“Know that if you are not intentionally guiding your life, life will guide you by default.” (Neville Goddard, ‘The Law and the Promise’)
This quote by the late author and spiritual teacher Neville Goddard encapsulates an important life lesson: that by actively taking charge of our lives, we can shape our destiny and take control of our future, instead of letting it be influenced by external forces. In this article, we will discuss the implications of this quote, explain how it can be applied to our lives to create positive change, and examine existing scholarly research on the concept of taking charge of one’s life and destiny.
The concept that we have the power to take charge of our lives is one we have seen throughout many forms of literature, philosophy, and psychology. From the ancient Stoic teachings of Epictetus to modern self-help books, the idea of individual responsibility, and taking control of our lives has been stressed by countless authors, thinkers, and experts. This quote by Goddard reiterates this very same concept: that we must be intentional in our actions and choices, or else life will guide us by default. This means, simply, that by making conscious decisions and striving toward a given outcome, we can shape our destiny instead of letting life define it for us.
So, how can we apply this quote to our own lives? The first step is to identify our goals and aspirations for the future, and then take positive, tangible steps to make them a reality. This may involve planning out our days and weeks, setting achievable tasks and goals, and then taking decisive action to accomplish them. It also involves reframing our thoughts and challenging self-limiting beliefs that may prevent us from taking charge of our lives. By taking conscious ownership of our lives, we can make meaningful progress in achieving our goals and desired outcomes.
Research in the fields of psychology and sociology has further supported the importance of taking charge of our lives and destinies. For example, research has shown that those who adopt a proactive, goal-oriented approach to their lives tend to experience greater levels of well-being throughout their lives. Similarly, research has shown that taking charge of our behavior can help us to be more effective in achieving our goals, leading to increased self-efficacy.
This idea by Neville Goddard encapsulates a timeless life lesson: that by taking charge of our lives we can shape our destiny rather than letting life guide us by default. Research in psychology and sociology has further reinforced the importance of this concept, highlighting the benefits of taking proactive steps to achieving our goals and desired outcomes. Practically speaking, we can apply this quote to our own lives by setting achievable goals, challenging our self-limiting beliefs, and taking decisive action to make them a reality.
Take action now to incorporate Neville’s philosophy of the Law of Assumption into your life! Believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to and focus your attention on the positive aspects of your life. Make a plan for yourself, work hard to accomplish it, and trust that the Universe will grant you success. With hard work and determination, you can create a life that you happily deserve. Believe in yourself and take action today!
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✪ Pistis Sophia book translated by G.R.S. Mead (about the Gnostic tradition of Mary Magdalene, Jesus and disciples. The book is a Gnostic text discovered in 1773, possibly written between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. It relates one Gnostic group’s teachings of the transfigured Jesus to the assembled disciples, including his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Martha. In this text, the risen Jesus had spent eleven years speaking with his disciples, teaching them only the lower mysteries. After eleven years, he receives his true garment and is able to reveal the higher mysteries revered by this group. The prized mysteries relate to complex cosmologies and knowledge necessary for the soul to reach the highest divine realms.
Master Hamid Bey was trained by Coptic masters in Egypt during the early 1900’s. His early education was focused on fundamental principles of self mastery leading him to the ultimate goal of complete mastery on the physical, mental and emotional levels. His early testing put him in life situations where he taught humility, the foundation of spirituality. Eventually he was taught how to put pins through his body without pain and how to be buried alive for hours at a time.
In the mid-1920’s, he was sent to the United States to teach the laws of balanced living. He was told one of his early missions in America was to challenge Houdini, who had indicated he was the only one on earth who could accomplish his memorable feats. By the time Master Bey arrived in the U.S., Houdini had passed away.
In the late 1920’s, he met Paramahansa Yogananda and they traveled together throughout America. They were two of the earliest and greatest pioneers of the metaphysical movement. Paramahansa would give the lecture and Master Bey would be buried alive in public, demonstrating the many skills of self mastery he learned during his early years of training by the Egyptian Coptic Masters.
