Interview with Jacquelyn E. Lane, author of DEVA – Our Relationship with the Subtle World.
Why is your book called DEVA and what does that word mean?
‘Deva’ is an ancient Sanskrit word from India. It’s pronounced day-vah and it means ‘Being of Light’. It can be singular or plural, like our English word, ‘sheep’. Deva is considered a ‘kingdom’ just like we have the Plant Kingdom or the Human Kingdom. In Western cultures Deva is often referred to as the Angelic Kingdom but while that’s accurate it’s also a little misleading because deva refers to a huge hierarchy of active, responsive intelligence that is embedded in matter or substance of any kind.
At the basic level, deva may be the very, very rudimentary intelligence of an atom that just knows how to be the particular kind of atom it is. Further up the hierarchy, the deva may be described as an ‘elemental’ intelligence, as in the so-called ‘elements’ of earth, air, fire and water. Higher still, deva is what folklore of every culture describes in some way as ‘faeries and nature spirits’ and then higher still we find the overlighting deva rightly known as ‘angelic’ whose intelligence oversees the functions of species and eco systems.
So, in what we call metaphysics, which is the study of what is behind the physical manifestations of the world, deva is seen as the responsive, intelligent builders of form because deva is infused into matter or substance of all kinds at every level. Without deva, matter would be useless.
What do you mean by every level of matter?
We see the world as grades of matter or substance, don’t we? As solid, liquid and gas, for example. In metaphysics we also take into account the subtle levels, like emotions, which we find in a plane known as ‘astral’. Our thoughts exist in an even finer band we call the ‘mental plane’ and so on, up and up. To access each of those levels and the ones even higher in terms of fineness and subtlety, requires a different level of consciousness.
When we meditate we are aiming to access higher, finer levels of ‘substance’ and we need higher levels of consciousness to access those levels. We can think of each level, going upwards, as being finer in density; density of substance that is, just as our solid, liquid and gas example goes up in finer levels of density. Accessing those higher, subtle levels of substance is what the spiritual path is about.
Why is it referred to in the West as the Angelic Kingdom?
Deva includes the ‘angels’ of our Western religions, which throughout history, have been personified to suit the the cultural context and the era during which they’ve been acknowledged. Today, depending on their cultural and religious background, people can have very varied reactions when we start talking about Deva. Christians may protest that it’s anti-religious without realising that the higher levels of the deva kingdom are included and revered in Christianity. Such suspicions and misunderstandings are explained by our cultural history, which is also addressed in the book.
It sounds complicated! Is it difficult to understand?
Some of the books that deal seriously with Deva are highly esoteric and yes, the subject is complex so it can be challenging. You’d have to be a spiritual Master to understand it completely and I’m certainly not in that league! However, I believe we are able to grasp the important principles and fundamentals. There are some wonderful, easy-to-read classics about people’s experiences with Deva. I wanted to create a bridge between the highly esoteric books that explain what Deva is or are and those experiential accounts to give people a way to rationally understand the whole subject without getting mired in religious controversy or what is often seen as flaky New Age romanticism.
At its core, my book explains how what we experience as ‘reality’ depends very much on our perceptual equipment and what level of consciousness we can reach to access the more subtle levels of reality. In other words, our sense of what is real depends on where we are able to ‘stand’ to perceive that ‘reality’. To ‘see’ or otherwise access the Deva kingdom, we have to develop those subtle senses, just as a blind person would need to develop or be given physical sight to see the world as most of us do. There are people who are born with that ability but for most of us, to perceive the subtle world that is actually all around us, we have to awaken our subtle senses.
So it’s different from other books on Deva?
My book has both a metaphysical framework and a personal approach. I have made the metaphysics as easy to understand as possible, not just with explanations but also with visuals that make it easier to grasp the concepts. I’ve interwoven those metaphysical concepts with travelogues about my contact with deva over the years. ‘Travelogues’ is an accurate description because many of those contacts have happened during my travels both overseas and within my home country, New Zealand. The combination of theory and experience has made the book a comprehensive introduction to Deva from which readers can go on to the more esoteric works if they want to. My Beta readers included people very familiar with the esoteric explanations of deva but they all commented that this book on Deva expanded their view and their understanding because of the way it’s presented.
Does your experience of deva differ much from other writers on this subject?
Every writer with experience of deva is going to present their own unique story but you’ll find considerable commonality across them all. My book also shows us how deva play an intimate part in our personal lives, whether we know it or not. There’s an excerpt on the book’s page in the publisher, Inner Traditions’ website that includes some of that discussion.
If we describe deva as ‘the intelligence infused into substance at every level of density’ then we realise that our bodies, which are made of substance of one kind or another, are also embedded with deva intelligence. Remember, ’substance’ doesn’t just mean physical matter but also our emotional and mental substance, that is, our feelings and thoughts. So deva are not just happy little faeries flitting around the flowers as they are often depicted in movies. They are not just in Nature either but in every part of the physical world and without their contribution to our physicality we actually couldn’t experience being human here on planet Earth. Such understanding is a very important contribution to our quest for personal and spiritual development.
What led you to write it?
A Scottish friend had been prompting me to write a book on deva since the mid 2000s.
How long did it take you?
I began in 2006 and over the next couple of years built up quite a body of writing but I felt I hadn’t really figured out the best way to present this complex subject – how to break it down into digestible pieces and how to find the right ‘note’ that would resonate with readers. I put it aside, adding bits now and then. It sat there in the background of my thoughts until 2017 when I knew I’d figured out how to present this complex but intriguing material. I worked on it solidly over the next two years. However, there’s a sense in which a book like this has actually taken a lifetime of study and experience.
What do you think readers will get out of it?
There are many realisations on a number of levels that this book can give people. For example, a new understanding of why we humans tend to struggle so much with ourselves and with each other.
Especially, I think they’ll get the sense that everything in this world is interconnected. That includes us, though we don’t usually realise it and we certainly don’t act as if we do.
Understandably, Deva has a strong environmental theme running through it as I’m passionate about Nature, how beautiful it is and the life that it gifts us. It is after all, the kingdom that includes the nature spirits and there are plenty of examples of my experiences with the deva of Nature.
Deva can help us see our world differently, no matter where we live. Oneness is definitely the underlying theme, whether we view that as something we call ‘God’ or just a fact of Being. The book was shortlisted for the 2019 Ashton Wylie Unpublished Manuscript awards in my home country, New Zealand.
There is more information about Deva – Our Relationship with the Subtle World on my website (www.jacquelynelane.com) and on the publisher’s and sellers’ websites.
Who is the publisher?
Findhorn Press, a well-known Scottish imprint from the community of the same name that has published many wonderful books on our relationship with the deva kingdom. Findhorn Press is now an imprint of Inner Traditions-Bear & Co, (VT, USA) also a long-established publisher in the Body-Mind-Spirit genre.
When is it being released and where?
Both print and ebook will be released in June 2020 in the USA and in July 2020 in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Where can people buy it?
If you live in the USA, you can pre-order from these direct links to the book on any of these sites:
In the rest of the world we can order from Inner Traditions or Amazon. Better still, ask your local bookshop to stock Deva – Our Relationship with the Subtle World by Jacquelyn E. Lane, so that other readers in your area can discover it too or order copies for their book club or study group.