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on 15 March 2008
I think it is a wonderful book,but it does'nt take prisoners! Caroline Myss's style of writing...for me anyway, means that this is not an easy read. But for this reason and for many others I will read this book over and I think a hardback is much the better option.
It can be used as a textbook in a sort of self formulated course in spirit and personal growth that can help change ones perception of how life ticks. I hope it will help others,and me too,to practically move in the stuck areas of life. Thankyou Caroline!
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on 13 March 2002
While I and my friends have been reading Sacred Contracts, the most frequent statement I have heard is "This resonates with me". It is as if Caroline has pulled all the threads together and made a beautiful coat.
Using archetype patterns to explain how your personality is affected by the energy patterns we are locked in to, is so inspiring. Understanding that these patterns are energy patterns and that if I identify with that archetype pattern then that is all I think I can be, was a revelation.
If I use this pattern to grow and change as a person, my insight into that pattern can be used as a line drawn in the sand to decide whether I want to react/behave in a certain way or not, thereby taking responsibilities for my choices. When we have ultimately fulfilled all our Sacred Contracts and mastered the archetypes' shadow aspects we can become whoever we want to be.
I recently used the archetypes with a couple of my clients, as they said they had lost their identify (due to the paths they have been following). We put together a wheel of their 12 archetypes and they very much enjoyed exploring themselves and discovering who they really are. They have started to learn to take responsibility for their choices.
Thanks to Caroline Myss for this wonderful, inspirational book. I shall use it for myself and others when drawn to do so.
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Sacred Contracts engages you in an extensive, self-exploring expedition to unearth the core ingredients of your unique, spiritual identity. Because there are so many assignments to do in the book and it is so detailed, I suggest you get the hardcover version rather than one of the audio versions.
Of all the many books I have read about finding and following the dictates of your own true self, Sacred Contracts is by far the most unusual and detailed. The author calls upon major religious traditions, Eastern ideas about energy centers in the body, Jungian psychological archetypes, and astrology among other sources as context for seeing yourself as unique. Although few of these references are ones that I relate to very often, I was impressed by the way that they centered my focus by helping me see what life roles are not important in my life, as the contrast for seeing what is important. In my past experience with increasing self-understanding, the focus was on what was important. Cutting away the unimportant makes those important areas stand out much more clearly.
This is a book that can help you learn for the rest of your life. Unlike many books that are aimed at helping you find "the answer" and then getting you off working with "the answer," Sacred Contracts is designed to help with new challenges and issues in the future . . . as well as the ones you have today.
I found myself particularly enriched by reviewing the very long list of potential archetypes that are developed in the book. These are explained by stories of individuals, references to popular books and movies, and examples of how one archetype differs from other, similar ones. As a result, the archetypes and my own reactions to them came into much clearer focus in my mind. When I had read about these in Joseph Campbell's work, I often found them to be distant. Here, they are immediate.
Sacred Contracts focuses on "what is our mission in life?" This includes both "where am I going?" and "who will go with me?" The answer is unique for each person to each of these questions. A sacred contract is "your overall relationship to your personal . . . and spiritual power." The contract is "a plan to help you develop your divine potential." This is to fulfill "an agreement your soul makes before you are born." As I read these concepts, I found them to be most closely identified in my mind with the beliefs of Buddhism as they relate to the reincarnated soul. The author takes care to show that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam also contain these points of view.
The book contains a lot of material to help you absorb the context of these perspectives. In that sense, I felt a little like I was reading a condensed version of The Golden Bough.
After you understand the archetypes and their manifestations, you are directed how to engage in an extensive mental dialogue with and write about the positive and negative forms of each important archetype for you. These will include the four universal ones (child, victim, compromised person, and saboteur) as well as your selection from dozens of others for the ones that seem most important to you (such as addict, angel, bully, gambler, Midas, poet, and thief). For example, you will ask, "Why did I choose this archetype?" "In what way do I feel the archetype serves my Contracts with other people?"
The focus of all this remains on keeping "your attention on reaching your highest potential." To do this, you must "surrender to self."
Most people will find the list of what to think about and the exercises to do to be a bit intimidating. I certainly did. The work is based on a successful seminar that the author has been developing over many years. So it is intended to take quite a bit of time to do and implement. I suggest that you find blocks of time of at least two hours in length to work on these assignments when you will not be disturbed. If you are single, you might go someplace where you can be alone but see the splendor of nature. If you live with your family, early morning or late at night would probably be the best time . . . while others are at rest. Naturally, if you like what you read here, you could also consider doing a seminar with the author. I'm assuming that that is much more expensive than working with this book on your own. Some people might find it helpful to find someone to do this with, so that you share your results with one another. This could help provide the discipline to keep working on discovering your sacred contracts.
May you fulfill your highest purpose in ways that bring great joy and benefit to you and all whom you meet! God bless you.
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on 10 March 2013
This is an interesting way to approach the tricky issue of trying to uncover one's inner self. It involves looking at archetypes and finding which ones resonate with oneself. This also means looking at the 'shadow' side of the archetype and seeing how far it applies. She outlines a good method for identifying twelve appropriate archetypes, but does not give enough information about archetypes, nor enough archetypes to consider. You feel that her choice is arbitrary. She also includes several types under one heading, for example, the Guide includes the Crone, the Wise woman, the Spiritual master, the Evangelist, the Preacher, the Sage and the Guru. Are these all the same thing? we ask. Then there is The Artist, which includes the Musician, the Author, the Dramatist, the Actor, the Artisan, the Craftsperson, the Sculptor, the Weaver. However the Poet is an another archetype by itself. Why? Some things overlap and some don't.Then one feels that there are many omissions and so little by little the impetus to choose is diminished.
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on 9 November 2010
I loved and understood the concept but found this book more like a text book instead of "good read". I stuck with it but found that some of it to be not necessary and found myself speed reading over these parts. Good book on the whole just a bit heavy going in places.Try it for yourself but if your looking for something light and easy flowing don't buy it.
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Sacred Contracts: Awakening your divine potential by Caroline Myss, Bantam Books, 2002, 528 ff.

