- “Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze”, by Svend Brinkmann, Professor of Psychology, Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark; pub. Polity, 2017, ISBN 978-1509514267;
- One of the most significant and inspiring books I have ever read is "Briefing for the Landing on Planet Earth", by Stuart Holroyd (pub. Corgi, 1979; ISBN 10: 0552109975, ISBN 13: 9780552109970; my rave review is here). I've written about that book, and the follow up, and the concepts they espouse elsewhere - see my (attempted) "definition" of Balanced Positive (and the referenced posts here, here, here, here, and here), and "Post No. 568 - Who will step up?", "Post No. 573 - Post Script to "who will step up?"", "Post No. 412 - Thoughts from the day of Tiw", "Post No. 881 - Transphobia, "Briefing for the Landing on Planet Earth" and Personal", and "Post No. 761 - Speculation";
- the controversial Lobsang Rampa - whose books first set me on this path. Of those, I would particularly recommend:
- "The Third Eye";
- "You - Forever";
- "Wisdom of the Ancients";
- "Chapters of Life";
- "The Hermit". I'll add some words about these in due course.
- "Shambhala - the Sacred Path of the Warrior", by Chogyam Trungpa (pub. Bantam, 1986 [ first pub. Shambhala, 1984], ISBN 0-553-26172-X). The comments on authentic presence are particularly good;
- "Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach (pub. Pan, 1973 [first pub. in Great Britain by Turnstone, 1972; first pub 1970], ISBN 0 330 23647 4). This is a classic story covering reincarnation, freedom, excellence and love. It is one of the best descriptions of spiritual growth that I have come across – which is why I have referred to it;
- “Unseen Influences” by Dick Sutphen (pub. Pocket Books, 1982, ISBN 0 671 82604 2). This is one of the best books about dealing with things like psychic attack or unwanted influences from past lives etc that I have ever read, because it includes developing a healthy self-esteem and being assertive as a key part of the strategies for dealing with these problems;
- Geoffrey Robertson’s “Crimes Against Humanity: the Search for Global Justice”: the 3rd edition (pub. The New Press, New York, 2006, ISBN-13 978-1-59558-071-1; there is also a 4th edition);
- Paul K. Chappell’s “The Cosmic Ocean”;
- "Out on a Limb", by Shirley Maclaine (pub. Bantam Books, 1983, ISBN 0 533 05135 4).
In this book, Shirley Maclaine describes her experiences when she comes into contact with spiritual and psychic matters. For someone with an up till then fairly materialistic philosophy (although not limited in scope, and not negative), the experiences are quite a shock. She was perhaps more fortunate than most in that sort of situation, in that she met some above average mediums, and had the resources to go to some exceptional places – such as the mountains in Peru. (She is also, to be fair, using those resources to help share her knowledge with other people via her website, at URL http://www.shirleymaclaine.com/.) It is to Shirley Maclaine’s everlasting credit that she did “go out on a limb” by publishing her experiences – which has done a great deal to enlighten many people. I greatly admire Shirley Maclaine’s courage, confidence and poise in doing so. This book, and the film based on it, are excellent and highly recommended for anyone who is coming into contact with these concepts for the first time – especially those who are finding the contact traumatic or hard to accept. You will find, if that reaction yours, that you are not the only one. Shirley Maclaine has also made a video on meditation – largely based on chakras. I highly recommend this video also: the colour imagery and music make an impressive presentation that is very effective. For more information about Shirley Maclaine, you could also visit URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Maclaine. Apart from her psychic and spiritual interests, I consider her a great actress;
- "Supernature", by Lyall Watson (pub. Sceptre, 1989; first printing 1986; first pub. Hodder and Stoughton, 1973; first pub. in paperback Coronet, 1974; ISBN 0 340 40429 1).
If you ever wanted to know anything from a scientific or technical viewpoint about the enormous field of human potential that is the psychic field, this is the book for you. Lyall Watson is by training a biologist, and so has a conventional, Western scientific background. (I have myself used his book on identifying whales and dolphins which cruising, and found it invaluable – not least because it was presented in a useful format for those conditions.) He is thus ideally placed to bring together the various scientific research being undertaken on various psychic phenomena. In later books, Lyall Watson continues to investigate various facets of life and psychism in an enlightening and entertaining manner which shows this author to be a true lateral thinker. From the philosophical considerations of the biological basis for psychism in "Lifetide” to the cross-cultural perceptions of Indonesian mysticism in “Gifts of Unknown Things” and African mysticism in “Lightning Bird”, this is a series of books to provoke deep thought. “Supernature” is a large tome, with a lot of reading in it: that may put some people off. I hope not – perhaps such people could regard the book as something to dip into, a little bit at a time. Or perhaps use it is a reference, and look up topics you find yourself interested in from time to time. The book is comprehensively researched, and contains an excellent list of references – it is worth having for that alone. To hopefully whet your appetite, her is a list of some of the topics covered: brain waves and “life fields”; “thoughtography” (which means, creating photos in cameras by thought); astrology; poltergeists; dreams; hypnosis; palmist and phrenology (which could, perhaps, be thought of as “palmistry of the skull”); and time and precognition. For more information on Lyall Watson, you could visit URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyall_Watson;
- "Hands of Light” by Barbara Ann Brennan;
- "2150" by Thea Alexander (pub. Warner Books, 1976; first pub. Macro Books, 1971; ISBN 0 446 33057 6).
