Reiki teacher | Author & speaker| Astrology geek| Cymatics nerd| Endlessly curious
Ten? Only ten? And how on earth to choose? In the end, I’ve opted to share those books I visit time and time again, and within whose pages I somehow find something fresh and new to captivate me each time I do. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of sifting and sorting, although I was a little taken aback by my final selection.
I have a list of recommended reading that I have been sharing with my students for the past ten years or so, and I’ve been feeling a tug to update it for some time now. As I stood in front of my bookshelf trying to decide which should make it onto my short-list, it dawned on me that I would have to let go of a good number of the books that were in my original compilation in order to make room for those new and much-treasured texts that now grace my life. In many ways, the process was a reflection of my life: releasing that which has served its purpose in order to make room for something more appropriate into which I can grow. The choosing showed me how my relationship with consciousness, mindfulness and spirituality has evolved and matured over time.
My fascination with energetic processes has not waned. If anything it’s strengthened as my perception has become more finely honed, and I’ve become increasingly curious about what I’m sensing than ever before. That need to know is like an insatiable itch. Why does energy move the way it does? Why does one energy feel cool, almost inert and contracted, another nebulous and dispersed, like the haze above a hot road on a sultry summers day, and yet another feel vibrant, warm and excited, alive beneath my hands? Why does one move inwards and another outwards, upwards or downwards, and why does it concentrate in a particular area or have a weakening effect on the body parts it does? What’s the relationship between these sensations and our mental and emotional state? How do the changing seasons impact each of us uniquely? How can we adapt to create more ease? The correlation between the astrological cycles, my sense data, and the lived experiences of the clients showing up in my day-to-day practice still blows my mind. And as it does, my desire to learn more so that I am as useful to them as possible continues to deepen.
And how to let go of needing to know, and step into the knowing? How to help others do the same? It’s for this reason, I’ve chosen practical, nuts and bolts books which have most helped me to broaden my understanding and to cultivate awareness and self-knowledge. I hope they bring you as much insight and pleasure as they have me.
Peta Morton is a professional Reiki and mindfulness teacher, practicing astrologer, sensitive, author and public speaker. Her warm, informal and open style of teaching has inspired clients and students around the world. She shares practical, intuitive tools which encourage self-inquiry, increased awareness, healing and personal transformation. A life-threatening illness prompted her to completely re-evaluate her approach to life, and she has been exploring the mystery of our humanity ever since. Endlessly curious, she has studied a vast array of subjects in order to reach a deeper understanding of the human condition and the body-mind-emotion-spirit relationship.
Peta is the author of the award-winning Ancient Teachings for Modern Times; the way to a rich and deeply satisfying life, voted Soul & Spirit Magazine’s Most Empowering Book of 2020. Her documentaries ‘The Geometry of Love’ and ‘Imaging the Hidden Geometry of Reiki’ originated from a series of spontaneous mystical experiences and offer thought-provoking insights into the mechanics of consciousness and energies which normally pass unseen and silent. Peta is from the UK and is currently living in the Ille-et-Vilaine region of France.
www.petamorton.com (a new website is currently under construction)
My 10 Best
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
by Deepak Chopra
I began my spiritual journey at a relatively ripe age, at a time when every aspect of my life seemed, quite terrifyingly, to be disintegrating. I had no idea what might be about to be birthed in the place of that which had outgrown its usefulness and I felt deeply uneasy about the future. In desperation I had been following the experiences of a friend who had started practising the law of attraction (mainly because I was flat broke at the time) to great effect. I stumbled upon this treasure of a book in the list of ‘recommended reading’ in the back of a wealth manifestation book and it blew me away. It was the first time that it dawned on me that these weren’t just rules for creating abundance, but they were a guide to living a happy and peaceful life, to improving relationships, building and contributing constructively to community, and to truly thriving.
For all its simplicity and brevity, putting the fundamental principles into practice is not always easy for most mere mortals like myself. Returning to this gem of a book on a regular basis inevitably provides me with a fresh perspective, and reminds me to calm down and return to the basics.
