Review – Sustain Yourself: Live Well and Live Long

Sustain Yourself:
Cards and Handbook to Live Well and Live Long

Author: James Wanless
Tarot Media Company
ISBN #978-0-9833024-1-4

Sustain Yourself cover

“To ensure our futures and our very survival as a species,
sustainability is an ability that we must cultivate as a way of life.”

James Wanless

I love the Voyager Tarot, and was really not surprised to see James Wanless move into the sustainability realm. All of his work has to do with how we live, and our relationship to ourselvesa and our surroundings. “Sustain Yourself” is a 101 card deck and 88 page handbook dedicated to living well, and living long. The cards and handbook come in a sturdy, lift-top box that is done in white and green, with card images along all four sides.

The handbook is broken down into four parts: Part One – Sustainable Life, Part Two – Sustainability Roadmap, Part Three – Sustain Yourself Cards, and Part Four – Sustain Yourself Card Interpretations.

In Part One Wanless talks about living whole, and living in a conscious and balanced way. The pace of life, and how it is increasing, as well as the sheer volume of information available to us makes life very complex. Wanless notes that we have challenges that we have no clear means of managing successfully. He goes on to say that we still expect a certain quality of life (and I agree with him).

The skills of sustainability – “sustain abilities” – are, in fact, evolutionary traits that can carry us through times of personal and global change.”

Wanless notes that what helps us is that we are aware that we are evolving in consciousness, in behavior, and in body. He advises us to “be the change”, know that our security comes from within, and act on our intuitive thinking, and that a sustainable life comes from living an authentic life, with balance as our core sustain ability.

Part Two: Sustainability Roadmap, addresses nature as being the personal and collective roadmap for sustainability. I really like the thought that nature’s rules and ways of life can show us how to manage our relationships, business partnerships, and social/political alliances. And yes … we all do function to a greater or lesser extent in those areas. Nature’s “green wisdom” speaks to creativity, change, growth, and evolution. Wanless calls nature a living embodiment of balance and wholeness. Bottom line – we cannot take sustainability for granted!

Part Three: Green Wisdom Cards – The Sustainabilty Game of Life, addresses how to use the cards as a game focused on developing our sustain abilities.  An individual chooses one or more cards intuitively from the deck, face down. The cards are to be contemplated and acted upon. The cards educate, give insight, and evoke sustainable behavior and deeds. Each card in this deck represents one of our sustain abilities – which Wanless defines as fundamental eco-principles for personal, social, and environmental conservation and regeneration.

Card descriptions include a key phrase and catchwords. Ways of using the deck include a Daily One Card Action, Four Card Layouts, Question and Answer free form consults, to multi-card layouts. How these cards can be used is limited only by the imagination of those working with them. One example given in the handbook is Synergy. Cards are picked for mental clarity, emotional expressiveness, physical energy, spiritual growth, and worldly success. The cards are categorized as elemental, mineral, plant, animal, and human.

Part Four: Sustain Yourself Card Interpretations- The 101 Eco-Principles presents the 101 cards that represent eco-principles. The cards are alphabetically arranged, and include the sustain ability (listed across the top of the card), a keyword (listed across the bottom of the card), and a compressed write-up. Each card is presented with a black and white scan.

Note: The only issues that I have with the handbook is that the font size is so small that I had to use a magnifying glass, and the chapters run together. Once past that, the concepts are workable and enlightening!

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The cards are 3” by 5”, with sturdy, glossy card stock. The green leaf on the back of the card represents the primary eco-principle of our connection with nature. The card faces show a green border, with the eco-principle across the top, and a key word for action across the bottom. The artwork is photo collage, with images representing all aspects of our environment – plant, animal, mineral, as well as humanity (i.e. the face of Aging).

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Ancestor/Aging: We reach our full maturity by consciously growing ourselves with aging and reasoning. E call upon our experience and wisdom to produce and perform more effectively.

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Bear/Sleep: We sleep to restore ourselves.

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Cave/Investigation: Caves provide us with openings, allowing for access.  Be careful not to block channels of discovery and opportunity.

