A debut spiritual guide to developing the latent powers of the human soul.

Robert Krauth’s foreword to Craven’s nonfiction debut opens with a familiar litany of the world’s woes: “Human beings are struggling to understand why the political, economic, educational, religious, and social systems—and frankly, life in general—all seem to be in disarray.” Against this backdrop, Craven writes about “matters of spiritual, mental, and inner unfoldment” that can be found in a close analysis of Genesis 5, which details the generations of mankind from Adam to Noah. The analysis operates on the assumption that the Bible is “a book of allegories” and proceeds from there to show how each succeeding generation comes closer to realizing the “universal mind.” This universal mind is in the process of building souls, she writes, starting by clearing the ground on which the “souls’ vestments (mental, emotional, astral, and physical)” can then be constructed. Her close reading of the text and her references to other occult writings can be challengingly dense, but she concludes each chapter with a summary, a “practical application” to daily life, and a sometimes-extensive “critical thinking” section with discussion questions. The author very much encourages readers to engage practically with the book despite the fact that it delves into complicated abstract concepts such as “vital life force” and “etheric doubles.” Through her analysis and the book’s many illustrations, she means to illustrate a spiritual metamorphosis in the development of humanity. Although her elaborations stray far from the words of the original biblical text, the energy of the alternate story she tells about the development of the human soul will still carry many readers along. Her picture of individual human potential, with each soul invested with “the highest essence of power, the highest qualities and virtues,” will certainly strike readers with its life-affirming optimism, even if they find her textual deconstructions a bit murky.

A positive spiritual development framework for determined readers.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 2015

Program: Kirkus Indie

Review Posted Online: Sept. 22nd, 2015