A bewildering volume of occult lore.

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THE JOURNEY OF THE SOUL THROUGH THE SEVEN MAJOR CHAKRAS

The path to enlightenment lies in the soul’s rise over many lifetimes through way stations in the body, according to this debut theosophical treatise.

Ferro, who conducts workshops on healing, draws on the teachings of Madame Blavatsky, the 19th-century founder of theosophy, an esoteric philosophy encompassing Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Judeo-Christian themes, and much else. The book’s core is an exposition of the seven major chakras, which are complexes of bodily locations, associated glands, and psychic faculties. In ascending order, they are the Root chakra at the base of the spine (associated with the adrenal glands and basic trust); the Sacral chakra (gonads and sexuality/creativity); the Solar Plexus chakra (pancreas and emotions); the Heart chakra (thymus and love); the Throat chakra (thyroid and communication); the Brow or Third Eye chakra (pituitary and awareness); and atop the head the Crown chakra (pineal and spirituality). Each chakra is further differentiated into seven levels and has other aesthetic, astrological, and philosophical links. Thus, the Sacral chakra associates with the color orange, the “element” of water, and Mars, and imparts the “soul lesson” of learning “to balance our desires and sensations.” The gist of this labyrinthine scheme is that the soul, repeatedly reincarnating, learns the lessons of the chakras and thus attains a sublime understanding that lets it become pure spirit. (There are medical and psychiatric implications, too—the Sacral chakra influences impotence, appendicitis, and “drama queen” behavior, for example—but the book’s only useful therapeutic material is a brief primer on meditative communion with the “Ancestral Group Soul.”) The author throws in much intriguing theosophical history and cosmology on everything from “Root-races” to the transition from the Piscean to the Aquarian Age, the spirits of planets and solar systems, and mysterious entities such as Rays, Chains, and Globes. Some will like Ferro’s passionate hymns to love, peace, truth, and the oneness of all beings. But the theosophical doctrine here is often so jumbled and impenetrable—“The Ancestral Group Soul is made up of facets or aspects and develops along the planetary life, the ray on which it was created, the life-stream, the root-race, the initiation it is experiencing, the soul lessons and the spiritual qualities it is unfolding”—that many readers will be left scratching their heads.

A bewildering volume of occult lore.

Pub Date: June 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-982228-59-0

Page Count: 156

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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