This is one of those books which I rated at he time of reading as having had a major effect on me (I am a little warier of it now, but it has useful points to consider). It expounds what it terms “macro philosophy” – a sort of broadening of consciousness resulting in universal, unconditional love. The plot line starts with the contact made by a Vietnam veteran, during sleep state, with spiritually advanced people from the future. Situations occur in the central character’s present life to test his application of the knowledge he has learnt, and an opportunity is presented for him to live physically in the future – with an interesting twist. This book is potentially useful because of: · its demonstration of the way that personal growth is a prerequisite to unconditional love; · the description of evolution (as a “spiral”) and devolution; · the experiences of earthbound entities; · the description of a society living in accordance with spiritual principles; and · a contact address for those who wish to know more on this topic;
- "The Founders of Psychical Research" by Alan Gauld (pub. Schocken Books, 1968; ISBN not given [Library of Congress Card No. 68-13562]).
This book is a study centred on the lives and characters of Henry Sidgwick, Edmond Gurney and Frederick Myers – who were well known several decades ago for their work investigating [psychism and spiritualism. (It also provides a fascinating insight into the society that early spiritualism developed in.) Some good description of phenomena and evidence is given, but the quest of these people for absolutely incontrovertible and untainted proof is, in my view, possibly somewhat extreme (e.g., discounting earlier, valid proof because of a medium’s later fraud). The attitude taken by Stuart Holroyd is, I consider, far healthier and more balanced. The book assumes that readers are familiar with terms such as “mesmerism” (which is, in effect, an early development in hypnosis, pioneered by an Austrian – Franz Mesmer – in the late 18th Century) and “Swedenborgianism” (a set of beliefs arising from the Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg’s experiments with psychism in the 17th Century). If you read this book, you may therefore need a good general guide beside you I have referred to this book for its use in providing historical background on spiritualism, and the description of phenomena;
- "The Mediums” Book" (pub. Psychic Press, 1977 [previously pub. 1876], ISBN 85384 008 3) and "The Spirits” Book" (pub. Psychic Press, 1975 [previously pub. 1898], ISBN 0 85384 044 1), both by Allan Kardec (translated by Anna Blackwell, 1875).
These two books (“The Spirits Book” was actually the first) are fairly widely regarded as “classics” from early spiritualism. They come from the early days of spiritualism, and are based on a series of questions and answers given to several mediums. The author appears to have been well aware of the dangers of gullibility and lack of objectivity (and undue scepticism). the scope of the questions can be indicated by some of the chapter headings and sub-headings: - Attributes of the Divinity; - Universal Space; - Formation of Worlds; - Form and Ubiquity of Spirits; - Organic and Inorganic Beings; - Temporarily Confused State of the Soul after Death; - Physical and Moral Likeness; - Sex in Spirits; - Necessity of Labour; - Law of Reproduction; - Progress of Human Legislation; - Future Joys and Sorrows; - Difficulties and Dangers of Medianimity; - Obsession; - Identity of Spirits; - Evocations; - Mental and Moral Influence of the Medium; and - Contradictions and Hoaxings. I can occasionally detect some of the influence of the times that these books were written in, but in general they are remarkably advanced and (still) relevant. I have referred to these books for the information they give on early spiritualism, but they are worth reading for their content. I also have to admit that, owing to their size and the old fashioned language, I have not read these books cover to cover – I have only skimmed here and there. For more information about Kardec, you could visit URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardec;
- "Eileen Garrett and the World Beyond the Senses" by Angolf (pub. William Morrow & Co., 1974; ISBN 0 688 00250 1).
