I finished reading this book for the first time recently.
It had been sitting on my shelf for an age gathering dust, but finally I got around to it. Strange that it took me so long.
For a 3 year period in the late 90's, the Celestine Prophecy was the best-selling book in the world.
People either read it and say 'this is a load of bulls**t', or they put it down and say 'that book has changed my life'.
It was one of those books that I bought on my year out. I must have read a book a week last year - it was so beautiful just knowing that a book was the priority and not just an underlying feature of life. It made reading properly possible again, for the first time since school holidays. Even though I am now living life on my own terms, things have sped up a bit in 2008, so it's now back to grabbing an hour reading whenever I can, as opposed to finding a friendly tree to sit under and laze away a whole afternoon.
Anyway, it was finally time to read the Celestine Prophecy,
The book is based around the '9 insights' listed in a mysterious, ancient, possibly Mayan, manuscript that the Peruvian government and the church are trying to destroy.
For the most part, and to me, a dedicated follower of spiritual gurus from India to Africa to the US, from Castaneda to Lao Tzu to Deepak Chopra, in 2008 the insights now read like an amalgamation of many ideas of others. Or to followers of more recent trends such as The Secret or What the Bleep, again the messages will not seem too original... But although we are familiar with these things, people 14 years ago when the Celestine Prophecy was published were in a very different spiritual landscape to the world we are in today. Quite simply, the self help / personal development / popular psychology boom had not quite happened.
It happened because of books like the Celestine Prophecy. For me, this book, published in 1994, was a key tipping point for the spiritual revolution that took place over the next 10 years.
The author, James Redfield, sets the 9 Insights, or spiritual teachings, against an Indiana Jones style adventure story line, which makes it easy for the reader to follow - and to buy into. There is a hero, many villains and much double crossing, with the church painted as the source of much of the evil in the world via misguided intentions... Which all sits rather well with me. But the narrative serves to bring the various spiritual messages to life with the same mainstream appeal as The Secret did for positive thought.
What I loved most about it is that it connects the world of science, spirituality and nature.
When I was traveling last year, I spent most of October in Peru and I think Redfield is spot on with how he views the critical role of evolution and nature in the future of mankind. My experiences there taught me that mother nature is the true host of humanity, and while we may be abusing her bountiful nature, she will be here, firmly in charge, long after we are gone. Some of what Redfield spoke about in the book really resonated with me because if my own time in Peru experimenting with various plants such as Ayahuasca.
I'm willing to bet that 'the manuscript' represents some other piece of knowledge that Redfield held back from the reader - something to do with mother nature and something with very real powers.
The book's insights around coincidences (take a minute to think about how absurd the concept of coincidence is), historical awareness, energy, flow, meditation, children and conflict, whilst not being totally original to the author, are enlightening.
I enjoyed it hugely, even if some of the action scenes are laboured and repetitive.
Every now and again a book or film comes along that brings together all the experiences and lessons of the author and creates a generation defining opinion or awareness which millions adopt.
The Secret is the most recent example.
The Celestine Prophecy was 10 years prior to that.
I say let go of your cynicism, dare to believe, and read it now - but you probably already have.