ISBN 1 905047 00 2
O Books, 2005
Retail price £11.99 ($16.95)
If you are one of those people generally known as a "sceptic",
you probably won’t enjoy Tonika Rinar’s latest book, Journey Home. If, on the other hand, you are the kind
of person who feels drawn to works about the supernatural in its various forms, you will probably enjoy it hugely.
If, like myself, you fall somewhere in between, your reaction,
like mine, is likely to be mixed. When reading Ms Rinar’s account of her experiences, I at no time got the impression
that she was either deceitful or deluded; I did, however, have doubts as to whether her interpretation of her experiences
was correct. At first I thought that I could try it out for myself, by going through the same steps she did in order to obtain
her first visitation from what she calls an "angel". Then I read the section in which she explains that an astrologer told
her many years ago that she was destined for great things because of her stars, which suggested that I would not necessarily
achieve the same effect if I tried the same thing.
This at least explains why it is Tonika Rinar, and not just
any old delver into the occult, who is writing this story. And a fascinating story it is, too. After a couple of chapters,
though, I did feel I’d been whisked away on a magic carpet of words, without a chance to take in the significance of
what I was reading. The idea that there are spirits, or angels (for want of a better word), with less noble objectives than
those the author first encountered, required a fuller explanation than was immediately forthcoming. In all fairness, one might
expect that a person who is living on a higher plane would not recognise that those of us who have not had similar experiences
might find it difficult to absorb the fundamental ideas behind them unless they are clearly spelled out. Nevertheless, such
a writer needs to "come down to earth", as it were, in order to retain the reader’s attention.
I have read about reincarnation previously, and
about people being hypnotised so that they recollect what appear to be past lives. This can be very convincing. However, I
was not at all convinced when I read Tonika’s account of her friend Carol, who clearly recalled her life as a mistress
of King Charles II, right up to the point where she was guillotined. The guillotine was used for the first time in 1792. King
Charles II died in 1685. I don’t think so.
Once again, I am not suggesting that Ms Rinar is trying to deceive
us, only that the explanations we, as humans with limited brain power, place on our experiences can lead us into error. It
is very easy to talk about "spirits" and "angels" as if we all understood the same thing by these words, but in fact that
is far from the truth.
The same goes for Ms Rinar’s experiences of what she refers
to as "time travel". This is not Dr Who-style time travel, where one boards a spaceship and is physically taken back
to an earlier age, but more of a mental – or spiritual – journey, where the traveller vividly experiences the
sights, sounds and smells of a particular incident in history. Our subject in this case chooses to go back to the time of
Jesus’ birth, and once again, some of the historical data is convincing, whilst some appears completely wrong. There
is actually no historical record of the Slaughter of the Innocents, and the idea that it happened at the exact moment of Jesus’
birth (not, as is normally supposed, anything up to two years later) seems a little difficult to swallow. It could, of course,
be that it is the Bible that has got it wrong. Or it could be that those who believe they are being taken back in time (who,
I must comment, are educated people with enough intelligence to realise that the Bible is probably careless with the truth,
but not enough specialist knowledge to be able to reconstruct history accurately) are in fact seeing what they want to see.
I will leave the reader to decide which is the case.
Review by Deborah Fisher