A debut book offers a spiritualist’s guide to dealing with chronic illness.
Goggio introduces readers to a floridly imaginative domain that will be familiar in its broad outlines to fans of New-Age and paranormal writing. It’s a realm in which the spirit world interacts with the physical world constantly and everywhere, in which few things are what they seem to be, and in which there’s an unseen governing reality beyond the observable things all around. As the author describes it, this is a kingdom full of magic: chakras, past lives, auras, psychokinesis, precognition, psychic healing, out-of-body travel, etc. Goggio experiences all of it with the help of her “Guidance,” a spirit named Jonathan, the spiritual son of the Victorian spiritualist friend of Arthur Conan Doyle, Samuel Llewelyn. Much of the book takes the form of extended dialogues between Goggio and Jonathan on a variety of topics, and each chapter ends with a series of questions designed to allow readers to focus on their own supernatural experiences. The book professes to be broadly based (“I do not follow any religious doctrine,” Goggio writes. “No affiliation is required”), but Earth’s 1 billion polytheists will find one God (and the Lord’s Prayer) being referenced in these pages, and of course atheists will find themselves excluded. “We are more than flesh and blood,” Goggio asserts. But the “research” and “data” alluded to throughout the book—material that approvingly includes controversial “psychics” like Uri Geller—undercut that certainty. While the prose remains unfailingly readable and involving, the work’s main strength for the general reader is its warm, encouraging viewpoint on coping with chronic illness and the inner isolation it can cause. “When we are ill, it is hard to feel loving,” the author writes. “All of our energy is going to our insides, marching invaders to their deaths or phantom invaders to their deaths as well, in an all-out war of our own body’s tissues.” This kind of insight should appeal to readers regardless of their stance on testable science or reliable modern medicine.
An overflowing cornucopia of paranormal claims, with a very real-world aim: healing oneself.