Art and Practice of Getting Material Things Through Creative Visualization by Ophiel

Art and Practice of Getting Material Things Through Creative Visualization by Ophiel

ophielOriginally published in 1967, the Art and Practice of Getting Material Things Through Creative Visualization arrived nearly three decades beforeThe Secret. With more of an occult, than a New Age twist, the one-name author, Ophiel, talks readers through what is essentially the Law of Attraction, but he never calls it that.

Also, Hippie Readers, look at that cover. Awesome.

Ophiel tends to write portions of the book that he thinks are most important in all caps. LIKE THIS. It can be annoying.

Another interesting quirk, Ophiel talks about him/herself in the third person, at all times.

In this passage, he’s talking about why he wrote this book, and you get to see the author’s style in action: “Ophiel’s defect consists of not being about to accept self-styled prophets’ sayings, and teachings, without raising the following awkward question- and making the following embarrassing test. The question is IS WHAT THEY SAY TRUE? and the test is DOES WHAT THEY SAY WORK, AND PRODUCE RESULTS? And if what they SAY DOES NOT WORK THEN IT IS NOT TRUE, and into the garbage can with it!!” pg iii

Ophiel claims that creative visualization techniques don’t always work for a variety of reasons. He gives the reader exercises and suggestions for improving their results.

“In Creative Visualization work all the planes involved in our cosmic existence are used, the Etheric, the Lower Astral, The Higher Astral, the Mental Plane, and the Causal Plane, AND ALL THESE PLANES HAVE DEFINITE RULES AND LAWS FROM WHICH THEY WILL NOT DEVIATE ONE IOTA.” pg 5. Again, with the capitalization.

He also has interesting ideas about reasons why beginners fail out of the gate. He cites something called “the sphere of availability”: “The new student then proceeds to visualize for LARGE THINGS. BIG THINGS. VALUABLE THINGS. Things that are far beyond his ability- not to visualize-imagine-desire, BUT FAR BEYOND HIS PRESENT ABILITY TO DEMONSTRATE-VISUALIZE.” pg 31.

Ophiel uses different words, but essentially he says, start small, celebrate the small victories and increase your “sphere of availability” in that manner. He also gives practices to improve your visualization skills.

Honestly, if asked to recommend a teacher for creative visualization, I’d say, skip Ophiel and read Abraham Hicks. They’re a lot more fun.

Thanks for reading!


10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works  by Dan Harris

10 happierDan Harris had problems, like all of us, but unlike all of us, he was beginning to experience some of the messier symptoms of his dysfunctional inner world in front of millions of people.

He sought help and jumped into the meditation world with both feet. I think its why most people find their way into spiritual practices- something isn’t working quite right in their life and they need to change from the inside out. So, they look for a process of inner change and run smack into meditation.

However, Dan isn’t drinking the kool-aid of the new age movement. He questions every practice for its practical benefits and searches for scientific experimentation to back up those benefits.

In essence, he brings the investigative skills that he applies to his job as a news anchor to the practice of meditation and it’s a delight to read.

I loved this. Dan had the same initial reaction to Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra that I did. One of them seems too mellow to be real and the other seems to market himself too well to be that spiritual.

Over time, I’ve come to love both of those authors/gurus for their wisdom, but they are both just out of this world. Harris isn’t afraid to point that out.

In conclusion, I’d recommend 10% Happier to anyone who wants to become 10% happier- isn’t that all of us?

Also, anyone who has read Eckhart Tolle or Deepak Chopra may also enjoy this, if only for the surprisingly accurate descriptions of their foibles. Anyone who wants to try meditation but feels like they don’t have time, couldn’t do it if they tried, or doesn’t know where to start may find some inspiration from this book.

And, finally, anyone who is fed up with the hippie-dippie-trippie feeling that most spiritual memoirs give them, will find a kindred soul in Dan Harris.

Thanks for reading!

Initiate’s Book of Pathworking: A Bridge of Dreams by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki

Initiate’s Book of Pathworking: A Bridge of Dreams by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki

initiate's bookI understand that directed pathworkings are an actual technique that has been used by mystery schools for centuries to explore consciousness. I just don’t see its usefulness beyond a sort of tourist trip through what “may” be in your mind rather than what “is”.

Let’s compare it to riding a bike. Directed pathworkings are like watching a video of someone riding a bike. Passive pathworkings are like hopping on that bike and riding it all over your neighborhood. You get the visceral experience of being there. Yeah, if you’ve never ridden a bike before, watching the video might be safer, but it certainly isn’t more fun.

If we look at the Initiate’s Book of Pathworking as a journal of an adept’s inner work, it feels rather rehearsed and stilted as opposed to the out of body work that was chronicled in Multidimensional Man by Jurgen Ziewe.

