Dancing with the Serpent: Diary of Madness
by Patricia Anne Bloise, CasAnanda Publishing, 1999. ISBN 1-889131-36-9
The story begins with the author as a self-absorbed teenager in the late 60's, toying with LSD as a means to achieve "enlightenment." At the age of nineteen -- married to her high school boyfriend and the mother of a toddler -- Bloise was overtaken by an inexplicable energy that shattered her equilibrium. (It wasn't until much later that she learned her Kundalini had awakened.)
Her mind amok with strange symbols and abstract ideas, she neither ate nor slept for weeks while her behavior grew so bizarre, her family had her committed to a psychiatric hospital. Thus began a journey in and out of the twilight world of mental illness, replete with repeated hospitalizations, shock treatments and debilitating medications. She received a series of psychiatric diagnoses for her condition until finally she met a doctor who seemed to get it right: she was experiencing bipolar disorder.
After years of trying to avoid medications -- and working to control her symptoms through metaphysical and spiritual practices -- she came to accept that she could not function normally without small daily doses of Lithium. Most importantly, she learned that true spirituality doesn't hinge on altered states of consciousness, extraordinary experiences, or esoteric knowledge. More than any of these, it is expressed in the growing capacity to love.
by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D., Touchstone, 1997. ISBN 0-684-19361-2
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross has long been one of my favorite teachers. In her most complete autobiography, she recalls the myriad highs and lows of her intense, love-and-service- consecrated life. This book was written after her much-publicized severe stroke in 1995, when she suffered one of her most difficult dark nights of the soul, and briefly lost faith in herself and her life's work.
More than any of her previous publications, The Wheel of Life reveals Kübler-Ross' mystical side, including her encounters with fairies and spirit guides. A woman of deep integrity and conviction and an indefatigable crusader for the rights of the downtrodden, Kübler-Ross has remained a beacon of courage, honesty and strength in the face of multiple personal and professional tragedies. Overflowing with humor, beauty and heartfelt wisdom, this book is a shining example of a consummately spiritual life.
-- El Collie
© El Collie 1995