The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
I first read The Celestine Prophecy in 1995 when I was going through some personal strife. Not having a particular religious association or church which I attended, I was in need of some solace. I read many books to help me find my way through this terrible time and I found that many of the ideas contained in this book helped to impart some calmness within and sooth me during this terrible period of my life.
The Celestine Prophecy was published in 1993. I haven’t read any of James Redfield’s follow-up books, so I wanted to listen to the audio book to refresh myself before I do so. I’m glad I did as the narrator (Lou Diamond Phillips) is very good on the audio version. Upon reading this book again, I found that the ideas set forth in The Celestine Prophecy are as interesting today as they were at the time the book was written. The story is told with a beauty and serenity that leaves you feeling calm and refreshed.
Critics of the book have been very harsh, but I believe they are taking it much too seriously. This novel is a work of fiction. I believe the author wrote this book to impart his ideas and take us along on his own spiritual journey, perhaps helping others along the way. This book has a very New Age feel to it, with many of the ideas outlined reflecting those of some Eastern religions.
In Peru, an ancient manuscript has been discovered within the Mayan ruins. Upon translation, it generates great interest. As that interest escalates, p0werful people within the Peruvian government and church are attempting to suppress it. People that have seen the manuscript have been killed or jailed on trumped-up charges.
The narrator of the book becomes interested in this manuscript through a chat with a long-time friend. He decides to undertake a journey to Peru to find out more. As he meets with those who have seen the manuscript, each of them impart a bit of their own knowledge of this mysterious manuscript. There are 9 spiritual insights contained within it. The insights are given to us through parables and as each is uncovered, the main character begins to see that there are no coincidences in the world. Everything is tied together. When he opens his mind to it, he begins to experience a larger awareness of the world around him and feels he is experiencing some of these insights even before he has learned of them.
At the end of the novel, we learn that the Mayan people had opened themselves to these insights and reached a level of awareness that allowed them to cross over from this world to a more spiritual level, thus leaving behind their ancient civilization. I’ve been to the Mayan ruins and I have always found them very fascinating. As with other more advanced ancient societies, the Mayans were really brought down by their fellow man in wars of politics, trade and religious differences. But I did find this to be an interesting and unique explanation for the collapse of what was, in some ways, a very complex and sophisticated society.
Many valuable lessons can be taken from the book. Such as opening yourself up to new possibilities, tapping into the energy of life, reflections on how to treat your fellow man and experiencing the beauty in the world around you.
This book can be read alone or in tandem with The Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide (1995) co-written with Carol Adrienne. The author has continued to express his ideas and taken us along on his spiritual journey with 3 more insights in the following books:
- The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision (1996)
- The Tenth Insight: Holding The Vision: An Experiential Guide (1996) co-written with Carol Adrienne
- The Celestine Vision: Living the New Spiritual Awareness (1997)
- The Secret of Shambhala: In Search of the Eleventh Insight (1999)
- God and the Evolving Universe: The Next Step in Personal Evolution (2002) co-written with Sylvia Timbers and Michael Murphy
- The Celestine Prophecy: The Making of the Movie (2006) co-written with Monty Joynes
- The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision (2011)
This book could wind up meaning many things to you or maybe nothing at all. I think it depends on the person and on where they are in their life at the time. I would not flout the insights in this book as my own “religious” beliefs. For me personally, this book fell into the self-help category many years ago. As I said, it imparted some deep reflection within at a time when I was having trouble coping with the world around me. I believe spiritual awakening can be found in many ways. It doesn’t have to be written in a book, or given in sermon, but ultimately, it does need to be felt in the heart and soul, utilizing any and all tools that get you there.