Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
James Redfield’s story-telling skills haven’t improved in his third novel since The Celestine Prophecy. Fortunately, his ability to touch the reader’s spirit and inspire our higher selves has not lessened, which makes this thin story a tale worth reading nonetheless.
Story: On December 21, 2012, the Mayan calendar will end. Many see it as an apocalyptic sign. But is it?
In The Twelfth Insight, the long-awaited fourth book in the beloved Celestine Series, we again follow our Hero and his close friend Wil. They have just received a portion of another ancient and mysterious manuscript that describes a secret approach to spirituality that is silently arriving in the second decade of the 21st Century. But the manuscript is only available in fragments.
To understand its full meaning for mankind, our Hero and Wil begin an urgent search to find the message in its entirety. As they embrace the power of Synchronicity and begin their search, they are confronted by powerful political forces and religious extremists that stand in the way of these spiritual revelations.
Utilizing what he calls the “parable effect,” and based on his own sources, James Redfield explores the similarities and differences that exist among the world religions, revealing the essential messages contained within them that can energize our experience of spirituality– and produce a new wave of integrity and reform that can transform our lives and our world. (From goodreads.com)
Spiritual/metaphysical content: High. Redfield continues to expand on the nine insights detailed in The Celestine Prophecy in 1993. For a quick recap, see Insights from The Celestine Prophecy. His fourth book builds somewhat on those first nine insights by adding twelve “integrations,” which extend a few of the original insights by demonstrating practical applications and illustrations that play out in the story line. The first five integrations Redfield calls the foundation to spiritual consciousness. The remaining seven are the “rise to sacred influence.” For a quick summary, see Integrations from The Twelfth Insight.
The first integration is the principle of synchronicity, which plays a large role in The Twelfth Insight. The idea is that if you consciously expect synchronicity, and stay in a state of “expectant alertness,” events of synchronicity will occur. This spiritual principle rang true for me, along with another of Redfield’s favorite quotes from Kant: “Act and be as though how you are dictates that everyone else will be that same way.”
My take: Redfield’s spiritual development has deepened considerably since the nine insights of The Celestine Prophecy–so much so that many of his integrations will leave his original readers bewildered and wondering how the story line has moved from personal growth to international conspiracy theory. Although I understand and agree with the spiritual evolution of his ideas, does Redfield really believe that 144,000 people must work through the twelve integrations to prevent the Mayan prophecy that the world will end in 2012, or is it merely a convenient plot device? Either way, the story is thinly developed and seems over the top.
Despite that, Redfield still delivers soul-felt descriptions of spiritual experience that remind me why I started reading new age fiction in the first place. The thrill of spiritual discovery is still there, and The Twelfth Insight is worth reading just to be reminded of that.
The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision, by James Redfield
Published by Grand Central Publishing, 2011
Paperback, 350 pages