I decided to write a book review, which is something I haven’t done before in my blog. The review will be mostly focused on what I learned from reading the book and not an analysis of grammar, plot, etc. The book is True Hauntings: Spirits with a Purpose by Hazel M. Denning, PhD. It is published by Llewellyn Publications.
I came across the book through the wonderful medium of boredom and the inexpensive price for an electronic copy on my smart phone also played a role. The description intrigued me. The author stated she wanted to share the point of view of the earthbound spirits. I pegged it for a fun, “fluff” read. As it turns out, the author has quite a bit of wisdom to share. Dr. Denning has a PhD in Clinical Psychology and training in metaphysical counseling. She worked with two different psychics in investigating the haunting she discusses in the book. I do not have any real understanding of metaphysics.
The lessons I learned while reading the book has little to do with parapsychology. I am not a strong believer in earthbound spirits (ghosts). However, I am open to the possibility that some souls just can’t pass on, for whatever reason. The author gives reasons of rage, fear, and unfinished business as primary reasons. Some spirits also choose to stay to help. My lessons were more in the here and now.
Two concepts of metaphysics are destiny and free will. Everyone has free will and the right to express it and we also have a destiny. Today was a wonderful day for a run; beautiful, deep blue sky, a friendly sun, and comfortable temperature. I took my run to Bennington Lake. As I watched the green farm fields pass by and observed the looming Blue Mountains, I found an answer I didn’t realize I needed. “It is not my destiny to serve in Afghanistan.” It hit me hard. But, it made absolute sense. I have been on the short list to deploy three times since the start of Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. Each time, something beyond my control prevented me from going. I did not seek excuses to deploy. I was willing to go. The first time, my entire unit did not deploy and was detailed elsewhere. The second time, I was excused due to the end of my contract. I could have extended to go but at the time I was working on completing the requirements for my license as a social worker. My plan was to return to service and deploy in a Combat Stress Team as a social worker. I did return with my commission. My unit currently is in Afghanistan. I am not. I was involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury. I am physically not fit to serve in a war zone. Did some Higher Power cause my accident so I could not deploy? I don’t think so. Our High Powers are not malicious that way. If I had not been in the accident, some other occurrence would have prevented me from deploying. It was not my destiny. How does this play into free will? Does destiny interfere with free will or is it the ultimate expression of it? We have free will to contribute to our higher destiny. We do the work to make the destiny happen. It is not by mistake. We can also choose actions to prevent our destiny. However, I think we are given several opportunities to embrace our higher destiny. Much of my sadness and frustration recently was due to missing the deployment. I miss my unit and still wish I could be there with them. They are my friends and comrades. But, now, I also have a sense of peace. It was not meant for me to go. I’m not sure what my destiny is. Perhaps I am needed more where I am right now. Running is a freeing sport. Ironically, it was the best run, physically, that I have had in a long time. My body felt strong and there was no headache.
I was surprised to encounter the concept of like attracting like in the book. According to the author’s experience, individuals who are filled with rage, sorrow, and negative emotions attract disincorporate entities with the same emotions. The entities feed on the energies and can use the individual to express the negative emotions. On the converse, individuals who are more at peace and filled with the desire to serve others, grow spiritually and personally, and with positive emotions attract positive entities to guide and assist them. This was an interesting twist to haunting. The emotional status of the people being haunted in part drove the type of haunting. This concept is much like the Wiccan teaching of the Three Fold Law. “Ever mind the Rule of Three, what ye sends out comes back to thee.” If we send positive energy, we get positive. If we bring harm, we receive harm. I have seen this concept work in my life. As I try to grow and release anger and fear, more positive things come into my life.
Another thought provoking tenet discussed was spirit guide and psychic gifts. According to the author, every human has some touch of psychic, it allows us to connect to the spirit dimension, to the Gods, Goddess, or Whoever. Some individuals are more sensitive than others. We tend to learn to shut our psychic down due to public disbelief. Spirit guides are present and work in our lives, even if we are not able to recognize them. The author explains some forms of intuition as being related to our spirit guides or guardians. I know I have been visited by the spirit of my paternal grandfather. Prior to being mobilized in 2003, I had a dream. My grandfather came to me wearing his WWII uniform. He told me not to be afraid, to wear his old St. Christopher’s medal, and that I would be ok. I woke up knowing he had been present. I could smell cigarette smoke. I was mobilized the following afternoon. I remembered what he told me and was not afraid. I know my grandfather has been with me several times when I needed protection or reassurance. I believe he is one of my Guardians.
An intriguing part of the book was the interaction with the spirit world. The psychic’s communication with the earthbound spirits was shared, the spirits’ responses and emotions were also explained. It was interesting to read the interplay between the living and the passed. It provided a different lens in which to view haunting. Often, the spirits were able to leave once their emotional connections had been addressed.
The book is worth buying and reading. Even if you do not believe in the paranormal, the writing is smooth and there are life lessons to be learned. The stories highlight the need to practice forgiveness and be a positive force in the world. It is also an interesting introduction to some of the metaphysical teachings. For me, it provided an insight into a problem I did not know how to release. I also learned a little about metaphysics. I am not convinced but nor will I say it is not possible.