The Celestine Prophecy

The Celestine Prophecy Revisited

In the first of this new series of Personal Growth Books Revisited, I’m featuring a book that I first read in 1994 and didn’t pick up again for 23 years,  The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield.

NOTE: I have turned this into a podcast episode and it comes with notes about each of the nine insights and some journaling prompts! See episode 1 of the Project Me Podcast

I posted a picture on social media recently of me holding the book and was amazed at how many of you also read it in the 90s and expressed a desire to read it again. This book is particularly special for many of us because it was the very first entry-level read that got us into the whole wonderful world of personal development. It was an international best seller and was later adapted into a film, which I’ve heard was pretty poor. 

The story of how I first came to read the Celestine Prophecy could in itself be made into a movie.  I’ll give you the bare bones of it here and then get to why I’m happy I stumbled upon it again so many years later. 

It was 1994, I was in my mid 20s and in a very unhealthy relationship. We were meant to be spending a few days together in sunny Spain, but he never turned up at the airport and I ended up in Barcelona on my own, feeling completely lost and betrayed. 

In a random tapas bar I did a double-take at an older gentleman sitting at a table near the window. I felt compelled to go over and tell him that he reminded me of my uncle Jim in Minnesota. He stared at me with wide eyes before replying carefully that his name was also Jim – and he was from Minnesota. The coincidence felt too great and I didn’t believe him, until he produced his Minnesota driver’s licence. It was indeed true!

Over a beer and some tapas he told me about a book he’d just finished called The Celestine Prophecy which said that we shouldn’t write coincidences off as they often contain important messages if we’re paying attention. He believed there was a deeper reason why we’d met and we decided to hit some of the Barcelona tourist attractions together to see what that might be. It would take me several pages to write about the crazy two-day adventure we had, including me getting mugged at gunpoint, being followed by a gang member on two trains, jumping over barriers and hiding out in cafes. It was like something out of a John Grisham novel and I wondered later if I may have dreamt the whole thing. 

As we parted ways, Jim wrote ‘The Celestine Prophecy’ on a folded napkin and I put it into the side pocket of my bum bag. A year later, I was in a tiny bookshop in Petaluma, California and happened to be wearing the same bum bag. I reached inside, pulled out that napkin and bought a hardback copy of The Celestine Prophecy. I read the entire book in a couple of days and it blew my mind. 

It’s a fictional adventure set in Peru which weaves together nine insights as the main character seeks to discover each one and learn their meaning. I felt a real sense of enlightenment as it was the first book I’d ever read that made me think about my thoughts creating an energy and how when people interact with each other they exchange energy, often in a very negative battle for control. It made me think a lot about the control dramas my boyfriend used on me. Thankfully we split up soon after I’d finished the book. 

As my first spiritual / personal growth book, it kick-started what became my insatiable appetite for all things ‘woo-woo’. 

Within a few years, however, I’d written off The Celestine Prophecy as ‘kids’ stuff’ and saw it as very dumbed-down fiction, attempting to hold beginners by the hand by weaving spiritual messages around a very thin plot. 

Now, let’s fast forward to the summer of 2018.

I was at my father in law’s house in Tuscany where I’ve been coming for 22 years, having married the cute Italian I met after the bad boyfriend and I broke up. 

Amongst an overcrowded bookshelf, one title jumped out at me. The Celestine Prophecy! I picked it up, curious to discover what it had been about this book that made such a big impact on me all of those years ago. I read it again in one sitting. 

I was amazed to discover a small section in the book that had to do with parenting. I was never even thinking about having kids back when I first read the book. 

In summary:

The worst thing that can be done to children is to drain their energy while correcting them. This is what creates control dramas in them. Adults must give them all the energy they need no matter what the situation. This is why they should always be included in conversations about them. (Not answering questions on their behalf or not directing questions about them to them.) And you should never take responsibility for more children than you can give attention to. Only one adult can focus on and give attention to one child at a time. If there are too many children for the number of adults, then the adults become overwhelmed and unable to give enough energy. The children begin to compete against each other for the adults’ time. Adults often glamorize the idea of large families and children growing up together. But children should learn the world from adults, not from other children. In too many cultures, children are running around in gangs. Humans will slowly understand that they should not bring children into the world unless there’s at least one adult committed to focus full attention on each child. Humans will learn to extend their families beyond blood ties so that if both parents work, someone else is able to provide one on one attention. 

And remember the coincidence of meeting Jim from Minnesota in Barcelona? The book says,  ‘Sudden spontaneous eye contact is a sign that two people should talk. A sense of recognition, seeing someone who looks familiar, even though you know you’ve never seen the person before. We are members of the same thought group with certain other people but groups are usually evolving along the same lines of interests. They think the same and that creates the same expression. We intuitively recognise members of our thought group and very often they provide messages for us. There is nothing mysterious about it. It is a matter of looking closely at expressions. When you are appreciating someone at a deeper level, you can see their most honest self beyond any facade they may put up. When you really focus at this level, you can perceive what someone is thinking as a subtle expression on their face.’