Caroline Myss has now written over a dozen books. She practiced as a medical intuitive for nearly twenty years and for the past decade has travelled extensively lecturing on developing spirituality. As a former journalist she has an easily accessible writing style, but this book requires sustained effort to get through, partly because of its length and partly because it deals with rather nebulous spiritual concepts.

The basic idea behind the book may put off some potential readers at the outset. The book is based on the concept of existence of the soul in the spirit world from which we contract with Spirit to fulfil certain goals in our mortal lives on Earth. Clearly, to get anything from this book, you must believe in the concept of soul with its spiritual existence before and after life on Earth, and in the concept of reincarnation. Caroline follows Eastern mystical teaching when she says: ‘According to the laws of karma, just as your actions in this life plant seeds that ripen and bear fruit in future lives, so your current lifetime reflects your past deeds.’ The prevailing rational, scientific philosophy of our time would say that whatever happens to you depends entirely on your genes!

This book suggests answers to the perennial question: Why are we here? Or, Why do we and the world exist at all? The book describes principles to follow in following our mission in life through interactions with other people – in that it is inspirational and in that it belongs to the genre of self-help books. Discovering our true vocation in life by listening to our inner voice is a process of spiritual transformation that may take us a substantial part of our lives to learn.

The whole book is full of stories, both mythical and true life experiences, and it is these which carry the reader forward from one page to the next: we read the story as a story, then pause to reflect on its meaning as an allegory or parable. There are many references to the ideas of Jung, to the Bible and to texts of Eastern mysticism, but I didn’t find the reference to somewhat arbitrary ‘archetypes’ particularly helpful. As I said at the outset, the book needs some staying power, but I found it a worthwhile journey.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness
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on 2 August 2010
Caroline offers an interesting slant on the theory of archetypes, but seems to have missed the bit about them being inaccessible to the conscious mind except in largely sensory-emotional forms. Jung says that any conscious form we can give to an archetype is fundamentally a corruption of its real essence. They move only mistily at the edge of our minds, drifting like the dream images that give them their best shot at consciously understandable form. Hence, meditating on word pictures of an archetype isn't gonna do it! It works if at all through myth, poetry and art. Admittedly she does list some recommended films, but its mostly word forms.I also query her assumption that any circumstances in which we are placed are the ideal ones for our current learning, and we should basically stick with what we have to learn the lesson. Tell that to a woman about to be beaten or raped, or a man attached to eloctrodes in a torture cell........
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on 21 May 2005
Get your pen and paper ready and go to work on this one.
This is a lovely, intelligently written book that, if you are prepared to work at it, will truly expand your knowledge of your own character enabling you to improve your self esteem and help set personal boundaries.
You will not regret trying this one.
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on 25 September 2009
I really love the concept and idea behind the Sacred Contracts but i believe Myss isn't animated enough in her writing style to make it an enlightening and exciting read. If it wasn't for all the waffling and if the book had a better 'guide' and flowed naturally, i believe it would have been better and easier to follow. I found myself having to force myself to read through the book as it was quite boring at times.
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on 24 June 2009
I love this author and her ideas are spot on but this book was a little too in-depth and tough to follow. I get the general idea behind this and totally agree with it. Try it... See what you think
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