The “positive thinking” approach to self-improvement has recently converted a whole new generation thanks to Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling book “The Secret”. From reading Steven Heller’s “Monsters and Magical Sticks” in my late teens through to the recent “Soulcraft” by Bill Plotkin, I have ingested a steady stream of such thinking and while I can appreciate the slickness of Rhonda Byrne’s packaging, I don’t find a whole lot that’s new in it. Having said that, I can immediately name three people (all women if that is significant) who claim to have had their lives significantly altered by reading “The Secret”.
To that I can now add a fourth – Louise Langley, author of “The Sacred Quest”. Louise begins her tale as she is contemplating a separation from a husband she admits has done nothing wrong. Clearly, however, there are fundamental spiritual and psychological changes taking place within the author’s psyche and a constant thread through the book – admitted, as is so much else in this book, bravely and openly – is her emotional turmoil as she struggles to understand the changes that are ripping her old self apart. The number of times that someone (usually the author herself) is described as crying is phenomenal and the sense of a life turned upside down, palpable.
(Click “Read More…” below to see the full review) Whereas most of us might take our goals and write them in a special book that we kept locked in a drawer somewhere or, if we were particularly diligent, create a vision board to hang discreetly somewhere out of the common view, Louise Langley has used “The Sacred Quest” as her “vision board”. It starts with a description of what has actually happened and ends with a description of what the author hopes will happen but which hasn’t yet but which is related in the book as if it has happened (if you follow me). This can sometimes challenge the sympathy of the reader as certain aspirational statements seeming outrageously arrogant when they are presented in a completely po-faced manner. Whatever your reaction to such claims, though, you cannot fail to be impressed by her audacity and her honesty.
The narrative follows the author (the whole book is written in the third person although in the Introduction the author Louise clearly identifies herself with the character Louise) through this journey of personal discovery and ongoing revelations. Essentially, there are two main themes – firstly the work of building an interlinked umbrella of organisations (the Ether Group) which will be driven by the proceeds of the book initially (and subsequently the film-of-the-book). The mission statement of The Ether Group is “To bring inspiration, opportunity and prosperity to all people, including those in areas around the globe where it currently does not exist. We will use the profits of The Ether Group to continually expand throughout the world to fund projects creating local and indigenous growth. These projects will change people’s lives irrevocably for the better”. Much is made of cutting age science with intriguing, though frustratingly vague, nods towards leading edge thinking in quantum physics. The Dublin free-energy company Steorn, although not explicitly mentioned, are alluded to – but to my mind they have a long way to go to back up their claims for a revolutionary new energy source. Crystals also play a large part in the creation of new energy matrices although again the specifics eluded me.
The second strand is a much more personal quest to re-discover the currently earthly incarnation of a soul mate from across the ages. Again the heartfelt nature of this search radiates out of the pages and the sincerity and conviction of the author cannot be doubted. So intimate at times were the details that I felt uncomfortably voyeuristic.
Embedded as minor sub-plots amongst the major strands are two recognisable psychic quests (in the narrower sense of a psychically driven treasure hunt) which, it will probably come as no surprise to learn given my own interests, were the parts of the book the most engaged me. There is a quest to find an uncut, heart-shaped moldavite pendant in Glastonbury (I’ve previously sought out a moldavite stone myself for a friend who was experiencing some unpleasant out-of-body/sleep paralysis/alien abduction experiences and it has a fascinating history with links to both the Holy Grail and Satan’s crown) and another one to replace a metal and enamel ring which had a design based on a whorl stone from an Orkney island. In typical questing fashion, she lost the original ring, eventually tracked down a replacement (possibly the last one) only to rediscover the original ring where she had already looked for it numerous times.
Apart from that the book is full of familiar “New Age” themes such as crystals, angels, reincarnation, Atlantis and Ascended Masters. Much of this is not, if I’m honest, to my particular taste but there are plenty with whom this will resonate.
Due to the third-person/first-person split, the seamless merging of inner and outer realities and the personal synthesis of an eclectic variety of source material (including positive thinking techniques), I feel that this book fits into a growing field of postmodern personal fiction. I would also include in this category Daniel Pinchbeck’s “2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl” although the styles and themes of both books are for the most part poles apart.
In summary then I would describe this as a brave account of one woman’s inner struggle and the daring vision that she brings forth from the turbulence. It is also a selfless vision of a better world (I suspect that it’s partly because my own visualisations centre around me on warm beaches with copious cocktails that The Universe hasn’t yet seen fit to send a winning lottery ticket my way) and for that Louise Langley deserves support and admiration. I wish her, and the Ether Foundation, the very best and if “The Sacred Quest” is anything to go by then if anyone has the determination and drive to carry it off, she does.