“Return to india. I have waited for you patiently for fifteen years. Soon I shall swim out of the body and on to the Shining Abode. Yogananda, come!”
Sri Yukteswar’s voice sounded startlingly in my inner ear as I sat in meditation at my Mt. Washington headquarters. Traversing ten thousand miles in the twinkling of an eye, his message penetrated my being like a flash of lightning.
Fifteen years! Yes, I realized, now it is 1935; I have spent fifteen years in spreading my guru’s teachings in America. Now he recalls me.
That afternoon I recounted my experience to a visiting disciple. His spiritual development under Kriya Yoga was so remarkable that I often called him “saint,” remembering Babaji’s prophecy that America too would produce men and women of divine realization through the ancient yogic path.
This disciple and a number of others generously insisted on making a donation for my travels. The financial problem thus solved, I made arrangements to sail, via Europe, for India. Busy weeks of preparations at Mount Washington! In March, 1935 I had the Self- Realization Fellowship chartered under the laws of the State of California as a non-profit corporation. To this educational institution go all public donations as well as the revenue from the sale of my books, magazine, written courses, class tuition, and every other source of income.
“I shall be back,” I told my students. “Never shall I forget America.”
At a farewell banquet given to me in Los Angeles by loving friends, I looked long at their faces and thought gratefully, “Lord, he who remembers Thee as the Sole Giver will never lack the sweetness of friendship among mortals.”
I sailed from New York on June 9, 1935 in the Europa. Two students accompanied me: my secretary, Mr. C. Richard Wright, and an elderly lady from Cincinnati, Miss Ettie Bletch. We enjoyed the days of ocean peace, a welcome contrast to the past hurried weeks. Our period of leisure was short-lived; the speed of modern boats has some regrettable features!
THERESE NEUMANNTHERESE NEUMANN
Famous Catholic Stigmatist who inspired my 1935 pilgrimage to Konnersreuth, Bavaria Like any other group of inquisitive tourists, we walked around the huge and ancient city of London.
The following day I was invited to address a large meeting in Caxton Hall, at which I was introduced to the London audience by Sir Francis Younghusband. Our party spent a pleasant day as guests of Sir Harry Lauder at his estate in Scotland. We soon crossed the English Channel to the continent, for I wanted to make a special pilgrimage to Bavaria.
This would be my only chance, I felt, to visit the great Catholic mystic, Therese Neumann of Konnersreuth.
Years earlier I had read an amazing account of Therese. Information given in the article was as follows:
(1) Therese, born in 1898, had been injured in an accident at the age of twenty; she became blind and paralyzed.
(2) She miraculously regained her sight in 1923 through prayers to St. Teresa, “The Little Flower.” Later Therese Neumann’s limbs were instantaneously healed.
(3) From 1923 onward, Therese has abstained completely from food and drink, except for the daily swallowing of one small consecrated wafer.
(4) The stigmata, or sacred wounds of Christ, appeared in 1926 on Therese’s head, breast, hands, and feet. On Friday of every week thereafter, she has passed through the Passion of Christ, suffering in her own body all his historic agonies.
(5) Knowing ordinarily only the simple German of her village, during her Friday trances Therese utters phrases which scholars have identified as ancient Aramaic. At appropriate times in her vision, she speaks Hebrew or Greek.
(6) By ecclesiastical permission, Therese has several times been under close scientific observation. Dr. Fritz Gerlick, editor of a Protestant German newspaper, went to Konnersreuth to “expose the Catholic fraud,” but ended up by reverently writing her biography.
As always, whether in East or West, I was eager to meet a saint. I rejoiced as our little party entered, on July 16th, the quaint village of Konnersreuth. The Bavarian peasants exhibited lively interest in our Ford automobile (brought with us from America) and its assorted group-an American young man, an elderly lady, and an olive-hued Oriental with long hair tucked under his coat collar.
