Sunday 18 November 2012

Spirit Chaser Reviews

Here are two recent reviews of Spirit Chaser. The first was published on, the worlds premiere website for the Questing community, and the second appeared in North Lakeland's local paper The Keswick Reminder.

Spirit Chaser review by webmaster. 

There are a surprising number of strands in Alex Langstone’s new book “Spirit Chaser”, intertwined and running like luminous DNA through the pages of the book. At the most immediate level this is a “psychic questing” story in the classic mould. We follow Alex on a series of journeys (both physical and psychic) around the British Isles and watch as the threads of synchronicity, symbolism and psychic experience weave a fascinating picture about some of the early Celtic Christian saints. Through traditional (though painstaking) research Alex is able to corroborate much of the information that is psychically transmitted. Even what is not immediately backed up adds entirely believable detail to the skeleton story. 

As well as this, however, he mixes in an imagined historical biography of Saint Bega – the focus of the book – and traces how she and her Celtic colleagues may have left a legacy for us in the present day. Still more, he breaks off his own narrative and hands over to “guest” authors such as Yuri Leitch and Gary Biltcliffe whose own impressive research is shown to dovetail seamlessly with Alex’s. This is a great example of an inclusive, co-operative attitude that breaks down the possessiveness that often stifles genuine sharing of information and which can only strengthen the questing community. 

Lastly the book is a meditation on the spiritual nature of the British Isles. As an Irishman living in England with three half-English, half-Irish children, I found this aspect of the book both surprising and touching in a way that I hadn’t expected. I was powerfully reminded that in those days the sea was easier to cross than the land and the communities dotted around the Irish Sea were far more connected than you would imagine. The ancient perspective probably inverted todays default view and envisaged the Irish Sea as the container and focal point rather than the land around it. 

In all of these areas Alex writes honestly and engagingly. In fact, at times he is probably too modest and does not accompany some of the more astonishing events with the fanfare that they deserve. He traces his own spiritual development as the quest unfolds and clearly illustrates how questing can provide a framework for this kind of inner exploration. In summary, this is a great addition to the questing canon and Alex is to be congratulated on a truly inspired and inspiring work.

The Keswick Reminder's review

Alex Langstone has produced a well-written clear account of his "Quest for Bega" a trail he follows with dedication from her birth in Ireland, through her escape from an arranged marriage to her arrival at St Bees Head. Then he makes his journey to the places in Rheged where she built churches and paid homage at the sacred stone circles dotted throughout the region. His story follows two threads, the first being Bega's early travels, the second being his tracking, along with a group of like-minded friends in the 1990s, of her journey of revelation taken almost 2,000 years earlier.

She lived t a time when the very early Christian church was establishing itself in a land devoted to paganism, druidry, fairies, goblins, strange beings and a host of ghosts and earth mysteries of various kinds which peopled the minds and practised their powers in the natural world, especially in the wooded areas where they lived. Christianity was wise enough to move forward hand in hand with the existing beliefs, that is, up until the "Synod of Whitby" which established a more Roman Church in 664 AD. St Hilda of Whitby along with St Aidan and St Herbert of Derwentwater were her contemporaries and met her at Hilda's Abbey, Whitby for this famous gathering.

The second thread is the strongest and longest. All of this 20th century group have fantastic psychic abilities, visionary experiences, strong pantheistic convictions, belief in the occult and had powerful visions in which St Bega and others appeared and spoke to them. The group gave detailed accounts of and meanings of: the stone circle near Keswick, the pagan/Christian cross at Gosforth, the stone circle near Penrith, the Bewcastle cross and many more holy or sacred wells.

This book will make a fitting present for anyone fascinated by the supernatural and is curious to learn more of the life of a much venerated Cumbrian saint,