I have now started a Book of Coincidences to begin recording past coincidences I can recall in my life and where they led me, as well as adding new ones – even when I’m not sure of their meaning yet. I’m paying much more attention to coincidences as well as listening to my inner knowing; my intuition. 

Now that I’ve been studying The Law of Attraction and am deeply fascinated with how all things are made of energy, including our thoughts and emotions, I’m blown away by how such a simple story as The Celestine Prophecy touches on these things in a very profound way. 

‘When we appreciate another person, really focus on them… we can then send them energy, lifting them up. 

The first step is to keep our own energy high, then we can start the flow of energy coming into us, through us, and into the other person. The more we appreciate their wholeness, their inner beauty, the more the energy flows into them, and naturally the more that flows into us.

Two or more people doing this together can reach incredible highs as they build one another up and have it immediately returned.’

This got me thinking about the collective energy we feel when we are a part of a group or community, as well as the bigger impact we could have on the world if everyone were practicing this virtue of ‘uplifting others’. When we are living our life ‘in flow’ we can’t help but feel a greater connection to others. 

When we are not in flow, we feel disconnected from ourselves and the world around us. This makes us feel anxious or frustrated, so we distract ourselves with anything from excessive busyness, over-shopping, compulsively TV watching, scrolling the internet and social media – all the way to alcohol and drug addition. Doesn’t this describe too much of modern life these days? 

We need to get into flow and seek deeper connections that bring higher levels of fulfilment. Then we can put that energy out into the world, attract more of it back, and a beautiful exchange occurs. 

Soon after I re-read The Celestine Prophecy I decided to finally create an online, global community.  It’s called Project WE and I am beyond excited to be launching it in January 2019. 

When you work on your Project Me with others you lift each other even higher and achieve things you might never do on your own. 

Project WE takes place online so women can join from anywhere in the world. It includes a private community for support, camaraderie, motivational calls to action, and regular challenges to create positive habits which support your dreams and goals. I’ll host an online interactive workshop every month and bring in guest experts in all areas of life to help you you move forward. 

I love helping self-aware women with a growth mindset to shine – and Project WE will facilitate a collective consciousness in which we can learn and grow together.

I’d love to start a book club within Project WE so we can dive into Personal Growth books together. And maybe even revisit some old faves, like The Celestine Prophecy. 

Click here to find all of the juicy details about Project WE and to become a Founding Member.

There’s so much more I could say about my experience of re-reading The Celestine Prophecy. Even after countless book culls over the years, I discovered my original hardback copy in a drawer – along with the Experimental Guide and The Tenth Insight, also by James Redfield. I’m diving into those next. Now feels like right time for people to be reading this book either for the first time, or to re-read it with a fresh perspective. 

So was it a coincidence that I noticed this book on the shelf in Tuscany last summer?

NOTE: I have turned this into a podcast episode and it comes with notes about each of the nine insights and some journaling prompts! See episode 1 of the Project Me Podcast

In the comments below I’d love to hear whether or not you’ve read The Celestine Prophecy? What’s a Personal Growth book that made a memorable impression on you? Have you read it again since? 

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  1. Rachel on November 20, 2018 at 10:45 AM

    Great post Kelly!Super inspired to read this book!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on November 20, 2018 at 5:01 PM

      Thanks Rachel. It’s one of those funny things where I can’t wholeheartedly recommend the story structure / writing – yet the underlying messages are so powerful and it is refreshing to be able to read them interwoven into a light, fiction adventure, as opposed to a heavy and deep book. I’ll love to hear what you think!

  2. Sarah on November 20, 2018 at 1:07 PM

    I have goosebumps! I saw your Facebook post and I had read this too around 1995 or 1996 and I remember loving it but had forgotten about it until I saw you holding the book in the photo. Just the other day I found my old copy in a box I had not touched for at least a decade. I am re-reading it again with fresh eyes and I agree that the story line is weak but I am going to each of the nine insights and making notes. To read your newsletter today has BLOWN MY MIND! NO COINCIDENCES!!! I had already signed up to join Project We and this makes me more excited than ever. 🙂

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on November 20, 2018 at 5:04 PM

      Absolutely not a coincidence Sarah. This book has a way of turning up (and then turning up again) in our lives when we most need to read it. I have journaled a lot on my take-aways from it this time around. And started that Book of Coincidences, which is really fun and exciting. I look forward to connecting with you more inside of Project WE. 🙂 xx

  3. Nathalie on November 20, 2018 at 4:50 PM

    I read The Celestine Prophesy ages ago. Thank you for sparking my desire to reconnect with its teachings. I will hunt for my copy in my bookshelves and hope to land on it…by ´coincidence!’.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on November 20, 2018 at 5:06 PM