Therese’s little cottage, clean and neat, with geraniums blooming by a primitive well, was alas! silently closed. The neighbors, and even the village postman who passed by, could give us no information. Rain began to fall; my companions suggested that we leave.
“No,” I said stubbornly, “I will stay here until I find some clue leading to Therese.”
Two hours later we were still sitting in our car amidst the dismal rain. “Lord,” I sighed complainingly, “why didst Thou lead me here if she has disappeared?”
An English-speaking man halted beside us, politely offering his aid.
“I don’t know for certain where Therese is,” he said, “but she often visits at the home of Professor Wurz, a seminary master of Eichstatt, eighty miles from here.”
The following morning our party motored to the quiet village of Eichstatt, narrowly lined with cobblestoned streets. Dr. Wurz greeted us cordially at his home; “Yes, Therese is here.” He sent her word of the visitors. A messenger soon appeared with her reply.
“Though the bishop has asked me to see no one without his permission, I will receive the man of God from India.”
Deeply touched at these words, I followed Dr. Wurz upstairs to the sitting room. Therese entered immediately, radiating an aura of peace and joy.
She wore a black gown and spotless white head dress. Although her age was thirty-seven at this time, she seemed much younger, possessing indeed a childlike freshness and charm. Healthy, well- formed, rosy-cheeked, and cheerful, this is the saint that does not eat!
Therese greeted me with a very gentle handshaking. We both beamed in silent communion, each knowing the other to be a lover of God.
Dr. Wurz kindly offered to serve as interpreter. As we seated ourselves, I noticed that Therese was glancing at me with naive curiosity; evidently Hindus had been rare in Bavaria.
“Don’t you eat anything?” I wanted to hear the answer from her own lips.
“No, except a consecrated rice-flour wafer, once every morning at six o’clock.”
“How large is the wafer?”
“It is paper-thin, the size of a small coin.” She added, “I take it for sacramental reasons; if it is unconsecrated, I am unable to swallow it.”
“Certainly you could not have lived on that, for twelve whole years?”
“I live by God’s light.” How simple her reply, how Einsteinian!
“I see you realize that energy flows to your body from the ether, sun, and air.”
A swift smile broke over her face. “I am so happy to know you understand how I live.”
“Your sacred life is a daily demonstration of the truth uttered by Christ: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'”
Again she showed joy at my explanation. “It is indeed so. One of the reasons I am here on earth today is to prove that man can live by God’s invisible light, and not by food only.”
“Can you teach others how to live without food?” She appeared a trifle shocked. “I cannot do that; God does not wish it.”
As my gaze fell on her strong, graceful hands, Therese showed me a little, square, freshly healed wound on each of her palms. On the back of each hand, she pointed out a smaller, crescent-shaped wound, freshly healed. Each wound went straight through the hand. The sight brought to my mind distinct recollection of the large square iron nails with crescent-tipped ends, still used in the Orient, but which I do not recall having seen in the West.
The saint told me something of her weekly trances. “As a helpless onlooker, I observe the whole Passion of Christ.” Each week, from Thursday midnight until Friday afternoon at one o’clock, her wounds open and bleed; she loses ten pounds of her ordinary 121-pound weight. Suffering intensely in her sympathetic love, Therese yet looks forward joyously to these weekly visions of her Lord.
I realized at once that her strange life is intended by God to reassure all Christians of the historical authenticity of Jesus’ life and crucifixion as recorded in the New Testament, and to dramatically display the ever-living bond between the Galilean Master and his devotees.
Professor Wurz related some of his experiences with the saint.
“Several of us, including Therese, often travel for days on sight- seeing trips throughout Germany,” he told me. “It is a striking contrast-while we have three meals a day, Therese eats nothing. She remains as fresh as a rose, untouched by the fatigue which the trips cause us. As we grow hungry and hunt for wayside inns, she laughs merrily.”
The professor added some interesting physiological details: “Because Therese takes no food, her stomach has shrunk. She has no excretions, but her perspiration glands function; her skin is always soft and firm.”
At the time of parting, I expressed to Therese my desire to be present at her trance.