I’ve referred to this book on the basis that it describes the work of one of the “early” mediums, but Eileen Garrett was active from after the First World War well into the middle of the last Century, which makes her a bit more contemporary than the really early mediums, such as D. D. Home. Eileen Garrett was a trance medium who gave readings, many of which gave good evidence of survival after death. She also willingly took part in scientific experiments. (In one of these, blood samples taken during trance were apparently of a different blood group to her normal blood group, but these results could not be repeated.) A very well written and interesting biography;
- “Child Possessed” by David St. Clair (pub. Corgi, 1984 [first printed 1979; first pub. in the USA as “Watseka”, 1979], ISBN 0 552 11132 5).
Put briefly, the plot of the events described in this book runs along these lines:
- a 19 year old girl dies in a town in the USA in 1865 after a history of fits;
- in 1878, another young girl suffers fits, which lead to mediumship and health problems, and the first girl returns to live in the body of the second while the astral of the second girl is healed.
The events show the potential dangers of untrained mediumship, the benefits of good mediumship and positive mediumship (which is why I have referred to the book), and the range of reactions to anything new of different (sadly, mostly negative reactions along the lines of “lock 'er her up!”). (A cautionary note: my edition has a gruesome cover unrelated to the topic of the book – don’t let that put you off if you see it, although I believe later editions have a more appropriate cover);
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' books on grief;
- “The Chakras” and “Clairvoyance”, by C. W. Leadbetter.
These two books have been included as examples of the works of the clairvoyant Leadbetter (other titles includes “The Masters and the Path”, “The Hidden Life in Freemasonry”, “Man Visible and Invisible” and “The Inner Life”; see also here and here). I read “The Chakras” years ago, and was impressed by the sound treatment of the topics. (Unfortunately, these are some of those books that I currently do not own a copy of.) Leadbetter was one of the better known clairvoyants of the period from end of the 19th Century into the first few decades of the 20th Century. His literature holds an esteemed place in early spiritualist work, which is why I have referred to it. Leadbetter split from the Theosophical Society movement in 1912, and several times had accusations of pederasty made against him.
For more information, try looking up:
- “Magic and Mystery in Tibet” by Alexandra David-Neel (pub. Souvenir Press, 2007 [first printed 1967; first pub. ?], ISBN 9 78025 637924).
When I first wrote this review 20 years ago, I was relying on my memory of a copy that I had read years before from a library, but now I finally have my own copy :) This remarkable Frenchwoman, born in the late 1800s, spent some years on the borders of, and eventually travelled - in disguise - to Lhasa, in Tibet. She had seriously studied (and written about) Buddhism beforehand, and that helped in her quest to find out more about Lamaism. Following her travels she established a cultural centre which is still going, and from which you can get copies of her books.
For more on this woman, look up: · http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandra_David-Neel; · http://www.alexandra-david-neel.org/.
The book is interesting both from the point of view of Tibet before the Chinese invaded (and I have recently found the BBC has some colour film on the Internet from Tibet in the 1930s), from the point of view of Tibetan Buddhism, and from the point of view of the development of Western mysticism over the last 150 years. I have referred to this book as one of those which helped to popularise what are generally – and arguably - considered “Eastern” concepts in Western culture, and for the comments (especially the warnings!) relating to creating thought-forms. It is worth, however, reading in its own right. A couple of other aspects which struck me when I did, are:
(1) Not all people with psychic power are what I would consider spiritual: for instance: Naljorpas are like spiritual/psychic teenagers: think they know it all, and get impatient with others- which I find myself doing this at times ... oops :) Mind you, I am not inclined to be as aggressive as the one on p. 7 who causes David-Neel’s translator to fall because he, the naljorpa, doesn't want a gift. I frequently get gifts I don't want (I could attribute that to "love" [that doesn't listen and/or is inflexible!], materialism, or "social capital" ... any way you call it, if I don't want it I don't want it, and if I want people to donate to a charity in lieu of a gift, that's what I want), but I try to accept it with some grace - I don't throw a tantrum, even if the energy on the gift is appalling (unless the person should know better!);
(2) page 24 of my copy mentions mardong, those (spiritually) high entities whose bodies have been preserved in gold: it is interesting to come across independent validation of the stuff that Lobsang Rampa writes of – although Rampa has clearly not copied David-Neel, as the slant/explanation is often different.
Pagan Energy Worker, Wéofodthegn, Bellatrix Lux, Venatrix Maga, would-be Drýicgan.
There is also a Yahoo group at https://au.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/gnwmythr-discussion/info.
May the best in me, my Higher Self,
and those of the Clear Light who assist me,
help me to keep myself grounded, centred and shielded,
to be Balanced and a Fulcrum of Balance,
a centre of Balanced Positivity and Spiritual Maturity,
with my aura continuously cleansed, cleared and closed,
repelling all negative or unwanted energies,
whilst allowing positive, balancing and healing energies in and through.