Author | Embodied Spirituality Teacher | Mystic
Julia Paulette Hollenbery
As a child I loved the Ice Queen: I was the little girl trying to fit together pieces of an ice jigsaw that didn’t fit. As a teenager I read quantum physics and self-help. Later I studied English Literature and loved the deep immersion into words, images and ideas. Spiritual books have been around for centuries, I loved William Blake, Lord Rochester, Thomas Hardy et al. Spiritual ideas are not new. What is new is the way that each author shapes, articulates and conjures the spiritual for their readers… I’m grateful for every one of those authors for the quiet delight and relief they gave to me. Transporting and transforming me without moving. Touching me without hands.
I remember reading Fareinheit 451 by Ray Bradbury about a science fiction world that burned books. It was abhorrent. Books have always been sacred portals.
In writing the story of these 10 favourite spiritual books here now, I realise how deeply they affected and informed me, and became the book that I myself have written. It is still amazing to me that I have become a way shower too, a sacred heart message encoded and encrypted between the front and back cover of a deceptively simple book. Books are square solid heavy objects that as if by magic, take eyes, heart and soul, imagination, reflections and dreams on an inner journey.
Gratitude for the technologies of language, writing and printing press, of story telling with a beginning, middle and end. Of the imperative of sharing communication between humans.
JULIA PAULETTE HOLLENBERY is an embodied spirituality guide, author and mystic. Her book, The Healing Power of Pleasure: Seven Medicines for Rediscovering the Innate Joy of Being is internationally published. Over 25 years she has guided countless clients to create happy relationships, meaningful work and a vibrant life.
Julia’s unique capacity is to see people in a way they have probably never been seen before, profoundly with acceptance and love. She brings to every interaction an extraordinary quality of attunement and a deep, innate wisdom for practical healing and wholeness. She guides people to envision and embody their unique essential potential – at home in their body, their self, and their life.
Her professional expertise combines Grinberg bodywork, Craniosacral therapy, family constellations and Kashmiri tantra. She is passionate about sharing her life-long love of the life of the body, real sensual relationship and the mystery. She is a facilitator at Skyros, a SourceTV Evolutionary, and a transformational speaker at MindBodySpirit, World Spirituality, ConsciousCafe, WEF and many other wellbeing forums.
Check out Julia’s website for some free resources and details of her workshops. | UniverseOfDeliciousness.com
My 10 Best
The Turning Point
by Fritjof Capra
As a teenager, I found this book and delved right in. It was full of complex information that thrilled me. It was a map to another way of seeing the world. It was wonderful!
The Spell of the Sensuous
by David Abram
Not sure where I found this book, but I absolutely loved it from the first. Rich intense language, images and perspective that transported me and reminded me of what I already knew viscerally. Deeply powerfully sensual, rooted in body and earth, in the ancient lives of animals before humans and their civilisation, a return to the magicalness of language and sound, land and living, that came before…
Jonathan livingston seagull
by Richard Bach
I went back to University, now 19, in South London, and this book was recommended by my friend. She talked about positive and negative, and made a lot of sense! This book spoke of freedom, and even now is a classic I’ve shared with my daughter, with pictures of sky and birds, and the story of flock and rocks and the search for freedom that cannot be avoided, ignored or run-away from, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, to be different to the majority and groupthink. Simple and inspiring.
The Four Quartets
by T.S. Eliot
This is my favourite poem. My copy of it has my handwritten notes, in different colour inks, scrawled across the pages. I was a student at Goldsmith’s College studying English Literature and this was my favourite text. It spoke what I knew was true, beautifully, poetically, dramatically. I knew it almost off by heart and to this day, one of my very favourite (and rare) things to do, is to read it aloud to another person. The wisdom, rhythm, images and cadence is seductive… and awakening.
The Wisdom of Insecurity
by Alan Watts
When I was 18 and in my first breakdown, this book was recommended to me. I had been at my first term at University studying English, and then, on the train, returning to London for the ritual erection of the gravestone a year after my grandpa died, I remember everything went blurry. It was a choice. I couldn’t continue helping everyone in my family. I had to stop. …there’s a little red circle over there…”
My Mum took me to the osteopath, for a treatment. I felt understood by him and by this book he calmly recommended. This book told me that everything changes and everything is ok. I was not weird, I was one amongst many people, exploring the delicate and sensitive feeling aspects of life. It was ok not to know.
The Quantum Self
by Danah Zohar
This book literally fell on my head from the bookshelf in the library. By now I was in my mid-twenties and living in Tel Aviv, by the beach, in Israel. I was working part-time for a professor at the university who was organising a biochemistry conference, and I was beginning my own forays into studying alternative healing modalities.
This book called to me from the bookshelf and I loved reading it. It made so much sense to me of both the personal and the physical. I was recently introduced to Danah Zohar virtually, now that I’ve written my own book. She is one of my heroines.
In Search of the Miraculous
by P. D. Ouspensky
Back in London now, in my mid-30’s, after extensive travels in India, packing up my life in Israel, and turning round to face my personal history… I’d been offered an exciting job in London, which turned my direction homewards. I cried a lot in my life, but never as much as on the airplane back to the UK. I wasn’t sure I could cope.
I found a small and secretive Gurdjieff group in London and this book was recommended reading. I thrilled to what I couldn’t fully understand but struck me as true. The book contained amazing diagrams of humans, energy centers and the universe, the human story of mystic, G. I Gurdjieff, and his teachings as reported by his student Ouspensky. Another book that I read many, many, many times and loved. It was a period for me of intense inner work, exploring therapies, and spiritual paths.
Mary Magdalene Beloved Disciple
by Clysta Kinsler
By now in my 40’s, I was in a turbulent and full of love relationship that would soon produce my daughter. Her Dad gave me this book, knowing it was for me.
I loved this tale of the powerful feminine, of temple goddeses who journeyed inwards with the bite of a snake, and the final words of the book that rang so loudly in me, of life loving life. This I knew about. In this I recognised myself as one of many women carrying this ancient lineage of sensuality and love.
I knew, that in this lifetime my work did not take that form. The book I have written is an iteration of that ancient knowing, that power of healing, through the feminine way.
The Unknown She, Eight Faces of an Emerging Consciousness by Hilary Hart
I read this book – and then some years later, one of the women described came to sit in my kitchen to meet me, as I was interested in participating in her spiritual group. I do not know how I knew, but I said, you’re the woman from The Unknown She!
This book describes in a fresh uncluttered way the power and style of a handful of spiritual women. It was arresting to me, even now remembering, the suprising power of each woman, not like the way women are presented in magazines or on tv, but raw, connected, wild, intuitive, unique, physical, intuitive, profound. The book has a real transmission of feminine qualities and dynamism. Unexpected and true.
Desire, the Tantric path to Awakening
by Daniel Odier
This book was recommended by a friend, and like all of my favourite spiritual books, it rang true. Yes, I was reading it for the first time, and it was as if I knew it all already, it was already known to me; the deep sensual relationships between people and things. He put words to what I felt and knew already inside. An easy read. A confirmation. I remember now little but a deep yes to what was written there.
I think it was probably not long before I began writing my own book of sensuality. And amazingly, was later invited to be published by the same serious publisher as Odier.