“Yes, please come to Konnersreuth next Friday,” she said graciously. “The bishop will give you a permit. I am very happy you sought me out in Eichstatt.”
Therese shook hands gently, many times, and walked with our party to the gate. Mr. Wright turned on the automobile radio; the saint examined it with little enthusiastic chuckles. Such a large crowd of youngsters gathered that Therese retreated into the house. We saw her at a window, where she peered at us, childlike, waving her hand.
From a conversation the next day with two of Therese’s brothers, very kind and amiable, we learned that the saint sleeps only one or two hours at night. In spite of the many wounds in her body, she is active and full of energy. She loves birds, looks after an aquarium of fish, and works often in her garden. Her correspondence is large; Catholic devotees write her for prayers and healing blessings. Many seekers have been cured through her of serious diseases.
Her brother Ferdinand, about twenty-three, explained that Therese has the power, through prayer, of working out on her own body the ailments of others. The saint’s abstinence from food dates from a time when she prayed that the throat disease of a young man of her parish, then preparing to enter holy orders, be transferred to her own throat.
On Thursday afternoon our party drove to the home of the bishop, who looked at my flowing locks with some surprise. He readily wrote out the necessary permit. There was no fee; the rule made by the Church is simply to protect Therese from the onrush of casual tourists, who in previous years had flocked on Fridays by the thousands.
We arrived Friday morning about nine-thirty in Konnersreuth. I noticed that Therese’s little cottage possesses a special glass-roofed section to afford her plenty of light. We were glad to see the doors no longer closed, but wide-open in hospitable cheer. There was a line of about twenty visitors, armed with their permits. Many had come from great distances to view the mystic trance.
Therese had passed my first test at the professor’s house by her intuitive knowledge that I wanted to see her for spiritual reasons, and not just to satisfy a passing curiosity.
My second test was connected with the fact that, just before I went upstairs to her room, I put myself into a yogic trance state in order to be one with her in telepathic and televisic rapport. I entered her chamber, filled with visitors; she was lying in a white robe on the bed. With Mr. Wright following closely behind me, I halted just inside the threshold, awestruck at a strange and most frightful spectacle.
Blood flowed thinly and continuously in an inch-wide stream from Therese’s lower eyelids. Her gaze was focused upward on the spiritual eye within the central forehead. The cloth wrapped around her head was drenched in blood from the stigmata wounds of the crown of thorns. The white garment was redly splotched over her heart from the wound in her side at the spot where Christ’s body, long ages ago, had suffered the final indignity of the soldier’s spear-thrust.
Therese’s hands were extended in a gesture maternal, pleading; her face wore an expression both tortured and divine. She appeared thinner, changed in many subtle as well as outward ways. Murmuring words in a foreign tongue, she spoke with slightly quivering lips to persons visible before her inner sight.
As I was in attunement with her, I began to see the scenes of her vision. She was watching Jesus as he carried the cross amidst the jeering multitude.
Suddenly she lifted her head in consternation: the Lord had fallen under the cruel weight. The vision disappeared. In the exhaustion of fervid pity, Therese sank heavily against her pillow.
At this moment I heard a loud thud behind me. Turning my head for a second, I saw two men carrying out a prostrate body. But because I was coming out of the deep superconscious state, I did not immediately recognize the fallen person. Again I fixed my eyes on Therese’s face, deathly pale under the rivulets of blood, but now calm, radiating purity and holiness. I glanced behind me later and saw Mr. Wright standing with his hand against his cheek, from which blood was trickling.
“Dick,” I inquired anxiously, “were you the one who fell?”
“Yes, I fainted at the terrifying spectacle.” “Well,” I said consolingly, “you are brave to return and look upon the sight again.”
Remembering the patiently waiting line of pilgrims, Mr. Wright and I silently bade farewell to Therese and left her sacred presence.
