Arching Backward is the story of an American woman who found herself suddenly and violently immersed in a mystical initiation for which she was not consciously prepared. For four years, Janet Adler's life was dominated by the transforming experience of a primal energy and the visions that were created by it. She was not seeking spiritual experience, nor was she a student of any particular mystical tradition. But the visions brought her into the realm of the sacred, transforming her body into a conduit for spiritual energy. The writings collected here record her visions and describe the way this contemporary woman dealt with the impact of this energy on her physical body, her work, and her relationships. Her story offers a guide for others on this journey and provides a powerful affirmation of women's experience of the spirit.
Janet Adler, with a Ph.D. in Mystical Studies, teaches the discipline of Authentic Movement in the United States and Europe and was the founder and director of The Mary Starks Whitehouse Institute, the first school devoted to the study and practice of the discipline. She is the author of Arching Backward and of two films: Looking for Me, documenting her work with autistic children, and Still Looking, reflecting her work in the discipline of Authentic Movement. She lives in northern California where she also works as a hospice chaplain.
"Arching Backward is an eloquent and lyrical prose poem, riveting testimony from a modern mystic. Adler offers this narrative of her extraordinary journey, traversing territory both intensely intimate and primordial, luminous and transcendent. This is a heroine's mythic journey, as fascinating as it is mysterious."
– Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
"Her numerous visions are spread out through the book like so many Tarot cards or photographs with no explanation. The effect is akin to walking through an abstract art gallery. One emerges with a nebulous sense of nerve-jangling impressions, which may be just what Adler, with her austere artistic temperament, intended."