cover image Many Lives, Many Masters

Many Lives, Many Masters

Brian L. Weiss. Fireside Books, $15 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-671-65786-4

In 1980, Weiss, head of the psychiatry department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, began treating Catherine, a 27-year-old woman plagued by anxiety, depression and phobias. When Weiss turned to hypnosis to help Catherine remember repressed childhood traumas, what emerged were the patient's descriptions of a dozen or so of her hitherto unknown 86 past lives, as well as philosophical messages channeled from ``Master Spirits.'' Catherine's anxieties and phobias soon disappeared, says Weiss, and she was able to end therapy. The previously nonspiritual, scientific Weiss, awed by Catherine's and the masters' revelations, has written this book to share his new-found knowledge about ``immortality and the true meaning of life.'' Whether or not one believes in reincarnation and channeling, Weiss's book will disappoint. Catherine's descriptions of her past lives are not particularly compelling or insightful. Moreover, the teachings of the Master Spirits (``We are not to kill. . . . Only God can punish,'' ``Charity, hope, faith, love . . . we must all know these things,'' and ``Our body is just a vehicle for us while we're here. It is our soul and our spirit that last forever''), while admirable and comforting, are little more than restatements of traditional religious values. (July)