The following day our little group motored south, thankful that we were not dependent on trains, but could stop the Ford wherever we chose throughout the countryside. We enjoyed every minute of a tour through Germany, Holland, France, and the Swiss Alps. In Italy we made a special trip to Assisi to honor the apostle of humility, St. Francis. The European tour ended in Greece, where we viewed the Athenian temples, and saw the prison in which the gentle Socrates had drunk his death potion.
One is filled with admiration for the artistry with which the Greeks have everywhere wrought their very fancies in alabaster.
We took ship over the sunny Mediterranean, disembarking at Palestine. Wandering day after day over the Holy Land, I was more than ever convinced of the value of pilgrimage. The spirit of Christ is all- pervasive in Palestine; I walked reverently by his side at Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Calvary, the holy Mount of Olives, and by the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee.
Our little party visited the Birth Manger, Joseph’s carpenter shop, the tomb of Lazarus, the house of Martha and Mary, the hall of the Last Supper. Antiquity unfolded; scene by scene, I saw the divine drama that Christ once played for the ages.
On to Egypt, with its modern Cairo and ancient pyramids. Then a boat down the narrow Red Sea, over the vasty Arabian Sea; lo, India.
This book really opened my eyes. I was already vegan and well aware of the horrific abuse of animals in factory farms, but this book helped me really see and understand just how serious the situation is from a health perspective, animal abuse perspective, and environmental crisis perspective as well. Sarah Taylor cites important peer reviewed research to give you the information needed to understand WHY? & HOW? to go from Vegetarian to Vegan.
“I could never be vegan, I love cheese too much.”
Chances are if you’re a vegetarian, vegan or know anyone who is you’ve heard or even said this before. No doubt, you’ve thought it before. Cheese and other dairy products are everywhere in the American diet and that’s the way we love it. We add it to our eggs, our sandwiches, our cakes; we fry it, grill it, cream it, and even string it. It has embedded itself into our culture, become a staple of comfort in our diet and adopted the term “American”. But is it really good; not just for us, but for those that produce it?
Cheese is not the only dairy product we’re obsessed with, though it may be the only one with its own category of addiction (cheese addiction being an actual issue now), eggs and milk have become a mainstay of our diets as well.
Just learning about how horribly the animals are treated, abused, tortured and murdered should be reason enough to stop contributing to this madness, but Sarah gives compelling research showing how this animal agriculture business is literally destroying our environment at accelerated levels everyday. The demand for meat and dairy is just not sustainable.
After all the research she shares about why you should go vegan from vegetarian and then how, which is dealing with the health benefits and how to start replacing dairy and eggs with healthful vegan options, she ends the book with many great recipes by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld.
In the very beginning of her book Vegetarian to Vegan, Sarah Taylor makes a point of giving vegetarians credit for the ways their food choices help animals. And she should know, having been a vegetarian herself until 2002.
That’s when Sarah read John Robbins’ Diet for a New America. His groundbreaking indictment of how America’s milk and egg producers were torturing dairy animals and chickens while destroying the environment persuaded her to go vegan overnight.
She wrote Vegetarian to Vegan to give anyone wanting to make the same switch “a strong enough reason to do it.”
Without brow-beating the reader, Taylor specifically details the short, painful lives and cruel deaths of dairy cows and egg-laying chickens.
Of dairy cows, she writes that between 1950 and 2000, their numbers decreased by half — yet the amount of milk they produced more than tripled. The brutal facts?
Dairy cows live with no access to pasture.
They’re separated from their calves within two hours of giving birth.
They’re also milked by machine several times a day.
Having to yield such an excessive amount of milk is unsafe and unsanitary. Most dairy cows live lives of misery before heading to slaughter at just four years old.
Taylor’s description of egg farms reminded me of the endless stacks of crammed-full cages I’ve seen when visiting them. The hens on lower levels were covered in urine and feces. The smell was unbearable — and unforgettable.
But I’ve also seen so-called “cage-free” chickens living in terrible conditions, with dead hens littering their enclosure’s floor.
