Whole Life Magazine

December 2012/January 2013

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/96458

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Page 31 of 43

BOOKS & soul ART A BrAnch frOm the Lightning tree ecstatic myth and the grace of Wildness martin Shaw Three simultaneous tales combine in this book: author Matthew Shaw's personal crash and burn at an early career pinnacle; his guided wilderness quests of at-risk youth and other seekers; and the interwoven myths and fables of initiation, rupture-transformation and return that populate human literary history. Lightning Tree reads a bit like pop-depth psychology invading troubled lives with the raw, tortured Truth of the stories—but for the magical twist of phrase that enriches every page, every line, even—"The bad tooth in the village's smile…" Shaw makes one hungry to leave the comforts of the hearth and cross the threshold, descend into the maelstrom, shake up our petty, unchallenged lives. Life and death, everything wagered—"anything rather than the consensual lethargy of the brightly lit suburb…that squeezes (the rotting skeletons) back under rocks in the forest…" Shaw's desperate pilgrims camp and prepare in the damp drizzle and chill of Wales's Mt. Snowdon, then carry this mythical mentorship out of their village and into personal forests, for four days and nights, solo, fasting under stars or night clouds, replacing repeated epigrams with the experience of their own confrontation with the Unknown. None return untransformed. Drawn from the far older sources of oral tradition, the tales defy the scrabbling effort to commit them to the page. Read and repeat them to children and friends, to restore their life and your own. Validate Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, Robert Bly. Then, head for the woods. (White Cloud Press) —Mac Graham the StruggLe fOr YOur mind conscious evolution and the Battle to control how We think Kingsley L. dennis Held in thrall with the promise of elevated human consciousness as the antidote, the reader endures a painstaking and well-documented account of the history of persistent and powerful social controls exercised on humanity. Every conceivable conspiracy of the few against the many appears believable as creativity, individuality and collective will erode beneath 32 A&S_01.indd 32 the fear-based hegemony of the "technoculture of modernity" and "digital Orwellianism." Kingsley Dennis barely warms his engines with his historical review of propaganda and covert, silent methods of social manipulation before launching full throttle into a chilling exposé of the inluence of electromagnetic pollution on human culture—from both the extreme proliferation of electrical and wireless devices and directed transmissions for the purpose of mental manipulation (i.e., covert social and military weaponry). The very forces that induce collective distraction, apathy and anxiety simultaneously serve to promote rising consciousness and "neurogenic evolution"— electromagnetic ields. The forecast season of heightened solar storms, coronal mass ejections and transits of "denser space" will increase Earth's magnetic luctuation and activate the human psyche, bioields and quantum DNA—the 97 percent previously thought inactive, now substantiated as bearing non-local ield effects. Machiavellian technocratic ploys to dumb-us-down backire, instead stimulating super-intelligent evolutionary forces within us. But not without cost, as suggested by dozens of approaching social, biological, geophysical and climatic tipping points. Dennis concludes with a brief, practical guide to winning back your mind—simple, intuitive practices to quell fear and alienation, while promoting spontaneous, benign mutation. No time left for delay. (Inner Traditions) —MG WiLd from Lost to found on the Paciic crest trail cheryl Strayed Undertaking a journey en route to enlightenment, or at least clarity, is nothing new, but most contemporary seekers use modern transportation. In mourning for the loss of her mother, her marriage and her sense of self, Cheryl Strayed adopted a new surname and strayed onto the Paciic Crest Trail for an 11,000 mile journey on foot, burdened by not just her troubles, but also grievously uncomfortable hiking boots and a ridiculously heavy backpack. The story of her journey, interwoven with memories of her husband and childhood family, is funny, painful, ierce, passionate and overall, a darn good read. Much more than a simple recounting of a journey, it's also a gutsy inspiration, particularly for women, whether or not their life path is treelined and dusty. If Strayed can do this, we think, we can certainly follow our destiny on whatever path we choose. Most of us don't have the stamina (or desire) to undertake that grueling, gratifying trail, but anyone with the slightest inclination for either hiking or introspection will be inspired to follow in at least a few of her footsteps and head for the hills, metaphorical or otherwise. —Abigail Lewis wholelifetimesmagazine.com 11/27/12 4:09 PM

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