As most of you know, I’m an avid reader and self-described bookworm. I love books of many types. But once in a while, a book comes along that just totally sweeps me off my feet. I am reading one right now (see number 13 on the list below), and it sparked the idea for this post.
The category for this list is books that have profoundly affected and influenced my spirituality. Normally I don’t re-read very often (too many books, too little time), but several of these are exceptions. These books are kept near for handy reference (when they are not lent out) and are often purchased in multiple copies to give as gifts. I very highly recommend all of them.
Without further ado, here’s the list. They are listed in reverse chronological order (from the one I’m reading now to the one I first read, as best as I can recall).
13. Conscious Dreaming: A Spiritual Path for Everyday Life by Robert Moss (Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1996). ElvenTiger found this for me at a recent library book sale. It has rekindled my passion for working with my dreams, which have long been a very rich creative source in my life and spirituality.
12. Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh (Parallax Press, 1991). A friend gave me this book for my 40th birthday last fall. I consider myself a Pagan, yet Buddhist spirituality is a strong influence in my life and practices. This beautifully-written tale provides much food for contemplation. I’ve read a few other books by the same author and they have all been of highest quality.
11. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche (HarperOne, 1994). While I personally feel that the afterlife appears differently to each person based on their expectations and beliefs, this book has tons of useful and thought-provoking information. I especially enjoyed the sections on meditation.
10. Evolutionary Witchcraft by T. Thorn Coyle (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2004). At at time when I was experimenting with my energy system in new and fiery ways, this book cracked me open even further. The exercises are worth doing.
9. Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia by Rob Brezsny (Frog, Ltd., 2005). I am still working through this book, four years after I bought it. The exercises and writing assignments help keep me focused on the playful side of self-development and change. Brezsny is brilliant and is influencing our culture in wonderfully insidious ways.
8. The Twelve Wild Swans by Starhawk and Hilary Valentine (HarperSanFrancisco, 2000). Another workbook-style text, this one based on an old faery tale. Starhawk is one of my favorite authors and this is my second-favorite of her books (see below).
7. Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue (HarperCollins, 1998). This one is a gem. It’s an intricate weaving of myth, wisdom, philosophy, poetry and connection. It feeds my Celtic soul.
6. Fire In the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit by Tom Cowan (HarperSanFrancisco, 1993). Early in my study of spirituality, a Native American author advised readers to seek out the magick of their own blood ancestry rather than co-opting native teachings. This book is a lovely text about the shamanic practices of my Celtic ancestors.
5. The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk (Bantam Books, 1993). Before I read this work of fiction, I had read several of Starhawk’s non-fiction offerings and loved them. This novel allowed me to vividly see and feel what she was talking about. This is my all-time favorite of Starhawk’s writings.
4. The “Unknown” Reality: A Seth Book by Jane Roberts (Prentice-Hall, 1977). The Seth books and philosophies are probably the biggest influence on my spirituality. I devoured all of them, making extensive notes and practicing the exercises. I picked this one (which is presented in two volumes) for this list, but they are all top-notch.
3. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins (Bantam Books, 1984). A fun and rollicking ride through crazy worlds full of myth, magick, and serendipity. I resonate with this way of experiencing reality.
2. The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989). She’s another of my top favorite authors and this book weaves in many elements of my philosophy of life. And, there are big cats.
1. In the Shadow of the Shaman by Amber Wolfe (Llewellyn, 1989). This was the first Pagan book I ever read and it helped to set me on the very fulfilling spiritual path that I’m still walking today. It’s also a great reference to use when creating rituals and celebrations.
If you have life-changing books you’d like to recommend, please comment here!