A Lighter View         

A Magazine for the creative, spiritual & holistic community                                  

REVIEWS - past

Past Reviews of Books and Products


          JANUARY 22, 2023

Avatar: The Way of the Water

          written and directed by James Cameron


Thirteen years after the movie Avatar touched the souls of many in the metaphysical community, we are finally blessed with the sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water. James Cameron, writer and director of this production, once again brings rituals and spiritual meaning onto the screen. This time the tree of life is a water plant, and the rituals are those of a seafaring Metkayina tribe.

The story centers around the four children of the Na’vi parents, Jake and Neytiri, and the struggles of being different and remaining true to who they are. The children are faced with tough choices: to follow what they believe, to trust the new community, and to accept a new way of living. In addition, they must learn how to survive in an aquatic environment. The focus of the storyline is primarily on the two middle children, Lo’ak and Kiri, and how they learn to handle their new surroundings and step into their own powers.

This movie is full of conflicts. There are those that arise for the family, not only from the sky people wanting to claim Pandora and who are set on killing Jake, but also from becoming part of a new community. Life in the water requires a new set of skills. The movie’s message goes beyond the challenges faced by the family and touches on ecosystems and conservation in regard to Pandora and its preservation. It also shows how the tribe wanted to protect the intelligent sea creatures who were much like our water mammals.

                    Continued in next column.

The movie’s 3D underwater scenes are breathtaking, leaving one to feel they are a part of the story. I felt the dimensional quality of this movie was more powerful than in the first Avatar where the forest comprised most of the landscape scenes. The destructive and war scenes were emotionally engaging and created a desire to root for the family and their allies. Though the movie was over three hours long, I was captivated the entire time.

Personally, I feel this is the best movie I have experienced in a long time. Though it is not appropriate for young children, there are lots of social issues that teens could identify with in struggling to find their own identity. It was a breath of fresh air for me to see a movie based on spiritual principles and community values. According to the media, we can look forward to three more Avatar sequels.

     DECEMBER 22, 2022


Psychic Abilities for Beginners

Author: Melanie Barnum     2016 Llewellyn Publications

Psychic Abilities for Beginners
defines and teaches all the intuitive sensing skills plus psychometry and telepathy. There are many books on the market that focus on developing one individual psychic skill such as the series by Richard Webster. What makes Melanie Barnum’s book different is she presents all the abilities she considers to be spiritual senses. She defines each one, gives examples from her own life, and provides several exercises to help the reader explore their own abilities in that area. Her goal is to help readers tap into their own potential.

                    Continued in next column.

One example is the chapter on clairvoyance. She discusses symbols and how to tell if they are symbolic visions or more literal in meaning. Then she offers exercises to help the reader look at their own symbolic interpretation of a list of objects. She gives examples of how an object is perceived and how it can have different meanings for different people.

In readings she does with clients, she often draws from multiple psychic abilities that overlap to give a more complete picture. She explains how a vision may be complimented by a smell or sound. Barnum uses a very positive approach to encourages readers to explore their abilities.

The book is devoted to helping the beginner understand and develop each skill. It includes the following senses and related psychic abilities:
      • Clairvoyance – See Clearly
      • Clairaudience – Clear Hearing
      • Clairsentience – Clear Feeling or Sensing
      • Clairempathy – Clear Emotion
      • Claircognizance – Clear Knowing
      • Clairgustance – Clear Tasting
      • Clairescence – Clear Smelling
      • Clairtangency – Clear Touch
      • Telepathy – Mental Connection
      • Psychokinesis – Movement with the Mind
      • Psychic Tools & Past Lives

According to Barnum, “Psychic senses open us up to a new dimension of understanding our world and our lives.” Her book presents the readers with a way to discover that new dimension. Psychic Abilities for Beginners is an ideal book for someone who has little knowledge of the psychic senses or wants to explore senses they are less familiar with. Those seeking guidance from readers and healers would also benefit from this book by better understanding the different modalities before choosing a particular type of service or reading. Even those not looking for guidance might enjoy the personal insights and stories told by the author. I feel this book is a good choice for those wanting to expand their psychic knowledge and to experience new insights into their own abilities.
                          Reviews by Cecilia Ray