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Danger/Vigilance: Take precautions and preventive care, but be careful not to obsess.

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Darkness/Intuition: Darkness is all about mystery. Trust your intuition – do not fear or judge the darkness.

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Eagle/vision: See as a visionary, yet maintain focus. Look into the doable future with a discerning eye.

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Footprints/Information: Time runs from the past to the future. Know who you are by where you came from.

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Green Road/Path: Stay present and focused on the green walk of sustainability.

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Hive/Home: Care for the earth, your natural home. Make your home attractive and comfortable.

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Moon Wolf/Night: Your peak time is at night to magnetize and attract.

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Man/Imagination: Imagine a mental plan for the future. Lead by example.

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Turtle/Longevity: Take it easy, take your time, float along.

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Lake/Self-Knowing: The lake is a mirror of all that we are.

James Wanless is not only a best selling author, keynote speaker, and consultant, but he is also a futurist. He combines humor with very real techniques for keeping us connected with ourselves and our environment – working with individuals and corporations on strategic goal-setting. The stunning imagery in these cards acts as a gateway to wisdom that will allow us to live authentic and full lives.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.

Selling With Soul

Selling Your With Soul Version 2.0
Achieving Career Success
Without Sacrificing Personal and Spiritual Growth

Author: Sharon V Parker
2004, 2012
ISBN #978-1-4697-5326-7

This is an expanded version of the original “Selling Your With Soul”, and includes the original foreword by Don H. Davis, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rockwell. In his foreword, Davis states:

“What makes a job or a career fulfilling? The same thing that makes any activity satisfying: it must allow you to express who you are, your true character, your values, and your interests. If you’re doing something that violates who you are or what you believe in, then you’re going to be unhappy. But if your job allows you to use your strengths, be yourself, and respect yourself at the end of the day, then your work will be fulfilling. Sharon Parker calls that “work with soul”.”

If I were to see this title while browsing in a bookstore, or even on the Internet, I might pass it by. I do not work in sales, nor do I ever plan to. My career success will not be in this direction. Had I done that, I would have been very, very wrong! This book has something for me, and for literally every person that is out there building a career in any field. We do not need to sell our soul to succeed, by any definition of success. Parker points out that the point of any job, in any field, is to provide a solution to a problem for a customer/client. The value of our work lies in the value of the solution that we provide.

While this book is presented from the point of view of someone in sales, who is looking to succeed in sales, the information here can be easily attuned to any type of work being done. I work in the metaphysical field, where one of the fundamental issues lies in feeling that we have a right to be paid for our work, and what to base that pay on. What we do is quite literally help our clients see the solutions available to them. I find Parker’s material to be insightful and “real” – real in that she offers the reader a way to put her wisdom to work in their life.

In whatever we do, we all have to sell ourselves, and our ideas, to other people. To do this we have to have a clear idea of who we are, and where we are going. There has to be continuity between what we do for a job, and what we do with the rest of our life. Integrity and empathy are keywords here. At the end of each chapter Parker includes a section called “Reflection”, where she poses a series of questions for the reader to ask themselves, questions that will help them to put the material from that chapter into their life.

As we become more authentic, as we show the same face at work as we do at home, as we live the beliefs that guide our life, we experience less stress, and we heal ourselves. Selling is all about filling a need, about providing a solution. Remember – every job is all about selling in some manner. This book will help literally everyone reflect who they are in the work that they do. If this is not possible, then the work they are trying to do is not right for them.

Some of the insights that the reader will gain from this book include:

1. A balance between work life and home life.
2. Recognition of the role that empathy plays in work.
3. The ability to respect yourself and your customer.
4. How persistence and patience pays off.
5. The ability to listen with sensitivity.
6. Understanding the pitfalls of rationalization.
7. Embracing change.
8. Understanding that learning is a lifelong activity.
9. Understanding the gift that daily reflection brings.

This is a book that will act as a starting point, and as a reference for building a career (in any field) that is based on honesty and integrity. I highly recommend it!

