Friday, July 16, 2010

Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential

By Caroline Myss

New York, Harmony Books, 2001

Week 29 Spiritual

Frankly, I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about this book. I slogged through the first 200 pages of Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential thinking all the time “I am really out of my league this time.” The book was lent to me by my quilter, Patrick, as a spiritual book that I must read. Before I began to read it, people noticed it and commented: “Oh, you’re reading Caroline Myss now.” So, it was with some anticipation I began this alternative (for me) spiritual book. After 200 pages, I decided I just didn’t care anymore. So, dear readers, for the first time since beginning my year of reading, I quit a book.

Caroline Myss has a PHD in religion and is a mystic and medical intuitive (whatever that is). In Sacred Contracts she lays out a plan for human potential that includes some sacred, some psychology, some hocus-pocus. She makes the case that every soul has a sacred contract signed before they are born, and our lives are spent trying to learn the lessons of the contract. She discusses the 12 archetypes that rule our lives, and we are to discover which archetypes are in our souls and understand how we should operate with them.

This part of the book I found interesting, because she uses several examples to show how the archetypes operate within specific individuals. In the back of the book, she describes a huge selection of archetypes along with examples of these archetypes at work in various movies and literature. She also includes a long series of questions to ask yourself to try to figure out which 12 archetypes fit into your life. I didn’t take the time to ask those questions or try to figure out the answers. An interested reader could use the book as a workbook to chart a life course.

There’s just too much going on in this book—archetypes, chakras, spinning wheels. I think that if she had just devoted a book to archetypes, I would have thought it was an innovative and interesting book. I also had questions about the basic premise that we each have a sacred contract that comes before our birth. She defines sacred contract as “an agreement your soul makes before you are born. You promise to do certain things for yourself, for others, and for divine purposes.” Our goal in life is “manage your personal power and fulfill your sacred contract.” I did like this quote: “We fear our own empowerment because it represents changes in our lives that would remove us from the warmth of those who love us for being vulnerable. And we fear being empowered because then we can no longer claim that we are not responsible for our actions.”

This is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say in a review of the book: “Myss offers her readers a new system for blowing away pedestrian notions of their purpose on the planet. She espouses the ancient notion that our souls enter into a kind of contract before birth that we agree to have various human experiences and even (in Myss's version) to encounter certain people in order to learn lessons. The author includes a technique for arriving at 12 archetypes that rule different areas of our life from career to sex to our highest aspirations. While each of us is controlled in different ways by four "survival" archetypes Child, Victim, Prostitute, Saboteur the other archetypes that flavor our relations to the world are up to us and as richly different as Vampire and Messiah. One value of Myss's ingenious system is that, like the I Ching, it teaches readers to use symbols not as one-dimensional descriptions but as a call to reflection and imagination and a means to see ourselves in a greater light.”

This would be a valuable book to utilize in a workshop or a class. It was too much for a one-week read. I became overburdened with concepts and ideas and work that needed to be done for it all to make sense. I needed to hear Myss speak in order for it to make sense to me.

I just watched a video Caroline Myss talking about another of her books, Anatomy of a Spirit, and there was a lot of psychology in the interview that made sense to me. The thought I had as I was watching the interview is that she may be better in workshops and interviews than she is in her books. She comes across as very logical and sincere. Authoritative even. Here is a brief interview about the book Spiritual Contracts. The second part deals with the book (about 5 minutes into the video).

Here is her website:

She also has a weekly Sacred Contracts radio show on Sirius Radio, which you can find out about on her website.

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