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Edges, Peaks, and Vales:

A Mythocartography of California at the Margins

By Craig Chalquist

The end of a Californian journey.... The story begun in The Tears of Llorona: A Californian Odyssey of Myth, Place, and Homecoming (World Soul Books, 2009) and extended into Ventral Depths: Alchemical Themes and Mythic Motifs of the Great Central Valley of California (World Soul Books, 2011) reaches a conclusion in this, the final volume of the Animate California Trilogy. Inland of its spectacularly busy and famously scenic coast, and around the edges of its huge Central Valley, California extends itself into a mysteriously introverted land of dry deserts, tall mountains, ancient lakes, and solitary valleys. To listen deeply to the myths, legends, and images emanating from this arc of isolation demands an open-hearted inquiry from border to border and Sierra to open sea. The Tears of Llorona took the historical, ecological, and imaginal pulse of the original Mission counties of California along El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma. Ventral Depths sampled alchemical and mythic motifs in the Central Valley. Edges, Peaks, and Vales moves the terrapsychological focus to the interior edges of California, and therefore to those of a quintessentially place-based consciousness attuned to its startlingly sentient surroundings.