Saturday, 2 May 2015

David Icke's Reading List: Mind to Mind by Betty Shine

Mind to Mind is the first of several Betty Shine publications to be reviewed on this blog over the coming months. Originally released in 1989, with Mind to Mind, Betty aims to provide a broad overview of her work as a spiritual healer, medium and clairvoyant.

Mind to Mind - Betty Shine

Starting with a brief account of her childhood and family background - Shine claims that her grandmother and daughter also have psychic abilities - the first part of the book is almost exclusively dedicated to her personal biography and professional career, from becoming an opera singer to her venture into mineral therapy until taking up healing full-time. Shine's various psychic experiences throughout her childhood and the recollections of her time as an evacuee in rural Berkshire during the Second World War are particularly intriguing.

In this part of the book she also discusses her numerous physical ailments, which in the end prompt her to seek the assistance of a medium by the name of Horrey. Horrey diagnoses that her ill health is the result of pent-up energy, which is trapped in her body, thereby causing a physical imbalance. To relieve herself of this imbalance, she has to release the surplus energy by healing others, thus curing herself and her patients in the process.

This biographical overview is followed by an insight into Shines work, the methods she employs, her guiding principles and a wide selection of case histories. Considering the number of arthritic cases featuring in the book, it is fair to say that Shine seems to have developed a certain specialism when it comes to curing arthritis. The vast majority of ailments she claims to have cured in Mind to Mind are somehow connected to arthritis. She not only claims to be able to remove calcium deposits from arthritic joints through hands-on healing. She also relays instances, during which calcium deposits were audibly removed ('popped'), whilst treating clients suffering from arthritic conditions.

No doubt, this track record must have attracted the attention of David Icke. Not least because Shine discusses the case of one of her patients, a footballer by the name of 'David'. Meanwhile, Icke, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, describes his first encounter with Betty Shine's Mind to Mind time and again in both his current and historic output. Icke first came across the book when he was 'guided' towards it hiding in a pile of romantic novels, whilst trying to locate his son inside a bookshop on the Isle of Wight.

Himself seeking alternative ways to cure his rheumatoid arthritis, he consults Shine as a result of reading Mind to Mind. During one of these consultations, Shine channels messages, which are discussed in detail in Icke's Truth Vibrations. In fact, it is fair to say that on the basis of Icke's own account, his interpretation of Shine's messages can be considered the starting point of his very own spiritual journey.

Arthritic conditions and Icke aside, Shine also provides detailed case histories on animal healing, healing small children and teenagers as well as cancer patients of all ages. Whilst she dedicates a rather large part of the book to case histories, she also offers practical advice to her readers. This ranges from a variety of meditation and visualisation techniques to recommendations on integrating spirituality into everyday life and how best to harness what she terms 'mind energy'. All this is rounded up with a selection of practical exercises and a bibliography for further reading at the very end of the book.

Mind to Mind is a somewhat bizarre book. It is unbelievable and plausible at the same time. Shine's claims, including accounts of varicose veins being removed with the help of hands on healing and calcium deposits being audibly 'popped' through the forces of mind energy, are, to say the least, rather bold. A case of seeing (or rather, hearing) is believing, I would suggest.

Compared to contemporary mediums of the day, Shine was never really all too popular in the New Age movement of the 1980s. Considering the sheer number of publications following Mind to Mind, she was nevertheless successful at establishing her very own niche and circle of clients, most of which were somehow connected to the media and/or publishing industry in Britain at the time. David Icke, no doubt, complemented this group.

Nonetheless, Mind to Mind is worth reading. Despite focussing on her own case studies, Shine repeatedly tries to provide a realistic assessment of spiritual healing, its remit and limitations. The methods she personally advocates most prominently are surprisingly simple. These include positive visualisation techniques and meditation as well as suggestions on how best to integrate activities of this sort into daily routine. No matter whether one believes that Shine can heal her patients remotely utilising a laser beam made of 'mind energy' or not, her advice to limit negativity to no more than a maximum of five minutes per day, certainly does not cause any harm.

Monday, 6 April 2015

David Icke's Truth Vibrations: Short Summary and Review

The Truth Vibrations in Context

Including David Icke's latest release (The Perception Deception) back in 2013, David has authored a total of twenty books since 1983. The Truth Vibrations is the account of his own spiritual awakening. It is preceded by two earlier works: It's a Tough Game, Son!,  published in 1983 and It Doesn't Have To Be Like This: Green Politics Explained, which was published in 1989 and provides an overview of his visions for an alternative political agenda during his tenure as a UK Green Party national spokesperson during the late 1980s.

