Review: Odysseys of Light
Today I'm reviewing Odysseys of Light: Adventures in Out-of-Body Travel by Marilynn Hughes. The copyright is 1991.
Last winter (2021-2022) Kathy and I were in Florida and we took a motorcycle ride to the gulf coast. We found ourselves in the city of Crystal River, Florida. I told Kathy, "I should stop and get a photo of the welcome sign and post it on Facebook because there's a book called Crystal River Flowing by Marilynn Hughes. I've never read it, but I wonder if it's about this town. Seems unlikely, but humorous anyway." Kathy's not into OBEs, so I didn't pursue it, but it seemed like a gentle jab in my ribs from the Universe: I should revisit Marilynn Hughes's books. So when we got back to our home in Minnesota, I dug out my copy of her first book, Odysseys of Light, and started reading.
I had read this book many years ago but I didn't remember it at all. I've been a member of Marilynn Hughes's Facebook group "Out of Body Travel Foundation" for many years but because of its posts I always assumed it was related to some kind of Christian religious group, and I assumed Hughes was somehow devoutly Christian. Boy was I wrong! Re-reading this book brought Marilynn Hughes and her group into a new light and now I think I'd have to reclassify her as devoutely "New Age." That's not to say she isn't God-oriented. She seems deeply devoted to God, but she views God from a new-age perspective, and it's actually refreshing.
Marilynn Hughes has written many books, and as far as I know this is just the first. Since my perspective was a bit jaded, I never bought her other books.
From the beginning Hughes states that this book is just the first in a series of books, each designed to take the reader further away from Earthly reality than the last in a progression toward Oneness, or something like that. In the prologue she won my heart right away with statements like this:
"Out-of-body travel is much more than psychic phenomena, it is the process of reuniting with our higher selves, and ultimately, the Gateway to Ascension." (pg. xi)
Wow, I thought, that sounds more like William Buhlman than it does a devout Christian! A few pages later, she wrote:
"Fear is an illusion, as all there is, is love. You can create whatever reality you desire, and if you are fearful, you may create a very scary illusion. You create them because of your unrealized fears." (pg. 4)
Now I knew for sure I had mis-categorized Marilynn Hughes. In my experience, most Christian groups are fear-based, controlling their followers with fear of damnation, and the whole "Good vs Evil/God vs. Devil/Angels vs. Demons" theme. Hughes just blows that whole concept out of the water.
"Another reason the creation of reality is extremely important is the exposure that many of you may have to beliefs in negative entities. Let me make it as clear as I can that they do not exist, and if you run into a demon or burning fires or lakes, it is only your unconscious or conscious fear that you are responding to. All you need to do is confront the 'entity' or the 'hell' and it will disappear. You must confront your fear or you will never go past it." (pg. 23)
And toward the end of the book, this:
"Your physical world is an illusion. All there is, is unconditional love. You are not judged, and there is no hell. Fear is what allows you to deny this." (pg. 130)
These are more than just her beliefs. Unlike the majority of other OBE / astral projection books, Hughes makes it clear that her book is based on personal experience. And her experiences mesh with mine. For example:
"I feel more rested when I return from an astral visit than I do when I inhabit my body." (pg. 12)
This is unlike the many books that assume the (bad) attitude of "I'm the teacher; you're the student, and this is the truth" so prominent in Paul Twitchell's book Eckankar which I recently reviewed. Instead, Hughes says down-to-earth, sane things like:
"This was a lesson to me that you should never give your power away to a teacher, as the only master of you, is you." (pg. 58)
And later in the book:
"The message in this beautiful experience was to never give your power to the man on the bank (a church, or any person), as truth is your destiny to find!" (pg. 96)
On pages 13-14 she gives some interesting recommendations to help people achieve OBEs. In my opinion, this is all very good advice. In short, she recommends:
- Spend one hour a day completely alone with yourself! No television, radio, books, meditation tapes, just YOU.
- Every morning upon waking, spend five to ten minutes bringing dreams back consciously...Write down what you can remember... (keep a dream journal)
- Talk to your guides throughout the day. They are your constant companions so involve them in everything you do.
- After speaking to your guides at night, go to sleep meditating on love or oneness.
- Lastly, work on remembering (and resolving) your fears.
Unfortunately, as good as it is, there isn't much more OBE advice than this.
