Although I have known about Napoleon Hill for many years, until recently I had never read any of his books. With its gold letters and black cover, “Outwitting the Devil,” stood out immediately. As soon as I touched the book itself, I knew I needed to read it.
Sharon Lechter, who edits and annotates this book, tells the reader that the manuscript had been locked away and hidden by Hill’s family for seventy-two years. They were frightened by the potential reaction to some of the subject matter, particularly around the topics of education and religion.
The premise of the book is Hill interviewing the Devil. In the book, the author ruthlessly wrestles secrets from the Devil on how the Devil manages to control 98% of all people. Whether or not the Devil is real becomes unimportant; what matters, is the conversation between the two.
There are many interesting ideas in this book, beginning with the idea that the Devil lays claim to those who drift in life. When asked to describe a drifter, the Devil replies with a list of twenty-five characteristics. At the base of these characteristics, however, is a simple, yet profound thought: a drifter is anyone who does not think for himself.
The Devil also gives Hill a description of a non-drifter, as well as how to protect oneself from drifting. These protections include doing your own thinking; deciding definitely what you want from your life; recognizing that time is your greatest asset; and more. One of my favorites is: “Analyze temporary defeat, no matter of what nature or cause, and extract from it the seed of an equivalent advantage.” How beautiful is that! When I read that, I recalled how 50 cents handled the attempt on his life, just as his debut album, Power of the Dollar, was about to launch. He turned all the negatives to his advantage, re-inventing himself to something more in line with who he really was. Rather than fear the shooters, he came out with his first song, “Fuck You”.
What I relate to in Hill’s philosophy is his emphasis on thinking, reason, and will. Both fear and love are the Devil’s tools, as both can override reason and will. Hill rates reason and will as above love in importance to anyone desiring freedom and self-determination. As for fear, Hill’s Devil claims that the six most effective ones are “the fear of poverty, criticism, ill-health, loss of love, old age, and death.”
A good portion of the book is spent on seven principles that can lead to spiritual, mental, and physical freedom. Although taken singularly, these principles may not be new. I was mostly struck by how much they made sense together, as well as some of Hill’s explanation of them. For instance, the second principle is mastery of the self. Not a new idea. According to Hill, part of self-mastery is controlling the desire to express loosely organized opinions. Today’s world is largely fueled by loosely organized opinions expressed through Twitter and Facebook. I can only imagine what Hill would think.
Was Hill really interviewing the Devil? Whatever the answer is, I do know that demons of the mind are as real as anything else is. In any case, I plan on heeding some of the advice in this down-to-earth and insightful book. I’ll get back to you if I happen to meet the Devil myself, along the way.
When I first came to Venice, I met a palm reader on the famous, Ocean Front Walk, whose name was “Mad George.” He was a colorful character, full of stories about his own life, as well as about life in Venice. I very much enjoyed his style of reading palms, as well as what he shared with me about my own hands. So, when I asked him for recommendations on palmistry books, he suggested I read Elizabeth Daniels Squire.
Squire was a journalist, nationally syndicated columnist, and award-winning mystery writer. She published two palmistry books: “The Fortune In Your Hand,” and “Palmistry Made Practical”. It is this latter book that I have chosen to briefly review.
First published in 1976, “Palmistry Made Practical is an overall, good study of many aspects of palmistry. Like many palmistry books, Squire begins by sharing some of palmistry’s rich history such as how the Indian tradition sees the study of hands and feet as the most important part of Anga Vidya; how in 4th century B.C. Greece, hand reading was well-known; and how a variety of famous people, such as Aristotle, had their palms read. According to Squire, the writer, Balzac, thought hand reading was the key to unraveling the intricacies of the human heart!
In this 249 page book, Squire covers everything from shape, to mounts, to lines, to markings, and more. There are little nuggets, too, that I enjoyed. For instance, she states that “In general, the shape of your hand indicates your approach to life while your mounts show the kind of energy you have and how you use it.”
Having read this book twice, I’m with Mad George! “Palmistry Made Practical” is a book for both beginners and intermediate students of palmistry. It is also enjoyable to read! I definitely recommend Squire for your own, metaphysical library.
by Krista Schwimmer
When I was 18 years old, I had my first astrology reading ever. It was a natal chart reading with the now famous, Steven Forrest. The reading cost $35, was over one and a half hours long, and came with a hand drawn chart. To this day, it was one of the best natal readings I have ever had — both for its accuracy and its enjoyment. Although it did not lead me to becoming an astrologer, it inspired me to continue to examine my own natal chart, instinctively doing it when I feel compelled.
Recently, my instincts have drawn me to the asteroids. So, I bought the book, “Asteroid Goddesses: The Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-Emerging Feminine,” by Demetra George & Douglas Bloch. I thought this would be a good place to begin my examination.
I first came across Demetra George in the 90’s, when I picked up her book, “Finding Our Way Through the Dark.” This book explores the concept of the dark goddess, an archetype that I have been following for some time through her emanations as the Morrigan, Lilith, and Hecate. It was in this book by George that I discovered that the phase of the moon that I was born under, the balsamic moon, has a deep influence on my life. Being a woman with 3 planets in the sign of Cancer, this was an important discovery for me.
On Tuesday, September 18th, I headed to Venice Beach for a late afternoon walk. I was about to go south, towards Venice pier, when I felt a tug strongly on my body to go north. So, of course, being an intuitive woman, I did. Little did I know that by the end of the day my soul would have reconnected to part of her spiritual ancestry as if in preparation for the heartbreaking knowledge she would bear witness too, by the end of the day. When I reached the breaker rocks, I found an interesting message written in the sand:
I was intrigued by this message, particularly as I had never encountered anything like this on my walks along the beach. I took some photo’s of it; then, I continued north on my walk, towards Santa Monica.
As I was walking, I noticed a group of people on the right, just above the shore line, singing together. There were people of all ages, with a man and a woman leading them. I immediately realized they were doing some kind of a ritual. I thought to myself, “Well, it is a public ritual. I’ll just walk in that direction and casually check it out.”
I was born into a family of book lovers. Both of my parents read to us, wonderful tales like “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Hobbit”, “The Secret Garden,” and many more. I loved not only the tales, but the hard back books beautifully illustrated.
As a child, my father moved all of us around a lot, for no tangible reason. This was hard, particularly the time we moved to Ireland and had to give away one of my favorite dogs ever, Clark. One of the stable things in my young life were the books, placed into rough, hand-made book shelves my father would build each time we moved. To this day, I always feel comforted when surrounded by shelves and shelves of books.
So, in honor of the love and comfort books have given me now for over 50 years, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite books from the metaphysical section of my library. These are books I have read, earmarked (now with new book darts that don’t ruin the page!), recommended to others, and plan on keeping until I, too, yellow, crinkle, and dim. I hope to share with you the delight, insight, and other experiences these books have brought to my life. So, come with me! Let me show you the first book I have taken down from my overcrowded bookshelf.