The publication of The Truth Vibrations in May 1991 led to his infamous appearance on the Terry Wogan Show in April 1991, which in turn resulted in his portrayal as a messianic lunatic and subsequent years of public ridicule both on and off screen. 

From the mid 1980s and during the time of writing Truth Vibrations, David was privately starting to seek solutions for the management of his own medical condition (rheumatoid arthritis) in homeopathy and other forms of alternative treatment. At the time of publication, he was also still very much a mainstream celebrity on British TV, who had not long departed the BBC in a row over having violated the broadcaster's impartiality charter. (He publicly criticised the introduction of the so-called Poll Tax.) Since leaving the broadcaster in 1990, Icke continued to pursue his career as a national speaker for the UK Green Party. All in all, he had a healthy public profile at the time. In the absence of such a pre-existing media profile, none of the mainstream outlets would have paid the slightest bit of attention to Truth Vibrations, I dare to suggest. The book and its author would have simply slipped through the net of the mainstream.

David Icke on the cover of Truth Vibrations (Aquarian Press / Harper Collins, 1991)

The Truth Vibrations - Summary and Review

Summarising The Truth Vibrations is no easy feat. The book can best be described as a wild ride. I recommend two sittings to bring some order into Icke's literary chaos. (I still have to complete the second round.) There was obviously a lot going on in his mind and it would be fair to say that the absence of structured thought in Truth Vibrations is testament to Icke's inner turmoil. It is also clear that in the run-up to the book, he dedicated time to the investigation of a wide variety of subject areas. Truth Vibrations can clearly be seen as Icke's attempt to amalgamate the insights gained from intense personal study. At the same time, the book aims to be an account of his spiritual agenda. 

Truth Vibrations is partially autobiographical, partially a tale of Icke's travels across the globe on a hunt for stones and crystals to unblock clogged up energy lines as well as a collection of psychic messages, which he has personally obtained with the help of a trusted circle of psychics and spiritually gifted friends and acquaintances. He also uses the channelled messages to back-up theosophist teachings and insights borrowed from Eastern philosophy throughout the book.

The messages David receives, which he either interprets himself or with the help of connected individuals, deal with a variety of topics including karma, reincarnation, the significance of vibrations, chakras, leylines, standing stones and the systemic state of imbalance of both Earth's eco system and humanity in general.

At the time of writing, David is influenced - without ever acknowledging this in the text - by theosophist, perhaps anthroposophist teachings; and he applies these to how he views and makes sense of the world around him. It should come as no surprise that he considers the world around him ever more out of balance, endangered and entering a critical state. His ecological observations are complemented by his critique of capitalism and the capitalist mode of production in the latter part of the book. 

Here, David - quite outspokenly - criticises materialism, the rationale of ever-increasing output and profit under the capitalist mode of production as essentially incompatible with the requirements of a finite ecological system. His critique of capitalism comes quite late in the book. Nevertheless, it forms part of the more coherent parts of his narrative..  

David is less coherent in the preceding chapters, especially in his account of Earth's history. Notwithstanding this apparent lack of structure, his writing once again demonstrates a familiarity with and knowledge of theosophist teachings. For anyone interested in tracing the theosophist influences more closely, I recommend his account of mythical Atlantis, which can be found in chapter eight, which is titled Journey to Aquarius.

Remaining with the topic of mythology, the attentive reader cannot help but notice that David clearly consumed a lot of literature on religious mythology at the time; and I seem to detect a very strong desire on his part to rework such a narrative in Truth Vibrations. He does so by drawing his readers' attention to the commonalties in the imagery and narratives of key religious texts across cultural, geographic and historic divides.

Given that David was up to the publication of The Truth Vibrations in May 1991 still considered a mainstream celebrity, it should come as no surprise that large parts of the book are dedicated to his own karmic anecdotes of past lives and long stretches of psychic messages that either involve him, his immediate family and friends or provide the reader with a justification for his latest adventures; i.e. travelling the globe in a mission to unblock leylines in Canada, just before heading off to a conference on Animal Rights in the U.S. as a representative of the UK Green Party.

