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The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose

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I wanted to read this book immediately after I read the premise.

Jac L’Etoile is a successful author and TV personality who hosts a show about myths. She comes from a long line of famous French perfumers, but she’s walked away from the business. It’s not until the business is in trouble and her brother goes missing in Paris that she returns to confront her past. Her mother’s suicide, a father suffering dementia, and troubling visions all connected with scent threaten to derail Jac from finding her brother.

Jac learns her brother has resurrected a family legend tied to an ancestor who discovered a scent created in Cleopatra’s time that could induce memories of past lives. Of course, Jac is highly skeptical of the idea, but as her own visions intensify bringing her closer to her dead mother, images of ancient Egypt and the French Revolution begin to emerge all calling her sanity into question. Evidence comes light that forces Jac to consider whether her brother may have been killed for Cleopatra’s secret scent. An esoteric society along with the Chinese government all have designs on the powerful perfume her brother was protecting. Interestingly, the brother’s only wish is to get the scent into the hands of the Dalai Lama who can use the memory tool as possible evidence for reincarnation.

I found the idea of scent as a possible device for unlocking past life memory original and irresistible. The visions/past life memory segments of the book were well done. The book reads like a thriller and that’s a plus for me. There is a romantic element woven in that’s kind of cliché but necessary for Jac to resolve her karmic past. I appreciate the author’s research into scent and the history of the perfume industry and did not find it distracted from the plot. I love that kind of detail! Unfortunately, two little details irked me. The Dalai Lama wears burgundy robes not saffron (saffron is worn by Southeast Asian Buddhists). There is also a lot made out of the Dalai Lama being inaccessible and unreachable by Jac’s brother which is not true. His Holiness travels and has a full calendar. He meets groups wherever he goes and he holds meetings in Dharamsala. I know people who have met the Dalai Lama so he is far from unreachable.

Overall, this is an interesting book that moves fast and keeps the reader’s attention while introducing a little known industry. While I didn’t realize it at the time, this book is part of a series on reincarnation by MJ Rose. Some of the reviews for this book indicate she’s hit her stride with this one.

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Visionary Fiction Writer Margaret Duarte

Duarte’s new book is based on her research in “… paganism, holistic theory, quantum mechanics, and transpersonal psychology, which takes readers deep into the depths of consciousness to the unified field underlying physical existence, where separateness is an illusion.” Definitely my kind of thing and maybe yours too.

Theresa Crater

Please welcome Margaret Duarte, who has a brand new book out just for us to read.

dsc_0195Please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m the daughter of Dutch immigrants. I’m the sister to seven brothers and two sisters. I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother. I’m a former middle school teacher and ceramicist. I’m a housewife and bookkeeper. I’m the daughter, niece, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, cousin, friend, wife, and mother of California dairy farmers. And I’m a writer.

How did you become interested in Visionary Fiction?

My “Enter the Between” novel series welled out of me with no consideration to genre. When the flow slowed to a tickle and I began the revision process, I was forced to eye my work through the viewpoint of editors, publishers, and marketers—which led to a brick wall with a sign: No admittance without genre ID. I went on a hunt, using a new lens…

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Arrival 6 Days!

Brussels.

(photo: Paul IJendoorn)

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The Meditation Fundamentals Spiritual Schools are Getting Wrong

Tickets bought. We leave next week. One way to Brussels- me, husband, one dog & 2 cats. The process has been exhausting. No time to write (or think). Here’s an article on the importance of foundation to growing a meditation practice. Enjoy (and meet me back here in a few weeks from a new location in Belgium). Blessings all!

Khepfer Haru

14673883782460What Is Meditation?

Meditation is deepening into clarity beyond the boundary of the body and the mind.

With so many spiritual traditions and schools teaching – and so many people practicing – meditation, you would think there’d be a consistent, solid understanding in how to meditate, as well as what the techniques and the goals are in meditation practice.  Sadly, in many places this is not the case today, and although the fundamentals and methods of meditation are at the core of every spiritual tradition, these practices have been largely overlooked or oversimplified, even though they are the very cornerstone to spiritual self-development.

The results of proper meditation are their own reward, such as a clearer, calmer, more focused mind and a radiantly exuberant, blissful Awareness.  However, there are many incomplete understandings and teachings present in the more commercialized spiritual setting today, eager to talk about results while skipping over foundational…

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Aboriginal Healing Secrets Revealed

This looks like a fascinating read. I’ve been drawn to books on healing lately and will have to add this. Maybe some of you will find this interesting too.

Supernal Living with Dana Taylor

Book Reviews by Dana Taylor

Gary Holz, D.Sc. (1950-2007), was an award-winning physicist and a psycho-neuro-immunologist. In 1994, confined to a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis, he went to Australia to stay with an Aboriginal tribe and experienced miraculous healing. Robbie Holz is a holistic health consultant dedicated to continuing the healing work of her late husband. She healed herself of hepatitis C and has also worked with Aboriginal healers in Australia.

I first became aware of Robbie Holz through an interview on the Open Minds show on Gaia TV. Ms. Holz spoke about her life with healer, Gary Holz, and the incredible journey they had both experienced with debilitating diseases. Intrigued by her interview, I purchased both books, Secrets of Aboriginal Healing: A Physicist’s Journey with a Remote Australian Tribeand Aboriginal Secrets of Awakening.

secretsThe first book, Secrets of Aboriginal Healing, is Gary’s story. His life as…

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FINAL DAY: Get Your FREE Book

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Download from Amazon:  https://goo.gl/O6Bvxq

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Grab Your FREE Book:

Time’s running out! Tomorrow is the last day.