If we consider the different approaches between Ashcroft-Nowicki and Ziewe, it also makes more sense that these pathworkings have a clear beginning, middle, and end as opposed to Ziewe’s offerings which are more like real life: random and, at times, nonsensical.

Because (I’m assuming) an adept from The Servants of Light School created these pathworkings through actual experiences on the inner planes, it has the curious side effect of unfolding like a structured lesson plan.

In Nick Ferrell’s book, Magical Pathworking, he discusses the importance of writing pathworkings like a story with a beginning, middle, and end for its consciousness shaping potential, but he never talks about how naturally occurring pathworkings or passive pathworkings, present themselves in that manner, organically. At least, that has been my experience.

I suspect that mystery schools experienced some pathworkings through their consciousness research, recorded the patterns that occur, and then sought to imitate that inner perfection by scripting pathworkings like the ones found in this book.

There is value to be found in this book as it provides a nice introduction to pathworking in general: “What is a pathworking? It is similar to a virtual reality trip. Pathworkings are perfectly natural and can occur spontaneously in the form of daydreams. Used as a structured series of visualizations, they hold many possibilities for the student.” Introduction, pg x

I found some of this book silly like the Healing Spring (Women only) pathworking on page 61. Women only? We’re dealing with consciousness here which is neither male or female, but pure being. If a guy wants to run the Healing Spring pathworking, I’m not going to be the one to say no.

Some of the poetry in the pathworkings is very beautiful and felt authentic, which again made me wonder who wrote these for the SOL. W.E. Butler? Dion Fortune? So curious:

“Forest Lord, with twelve-tined crown,
Now we come to bed thee down.
Rest content when sleeping deep,
Leave the Summer Queen to weep.

Rest thee well till comes the Spring
When harebells in the wood do ring;
Then rouse thee up the maid to wed
And seek the joy of the greenwood bed.

Hunter, blessed be thy sleep;
Choose a maid thy bed to keep.
Dreams of silver, dreams of gold
Will guard against the winter’s cold.” pg 190

To give you a comparison, here is a chant from some pixies in a passive pathworking that I experienced a couple of months ago:

“Awake the trees, awake the night, awake the shining moon.
Feed the plants, free the life that dwells within the bloom.
To keep the forest growing tall, the pixie people sing,
We bring the song and dance the call to wake the Forest King.

Awake the night, awake the moon, awake the powers old,
We’re the ones that call upon the Spirit of the fold.
Dance the dance, sing the songs, make the forest wake,
In our stead, these plants have fed the thirst that never slakes.

Feels very similar, yes? That’s the fascinating thing about consciousness research to me. It feels so familiar but, at the same time, infinitely unknown.

It’s just my opinion but, I think, in addition to space, our own minds are the next frontier of human exploration.

“These “serial” workings will grow with you as you explore them, and can bring about many strange events, both in your astral life and in your physical existence. They are more potent than they seem, so take them slowly.” pg 214. One a week has worked pretty well for me. I feel like I’m learning and growing but not being overwhelmed by the changes.

A dated portion of this book that I found rather amusing, especially since the recent kerfluffle over the year 2012: “As the year 2000 comes ever closer, speculation as to the future of the world gets wilder. Exactly the same kind of hysteria hit the known world in the year 1000… The year 2000 will usher in a time of adventure, opportunity, and yes, a lot of changes. But we will survive. Things may be very different a hundred years from now, but we have survived big changes before and will do so again.” pg 231 Amen.

“One of the things an initiate learns is that every man and woman is essentially a “multi-versal” being. That is, we exist simultaneously in many dimensions and parallel universes. We have a consciousness in each one, a life in each one, a purpose and destiny in each one. But each is minutely different. With every passing moment in time, we change our future in each universe by constantly making decisions that affect the course of that future.” pg 240. I don’t know that I agree with everything in that passage, but isn’t it a beautiful view of reality? Layers within layers of truth, all interacting and changing each other, eternally.

If you liked the guided pathworkings in this book, you may want to read: Magical Pathworking: Techniques of Active Imagination by Nick Farrell, Pathworking and the Tree of Life: A Qabala Guide to Empowerment & Initiation by Ted Andrews, or the second half of A Garden of Pomegranates: Skrying on the Tree of Life by Israel Regardie. If you want examples of (mostly) passive, out of body experiences, read: Multidimensional Man by Jurgen Ziewe or Psychic Warrior: The True Story of America’s Foremost Psychic Spy and the Cover-Up of the CIA’s Top-Secret Stargate Program by David Morehouse.

Thanks for reading!

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz

fouragreementsThe Four Agreements is a simple and short presentation of some very deep wisdom. In a world filled with spiritual reading material, this one’s a goodie. It just made a lot of sense to me.

