Amid the plethora of books on personal spiritual journeys, it takes something special to stand out on the bookshelves, real and virtual. For me, the X factor has always been an unalloyed authentic voice.
New author Samantha Richards has achieved that distinction with Touched by Divine Love: A Personal Journey into the Unknown.
It's immediately obvious Samantha is a woman of rare sensitivity, so much so it caused her and others distress when, as a little girl, she would stop strangers in the street and pass on messages from the spirit world. Her winged companions whom she took to be angels were always hovering, either to pass on messages from those who had crossed over or to shield her in their protective embrace. In one vivid encounter, Samantha describes a pulsating pink cloud of angelic beings hovering over the wing of a plane she and her family were about to catch, ensuring them a safe flight. The experience was clearly so intense and the detail so vividly recalled we just have to believe her!
Rather than dazzle us with her gifts, Samantha takes pains to invite us into her world in an unassuming way, humility I found appealing. As she explains, we don't have to accept her version of divinity - it’s the differences between us all that add to her stockpile of understanding.
Undoubtedly, her innate sensitivity has been fine-tuned by the circumstances of her life where she has found herself on the outside looking in, beginning with her family's evacuation from Iran in 1978 in the revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran. Returning to the UK with nothing but the clothes on their backs, what should have been sanctuary continued Samantha's experience of being an outsider. Although she could speak English fluently, she could neither read nor write the language, so achieving English literacy was her first obstacle, compounded by being older than her classmates. Touched By Divine Love shows it's a challenge she has mastered with ease.
But as with so many others, it is the experience of personal tragedy that has transformed Samantha's life and set her on a path of self discovery. The death of her first child, a daughter Olivia, during delivery when Samantha was aged 31 affected her so deeply she describes shutting down her connection to the Divine in many years of grief and anger. She has emerged stronger and more certain that her experiences can help others rediscover their dreams by delving more deeply into their own inner worlds.
Samantha herself describes her book as a "primer” on a range of metaphysical subjects enlivened by descriptions of her own experiences. The description is an accurate one as it encompasses an exploration of chakras, dream symbols, how to sense and interpret auras, the experience of channelling, spirit guides and guardians, and, a chapter I found very interesting, how to understand the "clairs". In case you, like me, thought there were only two or perhaps three - clairvoyance and clairsentience the best known - it seems there are quite a few more, even "clairgustance", the ability to taste a substance without putting it in the mouth. Wait till the weight loss industry finds out about this one!
As a lover of crystals, I found myself turning for a late night read to this chapter and indulged in its images of gorgeous colours and enticing powers. And since then, I've hunted up a few I’ve put away over the years in drawers and shelves, once more enjoying their mysterious beauty.
While it’s structured for easy reading, Touched by Divine Love has depth and real wisdom with a big dose of compassion. Look out for it.
Margaret Evans has a background in teaching, journalism and publishing. She is the editor of NOVA Holistic Journal.