and ultimately as a place of transformation. This story works within the tradition of the ancient fable using the medium of the story to describe a universal experience. In this way the story of the woman’s journey is the story of what is involved in the process of reclaiming one’s authentic self and what that process asks of the person who chooses to take it. Reading the pages and absorbing the gorgeous illustrations left me with the sense that I was sharing in an experience that resonated deeply. The layout and simple style of storytelling almost made it feel like I was reading a children’s book, but this isn’t a children’s book. In my experience when authentic truth is pared back its form is often simple and yet the complexity of layers to its meaning and beauty remain uncompromised. It is this as much as the illustrations that makes Into The Serpent’s Jaws a simply beautiful book.

On the cover page Spark Deeley writes ‘This is the story of an epic journey of the spirit through unknown territory. It encourages us to embrace the darkness, allowing our fears to become our allies. It is dedicated to all those who walk the path of transformation.’ This book has the gifts of resonance, reflection and affirmation in store for anyone from young adulthood on who knows and may at times struggle with the complex process of transformation. It is available at good bookstores nationwide or can be purchased directly from the author/illustrator at for €12.

Catherine Dunne is a Counselling Psychologist and Gestalt therapist.