      I’ll love to hear where you find it Nathalie! When searching for my copy after I got back from Tuscany, I found not only my hardback – but also The Experimental Guide and The Tenth Insight by the same author. They were clearly WAY over my head back then, but I somehow managed to hang into both throughout a couple decades of moves and book culls! 🙂

  4. Jan on November 20, 2018 at 6:17 PM

    I loved the Celestine prophecy when I first read it (I agree the storyline was a bit weak but made it an easy read). I’m inspired to dig it out & read it again after your blog!!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on November 20, 2018 at 6:23 PM

      I assume that means you also hung onto it Jan! Isn’t it funny how we didn’t give it away all those years ago? Yes, dig it out and let’s discuss! xx

  5. Trina Pecina on November 20, 2018 at 6:23 PM

    I’ll use the word God. Others use different phrases but that’s what I’ll use this time. I truly believe that God puts in front of us what we need, when we need it- if we only pay attention. It’s no coincidence. Perhaps you’ve been meditating or pondering what your next step is… and voila! An inspiration or “answer” appears in the form of a book!! That’s how it always works for me. In print!! Certain themes or topics that I am struggling with will be addressed & CATCH MY EYE in a blog, magazine article or book.
    I also read & loved this book!

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on November 21, 2018 at 4:09 PM

      YES! For me the ‘answers’ mostly appear in the form of people. The right person will come along at the right time to pass on information, insight, a connection to someone else they know that can help me… I am wide open to noticing those messages when they come in print form too – or indeed, through my meditation and journaling, I am tapping into my intuition.

      Thanks too for being so open to using the word God imexchangably with other words (I often use Universe or Source to mean the same thing). This in itself is a big breakthrough for me as I was quite closed minded about it for too long. Thanks for jumping into the conversation Trina! 🙂 xx

  6. Livia on December 17, 2019 at 7:30 AM

    i searched the book and thinking about re-reading it after 20 yrs, thats how i landed on this website, what a conincident 🙂 Im glad that you can reach people from all over the world via this project, do you hv a facebook page?

  7. Marie_ on April 8, 2020 at 10:38 PM

    This book keeps coming up in my life over and over lately. I read this book in the late 90’s and I too still have my copy somewhere. I watched the movie and called my son to ask about the book. I had also given him a copy to read a long time ago. He recently bought a copy for his girlfriend. They were planning a trip to Peru (where the story is based)!!! I forgot that until I found your website by googling Celestine prophecy and one child. I thought I remembered this from the book, about giving one child all your attention. Here I am. How coincidental. This son of mine, passed away a few days ago and I hope that I have many coincidences in my life that are from him somehow. I have been thinking about positive energy too lately. If I can open myself up more, then maybe I can feel his energy.

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on April 10, 2020 at 12:58 PM

      I am so moved to read your message Marie. Nothing is a mere coincidence so perhaps your son has led you here? Do subscribe to my newsletter and let’s stay connected to find out why. Sending lots of love xx

    • Alex on July 9, 2020 at 3:59 PM

      I just got goosebumps reading this because I keep meaning the read the sequel which I just found out it about the afterlife and loved ones who have passed.

      I found The Celestine Prophecy in my backyard one day. I was meditating when I had an intuitive feeling that I needed to get up and walk around the yard. I walked over to the table where for some reason a bunch of my mum’s old books were left (my mum had passed away 12 years earlier when I was 14). The first book I picked up was The Celestine Prophecy! I read the back and decided I had to read it. Once I read it I made all my friends read it and 3 of us ended up going to Peru because of that book.

      Lately I’ve been really down and feeling a lot of guilt around how I treated my mum when the other day I was talking to acquaintance who told me she had just read this book. I told her my story and how I have the sequel on my bedside table waiting to be read.

      Has anyone here read the sequel – The Tenth Insight?

      • Kelly Pietrangeli on July 22, 2020 at 3:22 PM

        Now I have goosebumps Alex! Nothing is ever a coincidence….
        Yes, I have read the sequel and didn’t enjoy as much, but I’d love to hear how you like it.
        I think you’ll enjoy my podcast about this book. It comes with notes about each of the nine insights and some journaling prompts! See episode 1 of the Project Me Podcast

  8. khristina Evans on July 7, 2020 at 2:33 PM

    Thanks for your generous sharing. Its inspired me to re-read the Celestine Prophecy… such a perspective changing book. A thought here… a friends 17 daughter is expressing curiosity about spirituality. What do you think? Would this be appropriate (can’t quite remember all its aspects). Thanks so much for any thoughts, ideas you may have! X

    • Kelly Pietrangeli on July 22, 2020 at 3:24 PM

      I’d say it’s a great book for her! A simple adventure set in Peru – nothing too deep, and yet the messages stick with you. I have done a podcast episode you might enjoy about this – it’s under 20 mins and goes through each of the key insights + journaling prompts 🙂

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