(c) April 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

The Four Agreements – Fifteenth Anniversary Edition

The Four Agreements
A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom

Author: Don Miguel Ruiz
Artist: Nicholas Wilton
Amber-Allen Publishing
ISBN #978-1-878424-93-8

To The Circle of Fire:
those who have gone before,
those who are present,
and those who have yet to come.
(preface to the book)

“The Four Agreements” has had a very long life. The book under review here is the fifteenth anniversary edition, which includes four-color illustrations by Nicholas Wilton.

We each limit ourselves in many ways. In releasing these self-imposed limitations, we free ourselves to be who we really are, and to live the lives that we were meant to live. Don Miguel Ruiz is a shaman in the tradition of the Toltec. His mother was a curandera (healer), his grandfather a nagual (shaman) in the Toltec tradition.

The Toltecs were a group of people that were known throughout southern Mexico as “men and women of wisdom”. They were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones. They came together at Teotihuacan, the ancient city of pyramids outside of Mexico City. Over time, the nagual were forced to conceal the ancient wisdom, keeping it going in a secretive fashion. Part of the reason for this was that a few apprentices were misusing their personal power.

This ancient wisdom has been passed down, in secrecy, by several lineages of naguals. Ancient prophecies foretold of a time when it would be necessary to return the wisdom to the people. This is that time. Toltec wisdom is not a religion in and of itself, but it honors all religious masters. In the chapter on dreams we find the following: “Ninety-five percent of the beliefs that we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies.”

To move away from believing our own lies, we read the following: “If you want to live a life of joy and fulfillment, you have to find the courage to break those agreements that are fear-based and claim your personal power.” We feel powerless because of the agreements we have created. Our agreements rule our life – to change our life, we need to change our agreements.

There are four agreements that will help us to break the agreements that are holding us back. Those four agreements are:

Be Impeccable With Your Words
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Don’t Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best

The first agreement asks us to speak with integrity – to not speak against ourselves or others. The intention that we need to put into our words is that of focusing on truth and love.

The second agreement asks us to recognize that the things others say and do is not because of us. We cannot take it personally. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality.

The third agreement asks us to not make assumptions. We need to have the courage to ask questions, and to express our own opinions. We need to be able to communicate clearly.

The fourth agreement asks us to always do our best … and to recognize that our best will change from time to time.

To be free, we need to break our old agreements. In the chapter on the Toltec path to freedom, we read the following: “The first step toward personal freedom is awareness. We need to be aware that we are not free in order to be free. We need to be aware of what the problem is in order to solve the problem.” This is followed by: “The freedom we seek is to use our own mind and body, to live our own life, instead of the life of the belief system.”

This is an incredible book – it is a blueprint for becoming whole and real. And the artistry included in this, the fifteenth anniversary edition, is awesome! It is beautifully done, and flows throughout the book. It adds to the text, rather than taking attention away from it.

This book is a gift … a treasure.

© November 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

Joie de Vivre Tarot

Joie de Vivre

Author: Paulina Cassidy
Artist: Pauinla Cassidy
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
ISBN #978-1-57281-662-6

“Joie de Vivre” – French for “joy of living”. And yes, this is a joyful, light-hearted deck that brings out the child in each of us – something that we don’t do often enough! In her introduction Cassidy notes that the living beings that occupy this realm are all sentient souls of love who want the best for those that choose to journey through their world. They will help you lighten up in order to better tap into your intuition and connect with Divine source. The Seeker will find themselves responding through heart, mind, and spirit.

The presentation in the LWB (Little White Book) is what I have come to recognize as the style of U.S. Games Systems, Inc. – text only, keywords, a short paragraph describing the energy of the card, and the upright and reversed meanings. At the end of the book is a unique six card spread entitled “Spreading the Joy”,as well as blank pages for note taking. The author bio is something that you will want to read also – because it is here that you will find that Cassidy has been a student of energy healing for over ten years, and applies her studies in Reiki and pranic healing to her visual art, and that she also composes and records songs. Certainly the energy of the healer comes through in this deck!

