Book Review, Non-Fiction

Book Review: The Power of Premonitions by Larry Dossey


Each spring, the local dollar store suddenly receives cartons and cartons of books – hardcover books. Each marked $1. Oh, what a day! If I could mark it as a national holiday, I would.  I’d call it “Book Buying Splurge” or maybe “Book Orgy” so more people would be interested in it.  Sex sells, you know.

This past Sunday, after Mass, grocery shopping, and navigating the hallowed halls of Wal-Mart, I stopped at the Dollar Store to buy kitchen trash bags and the spring rolls my husband is addicted to.  I left with two boxes of spring rolls, two boxes of kitchen trash bags, and a handful of books from the huge bin at the front of the store.  The best moment was when the cashier rang up my books.  “I love it when we get in all these books!” the pierced, tattooed young lady said. She held the book in her hands like it was a sacred object, turning it over and gazing at each book with love.  “I absolutely love to read,” she said.  Shatter my preconceived notions, why don’t you?

I walked out with a bag of fiction and non fiction, and among the book was The Power of Premonitions by Larry Dossey, M.D.   I have had my share of premonitions, clairvoyance and precognitive dreams, and I’d always assumed there was something wrong with me.  Dr. Dossey’s book assured me that quite to the contrary, precognitive dreams and visions are our birthright. It seems that all of us are born with ‘first sight’ – the notion we can see the future. And it just might be tied to quantum physics!

I really enjoyed the book. Dr. Dossey sprinkles in very believable evidence for precognition, but he doesn’t sensationalize it. For example, there’s a great story he uses as a touchstone throughout the book about a young mother named Amanda. Amanda has a dream that the chandelier over her baby’s crib crashes down one night. She’s so shaken by the dream that she brings the baby to bed with her over her husband’s protests. When the chandelier crashes down at exactly 4 a.m., just when her dream or vision indicated it would, the shaken husband and wife realize she’s had a precognitive dream.

Dr. Dossey treats the subject with curiosity and scientific respect.  He takes a gentle stance, and you can tell from the book that he does believe in precognition, but he doesn’t claim to have all the answers. I think that’s what I liked best about this book; the fact that he’s not acting like he’s got all the answers.  He disputes the arguments against psychic phenomenon without accepting every bit of ‘evidence’ as fact.  To me, this represents a balanced approach to the topic.

He warns about courting psychic phenomenon too, which I liked. He also talked about the phenomenon of trying to use psychic powers to earn wealth, something which never works out very well.  It seems as if visions respond to altruistic intentions where wealth is concerned, but if you get greedy, they don’t work well. It reminded me of Edgar Cayce, the seer of Virginia Beach.  He was able to slip into a trance-like state and give readings which were amazingly accurate. He worked as a professional studio photographer, but tried to work for a rich man doing readings on where to find oil and other natural resources to enhance both his wealth and the client’s wealth. He found himself drained and feeling sick when he tried to use his gifts for this purpose, and eventually he had to stop. When he used his gifts to help other people, for example in healing matters, and accepted gifts of whatever they could afford to support himself (rather than trying to enhance his own wealth), he was able to maintain his visions and continue his psychic phenomenon without ill health, although he did get tired from doing too many readings in a day. When he used his powers altruistically, they worked well; when he used them from a greedy perspective, either his own or for a client, they failed him. Dossey cites literature about this and I tend to agree with it.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book.  If you are interested in a medical or scientific perspective on psychic abilities, pick up a copy of the book.  I bought mine at the Dollar Store, but if you click on the picture of the book cover above, it will take you to Amazon. If you buy the book, I earn a small commission, which does not affect your price. Thanks.

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