Review of Michael Newton's "Journey of Souls"


    Back after a hard drive failure and replacement. I used the time to read a book suggested by someone at the first MeetUp, “Journey of Souls”, by Michael Newton, PhD. (1994). Subtitled “case Studies of Lives Between Lives”, this is what the book jacket calls the “travel log” of the accounts of 29 people utilizing Newton’s own hypnotic technique. Now I am presenting my work as an alternative to the standard method of hypnotic regression for past life exploration, so I had to overcome my skepticism of the whole practice but this book was a perfect introduction. (I will be digging deeper into the differences between hypnotic and guided meditation as a means of accessing past lives with a planned interview with a leading hypnotist.) Newton has assembled an overview of the between lives experience from a 10-year collection of clients’ experiences, providing a fascinating road map of the between lives journey, some of which I have experienced and others I have not. Newton’s unique hypnosis technique places the client in what he refers to as a state of superconsciousness, and this allows him to take a conversational tone with his clients that took me by surprise. I prefer to ask questions and the most common question is merely “What happens next?”, allowing the experiencers consciousness to show the most relevant material to their inquiry. Newton is fearless to the point of being confrontational, interrupting and using hypnotic techniques to get the information he wants, when he wants it. This causes me great discomfort, especially with the delicacy of the (literally) ethereal nature of the work.

    This brings me to the main issue with Newton’s work. I don’t know if his doctoral status as a hypnotherapist required that he maintain clinical detachment, but he does not address his direct experience with his own technique. It is only the common elements in his numerous client’s journeys that enabled him to construct the scenario he is describing. By the end of the book, I had the sense of someone writing a travel guide to Europe without having ever visited, and using the reviews from TripAdvisor as his source material. But I will never take anyone into an area that I have not extensively explored myself.