by WADE DAVIS Broadway Books $13 (softcover)
reviewed by Mark Amaru Pinkham
Shadows in the Sun is a timely "wake-up call" to humanity, within which author Wade Davis takes us on a timely journey around the globe and reveals how modern humanity has played (and continues to play) a decisive role in destroying many primitive cultures and virgin ecosystems. To illuminate his urgent message, Davis skillfully weaves hard-boiled facts with his own colorful experience to create a picture of planetary devastation that is both striking and irrefutable.
He graphically relives his experiences in such places as the Arctic, the Amazon, and Haiti, where, as a Harvard alumnus and protégé of the famous ethnobotanist Richard Shultes, he spent many years studying indigenous flora and fauna. He then backs up all his empirical testimony with an encyclopedic knowledge of world affairs and environmental history. He doesnt, for example, just tell us that the Amazon forest is dying because he has witnessed its destruction firsthand. He also tells us the chronological history behind its demise, which Amazonian tribe and animals are intimately effected, and the secret history of how and why the forest has been destroyed in the name of big business concerns and so-called progress.
While reading Davis various accounts, one cannot help but get an overwhelming feeling of empathy for the earths current destruction and a desire to return to an earlier era when the old-growth forests thrived and cultural diversity flourished. Promoting sentiment does, indeed, seem to be the authors underlying purpose for writing the book. Davis has ostensibly made it his mission to spread the word in heart-pounding detail so that we will all join in the fight to save our beloved planet before it is too late.
HAPPILY EVEN AFTER Can You Be Friends After Lovers?
by ALAN COHEN Hay House $12.95 (softcover)
reviewed by Arlene Arnold
We live in a time of great change and turmoil. Marriages and relationships of all kinds are being tested like never before. Happily Even After is not only timely, but is also a valuable handbook for those who are separated, divorced, or in the process of divorce. Alan Cohen brings perspective to what could be and often has been a painful and damaging experience.
There may be many reasons for the number of broken relationships. Is it that we are not tied to each other for our survival as in the past, so that leaving a relationship becomes an option? Is it that we are living longer, which means that one partner may not fit all the transformation we experience in one lifetime?
Whatever the reasons, Cohen suggests that we look for a "higher love" that can transcend the ending of a partnership: "Your thoughts were powerful enough to produce a monster, and now you can rechannel the same energy to create a friend. The key to the relationship you want lies not in your actions, but your attitude." Throughout Happily Even After, Cohen suggests specific ways to end with a different relationship, one that is more satisfying, communicative, and mutually honoring. "No partner is your savior, and no partner is your enemy," he says. "Only you can save yourself by recognizing the beauty within you, and only you can hurt yourself by denying it. If you look honestly into your own heart, you will discover that everyone you meet especially your partner mirrors you own beliefs."
I highly recommend Happily Even After, even if you are only considering a separation or even if you have been divorced for some time. Whatever stage you are at in your relationship, this book will help you think and rethink the dynamics of your relationship and will certainly help you to move to a higher way of acting and being in any relationship.
PSYCHIC LIVING Tap into Your Psychic Potential
by ANDREI RIDGEWAY Kensington Books $12 (softcover)
reviewed by Dolly Mae,
Pragmatic and poetic, this author knows his stuff. Its evident that hes been in the trenches of psychic counseling and teaching for some time. In fact, one could use Psychic Living as a textbook to teach a "how-to" course on awakening psychic potential. Ridgeway demystifies psychic abilities without losing the sense of wonder for the beginner, and the book also serves as a delightful reminder for the experienced. Step by step, using concrete exercises with each stage, one is shown the how-tos of opening, strengthening, and owning ones psychic abilities.
Ridgeway sees the psychic talent and having four parts: Seer, Empath, Warrior, and Shaman. The Seer is the one that sees auras, predicts, and interprets signs and symbols. His exercises to activate this talent access imagery and imagination, which is then used to "give readings" to supportive friends to test oneself. This removes the self-destructive self-judgment and allows one to develop.
The Empath works with feelings, dreams, and senses; by being aware of and in tune with ones feelings, says Ridgeway, one can give extraordinary readings. This ability allows one to sense whats going on in anothers body. The exercises to awaken this talent are feeling your own heart, feeling that of a friend, and feeling love. Receptivity to these feelings opens up the psychic ability to be in tune with others, especially in a highly focused client situation.
The Warrior feels from a gut level, the animal instinct, seeking out the challenge areas, creating healthy boundaries, and giving guidance about how to get through the tough periods. Warrior exercises include connecting with an animal energy to experience its perceptions, fears, boundaries, and secrets.
Lastly, the Shaman is the seeming wizard that feels the energy of those not present, who reads the inner language of plants and animals, who heals, who holds knowledge of ancient wisdom and applies it in his or her daily walk. The Shaman helps the community to strip off its mask and to be authentic. Shaman exercises include tapping into your own mystical experiences whats mystical for you may not be for another and following your own knowing.
