Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: "Clairvoyance for Beginners" by Alexandra Chauran

Clairvoyance for Beginners


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Clairvoyance for Beginners
Easy Techniques to Enhance Your Psychic Visions
by Alexandra Chauran (Llewellyn Publications, 2014; 216 pages)
ISBN9780738739151

reviewed by Eva Yaa Asantewaahummingwitch

Alexandra Chauran's book comes along at a good moment for me as, in the course of trying to analyse how my work with cards and imagery produces results, I'm looking at my experience with clairvoyance as the Super Glue that keeps it all together.

Card divination can be considered a form of clairvoyance projected into material form, a way in which perception can grapple with elusive, symbolic imagery and extract meaning from it. Also, for me, reading oracles like Tarot, Lenormand, LoterĂ­a and regular playing cards stimulates and opens up space for other imagery to sprout in the mind and contribute to a reading's information and counsel.

No matter how fabulous they are, oracle cards are like training wheels for something even more amazing. Simply stated, concentrated study of visual imagery can bring out the clairvoyant in you.

A lot of card readers probably avoid using terms like "clairvoyant" and "psychic" because of how these terms have been overused in popular culture, exploited by scam artists and ridiculed by the mainstream media. But we should reclaim these identities and functions if they ring true to who we are and what we do. Chauran's well-written guide provides an easy-to-follow and comprehensive program for initiating or enhancing your skills in this area.

Chauran, a doctoral candidate living in Washington State, describes clairvoyance as "the ability to see literal or symbolic truth, either with one's eyes or the mind's eye. The word means 'clear seeing,' thereby defining the perception as being both precise and accurate." In an age where many of us walk around with our eyes locked onto electronic screens, we could benefit from being more observant of what's around us (and within us) at any given moment.

The author's words resonated with me: "When I was a child, I didn't just have an imaginary friend, I was constantly co-creating myself along with entire imaginary worlds." Indeed, this sort of thing is basic training for the future metaphysician, ritualist and psychic. Some of us learn to fear our natural abilities and shut them away for many years or forever. Happily, the young Chauran developed her skills within a family where her experiences and perceptions were welcomed.

In a series of exercises, she passes along her methods for paying attention to information coming from visual sources, discerning meaning and telling the stories encoded in visions. But it's not all about taking in the view. Chauran recommends creating it, too--through constructing vision boards for what we want to manifest, through sketching what we see, through setting the best conditions for dreaming, and through meditative visualization. It's an abundant, ongoing exchange with visual reality. She carefully guides the reader through advanced practices that beginning students can find baffling, such as trance work, psychometry and scrying.

In her section on psychometry--the psychic reading of the energy and history of an object--Chauran encourages the student reader to fully feel the telling emotions that can well up:
It's okay if you inexplicably laugh or cry. Remember, you are in charge of this meditative session and your emotions. Our culture often teaches that extreme emotions mean that we are out of control. However, the clairvoyant needs to be able to experience extreme emotions while remaining in control. As a beginner, you may need to fight against your cultural training or against your coping mechanisms, both of which are geared to repress extreme emotions when faced with life challenges.
Be assured, Chauran offers appropriate grounding practices to help readers stay clear-headed when faced with powerful visions and emotions. She also discusses important questions of ethics in the reader-querent relationship and guides the reader through a survey of the most common concerns that bring querents to the table.

The book includes a wonderful dictionary of common symbols for numbers, colors and a range of items from Alligator and Anchor to Wolf and Wood, but the meanings noted here are just for starters. Chauran wisely advises that symbols can mean different things to different people, a useful lesson for purists who insist that everyone must adhere to one or another codified system.

Indeed, in my experience--as in Chauran's--symbols speak in the moment, to the matter at hand, to the sensibilities of the specific reader and the needs of the specific querent. A guide to standard symbology helps give a beginning reader confidence but, in time, that growing confidence can breed a lovely fluidity in the way symbols are understood and communicated. Symbolic imagery will not remain stuck on a sheet of cardboard, in the pages of a book or in the folds of an arcane tradition. It's alive.

Learn more about Clairvoyance for Beginners here.

Eva Yaa Asantewaa, hummingwitch