The Celestine Prophecy

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This article is about a 1993 novel. For the 2006 film of the same name, see The Celestine Prophecy (film).
The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure
Author James Redfield
Country United States
Language English + 34 languages
Series Celestine series
Genre New-age, Religious Fiction
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)movie
ISBN ISBN 0-446-51862-X
OCLC 29768419
813/.54 20
LC Class PS3568.E3448 C45 1993c
Preceded by None
Followed by The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision; The Secret of Shambhala: In Search of the Eleventh Insight; and The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision

The Celestine Prophecy is a 1993 novel by James Redfield, that discusses various psychological and spiritual ideas rooted in multiple ancient Eastern Traditions and New Age spirituality. The main character undertakes a journey to find and understand a series of nine spiritual insights in an ancient manuscript in Peru. The book is a first-person narrative of the narrator's spiritual awakening as he goes through a transitional period of his life.


The book discusses various psychological and spiritual ideas that are rooted in many ancient Eastern Traditions, such as how opening to new possibilities can help an individual establish a connection with the Divine. The main character undertakes a journey to find and understand a series of nine spiritual insights in an ancient manuscript in Peru. The book is a first-person narrative of spiritual awakening. The narrator is in a transitional period of his life and begins to notice instances of synchronicity, which is the belief that coincidences have a meaning personal to those who experience them.[citation needed]

The story opens with the male narrator becoming reacquainted with an old female friend, who tells him about the Insights contained in a manuscript dating to 600 BC, which has been only recently translated. After this encounter leaves him curious, he decides to go to Peru. On the airplane, he meets a historian who also happens to be interested in the manuscript.

The historian explains how the world is currently undergoing an enormous shift in consciousness, elaborating on how things had been generally understood until now: 1) at first people believed the world to be governed by the forces of divinity; everything could be explained as an act of a god or gods, 2) with increased knowledge of their world brought about through scientific inquiry, people turned to the men and women of science for an explanation of life and their world, and 3) without a satisfactory answer from science, people instead had them focus on efforts to improve their lives materially and subdue the earth, illustrated by a hyper-focus on economic conditions and fluctuations. What was now occurring, explained the historian, was that the baseness of current conditions was revealing itself in our souls. We had become restless and were now ready for another fundamental shift in thinking that would eventually bring about a better world.

He also learns that powerful figures within the Peruvian government and the Catholic Church are opposed to the dissemination of the Insights. This is dramatically illustrated when police try to arrest and then shoot the historian soon after his arrival. This forces the narrator to live a nomadic lifestyle amongst those wishing to bring news of the manuscript to the public at large.

The narrator then learns the Insights, one by one, often experiencing the Insight before actually reading the text, while being pursued by forces of the Church and the Peruvian government. In the end, he succeeds in learning the first nine Insights and returns to the United States, with a promise of a Tenth Insight soon to be revealed. The Insights are given only through summaries and illustrated by events in the plot. The text of no complete Insight is given, which the narrator claims is for brevity's sake; he notes that the "partial translation" of the Ninth Insight was 20 typewritten pages in length.

In the novel, the Maya civilization left ruins in Peru where the manuscript was found, whereupon the Incas took up residence in the abandoned Maya cities after the Maya had reached an "energy vibration level" which made them cross a barrier into a completely spiritual reality.


Redfield has acknowledged that the work of Dr. Eric Berne, the developer of Transactional Analysis, and his 1964 bestseller Games People Play as major influences on his work.[citation needed]

Publishing history, adaptations and sequels[edit]

Redfield originally self-published The Celestine Prophecy, selling 100,000 copies out of the trunk of his Honda before Warner Books agreed to publish it.[1]

Christopher Franke, former member of Tangerine Dream, adapted the book into a music album in 1996.[2]

As of May 2005, the book had sold over 20 million copies worldwide,[3] with translations into 34 languages.

Celestine Films LLC released a film adaptation titled The Celestine Prophecy in 2006.

Redfield expanded the book's concept into a series, which he completed in three sequels:

  1. The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision (1996)
  2. The Secret of Shambhala: In Search of the Eleventh Insight (1999)
  3. The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision (2011)[4]

Reception and critique[edit]

The book was generally well received by readers and spent 165 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list.[5] The Celestine Prophecy has also received some criticism, mostly from the literary community, who point out that the plot of the story is not well developed and serves only as a delivery tool for the author's ideas about spirituality.[6] James Redfield has admitted that, even though he considers the book to be a novel, his intention was to write a story in the shape of a parable,[7] a story meant to illustrate a point or teach a lesson.

Critics[who?] point to Redfield's heavy usage of subjective validation and reification in dealing with coincidences to advance the plot thus spending more time concentrating on the explanation of spiritual ideas rather than furthering character development or developing the plot in a more traditional manner.

Critics also point to improperly explained and, in some cases, completely unexplained “facts” as flaws in the story.[8] Examples of this include the author’s suggestion of the presence of a Mayan society in modern-day Peru, rather than in Central America, as well as the suggestion that the manuscript was written in 600 BC in the jungles of Peru, despite the fact that it is written in Aramaic. Another point of criticism has been directed at the book’s attempt to explain important questions about life and human existence in an overly simplified fashion.[9][10]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Berling, Michael (3 August 2014). "The Celestine Prophecy". Voices in the Net. 
  3. ^ Prestashop 1.5. "Book Editing Services - Llumina Press". Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Twelfth Insight - About". Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "Books That Were Originally Self-Published" (PDF). Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Why I Hate The Celestine Prophecy". Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  7. ^ The Celestine Prophecy
  8. ^ "Jaguar Sun: The Maya people of the past and present". Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Celestine Prophecy - Book Review by Joseph Szimhart
  10. ^ "Articles - Doctrinal - Cults - The Celestine Prophecy". Retrieved 15 May 2015. 

External links[edit]