This book speaks to a lack of limitation, to the ability that we all possess, and to the journey toward awakening that remembrance. Ridgeway has a good deal of personal expertise, and is willing to share it. He has seen the traps of psychic living and its potential ego limitations, and shows us how to neatly avoid or overcome them. The book is delightful, to the point, and easy to read, and would make a good reference point for assessing your own growth.
SHAMANIC WISDOMKEEPERS Shamanism in the Modern World
by TIMOTHY FREKE Sterling Publishing $24.95 (hardcover)
reviewed by Diamond Driscoll
In this book, ten shamans from varying traditions around the globe share, in their own words, their work, beliefs, and wisdom. The material feels fresh, practical, and accessible because it is rooted in the modern world, connected to todays people and the challenges we all face.
Aside from the relevant text, the beautiful coffee table-style volume is a lush visual feast that pulls the reader or browser in immediately. Enticing scenery at every turn of the page includes Hawaiian palm tress, Bolivian mountains, and dazzling photos of waves, water, and light. The piercing gaze of a black panther is as mesmerizing as the compelling eyes of a West African witch doctor.
The range of cultures spanned includes Tibetan, Celtic, and Mayan, as well as Australian aboriginal transition, Apache, and West African Dagara. The stories, animals, and scenery effectively transport and immerse the reader into each village, tribe, and ritual on this immensely satisfying journey. There is never any doubt as to the authenticity, power, and depth of the material presented or the people living it.
The quotes and prayers highlighted in large print throughout the book fairly vibrate: "Ive been asked if it is better to do the ceremonies in the jungle or in the cities, but wherever the miracles are going to happen, they will." Miguel A. Kavlin. "Long life, honey in the heart, no evil, 13 thank-yous." Mayan Prayer.
Another treat this volume offers is do-it-yourself "Practical Shamanism" exercises that are both simple and exciting. The Indigo Bowl uses volcano imagery for releasing problems at bedtime. Observing nature without blinking aids in perceiving energies visually. Specific questions asked internally on a regular basis open the way for guidance in being in the right place at the right time.
This treasure of a book is appealing in many ways and on many levels. It is spiritually nourishing, visually delectable, and emotionally rich. Any work that triggers that spark of excitement, that sense of aliveness, is worthy of exploring.
THE SECRET OF SHAMBHALA In Search of the Eleventh Insight
by JAMES REDFIELD Warner Books $23.95 (hardcover)
reviewed by Chris Butterfield
Riding the silken coattail of 1992's New York Times bestseller The Celestine Prophecy, a new James Redfield book has emerged. The Secret of Shambhala, released late in 1999, adheres to the philosophy, "if it ain't broken, don't fix it." Hardcore Redfield fans will quickly recognize, and likely welcome, the down-to-earth parable style popularized in the Prophecy series.
In The Secret of Shambhala, Redfield's main character, first introduced in The Celestine Prophecy as a nameless first-person voice, is again led forward by synchronicities, mysterious events that arrive at just the right time to lead him toward his goals and desires. This time, he is led to and through the Himalayan mountain range of Tibet and Nepal in search of the hidden, completely spiritualized, culture of Shambhala (Shangri-La). The journey begins with the insights of a neighbor's daughter and the sudden appearance of an old friend telling him the importance of making the journey. As a result, he sets off to discover the ancient culture. Along with the synchronicities, he is driven forward by dreams, and mysterious, angel-like beings called dakini.
As in Redfield's previous books, the reader is educated on a set of insights (human truths) that the character must master to progress forward. Ultimately, the character is in search of a new insight, one which, if learned properly, can lead to the merging of "the outer cultures" with Shambhala. With the same background spice that kept the tension high in the Prophecy series, our character is constantly trailed by evil totalitarian figures bent on apprehending him and putting an end to his threatening little spiritual journey. This time, however, rather than Peruvian or U.S. government operatives, they're oppressive Chinese agents who seem to have a knack for reading minds, often showing up at the most inopportune times.
Just as The Celestine Prophecy was, The Secret of Shambhala is bound to be a real winner among neophyte metaphysicians. Its basic, easy-reading, double-spaced style is a great introduction to metaphysics and New Age thinking. However, to non-newcomers (and, quite frankly, many fall into this category after the explosion in popularity of The Celestine Prophecy), Redfield's latest effort on the subject may seem a bit cliché. I found that much of Shambhala was just a rewording of his earlier works, albeit on a new continent and in a new culture.
On the other hand, Shambhala is a great way to reacquaint yourself, as I was able, with some of the old magic that made the Prophecy series such a winner. As the book progresses, the reader garners knowledge on the nature of prayer fields, aura extensions, proper diet, the importance of interpersonal interaction, how to increase and maintain synchronicity, and larger cultural transitions we are making as a race.