The cards are 2 3/4” by 4 3/4”, of good quality, glossy card stock. The backs show a 1/4” white border around a beautiful orange center, and are reversible. The card faces show the same 1/4” white border, with the card titles at the bottom: number (in Roman numerals) and title for the Major Arcana, number (in text) and suit for the Pips (numbered cards), and title and suit for the Court Cards.

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The art is very gently done fantasy, in pastel colors. The Fool seems to be floating through the air, and there is a bit of the Mad Hatter in the Magician’s top ha. The Hanged Man hangs from a vine in mid air, while the Two of Wands is a lovely muse standing with a globe in one hand, and her owl companion appearing to be sitting on her head. The Nine of Cups is a lovely lady with nine cups swirling around her. The Four of Swords shows a figure standing, with a sacred spiral where her lower body would be. The LWB notes that this is Chrysalis, who has retreated to her sacred cocoon of soul healing, from which she will emerge a butterfly. The King of Swords, a cat-like figure, stands with his dove companion.

This is an excellent deck to use with clients that are a little nervous about the Tarot, or to take yourself, or a client, “out of the box” in your reading. It would also be a wonderful deck to use in a comparative reading. It is not a deck that would be used by a beginner to learn to read the Tarot, but it has its place. The artwork alone is worth the price of the deck!

© November 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

Crystal Visions Tarot

Crystal Visions Tarot

Author: Jennifer Galasso
Artist: Jennifer Galasso
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
ISBN # 978-1-57281-702-9

“Crystal Visions Tarot” is brought to us by fantasy artist Jennifer Galasso. The beautiful, soft artwork bring to mind another of my favorite decks, the “Shadowscapes Tarot”, by Stephanie Pui Mun Law. I love the colors and sense of grace in this deck. The intention with this deck was to create art that was unique, but that would be close enough to traditional imagery to allow new readers to learn the Tarot easily.

The name for this deck was inspired by the Stevie Nicks CD “Crystal Visions”. Galasso also attributes her interest in the spiritual realm to Stevie’s haunting voice, ethereal nature, and poetic lyrics. Her interest in crystal balls is also evident in the deck’s imagery. While not intended by the artist, I have to agree with a comment in the introduction that some of the imagery in this deck does bring to mind the faerie realm.

This is a traditional 78 card deck. The traditional names are kept for the Major Arcana, with Strength at VIII, and Justice at XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. The Court Cards are entitled King, Queen, Knight, and Page. There is one additional card in the Major Arcana, entitled the Unknown Card. It represents an answer that is not yet ready to be revealed. I love decks with an extra card like this – we can all identify with Kat Black’s Happy Squirrel in the “Touchstone Tarot”, and who doesn’t adore the Artist in Monica Clio Sakki’s “Sakki Sakki Tarot”! The Unknown Card can refer to something from the past, or something that is going to happen in the future. The area that this card falls in indicates where steps need to be taken to clarify the big picture. There is also a hint to move forward with an open mind, leaving all bias behind. I loved this card before I even knew what it represented – my thought was “Yes! Another deck with a card that is “gifted”!”

The LWB (Little White Book) that accompanies this deck gives a short introduction, then presents each card, text only. The energy of the card is discussed, with upright and reversed meanings. At the end of the LWB the layout for the Celtic Cross is given – meanings only, no sample reading. This is followed by several blank pages to take notes on.

The cards are 2 3/4” by 4 3/4”, with a slick card stock. The backs have a 1/4” white border, surrounding a gorgeous center done I shades of lavender, with roses and vines in the four corners, and a round globe in the center, surrounded by vines and roses. In the middle of the top and the bottom is an upright chalice. The backs are reversible.

The card faces show the same 1/4” white border, with the card title in across the bottom, with the background color indicating the suit: the Major Arcana is yellow, Wands are light red, Cups are pink, Swords are blue, and Pentacles are gray. The artwork is done in a fantasy style, using reds, greens, lavender, and dark brown predominately. There is a sense of gentleness and “otherworldliness” that draws one in, and makes one feel right at home.

