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Full Review
Back from the Void
by Zoe7
Z Media 
Book Reviews
Reviewed by David Arnson, 7/10/2009

“ are not well, man! You are just as insane as the guy in that movie [A Beautiful Mind]. You think all these supernatural occurrences that supposedly happen to you are real. But they are not! And those voices you hear inside your head—the weird messages you think you get from the plant spirits—are all in your imagination too. Your mind is playing tricks on you, man. You’re not well!”
—Agitated phone caller to Zoe Seven, as quoted in Back From The Void

Back From The Void is author Zoe Seven’s magnum opus on contacting spirit forces, conspiracy theories, and working in Brazil with his plant allies, ayahuasca and Salvia divinorum. Zoe’s first book (this being his second) dealt with the author’s exploration of altered states of consciousness using state-of-the-art technology, such as goggles that induce lucid dreaming, in conjunction with psychoactive substances. While strikingly original in concept, the book’s impact was blunted by numerous typos and some stilted writing. This time around, the writing style and typos are (mostly) improved. Zoe Seven enlarges his scope of concerns, while describing his personal growth and mental journeys with remarkable candor. From the outset, he makes it clear that the book is written in the style of fantastic realism: Is it fiction? Truth? It’s up to you to decide…

The book begins with Zoe’s account of his near mental breakdown after his mother’s death and the loss of his job. At the peak (or depth) of his depression, he enters a hardware store and purchases a welder’s mask, rubber boots, and a chemical-proof suit, to psychically and temporarily reinvent himself as a costumed superhero—just to regain some self-confidence. If I were writing an autobiography, would I tell my readers that? I don’t know. Yet one thing that makes the book so involving is the earnestness with which the author tells his tale.

In Zoe Seven’s cosmology, our world consists of two kinds of beings, the Ad Ams and the Sat Ans. Ad Ams represent most of us basically good-natured humans, while the Sat Ans are a warped spin-off of our soul energy that keeps us trapped in the rat-race existence that we struggle through in our daily lives. The latter, of course, happen to be incarnated as many of our social and political leaders. This reflects a very Gnostic view of the world, and Zoe has his own inimitable way of stating it.

Zoe tells of being launched on his amazing journey through a series of channeling experiences. Using a Ouija board, he and a friend encounter a disembodied energy that relates a series of prophetic messages to them over several weeks. They go on to receive some cannily spiritual concepts and even transcribe some pretty decent poetry. These experiences spur Zoe to join Eckankar, a discipline involving intense meditation and out-of-body “soul travel”.

We also read of the author’s experiences in the Brazilian Amazon. After befriending the Argentine psychologist Silvia Polivoy at a conference on mind states, Zoe Seven introduces her and some friends to Salvia divinorum. He soon ends up helping her to facilitate ayahuasca sessions at retreats near Manaus, Brazil. It is here that he works on the development of “the hybrid”, a union of plant spirits from both salvia and ayahuasca. Using his mind and body as an alchemical crucible, he unites the two compounds into a new spirit/mind state, which seems to be using him as much as he is using it. This makes for some fascinating science-fiction style reading.

While on one of the retreats, Zoe finally meets up with one of his heroes of conspiracy theory, David Icke, who is famous for postulating in his many books the theory (among others) that our planet is under the yoke of an extraterrestrial species of reptilian shape-shifters. Profoundly affected by the political aftermath of 9/11, Zoe Seven does an excellent job of presenting various conspiracy theories on how our world and society are not what they seem, synthesizing ideas from various authors, talk-show hosts, and the like. He also presents a number of websites one can visit, to peel back the veil of widespread political deceptions. Some of his observations are spot-on and credible, and sometimes he takes seemingly huge leaps of logic and reason, which is part of his writing’s appeal. You will not be bored reading this book!

In between Zoe’s salvia/ayahuasca experiments (some of which utilize electronic technology described in his previous book) he goes on an excursion to meet John of God, the famous Brazilian miracle healer. Over a period of days the author and his companions witness this unique individual perform healings on scores of people, and Zoe Seven experiences a healing himself. As part of this process, he undergoes some intense visions and self-analysis that help to solidify his world view, sense of self, and ultimately, this book.

In the end, the author’s message to the reader is that things are not always what they seem, and that there are many different realities and forces out there if one is willing to take the effort to look. He skates a thin and fascinating line between paranoia, coincidence, and revolutionary insight throughout the book, and anybody remotely interested in any of the above-mentioned topics should definitely check it out. Whether one’s interest is in other dimensions, entheogens, conspiracy, or healing, I consider this to be an essential addition to anyone’s library. Zoe Seven once again treads new ground and welcomes you to come with him. I really enjoyed this book; and, in fact, when I “ran out” of books to read recently, THIS is the one that I came back to. Be warned, however, despite the massive undertaking that editing this book must have been, the spell check function seems to have taken a vacation about halfway through!

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