These lessons come from the shaman culture of Central America. “Toltec knowledge arises from the same essential unity of truth as all the sacred esoteric traditions found around the world. Though it is not a religion, it honors all the spiritual masters who have taught on the earth. While it does embrace spirit, it is most accurately described as a way of life, distinguished by the ready accessibility of happiness and love. introduction pg x. Happiness and love! Sign up the Hippie Librarian, pronto.

The book goes on to talk about how everyone has unconscious beliefs that we pick up as children. We view and experience our world through these beliefs. Most folks aren’t even aware that they have them and this causes a myriad of misunderstandings and problems: “We keep searching and searching, when everything is already within us. There is no truth to find. Wherever we turn our heads, all we see is the truth, but with the agreements and beliefs we have stored in our mind, we have no eyes for this truth. We don’t see the truth because we are blind. What blinds us are all those false beliefs we have in our mind.” pg 17.

So, how do you cut through the fog of these beliefs to see clearly? Ruiz suggests using The Four Agreements.

The first is: “be impeccable with your word… you begin to see all the changes that can happen in your life. Changes first in the way you deal with yourself, and later in the way you deal with other people, especially those you love the most.” pg 46. This includes your inner voice, the way you talk to yourself and how you narrate your reality.

Ruiz mentions that some people talk to themselves in a manner that they would find unacceptable to use with the people they care about. Change the way you speak and, Ruiz claims, your life will follow.

The second agreement is: “Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don’t take it personally. If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you.” pg 59 This helps you because: “When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Even if others lie to you, it is okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid. They are afraid you will discover that they are not perfect.” pg 63.

The third agreement is ‘don’t make assumptions’: “If others tell us something, we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate.” pg 74. Now that I’ve been looking for this, I’ve caught myself assuming things all the time.

It’s funny how quick hurt feelings evaporate when I just put an “assumption” label over any stories I’ve concocted. It has actually been world-changing for me: to realize how many stories I make up because I’m bored or confused or simply don’t know what someone else is thinking. And to realize that they’re not real is such a relief. Really.

Finally: “Just do your best – in any circumstance in your life. It doesn’t matter if you are sick or tired, if you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment. By always doing your best, you will break a big spell that you have been under.” pg 85.

This was another big one for me. I used to get down on myself about how circumstances played out even if I had nothing to do with it. Now, I just pause and give it a quick think over, “Did I try my best?” Generally, yeah, I was trying my guts out.

And that’s all I can ask of myself, really. I can’t control the uncontrollable, I can only do the best I can with what I’ve got in front of me.

The Four Agreements may help readers live in the now and experience life as it is rather than as they’ve imagined it to be. At least, that’s what it has done for me. Also recommended for readers who may be interested in spirituality but want a easy place to start. This one is simple and packs a big punch in a very few pages.

Thanks for reading!

I Hope I Screw This Up: How Falling in Love with Your Fears Can Change the World by Kyle Cease

I Hope I Screw This Up: How Falling in Love with Your Fears Can Change the World by Kyle Cease

ihopeiI Hope I Screw This Up is a part-diary, part-spiritual evolution manual and 100 percent the Hippie Librarian’s type of read. Kyle Cease shares his thoughts and personal path towards becoming his best self. I didn’t find it to be as funny as promised in the blurb, but I do think it has worth as, “another finger pointing towards the moon,” as Eckhart Tolle would say.

The beginning of this book is hard to get through- for the writer and the reader. Kyle explores his fears and inability to get started. But, he slowly gets into his groove and, boy, does he begin flowing. Here’s the start of the turn-around: “You would have sensed my inauthenticity immediately if I was feeling fear in every ounce of my body and I just overlooked it in order to write the “right” thing. Instead, by baring my soul and telling you what I’m actually experiencing, I’m freeing myself from the pain I would otherwise be hiding and holding on to. Something I’ve learned is that sharing my deepest truth, no matter how scary it is in the moment, is freedom.” loc 48, ebook. And he’s off to the races.

“Just because I haven’t done this before doesn’t mean that I can’t access the ability to write the most amazing book that has ever been written. We all have the exact same level of ability to access the unlimited creativity available in every moment.” loc 158, ebook. I believe that too-
humanity’s ability to access unlimited creativity every moment. I suppose I believe that Kyle could write the most amazing book that has ever been written. Does he do it in this tome? I guess that depends upon how well you’re able to connect with what he’s done.

I enjoyed this discussion about the limitations of the mind: “Your mind is constantly putting you in survival mode all day so it can protect itself from what it thinks will be death, and unfortunately, your mind thinks almost everything is death.” loc 224, ebook. Isn’t that the truth.

And he touches on some of the problems with the New Age movement: “I know it sounds weird to say that sadness is actually a good thing, but the societal lie is that it’s better to be happy than to be sad. That’s just a belief that our mind created. … one of the strongest things you can do is to actually feel the emotions that you’re experiencing.” loc 510. Every emotion has a time and place. The insistence upon positivity at any cost, doesn’t work. Serenity now, insanity later… yes?