In short, Icke's Truth Vibrations is an arduous read at times, simply because its author is trying to convey autobiographical anecdotes with psychic experiences and channelled messages, Eastern spiritualism, theosophical teachings, religious mythology and a critique of the capitalist mode of production. All this is rounded up with a call to action directed at interested readers wishing to join him in the quest to redress the globe's imbalance. Perhaps I should also mention that the page count of my edition of the book comes to 144 pages. David tried to convey an unmanageable amount of insights in a format that can best be described as an 'extended essay'. As a result, his message does not always come across clearly and he appears to be losing his thread. Nevertheless, in retrospect and especially in view of his later works, with Truth Vibrations, he manages to introduce his readers to a wide variety of topics and broader themes, which will resurface in his later books and talks. Truth Vibrations not only introduces the reader to his own spiritual agenda, it also provides a fundamental overview of Icke’s future topics of investigation. Sadly, he does not provide any references to the sources that clearly inspired him and his narrative at the time. Contrary to the media debates of the past, which focussed largely on whether he was claiming to be the ‘Son of God’, I actually do not recall such a claim throughout the entire book...

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Biographical Brainstorm: Life before 'Conspiracy'

David Vaughn Icke was born into a working class family on 29th April 1952 and subsequently grew up on a council housing estate in Leicester, the 10th largest city of the UK. Leicester is located in an area also known as the British Midlands. David has retained a hint of the typical accent spoken in this region and despite having undoubtedly received BBC speech training, he can often be found slipping back into a typical Midlands' accent when addressing his audiences.

Describing his childhood, Icke often refers to his family as "working class" and "skint".  The relationship between him and his parents appears to have been harmonious and he frequently tells anecdotes from his childhood and upbringing. He describes his early life as uneventful and himself as a mediocre student as well as a loner. Leaving school at the age of fifteen without taking exams after being picked at a football talent selection by Coventry City, he initially planned to pursue a career in professional football. 

His footballing career was negatively impacted when he was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Even though he continued to play following the initial diagnosis, he eventually had to abandon the world of professional football aged 21. He was at the time playing for Hereford United as a goalkeeper. His medical condition had worsened significantly and he  found himself unable to carry on.

His departure from professional football in 1973 prompted David's first career change and a  foray into journalism, which was to last for the ensuing seventeen years. Initially , he worked for a variety of regional papers and radio stations, including the Leicester Advertiser, the Leicester News Agency, BBC Radio Leicester and BRMB radio in Birmingham. Working his way through the ranks, David was to join BBC Midlands Today before moving on to present the sports section of the BBC's national flagship news programme, Newsnight. From 1982 onwards, David became a co-host of Grandstand, the BBC's main national sports programme at the time. 

Having established himself as a household name in national sports reporting, he regularly covered high-profile sporting events such as the national snooker championships or the 1988 summer Olympics in Seoul. Yet, owing to a row over David's public criticism of and refusal to pay the Community Charge (better known as Poll Tax), which was introduced by the Thatcher Government at the time, his contract with the BBC was subsequently terminated in 1990 on the grounds of his non-compliance with the BBC's impartiality charter.

Throughout the latter part of the 1980s, David became increasingly interested in alternative medicine as well as Green politics - a move which constitutes another turning point in his life. Shortly after joining the Green Party in 1988 and in the wake of the party's successful campaign during the 1989 European Elections,  David became one of the party's  national spokespersons and turned to writing his outline for a vision of Green politics, It Doesn't Have To Be Like This: Green Politics Explained, which was published in 1989. Yet, his venture into politics abruptly ended following his infamous interview on the Wogan show in April 1991 and the subsequent publication of his third book, The Truth Vibrations, in May 1991.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Analysing David Icke

David Icke, a former BBC sports presenter, UK Green party spokesperson and, following his infamous appearance on the Wogan show, the most ridiculed British media personality of the 1990s, has transformed himself into perhaps the most iconic celebrity of the conspiracy world, who enjoys the reputation of being an internationally acclaimed and sought after "conspiracy investigator" (Jon Ronson), speaking to audiences in their thousands. 

With yet another large - scale speaking engagement at London's Wembley arena due to take place towards the end of October 2014, which - according to Icke's recent messages on Facebook - is going to be the last of its kind, it seems appropriate to have a closer look at his body of work to date.

I'm neither an Icke supporter nor an Icke hater. Yet, I do believe that, given his prolific output over the years and in view of his rather well-crafted (social) media strategy, the narratives permeating his talks and books should be examined more closely. The same applies to David's links into the wider conspiracy world, where the boundaries between investigative journalism and conspiracy theorising are often deeply blurred.

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