The Power of Now
by Eckhart Tolle
This book was a revelation. I recognised my insanity and delusion in every page, as I’m sure millions of others have before me. It wasn’t long before my initial ‘Ugh, I do that’ shifted to a good-humoured, ‘Haha, there I go again. I’ve noticed myself doing that thing again’. Noticing is half the battle, I’ve found. It’s only when we become consciously aware of our patterns of thought and behaviour that we can begin to change them. This book was probably my first introduction to practicing mindfulness, and provided me with a variety of practical tools to help me cultivate presence. It showed me how to find the peace and ease that I had been longing for, and not to take myself quite so seriously. Above all, it taught me that I didn’t need to torture myself, which was an immense relief. As a professional Reiki practitioner and teacher I spend much of my working week chatting with people who are grappling with their failure to practice one or more of what we call the ‘five precepts’:
“Just for today
Do not worry
Do not bear anger
Practice diligently, being true to your way and your being
Show compassion to yourself and others”
and usually feeling a considerable degree of discomfort as a result. This is one of the books I most consistently recommend to clients and students alike.
The Mysticism of Sound and Music – the Sufi Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan
Oh, how I love this book. If I were pressed, I may well even flag it as my all-time favourite, although I’d be hard-pushed to find words to adequately describe why. It’s something that I relate to on a feeling level – the truth it speaks to me is visceral somehow. A good few years ago now I had a succession of spontaneous mystical, transcendent experiences, following which I became much more acutely aware of the sounds and vibrations of my inner landscape, and of the constantly changing atmosphere within and around me. The more I pay attention, the more I become conscious of the myriad of subtle tones and frequencies, the rhythms and cycles of life that animate us, and how we interact with and express ourselves through them. This book tells of harmony, in the truest sense.
by Three Initiates
Ever since I first became aware of my ability to sense the vital force I have been fascinated by consciousness and energy. I’m mesmerised by the interactions between mind, emotion and matter, the dynamics of opposing forces and of vibration, and what inspires form to burst into life in ways which we can today begin to visualise via emerging sciences such as cymatics. I’m constantly seeking to better understand the processes that I sense; why one energy feels hot and another cool, or one feels taut and another relaxed, why one is inward flowing whilst another flows outwards, upwards or downwards, is expansive or contracted, and what magic might be possible in that quiet still space between. This short study of the Hermetic philosophies of ancient Egypt and Greece has helped to ground me in some core fundamental principles, nudging me to become more intimate with the potent interconnectedness of life. I treated myself to the hardbound Centenary Edition, and it’s a luxurious joy to hold.
In the Light of Truth; the Grail message
I discovered this three-book series whilst exhibiting at a well-being fair in rural North-west France. My neighbour on the adjacent stand was selling them in French, but for some reason he also happened to have an English-language set, which he pressed into my hands insisting as he did that ‘they will resonate’. And resonate they do. Comprised of 168 essays written between 1923 and 1938, the lectures are intended to stimulate us to recognise the natural laws that impact both the physical realm and the inner life. At first it took me a little while to become accustomed to the rather stiff and unwieldy language of the era, and I bristled against the seemingly religious overtones, even though the author made it clear that he inferred no religious affiliation. The books are incredibly rich in teachings about the human experience, our shortcomings and potentials, and offer a comprehensive world-view in which there is no separation between the spiritual and scientific search for truth.