He also goes into the life-changing benefits of meditation, which I also agree with. By slowing down and taking the time to go within, your inner being speaks to you and gives you guidance: “Every single one of us has this calling within us, but most people are so locked into the habits and distractions they’ve created in their life that they can’t hear it. It doesn’t take anything special to discover what that calling is or what it wants you to do; all you have to do is turn down the volume of your distractions and listen.” loc 706. It may sound weird if you haven’t experienced it yet but it’s true.

For the most part, Kyle keeps his book in this dimension of reality and doesn’t dip into the far-out. But, there is a part where he briefly jokes about a picture of himself and how, at the universal energy level, we’re all the same. So, technically, you’re looking at a picture of yourself in the book that you wrote, even though it seems that you’re looking at a picture of him in a book that he wrote. That could be a bridge too far for some readers, but the Hippie Librarian took it all in stride.

Enthusiasts of Eckhart Tolle and Abraham Hicks will probably enjoy Kyle Cease. He’s authentic in the way that spiritual teachers are, understandable and amusing. He also makes a good case for falling in love with your fears. Now, the hard part, to practice it.

Thank you to Netgalley and North Star Way publishing for a free digital copy of this book. Reminder: the brief quotations that I pulled from the advance reader’s text may differ slightly in the final printed version.

Thanks for reading!

A guide to tarot card reading for artists and dreamers.

A guide to tarot card reading for artists and dreamers.

creativetarotA book review of The Creative Tarot by Jessa Crispin.

The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life is an excellent tarot card reading manual for beginners to the more experienced card reader.

I loved that Crispin gives novel, art, and film suggestions for each card so that the reader can immerse herself in the “feel” or “mood” of them. That was a lovely touch and different from any other book on tarot cards that I’ve read.

Mainly, the books that I’ve picked up have been about tarot card theory and how the cards tie in to the Tree of Life. It’s a complex system and can only be talked about in metaphors.


Imagine my relief to read a book about just the cards themselves and not an arcane “theory of everything.”

A.E. Waite was the co-creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot. He had some interesting thoughts about the tarot card reading qabalists, many of whom wrote books like the ones I’ve mentioned above.

A.E. Waite’s beliefs, which Crispin includes in the chapter entitled, A History of the Tarot, were: “Waite believed that the magical systems (tarot) of the Golden Dawn and other systems were not about imposing your will on a situation… or about telling the future… He believed they were for elevating the soul and for bringing what is unconscious conscious.” pg 7.

I believe that too. But, if you can’t explain the system in a way that makes sense, then what’s the point of writing a beginner’s manual. There can be no “elevation of the soul” if the beginners can’t understand the first thing about reading tarot cards.

Thankfully, Crispin’s interpretations are simple and clear. This is a book that will see some use, not become another expensive paperweight.

I liked Crispin’s description of Temperance: “Temperance is an easily misunderstood card, as it has become associated mostly with abstention. Not drinking, not participating, denying yourself something. But that breaks away from the origins of the card, which traditionally portrays a hermaphrodite blending two cups of water- one hot and one cold- to create something in the middle between these two extremes.” pgs 76-77

Temperance is about finding the middle way, not skirting along the edges from one extreme to another. Kind of ruins the idea of a “temperance movement,” doesn’t it.

I also liked this blurb about the Tower: “Remember that scene in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, where Amy throws Jo’s stories into the fire? That’s the feeling of the Tower: the realization that all is lost, and you will have to start over from the beginning.” pg 83

Yes, I’m a bookworm. Yes, Little Women is one of my favorite books. I think Crispin nailed the card’s description with that scene.

I thought this description of The Moon was brilliant: “The Moon rules our dreams, and that’s a good way to think about this card. They don’t make sense on a logical level, but on a personal level, on an emotional level, they do. The location in a dream will shift without warning; dead people will walk beside the living; your mother will show up, say something nonsensical while wearing a jellyfish on her head, and then stab you in the heart. And you wake up and think, “Oh, of course, this is about that incident that happened when I was five.”

My dreams are just like that. In fact, I had that exact dream last night. 🙂

The tone in The Creative Tarot is very friendly and conversational, as if you asked your best friend to teach you a little bit about her favorite hobby- tarot cards. Highly recommended for artists, dreamers, and aspiring tarot card readers.

Its only weakness, in my opinion, is that I wanted more… more stories, more examples. I understand that we’re dealing with 50 plus cards and they can’t all receive extremely detailed treatment, otherwise we’d get the George R.R. Martin version of Tarot card books, but a girl can dream.

Jessa Crispin has modernized a system that seems to want to stay inaccessible to the beginner. I wish more of the books about the tarot were like this one.

Thanks for reading!