Instead of being Christian, I found Hughes to be more like Jane Roberts/Seth, who I've always liked. For example, she says:
"Remember that everyone creates their own reality, and you cannot be responsible for another's illusion. You will not help them or yourself by taking responsibility for them. In fact, you inhibit their growth by allowing them to avoid their life issues." (pg. 16)
I also loved Hughes's upbeat and positive attitude toward life and toward spirituality. Unlike so many teachers who seem so serious and devoid of humor, Hughes is just the opposite. Many people criticize me for constantly posting funny and/or irreverent memes on Facebook, making fun of our humanness and poking fun at the human condition. Marilynn Hughes gets it!
"HAVE FUN! Do not take your spiritual journey so seriously all the time. Enjoy life, as that is what spirituality is all about. Laughter is the essence of spirituality. Do not shroud yourself in solemnity." (pg. 18)
She also talks about the importance of raising your vibrations.
"Learning to operate in a higher level of vibration is an essential aspect of astral travel, as reaching higher dimensions requires a brighter light. If you enter into a dimension too high for your being, you'll be overwhelmed by the power. You can't be hurt in any way, but you may feel as though the energy I could crush you. This is why these vibrational raisings are so important. They are your key to further enlightenment and understanding." (pg. 39)
So far, this is a great OBE book. Unfortunately, in chapter 6, Hughes contacts an entity named Emmanuel, then she starts channeling Emmanuel, who point-blank claims to be the same channeled entity of Pat Rodegast, who wrote Emmanuel's Book.
From that point on, the book contains several channeling sessions. Now I have nothing against channeling. I've attended many channeling sessions myself including OBE author Kurt Leland and others I've known through the years. I've also spent countless hours studying and comparing different channelers and entities. In fact, I've got a whole shelf of my library dedicated to mediums and channelers like Rodegast (Emmanuel), Jane Roberts (Seth), Lee Carroll (Kryon), John Edwards (Crossing Over), James Van Praagh, Walter Russell (Message of the Divine Illiad), and others. But like I've said many times in the past, that's NOT what I want to see in a book about astral projection/OBEs. That's not to say Marilynn Hughes's channeled teachings aren't good. In fact, they're very good and mesh quite well with Seth and others. But still, for me it was a distraction from the OBE theme.
Hughes channels other entities, and eventually Emmanuel announces his departure, but other entities come through as well. It's interesting. It's fascinating. I'd even venture to say it's important. But again, it's not OBE.
Despite the channeling "distraction" Hughes thankfully keeps returning to the OBE theme. In her out-of-body adventures, she visits other worlds, meets various non-physical teachers, and sometimes "devolves" into teaching discourses direct from the astral plane (which I've always disliked), yet her experiences seem somewhat more authentic than others like it (Luiz Roberto Mattos comes to mind).
In some of her OBEs she deals with her own karma and works toward resolving karmic debt; something she calls "Stockpile encounters".
At some point, her out-of-body adventures start to turn into full-blown past-life encounters. In other words, after she leaves her body she is sometimes dropped into a past life and is taught lessons that way. For example:
"Passing through the vibrational state and the time tunnel, I was dropped into a lifetime during World War II..." (pg. 83)
Like me and a few other authors, Hughes has her own encounter with Jesus Christ, and it's both interesting and touching (page 140).
The book is very experience-based and is mostly OBE narratives, and you know how I love narratives. Unfortunately, the narratives don't always convey that sense of awe and wonder I still feel after every experience. Hughes makes her OBEs sound easy; way too easy. Hughes is like "After I lay down, the vibrations came and I slipped out of my body easily." I wish it was that easy for me. I still need to work hard for every experience, but I guess I still need to raise my vibrations.
If astral projection is really that easy for her, I can't fault her for conveying that to the reader, or sharing what she experienced. But I was still a bit disappointed. Just saying.
The other unfortunate thing is that except for the section described above (which is decent but too short), she doesn't give any actual OBE techniques or practical advice. The reader is left with a sense of loss, like, "Gee, I wish I could do that" instead of new things to try. (She makes channeling sound easy too).
Despite its shortcomings, I did enjoy the book. It's good enough to make me want to buy some of her other books to continue the adventure. After more than 30 years I'm sure she's got a lot more stories to tell.
The book is 142 pages. It's well thought-out, organized and written. My copy has some typos, especially near the end of the book, but it doesn't detract from the overall message. I'm giving it 3 and a half stars, but it would have been 4 if it had some solid OBE techniques and less channeling.
07 June 2022
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