What’s worse, Taylor writes, is that egg-laying chickens often turn on each other:
“Cannibalism [among chickens] is a major problem in battery cage systems, but is even worse in free-range and cage-free systems as the hens have greater access to each other and are harder to control.”
In the book’s Part 1, Taylor also bolsters her argument for making the vegetarian-to-vegan switch by pointing out the health and environmental benefits that come from giving up dairy and eggs:
“The truth is that these products are terrible for your health, terrible for our environment, and in almost all cases, are unconscionably cruel to animals.”
In Part 2, she moves on to covering all the bases of making the change. This is where you’ll find info on:
• Learning to tell healthy from junk vegan foods.
• Getting enough protein, calcium and Vitamin B12 on a vegan diet.
• Eating out and entertaining vegan-style.
• Staying vegan away from home.
• Vegan substitutes for eggs, dairy foods and honey.
Part 3 is devoted to cooking vegan, with an extensive collection of recipes and tips by vegan chef Mark Reinfeld.
For any vegetarian struggling to give up dairy and eggs, this book is one of the most important that plant-based literature has to offer!
I highly recommend this book to anyone, wherever they are in their journey, whether meat eater, vegetarian or vegan. It’s thoroughly researched and filled with data that is undeniable in consideration of the impact we all have individually with our eating and spending choices.
To your health, peace to the planet and may all beings be happy and at peace.
Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus… this book came out in 1996, well before the release of The DaVinci Code movies. Being inspired by its predecessor book “Holy Blood Holy Grail”, it reveals amazing research about how the modern Free Masons secret mystery teachings, rituals and initiations can be positively linked to the mystery teachings of the famous Knights Templar, who were the offshoot of the Nasoreans/Essenes and the Jerusalem Church of Jesus and James, which got it from the ancient Egyptian Mystery Schools. The very resurrection story of Jesus and the resurrection of Lazarus is the same Third Degree Master Mason initiation of death and resurrection which goes back through all of these said secret orders, going back to the original King-making resurrection ritual of ancient Egypt. This book also reveals how the famous relic, the Shroud of Turin, is actually the face of the Jacques de Molay, the famous leader of the Knights Templar who was brutally tortured with an almost exact Crucifixion torture, to the brink of death to get a fake confession from him and then eventually burnt alive after later recanting his confessions under extreme torture. The famous Shroud of Turin has been thought to be the miraculous face of Christ but learning that it is actually the face of de Molay reveals much about the hidden history of these secret traditions and why the Catholic Church persecuted them so heavily. This book also reveals how the famous Rosslyn Chapel of Scotland is actually a Knights Templar temple and how it was built in an exact replica to the original design of Herod’s temple in Jerusalem and how there are secret scrolls which the Knights Templar found below Herod’s Temple after the destruction in 70 AD, which they took possession of and then buried in the secret vaults below Rosslyn Chapel, which have yet to be excavated…
This book is a goldmine of information and secrets which show without a doubt that the original Jerusalem Church of Jesus and James (the Nasoreans), which was in direct opposition to Saul/Paul and his gentile church which later became the Catholic Church, was descended from the ancient Egyptian mystery schools, and later became the Knights Templar and later the Free Masons. Although the book reveals that most Masons, while knowing many of the secret passwords, handshakes, rituals, initiations and legends of Freemasonry, they most often have no idea the meaning of these secrets or where they came from. This book (written by 2 Master Masons) reveals many of the hidden meanings and history of these secrets for the first time in maybe hundreds or even thousands of years of mystery…
I don’t agree with everything in this book, most notably their claim that Jesus died in 33 AD, but overall I am in 99% agreement with this entire book and its thesis and this research ties into many of the theories of researcher Ralph Ellis and his many books. Suffice it to say, you should read this amazing book.
