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***Symphony of Spirits

Encounters with the Spiritual Dimensions of Alzheimer's

by Deborah A. Forrest, PhD, with Clint Richmond

Reviewed September 23, 2001.

When I began reading this book, I was a bit put off by the author’s use of the term “shamanism.”  She was not advocating a religion different from Christianity, but was talking about wise people who are sensitive to spiritual activity around them.  She and the three fellow nurses who guided her in her experiences with the spirit world all claimed to be Christians and saw no conflict between what they were experiencing and their Christianity.

So I read on, and I see no conflict either.  As a Christian, I definitely believe in an active spirit world.  I believe that people’s spirits live on after them, and that the world is full of good and evil spirits.  The author claimed to actually see the spirits of some of her patients leaving their bodies, as well as other manifestations, such as golden threads of love glowing between an elderly couple who deeply loved each other.

Dr. Forrest did not try to manipulate these spirits or somehow foretell the future through them or anything forbidden in the Bible.  The only intervention she and her friends carried out was to pray over patients who seemed to need it, beginning with a woman who was apparently demon-possessed.  (And this woman got dramatically better not long after.)

So I found this book fascinating.  I think of her experiences as something like those of Elisha’s servant, whose eyes were opened to see the angelic forces around him.  This woman was able to see and hear some of the spirits around her elderly patients, and shares those experiences with us.

And she has several good messages.  One is that when a person’s body gets weaker, their spirit gets stronger.  So even a frail and apparently demented older person can feel a spirit of love.  Another was about the power of music to touch people’s spirits.  Still another was to surround yourself with love, and when you are older, that will live in your spirit.  I also liked this confirmation that the spirit world that I believe in as a Christian is indeed real.  This was an intriguing book.  I encourage others to read it and draw their own conclusions.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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