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This is one deck that if I had my way, I would talk about each and every card! However, that is not allowed, so we will look at the cards that pulled me in the strongest. One of my birth cards is the Hermit, so that is one card that I look at in every deck. If there was a make or break card for me, this would be it. Here we see a lone figure, in a lavender robe, sitting atop a mountain, with a lamp in their left hand. They face the right hand side of the card, generally considered to represent the future. To me, they appear very wistful.

The Empress stands in the middle of a garden, wearing a bright red dress, and carrying a triskele scepter in her right hand. She holds a heart shaoed charm. Lush greenery is behind her, as well as a tree with bright green foliage and ripe red fruit. In the upper right hand corner of the card we see beautiful butterfly’s.

The Lover’s shows a man and a woman embracing, with flowers in the right and left hand lower corners. The figures are bound by ties held by two doves,

The Unknown Card is an “extra” card added tot his deck to represent that which we are not ready to know yet. What an incredible card, with the female figure holding a crystal ball in her left hand, wIn her right hand is ith lit candles on her upper right hand side and lower left hand side. In front of her we see the shadow of an owl. Her whole body posture invites the Seeker to peer into the crystal ball!

The Queen of Cups is shown seated on a rock, surrounded by water lilies and dragonflies, wearing a lavender gown. In her left hand she holds a cup, in her right hand a trident staff.

The Ten of Swords in this deck is one of the least scary, but saddest, images of this card that I have seen in any deck. A female figure is face down in the snow, bloody, with ten swords in her back. She is surrounded by snow and barren trees. The clouds in the sky behind her are attempting to part, indicating that there is hope.

The Eight of Pentacles shows a female figure, standing at her spinning wheel, paying ardent attention to her work. I like this card because she is working outside, with greenery surrounding her and a tree behind her.

The Knight of Wands is seated on his horse, which is rearing up, indicating action. In his right hand is what appears to be a lit torch.

The Fool in this deck just carries incredible energy! The figure is a female, with dark, flowing hair. She stands on a precipice, one foot on land and one in the air. There is a trail of butterfly’s in the air to her right.

I found this deck very easy to read with, and feel that it would be a great deck to offer clients as a choice for their readings. The art alone is gorgeous, and the additional card (the Unknown Card) to me opens up new avenues for reading. It could simply be taken out of the deck if the reader preferred not to use it.

© November 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

100 Years of the IPA

100 Years of the IPA
The Centenary History of the International
Psychoanalytical Association
Evolution and Change

Editors: Peter Loewenberg & Nellie L. Thompson
Foreword: Charles Hanly
Karnac Books
ISBN #978-1-905888-16-0

In his foreword, current IPA President Charles Hanly notes that the year 2010 marks the 100 year anniversary of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA). The beginnings of the IPA were at the Founding Congress in Nuremberg in March of 1910. As small as this council was, it included such luminaries as Freud, Ferenczi, Abraham, and Eitingon. While the IPA was founded by men, yet women gained recognition, institutional equality, and governance roles in the psychoanalytical field before they were able achieve comparable status in other scientific fields. Hanly regards the IPA as a unique organization that advances its field of knowledge and practice by means of congresses. In addition, the IPA maintains minimal ethical, training, and professional standards, and creates new study groups, provisional societies, and component societies throughout the world. It also certifies psychoanalysts worldwide according to the highest standards of training and practice in the field.

This work is a four year collective effort on the history of the IPA, with 56 contributors, in 41 countries and societies. Included are essays by the six living past IPA presidents (and by the late past president Leo Rangell). Each contributor speaks of both the accomplishments and the shortcomings of their administrations.

The book is divided by geographical area: Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and Oceana. Each geographical area is then sub-divided into countries. Each contributor has written a synopsis of how the IPA developed in their country, including the individuals involved, the names of the presidents, and the issues that were faced, which included religious and cultural bias, national bias, political bias, and individual “ego clashes”. In several instances the IPA was either shut down, and then later re-instituted, or groups splintered off from an existing group.

At the beginning of the book is a listing of each of the contributors, with a short biography. At the end of the book is a listing of IPA Congresses, by year, including who was president of the Congress. There is also a listing of IPA Societies, broken down by geographical location.