Here is a video presentation by one of the authors, Christopher Knight :
For my Wellness Reading assignment I read “The Big Book of Soul” by Stephanie Rose Bird. It was a great read about Holistic Healing and living a Wellness lifestyle from the African & African American traditions. This book highlights many diverse methodologies of wellness and healing including: drumming, spiritual dancing, singing, chanting, rituals, divination, Hoodoo, magical recipes, power objects, meditation, herbal healing and natural foods, prayer, midwifery and more. This book hopes to inspire African American people and anyone interested in the culture to live and practice a more holistic way of life and to know that Africa has a treasure trove of traditions and knowledge which has been utilized for thousands of years by African people.
The book gives information about so many simple ways of incorporating mindful and natural ways of healing oneself or living a healthy lifestyle. The author gives a history of the African use of herbs and foods like the Wild Yam. “Wild Yam is related to the African Yam but not to what we call a sweet potato or yam in the United States… Wild Yam is edible and medicinal. Ailments treated ancient healers include a plethora of female reproductive organ complaints, including managing PMS and painful or absent periods, childbirth pains, and menopause. The Wild Yam contains high concentrations of dioscin, which is converted chemically into diosgenin, used to manufacture progesterone and other steroid drugs to treat reproductive organs and ailments such as asthma and arthritis.” (Bird 124)
She describes therapeutic ideas such as ‘Living and Dying on Our Own Terms’ and while explaining her remembrances of her father and grandmother living with cancer she describes their use of Licorice. “True licorice sticks, (not the candy) were tied to the necks of some enslaved Africans during the journey across the Atlantic to quell stomachache and anxiety. It is believed to be how the seeds of the plants were transported and later established in the United States. Licorice is still used in the black community for stomach pains and has shown promise in the treatment of AIDS.” (Bird 49)
Bird also describes the practice of Hoodoo, which is a magical tradition within the African American tradition. She tells how Africans had many magical traditions in their indigenous African homelands, but that during slavery many of these traditions were lost. Somehow or another some of these traditions continued to be preserved and practiced on the slave plantations and eventually was mixed with Native American and some European magical traditions and became what is now know as Hoodoo. Hoodoo is not a religion like Voodoo, Vodoun, or Santeria. It is considered a magical system or science practiced by a wide variety of people but predominantly by people who identify themselves as Christian. Some of the primary goals of working Hoodoo are: “Blessing the home, keeping domestic environment peaceful, cleansing and banishing unwanted intrusions or bad vibes brought about by humans, animals, or spirits, love drawing (attracting love partnerships), and money drawing (attracting prosperity), and more.”
Some of the practices in employing Hoodoo are:
“Washes: Environmental washes to cleanse and renew the living environment or work space used blessed, magical, and sacred waters such as lightning water, seawater, and sweet (cologne) waters such as a type called Florida Water.
Baths with Incantations: These baths bring cleansing, relaxation, and a variety of magical herbs into the bathing experience, usually repeated on a set number of odd days (7,9,11,13); ingredients and incantations also often utilize numerology and set patterns.
Candlemancy: Dressed candles used in specific colors and symbolic shapes for a certain number of days or hours, provide space for enlightenment and focus on improvement of a situation.
Brooms: Also called besoms, brooms are natural and carry a great deal of symbolic and deity-related references from Africa. Brooms, especially when blessed, used correctly, treated with specific washes to match the job, are great tools for restructuring the home or work space in a more positive light.
Minerals and magnetic sand: minerals such as Dead Sea salt, chunks from various sources, pyrite dust, and magnetic sand all have specific purposes. Each of these substances might be added to the bath water to lend it healing power for various reasons.
-Pyrite dust, also called fool’s gold, is used in abundance and prosperity work.
-Magnetic sand is finely ground magnetic material sometimes called magnetic dust and used in Hoodoo baths and other rites and tricks to draw love, luck, and money to its user.
-Salt is used to alleviate pain, bring clarity, and cleanse the body, mind, and spirit. Salts have been used for cleansing and healing for thousands of years. They are enjoying a renewed interest by adherents of Feng Shui who use it in the same way as Hoodoo practitioners do. In these disparate practices, salt is placed on the floor and in corners of the room during spiritual cleansing.
