Pagan Spirituality: A Guide to Personal Transformation, by Joyce and River Higginbotham; Llewellyn Worldwide
Did you know that there are different levels of spiritual development? I didn’t until I read this book.
The initial chapters of this book explore the theories of Ken Wilber, a spirituality psychologist. His ideas are related to Pagan spiritual development in a way that the non-scientist can understand. The authors explain how a person progresses from infant to young adult and beyond the young adult stage into stages of more wisdom and self-reflection. The authors liken one’s spiritual growth to the changes one goes through when going from helpless infant to someone who can run marathons.
In all there are nine developmental “spaces” and four different quadrants that readily conform to a Pagan world outlook. Joyce and River take the reader on a tour through each space and each quadrant with exercises, meditations and other activities.
The book is set up as a teaching guide, and would work best for a group situation, although the authors do include notes on how to make the contents work if you happen to be solitary, which a great many Pagans are.
Each chapter of the book is beautifully designed to make navigating through the book as easy as possible. Each chapter has section headings such as Questions to discuss, Exercise, My Journal, or Visualization. At the beginning of the book the reader is encouraged to create a spiritual progress map listing things that he or she wishes to accomplish in the coming year. The following chapters build on this map by returning to it and checking on progress toward the goals set forth in it. Each chapter builds on the lessons learned from the ones previous.
Chapters focus on different aspects of growth, both of the individual self and the way in which that individual interacts with the greater Pagan community, the mundane world and beyond to the spirit world. Chapter titles show what the reader can expect to find with such descriptions as Growth and Magick from the front end of the book to Energy Work from the back end of the book.
This book would be most useful to a shop that gives classes or a coven leader working with beginners that have progressed beyond the basic Wicca 101 level. It would also be a perfect workbook for a group of new seekers that are forming their own study group. Pagan Spirituality builds on the lessons and explanations found in the authors’ first book, Paganism, and the authors suggest reviewing their previous work before tackling the projects of this one. I haven’t read their first book, but on the basis of my reading of this one, I will at some point.
The only down side of the book for me was the repetitiveness of the various visualizations, but since each one builds on the last, I understand the reasoning behind the repetitions. If the reader were using the book as a lesson plan meant to encompass a year’s study, this slight flaw most likely would become an attribute instead. This is a book I definitely recommend to anyone wishing to deepen their connection to the spiritual side of existence.