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GRAB IT HERE:  https://goo.gl/r9vxAj

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FREE: Into the Land of Snows

This is the only time I will be doing this promotion. Get your FREE Kindle copy from Amazon (now through Dec. 10th). Snuggle up by the fire and join Blake as he treks in the Himalayas. Happy holidays to everyone! (We have a house in Brussels and we’re moving in Jan. I’ll join you from Belgium in the new year.)

GRAB YOUR FREE COPY HERE:   https://goo.gl/O6Bvxq

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NOW IN PRINT! Elephants Never Forgotten

 

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Just in time for the holidays.

Order through Amazon: goo.gl/EKcVDB

What’s it about?      Jurassic Park meets Micro😉

A hundred years in the future, twelve-year-old Nigella receives a shipment from her deceased grandfather. Her inheritance is a herd of micro-elephants. While a lot of her friends have micro-pets, Nigella is at a loss on how to care for them. Why are her micro-pets so different from everyone else’s? What was her grandfather up to? With the help of her best friend, Kepler, the girls set off on an adventure to discover the truth.

Also available as an ebook.

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RATIONAL MYSTICISM by John Horgan

rational-mysticism

This is a book I thought long and hard about highlighting. I expected great things and was overall disappointed. Unfortunately John Horgan is a reductionist materialist and despite the access he had to various spokespeople on mysticism, he remains thoroughly unconvinced. He is a science writer who holds the dogmatic party line through the entirety of the book. That said, I think some valuable perspective can be gleaned from the people Horgan talks to. It’s worth the read to get an overall feel for the modern history of the topic and hear from some of the players.

Horgan begins with a definition of mysticism within the historical context. He interviews Huston Smith who discusses mysticism as a cross-cultural, cross-religious experience. Smith represents the notion of the perennial philosophy. The author’s search next takes him to a two day conference in Chicago where mysticism is treated as a literary phenomenon. These scholars know in great detail the texts left behind by Eckhart, St. Teresa of Avila, Shankara, etc. But sadly, none of them has any personal experience with anything remotely mystical. The journey continues with an interview of Ken Wilber dubbed ‘the weightlifting Bodhisattva’ by Horgan. Wilbur stands behind Smith adhering to the perennial philosophy but also embraces science as a way to explore and define mystical experience.

meditating

Photo: Thanabadhi

Important information is raised in the chapter called Can Neurotheology Save Us?. Horgan visits with Andrew Newberg, the doctor featured back in 2001 in Newsweek’s article, “God and the Brain: How We’re Wired for Spirituality.” Wouldn’t it be nice if brain scans could prove mystical states and help us to understand them? Unfortunately, a review of data collected on all sorts of meditation doesn’t support any nice clean conclusions according to Jensine Andreson, a theology professor at Boston University. And that in turn brings into question all the benefits touted for meditation. A review of the studies looking at meditation and its benefits Andreson believes, are poorly designed and won’t hold up to scrutiny. Of course, as it relates to mystical practice, mystics don’t meditate to lower their blood pressure but I would concede that a whole lot of Americans do increasingly view meditation as a health practice. Should they?

Continuing the scientific pursuit of mystical states, Horgan interviewed Michael Persinger of Laurentian University, Canada. Starting in the 1980s, Persinger began studying the brain’s response to electro-magnetic pulses to certain areas of the brain. 40% of Persinger’s test subjects experience a presence. The Canadian magazine Mclean’s called this device, “the God machine.” Persinger maintains that he has not addressed the God question with his work, rather his interest is in understanding the electrical pattern of the brain that leads to religious belief. But does the machine produce mystical experiences? No. Apparently, no one tested has reported the typical sensations of bliss, unity, or ineffability commonly reported by mystics. Scientific attempts to link temporal lobe excitation or epilepsy to mystical experience do not hold up either.

brain-scan

Horgan next turns to practitioner of Zen and neurologist, James Austin who penned the book, Zen and the Brain. Austin calls his approach perennial psychophysiology. Instead of gaining metaphysical insight, Austin thinks the mystic undergoes deep changes in personality. Someone who has had these experiences becomes more stable, more compassionate, and more selfless. As a specialist in brain disorders, Austin attempts to separate healthy mysticism from other illnesses. His approach relies on the idea that mystical experience releases excitotoxins which cause the loss of neurons. This in turn, allows us to get rid of those things that distort our view of reality. This is as scary as it is fascinating. For me, it makes mystical experience similar to brain damage. Can that really be?

No book on mysticism would be complete without a foray into drug induced mystical experience. Horgan looks at the history of LSD, DMT, and ayahuasca. He visits Stanislov Grof, who is involved in the transpersonal psychology movement. Grof believes that we must move into a new paradigm where mind has primacy over matter (the book was published in 2003, not a unique idea now). There’s an interesting discussion of Rick Strassman’s work as outlined in DMT: The Spirit Molecule. The colorful Terrence McKenna makes an appearance in a later chapter where he advocates the use of psychedelics.

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Photo by: vishwagna.com

The book is a nice romp through lots of questions with little in the way of conclusions. I often had the feeling that the author was totally out of his depth. Why did this topic appeal to him? He remained a science writer who attempted to fill pages. Most of them are interesting. I wonder what the book would have looked like with another author or even what the book would look like if updated.

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