I often found myself wanting to put the book down for awhile, just as I had with the Prophecy series, to try and take in some of the insights that the character experiences. This, quite clearly, was Redfield's intention, and has been with all his books. It makes the experience an interactive adventure in which the reader assumes the mindset of the character. I felt more deeply the character's anxiety about possibly being caught and tortured by Chinese agents, and the joy of finally having mastered an insight. Most importantly, I felt the energy, based upon love, which brings on the synchronicities not only in the book, but also in life when one practices its collection as the character does. No wonder Redfield never mentions the character's name; it's supposed to be the reader.
Shambhala is different from Redfield's other endeavors in its own small way because it touches on a whole new insight: where we are going as a culture. I commend Redfield for another great effort in sticking to his own vision and not selling out to those who would have liked to see the Prophecy series go Hollywood. To me, his message has no place on the ego-oriented, money-generating big screen, just as his followers would have no reason to continue to be his followers if he spoiled his work in such a way. Perhaps it is his layman, realist message more than any other reason that made his earliest efforts such a hit and gives us a reason to keep reading.
Rehash or not, the book touches on the same magic that surrounded The Celestine Prophecy, a magic that told me and everyone I passed it on to, "This guy's ideas are worth investigating. Check it out."
THE LITTLE BOOK OF SECRETS 81 Secrets for Living a Happy, Prosperous and Successful Life
by CHRIS PRENTISS Power Press $7.95 (softcover)
A wonderful collection of "secrets" of inspiration and guidance from ancient tomes Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, I Ching, and more with accompanying practical applications to contemporary life.
THE GODDESS COMPANION Daily Meditations on the Feminine Spirit
by PATRICIA MONAGHAN Llewellyn Publications $17.95 (softcover)
Coming from a variety of sources, ranging from classical European authors to Hindu and African poets, there are hundreds of authentic goddess prayers, invocations, chants, and songs one for each day of the year.
I BRING YOU GLAD TIDINGS Inspiring True Stories of Christmas Angels
by ROSEMARY ELLEN GUILEY Pocket Books $16 (hardcover)
Not just for Christmas! Rosemary Ellen Guiley has woven a stunning tapestry of true angel stories, each one a unique testament to the triumph of the human spirit and transformation in heart, mind, and soul.
THE I CHING COMPANION An Answer to Every Question
by JILL RICHARDS Samuel Weiser, Inc. $9.95 (softcover)
Jill Richards provides us with a study guide to the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of The I Ching or Book of Changes, offering a new way in which The I Ching can be used as a tool for achieving emotional balance.
CLASSIC YOGA For Stress Relief
by VIMLA LALVANI Sterling Publishing $14.95 (softcover)
Beautiful photographs accompany clear instructions to assist you in balancing the pressures of modern living. With yoga, the ancient art of relaxation, you will drain the muscle tension from your body.
MEDITATION MADE EASY An Introduction to the Basics of the Ancient Art of Meditation
by GERRY MAGUIRE THOMPSON Sterling Publishing $7.95 (softcover)
This wonderful little book, small enough to fit in purse or pocket, takes the reader through all the natural states of learning to meditate and shows how to make progress by meditating only ten minutes per day.
DREAMS MADE EASY An Introduction to the Basics of the Ancient Art of Dream Interpretation
by SARAH DENING Sterling Publishing $7.95 (softcover)
Uncover the treasures of your inner world; discover how to interpret your dreams and gain a better understanding of yourself.
NATURAL HOME SPA
by SIAN REES Sterling Publishing $24.95 (hardcover)
Divided into three beautiful chapters, this book is full of charts, techniques, and recipes for key therapies that can alleviate a number of common ailments, stresses and strains of daily life, and beauty problems.
NATURAL BODYCARE Creating Aromatherapy Cosmetics for Health & Beauty
by JULIA MEADOWS Sterling Publishing $24.95 (softcover)
Beautifully designed and photographed, this book is full of directions to make your own body care products from the finest ingredients, and will be a much-used reference when added to the home care library.
NATURALLY HEALTHY WITH EVENING PRIMROSE OIL
by WERNER MEIDINGER Sterling Publishing $11.95 (softcover)
Discover the history of evening primrose as you are guided through the latest medicinal and cosmetic findings to help treat and heal a variety of ailments and to improve mental and physical well-being.
THE GREEK QABALAH Alphabetical Mysticism and Numerology in the Ancient World
by KIEREN BARRY Samuel Weiser, Inc. $16.95 (softcover)
This reference book restores the factual basis of alphabetic numerology and symbolism, providing an accurate background upon which to base studies of numerology, Qabalah, Enneagram, divination, and similar topics.
by DENIE HIESTAND and SHELLEY HIESTAND ShellDen Publishing $14.95 (softcover)
This book offers a new way of looking at health, based on the electrical construct of the human body. Much of the knowledge known by the ancients, but long forgotten, is revived and shared with much clarity.