Journeys Out of the Body
by Robert A Monroe
Around the time that I began my Reiki and meditation practice I experienced a succession of life-changing spiritual occurrences that back then I would probably have described as ‘spontaneous out-of-body experiences’. Today you’d be more likely to hear me describe them as expanded states of consciousness, in which I was simultaneously aware of myself both being in the Universe, and being all of the Universe, all of existence. Blissful and expansive, hanging out in this in-between state taught me a new way to be in the world, and allowed me new ways of understanding things more deeply, offering precognitive glimpses that have since made themselves manifest in this physical world. Once you have known such an experience it is impossible to unknow. It was mind-blowingly exciting, but I also felt extremely isolated. I was itching to talk to someone about what had happened to me, but I was still working as an equestrian estate agent at that point, and was very concerned about my professional reputation. I didn’t want to be seen as a weirdo, and I knew that if I told anybody in my entourage of family and friends they would have thought I’d lost the plot. Bob’s book was a godsend to me, as were the Explorer Series audio recordings from experiments carried out at the Monroe Institute. Here were intelligent, articulate, professional people describing similar experiences to my own, offering profound insights and practical tips with down-to-earth good humour. They aroused my curiosity and formed part of the foundations, the infrastructure, of my current meditation practices.
The Nature of Personal Reality
by Jane Roberts
I love a great many things esoteric but I’m particularly keen to engage with teachings that are grounded in the real world, which have practical implications that can make life better, which contribute, in some way. It feels important to me to walk with a foot in both worlds, to be human, approachable and not too ‘away with the fairies’. A student that I have great respect for encouraged me to thoroughly study the teachings in this book and to actively do all of the exercises suggested so that I understood them on an experiential level. At that point I had spent a good number of years struggling with misconceptions of the dynamics of wealth when this affluent, well-connected banking man who was working at the highest levels of business wound up on one of my courses. He behaved in precisely the opposite way that I had imagined that somebody extremely monied might do. He was funny, playful, gentle, spiritually aware, generous to a fault, and was doing so much good in the world with the wealth that he accumulated, hanging on to nothing, making sure that everyone benefited. It was through him that I began to understand money as an energy like any other, and how it is our intentions and actions which really matter. He didn’t work hard or struggle. His real job, he told me, was to be still, and this, he said, was his practice. Every time I pick this multi-layered book up I see something new. I’m currently listening to it again in audio form.
The Elements Series
by Steven Forrest
Ok, you’re going to have to indulge me here. Four books for the price of one. I love Steven Forrest’s astrology books, and it was very hard to choose between them, but I repeatedly refer to this series. Steven is such a wise guide, and he has the ability to explain a complex topic in an easily relatable way. He’s a story teller, a Master-craftsman. He wrote that he was becoming increasingly aware of his advancing years, and of his keenness to complete this series about the astrological elements, and I raced to snap them up as each one was released. They’re wonderful, and incredibly practical for any practicing astrologer, or those who just want to understand themselves more deeply. They not only explain energetic, karmic, and psycho-emotional dynamics, but threaded through each section are some really useful questions that prompt further reflection. They offer fantastically helpful insights for client sessions, and they have taught me so much about my own astrological make-up. I suspect that in years to come they will be heralded as some of the great astrological classics of our era.
Medical Astrology; a guide to planetary pathology
by Judith Hill
I once listened to an interview with Judith Hill on YouTube and was blown away by her incredible breadth of astrological knowledge, her deep understanding of the cycles of nature, her holistic, preventative approach and the way she adapted remedial methods (herbalism, gem therapy, nutrition, specific activities) to suit each person in their own unique way. To me, in that interview, she epitomised precisely the kind of wise-woman that I so aspired to emulate (and she still does – what a teacher she is!). I had to learn the basics of astrology before I was able to study Medical Astrology with her, but without a shadow of a doubt it has been worth every ounce of effort. It is one of the most useful things I have ever studied, and gives me a rich vocabulary with which to describe so many of the things I sense intuitively. All of Judith’s books are excellent, but I always keep her Medical Astrology close to hand. It is the most well-thumbed and consistently, mind-blowingly, accurate book on my bookshelf. A must-read for anyone seriously interested in the healing arts.
A Handbook of Medical Astrology
by Jane Ridder-Patrick
This is another must-read for anybody who is interested in why certain illnesses or pathological frailties express themselves in the ways that they do, when they do, and what we can do to ease the situation. I particularly appreciate Jane’s psychosomatic approach to the building of good health. A modern-day astrological classic.