Updated: Sep 3
Through the years I have gotten a lot of questions from friends and aquaintances on the best books to read for someone who is exploring a path beyond traditional religion or who is newly developing a relationship with self and Spirit or who is looking to move beyond the limiting experience they have had as a human and into a more fully creative partnership with the Universe. Now, as my children are coming of age, these questions are hitting closer to home and I have found myself pulling out books to hand to my 17 year old as he explores his on relationship to the world and I know my 13 year old is not far behind.
I will be honest, it was not too hard to identify those books that were life-changing for me. Many of these were recommended by the Wild Women in my life - typically older women who saw my young immature self and wanted to offer guidance in the most gentle way possible. One of the books, however, came a little later on my path from the most unlikely source - my husband. He isn't a reader and has a very different relationship with the world, but this particular book sums up his feelings of his place in it.
I'm hoping to explore each of these books a little more in depth over the next few weeks and why they are books that inform one's relationship with self and with the greater Universe, but life moves quickly and I like shiny things. The books are listed below with a short synopsis, links to more info or for purchase and how the book impacted me.
Before you get to the list, just now, this is an intro. These are jumping off points for different ideas. I have MANY more lists coming and recommendations.
1. Women Who Run with the Wolves
2. You Can Heal Your Life
3. The Celestine Prophecy
5. Sacred Contracts
From the beginning!
I would say outside of Christian spirituality, which I will be honest, never resonated with me, the first book that was mind-opening that came into my hands was Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I am a little embarassed to say that it is only with the writing of the article that I realize that I read this book just after it was published. At the time I was probably living in the space of feeling like I knew nothing, was nothing, felt small and unseen. My life had changed drastically due largely to my will to change who I was and what I was and constant prayers to God that my life be changed for the better. Then, this book appeared. You will see this book again as I have some other lists coming soon, including a long list of books to fuel your study of the Divine Feminine! I didn't grow up in a home where women were second class citizens - held that way by my Father. He certainly did not model that. However, my mother DID grow up in that sort of home and she modeled a less-than attitude, which is, to this day, one of my great sadnesses for her as she was a fierce woman capable of great things. This book was the first to assist me in stepping into my power and connecting with the greater Goddess energy around me. WWRwithW is written both in spiritual terms and academic as Dr. Estes is a renowned professor, so read with the knowledge that it is highly credible! Her website is http://www.clarissapinkolaestes.com/ .
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. Two words - MIND. BLOWN. I can heal my life and my body with words? I can choose? Louise Hay is a power house and is THE original spiritual publisher. Let me be clear. We lost Louise Hay recently, but I say "IS" instead of "WAS" as she lives on in Hay House and in my own life. I have worked with her specific words that are connected to different part of the body and different aspects of life for 21 years and this is the book that propelled me to have an understanding that our thoughts and our words are MAGICK and can affect our lives. If you want to understand mindset and manifestation, start here.
In preparation for this blog post, I have begun rereading all of these books. Well, that's not the only reason. I am also rereading them because I need to. The last 24 months have been PAINFUL and I need help to keep myself on track and to live in this space of working with the Universe instead of being a one-woman show at all times. 2 weeks ago I reread The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. Yep. Still amazing. This book is a little different as it is a fictional work, but don't let that stop you. James Redfield is a visionary who was given this information in fiction form to give to the world. Refield's story is set in Peru and the main character is caught with intrigue in chasing a manuscript which highlights 9 Insights on how to live life and harness the energy of the world around us to create a better life for us and the rest of the world. This is one of those books that I say is not the most well-written book. It doesn't read like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings! But, it is compelling and I reread it in 3 nights as I wanted to get to the next Insight and continue to integrate this teaching into my life. You can see Redfield in person around the US - check out his website at www.celestinevision.com.
Oh my. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. This book. Where to begin? When my husband told me at one point that this was the only spiritual book he ever needed, I laughed. He was presented it in high school by his religious studies teacher. (He was at an Episcopal school). It blew him away and he no longer wondered about the Universe. Well, I am game and I wanted to connect with him in this way. So, I read it. And, I was completely humbled and blown away all at once. This is a fictional story of a young man who leaves his comfy world in India as he walks the path to enlightenment. There are surprises and heartbreaks, but in the end, well, I don't know how to present it without spoiling it. I will only say he finds Unity. Please, please, do yourself a favor and read this book!
Sacred Contracts by Carolyn Myss. I am not going to say this book is a earth-shattering as some of the others, however, the idea that our soul has contracts and the idea that we carry an archetypal energy is woven through many mystical traditions and religious ideology. Carolyn Myss brings this into the current world in practical, easy to understand terms that allow us to unpeel the onion of the self.
Maybe you've already begun your path and have your own books and are looking for more to add to your spiritual library. Maybe you are newly awakened and are wondering where to begin. Regardless, I hope you will pick up one (or all FIVE) of these books as you walk your journey to actualization.
Reading is an act of civilization; it’s one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds castles of possibilities. —Ben Okri