Wednesday 13 January 2016

Review: The Barefoot Medium: Letting Spirit In

When I was training as a witch I was told the most important lesson was to “know thyself”. In Ancient Greece, those two words were inscribed above the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Without self-knowledge, one could not hope to gain divine knowledge.

A new book, The Barefoot Medium, also teaches that self knowledge is vital if one wants to learn to communicate with spirits - and offers lessons, examples and exercises in how we can learn to know ourselves.

Author Emma Smallbone starts by explaining that we need to listen to our intuition – what she calls a sense of “Deja Vu”. She says:
The next time you have the feeling of Deja Vu, stop. Take note of what is around you... Is there a person there that you need to have a conversation with? Is there a book you need to read right in front of you? Is there a poster for a class you need to take? Pay attention in that exact moment and take in everything around you.
Emma describes herself as a medium and an empath. She says: “As a medium, I can see, hear and feel dead people, or as I like to call them, Spirit.” Obviously not everyone has the same natural talent Emma has, but she says:
I believe everyone is born with varying degrees of ‘gifts’. Whether it be Clairaudient (the power to hear voices of Spirit or people who have passed on), Clairsentient (a form of psychic intuition) and Clairvoyant (the power to see beyond the physical) or even precognition, meaning foreknowledge of an event... I believe we are all capable of many wonderful things. I believe that we are, however, asleep to our true potential. I believe you have it within you to feel what I feel even if you may never see it physically, hear or sense it the way I do. Your own true potential lies in the beautiful synchronicity of life; the chance meeting, the whispers in the wind (or your gut) and the tingly goosebumps that are your own messages, your own level of communication with Spirit.
The book offers ten lessons:
  1. Magic is real so start looking for it
  2. Your shit helmet is holding you back
  3. Our feelings and emotions are like a compass. Follow them.
  4. Your gut knows your true path
  5. Finding your purpose is a journey
  6. Timing is everything
  7. STOP looking for a big sign, its not coming.
  8. Choose happiness
  9. Communication is everything, especially with yourself.
  10. What if death isn’t the end?
The way to start looking for magic and find your own gift, according to Emma, is to pay attention to what you are drawn to.
The things we instinctively like, our interests and what energizes us are signs pointing to our path and our purpose. We are all drawn to certain things in life. We all have passions, things we love to do, places we love to go and ideas or visions for our future- what we want. Pay attention to them, all of them. These are signs guiding you to your pure potential, your place of simply being.
Emma adds: “How you feel is everything. It’s your internal guidance system to light the way. More commonly known as your ‘gut’, your intuition is the special gift you have to tap into the world’s energy and listen to the guidance it provides.”

I would agree. There have been many times when I have felt I needed to go somewhere or do something that was perhaps a bit out of my routine – only to find it was exactly where I needed to be or what I needed to do. Once, I felt I had to stop off at a coffee shop on my way back to work from lunch even though it would mean I was late. There I discovered an old friend who I had lost touch with, who had recently learnt he had a terminal illness. I was able to hold his hand and be a listening ear when he badly needed those things – and I was also glad to meet up with him again before he passed on.

What often holds us back from following our instincts is what Emma calls our “shit helmet”. I don’t find it a very attractive phrase, I must admit, but what I do see what it represents – our habits, preconceptions, fears and negative self-talk, along with societal pressure to be “normal”. The exercise to overcome this is to visualise taking off a helmet made up of these things, and to see clearly without its blinkers.

As well as removing our preconceptions of what we are, we need to recognise our gifts. Emma says the way to start is to list three things we are good at. We also need to look for signs about the way forward. Emma points out that these signs are often small things, possibly easily overlooked. One of the chapters is entitled: Stop Waiting for the Big Sign,it’s Not Coming. In it, Emma says:
Often in readings I am compelled to remind people that the lessons we are to learn are in the smallest things. Which is why we often miss them. So many of us are going day by day, week by week, year by year waiting for a big sign saying ‘right this way please!’. You’ll probably be waiting a while. It may happen, you may experience a significant emotional event that in retrospect created a turning point in your life, however you can learn much more efficiently by finding the small signs in your day to day life.
The tenth lesson is more of a question: what if death isn’t the end?

Emma certainly believes death isn’t final, that there is a spirit world where our ancestors reside and that they can communicate with us and us with them. After all, she is a medium. What she is really saying in this lesson is that many people gain comfort from feeling the continuing presence of loved ones who have died – and that by practising the exercises in The Barefoot Medium, you can learn to pick up the presence of spirits in your own life.

But why is the book called The Barefoot Medium? Well, it is because Emma finds her mediumistic gift is strongest when she has taken off her shoes and can feel the ground beneath her feet. Accepting that this was how her gift worked, and sticking to it despite criticism from others, was part of her own lesson of learning to know herself.

You can order The Barefoot Medium: Letting Spirit step at a timevia Amazon.

Links and previous related posts
The Barefoot Medium: Letting Spirit step at a time


Emma Smallbone said...

Thanks so much for reviewing the book. Still hard to believe it is out in the world!

Badwitch said...

I completely understand how you feel about that - my own book Pagan Portals Candle Magic is due to reach shops in the next couple of weeks and I also find it hard to believe it is out in the world. Hope your book is really successful!