The Celestine Prophecy

The Celestine Prophecy is the title of a novel by James Redfield. The novel is seen as a spiritual guide for the New Age. One devotee describes it this way.

This book is very simply about how we get and use energy. When we get enough energy, in the right ways, we can "raise our vibration." With a higher vibration we are better able to tap into our psychic and intuitive skills, and thus are better able to discover and live our true purpose in life.

Even Redfield treats his novel as a spiritual guide and basis for a spiritual and material industry. He's started a newsletter for his followers: The Celestine Journal: Exploring Spiritual Transformation. He has a sequel, The Tenth Insight, said to be "a trip that will take you through portals into other dimensions." And a further sequel, The Secret of Shambhala; In Search of the Eleventh Insight. He also has audio tapes and CDs for sale.

Redfield starts with a notion shared by many New Age gurus: the world is emerging into a new spiritual awareness. He puts it this way:

For half a century now, a new consciousness has been entering the human world, a new awareness that can only be called transcendent, spiritual. If you find yourself reading this book, then perhaps you already sense what is happening, already feel it inside.

What is the evidence for this New Age? Vague references to vibrations and energy. For those who don't get it yet, there is vague advice to avoid the negative (you can tell good people by their eyes), stop doubting, follow your intuitions and premonitions, flow with coincidences, believe in the purposiveness of everything, join thousands of others on the quest, tune into your feelings and evolve to a higher plane.

In the novel, the meaning of life is revealed in an ancient Peruvian manuscript written in Aramaic. It predicts a massive spiritual transformation of society in the late twentieth century. We will finally grasp the secrets of the universe, the mysteries of existence, the meaning of life. The real meaning and purpose of life won't be found in religion and it won't be found in material wealth, but rather in things like auras. The manuscript is full of insights like this and these insights are the way to the transformation. How do we know this? Just look at the restlessness all around you. That's the key. The dissatisfaction and restlessness we feel is the key. We're like caterpillars ready to metamorphosize into butterflies, to burst forth together into the New Age. After all, you can't seek fulfillment if you're fulfilled! Do you think it is a coincidence that coincidences are happening more and more frequently?

...the Manuscript says the number of people who are conscious of such coincidences would begin to grow dramatically in the sixth decade of the twentieth century. He said that this growth would continue until sometime near the beginning of the following century, when we would reach a specific level of such individuals--a level I think of as a critical mass.

I'm not sure but I think he meant to say the seventh decade, not the sixth. The sixth decade of the twentieth century would be the 1950's. Nobody seems to think that the '50s were a time of restlessness. The sixties, however, has entered historical consciousness as a very restless period: the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement; marijuana and LSD, the Civil Rights Movement, assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, the Beatles, etc. In any case, the novel has some good advice. Make love, not war. Be neither intimidator, interrogator, aloof nor pitiable. We don't need fear, humiliation, guilt or shame. Contemplate, meditate, and follow your intuitions and dreams as you go through your spiritual evolution. Fact or fiction, it doesn't matter. Truth is what you make it. Life's too short and too complicated to deal with reality. Make your own reality. Subjective validation and communal reinforcement lead to bliss.

This New Age subjectivism and relativism encourage people to believe that reality is whatever you want it to be. The line between fact and fiction gets blurry and obscured. Of course, fiction has its place in a satisfying life, but so should fact. The methods of science may not be perfect, but when it comes to getting the facts straight, they are better than any of the methods developed by New Age gurus.