Reading this material takes one back in time, as if they were reliving the times of Freud and Jung, their contemporaries, and those that followed them. I found this to be a fascinating book, and a must have reference for anyone in the psychoanalytical field, or anyone interested in it.

© November 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

Mrs. Piper & The Society For Psychical Research

Mrs. Piper & The Society For Psychical Research

Author: Noralie Robertson, Varla Ventura
Paranormal Parlor – A Weiser Books Collection
Weiser Books
eISBN # 978-1-61940-006-1

Weiser Books currently has two paranormal digital book collections – “Magical Creatures” and “Paranormal Parlor”. I just found out about this, and find them to be incredible offerings! “Mrs. Piper & The Society For Psychical Research” , by Noralie Robertson, was originally published by Scott-Thaw Company in 1904, in New York.

To this day we see both people and organizations who’s sole purpose in life is to “debunk”, or prove false or fraudulent, those who serve as mediums or channels. The story that unfolds in this book concerns a Victorian medium by the name of Mrs. Piper, and a fifteen year study of her sittings conducted by the Society For Psychical Research. In the editor’s notes it is remarked that the paper being presented, by French critic M. Sage has been “slightly abridged” by the translator, in order to reduce vagueness and remove material that was superfluous to the understanding of Mrs. Piper.

The introduction is by the President of the Society, Oliver Lodge. He notes that the investigation of Mrs. Piper, which began in 1887, was the most thorough made under the auspices of the society. Already know tot he Professor of Psychology at Harvard, she was brought tot he attention of the British Society by Dr. Richard Hodgson. The material contained in this book came from a book written by a French writer, M. Sage. Lodge states that he had some misgivings about an English translation before it began, and felt that those misgivings were warranted after he saw the translation. As they were intended in the original version, there was harmony in the work. In the English translation, they appear less appropriate.

The objectives of the Society are stated, which are (and I paraphrase here): (1) an examination of the nature and extent of any influence of one mind upon another, other than through recognized sensory channels, (2) the study of hypnotism and mesmerism, and the alleged phenomenon of clairvoyance, (3) a careful investigation of an apparitions coinciding with some external event (if strong evidence warrants), (4) investigation into alleged phenomenon such as extra-human intelligence, (5) collection and collation of existing materials bearing on the history of these subjects. The aim at all times was to do so without prejudice. It is also noted that women were accepted into this society with full status!

Mrs. Piper was an American medium who hosted,amongst others, the entities of a French doctor (Dr. Phinuit), a young man by the name of George Pelham, and Rector. She lead a normal life until she developed a tumor, at which time her husband’s family encouraged her to visit a spiritualist medium who gave medical consultations (J. R. Cocke). It was he who detected her ability to become a medium, and encouraged her to do so.

There are stories within stories in this book. On the surface, it is a gathering together of the accounts of various people from the Society that arranged sittings for Mrs. Piper, and recorded the proceedings: who was asking the questions (I.e who the sitting was for), the control (entity) that presented themselves, how Mrs. Piper went into her trance, what entities from the other side wanted to be heard, and how Mrs. Piper came out of the trance. The controls are commented on, as well as the accuracy of the information that was brought through.
It seems that one of the issues was getting names correct – there might be several names that ‘sounded alike” before the control came up with the correct name. The questions themselves were phrased in such a manner as to not provide a hint of the answer that was being looked for.

One very interesting thing was commented on that I was not aware of, and that was that two entities could enter the host at the same time. One spoke verbally, the other wrote through the host’s hand. There were operating on completely separate levels.

Other interesting information came out of this study, including the fact that the entities that come through the host have specific views about those of us on this side of the veil. We see them in a certain way, and they see us in a certain way!

I liked what was presented here. It helps that this material covers a fifteen year study, so we have some clues tot he character of the medium (Mrs. Piper), as well as to the entities that came through. If you are at all interested in mediums, mediumship, and the method by which they are studied, then this is a good book to add to your library.

© October 2011 Bonnie Cehovet