-Crystals are used during bathing for curative and restorative properties.” (Bird 23-25)
There are lots more natural items that are used in this fascinating practice of Hoodoo. Bird goes on to explain the similarities and differences of Hoodoo with the religions which also use magic like Voodoo, Vodoun and Santeria.
There are a lot of diverse healing methods and therapeutic ways of living which the author describes with great knowledge, experience and research but that would fill this paper up for pages. I really enjoyed and learned a lot from this book and it also highlighted many of my already existing interests. I chose this book for that reason. I’ve been interested in holistic healing and wellness for years now and some of these mystical traditions like Hoodoo and Voodoo have always fascinated me greatly. African and African American traditions in particular have also been an interest for me as well, especially those shrouded in mystery, the mystical, and the occult or esoteric knowledge or secret initiations and such. What was particularly great about this book was that it covered both mystical and mundane needs of human life. It documents historical and practical information about certain foods and herbs as well as the mysterious science behind Hoodoo and such practices as art therapy, drumming, sacred dancing and chanting mystical names of God.
This book has helped me make wellness lifestyle choices such as utilizing certain herbs and foods for that wholesome and medicinal value and the book encourages a state of mind of abundance, prosperity, humility, simplicity and forgiveness. Also, the practice of Hoodoo fascinates me so much that I can see the book as a seed which has been planted in my heart and mind to grow into a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the sacred science of the Law of Attraction, Karma, willpower, prayer, and intention. Though, I’ve been attempting o implement these truths into my life already, it has reignited that interest and inspired my search for balance and wellness.
Overall, this book has inspired me and in combination with the Living Well class, I’ve come to see my life as an ever expanding search for complete balance and harmony. It is harmony with nature, humanity, sacred traditions, and ultimately my own emotions and aspirations that I seek. One day maybe, I’ll write a book similar to this, or create a documentary film about such topics. This class has been my favorite class and even though I considered myself healthy and living well before I took the class, it has given me the opportunity to see my weaknesses and what I should be working on. My goals are strengthened and now I have better resources to implement to my own personal healing and lifestyle choices. This book and assignment was a great addition to an excellent class. I think everyone regardless of major should take this class, as I believe it would benefit all.
Bird, S.R. (2010). “The Big Book of Soul”. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.
A few years ago, I came across a very inspiring story about a young man named Ben Breedlove who made a video shortly before he died of heart failure which went viral on YouTube and social media. In the video, Ben told his story about his lifetime struggle with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and also some very mystical and spiritual visions of heaven and angels in his near-death experiences. One interesting point in his experience was the rapper Kid Cudi appeared as a sort of guardian angel for Ben. The message he conveyed in his video stirred something deep in millions of people around the world, including myself.
About 2 weeks ago, a person I used to work with named Josh, came up to me with a gift in his hands. He said, “Hey Sakshi, I have something for you!” he then pulled from behind his back, a book, “When Will The Heaven Begin? The Ben Breedlove Story”. I immediately recognized Ben’s smile and excitedly accepted his gift exclaiming, “Oh Cool! I know this story! It’s Amazing!” Josh told me he recently read the book himself and Ben’s story really impacted him deeply and has since distributed over 25 copies of the book to friends and family. I was extremely touched by this gesture and his thinking of me and I thanked Josh many times.
I then proceeded to read the book in 1 week. It was difficult to put down.. just one of those books. Ben’s story captured me similar to how Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez’s story did, when I first heard it. I cried, laughed and felt the spiritual presence of Ben, as an angel himself. As I read his story, I sat amazed by his strength, compassion and kind heart despite all that he went through. Inspired by Ben, I have been contemplating a lot of important questions in my life too. I can’t suggest this book highly enough, as well as his famous videos, which I share below.
From the final pages of the book:
His life story had been filled with struggle, but even in midst of his suffering, Ben was comforted by the peace of God. Even in the face of death, he was comforted by the hope of heaven. By sharing his short life with the world, Ben completed his purpose.
The last thing Ben left us all with is a question. “Do you believe in Angels or God?”