Toni Maguire. Memories of the Light: A Story of Spiritual Existence before Physical Birth. Bloomington: iUniverse, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4620-6070-2.
I've known Toni Maguire for years, because of the important disappeared website Spiritual Pre-existence (PreBirthExperience.com) dedicated to memories of a pre-existence and related phenomena, which is run by her and her husband Michael. Toni and Michael Maguire both have such 'prebirth memories' themselves.
Writing a review of a book authored by someone you know is somewhat challenging, but I'm glad to say that Toni Maguire has not disappointed me. I've discovered just one very minor flaw in her book Memories of the Light, namely that there are quite a lot of typos which even a non-native speaker like myself cannot fail to notice. However, readers will simply have to deal with this unimportant aspect, because she has written her book without the help of an external editor.
Reality is often stranger than fiction and this is certainly true for Toni Maguire's life. Thus, we learn that as a child the author used to have vivid and extensive pre-existence memories amidst a strict Christian environment that could only respond negatively to such a phenomenon.
As a young girl, Toni knew she had come from a peaceful and loving heavenly realm in which she communicated with spiritual beings that helped her prepare for earthly existence. Later on, she started to think about these memories and she realized that she would return to the world of Light after this life. Her Southern Baptist Bible-Belt family in Tennessee repeatedly told her that no one on earth can know what heaven is like. Although as a child she used to have a natural trust in her lively memories of another world, they tried to convince her that these so-called memories simply consisted of fantasies or delusions. This caused her a lot of confusion and negatively affected her self-confidence. Just like many children with a Near-Death Experience, she became withdrawn and longed to return to heaven. Her negative feelings were strengthened by her – in those days – difficult relationship with her father. As a teenager she even became very depressed and this was one of the reasons that she married her first husband at a relatively young age.
Among other motives, Toni Maguire wrote this book to reach a deeper insight into the patterns of her life and the meaning of various events. Concerning her memories of a pre-existence, Toni still remembers having been a spiritual being, dressed in a white robe. Her description of the other world strongly resembles many NDEs. For example, she talks about a beautiful environment, lit from the inside, with high grass, a waterfall and trees, and she also mentions a white building or room. She still recalls that it was shown to her how individual acts may have an impact on the life and well-being of others, a subject that strongly reminds me of the 'panoramic life review' in NDEs.
After some time, she felt she had enjoyed the rest and peace of the spiritual world long enough and had to accomplish something that God wanted her to do. She asked God to use her for his plans and from that moment on she was being prepared for a life on earth. Toni was shown a big, shiny white book with blank pages. It seemed as though the book was alive, welcoming her to fill in the pages with information. A guide gave her instructions and prepared her for various events. They particularly addressed things that interested her or appealed to her. The general pattern of her life on earth appeared to be fixed, but after incarnating into her body she would still be able to adjust certain things, although this would take some effort. Then, her guide escorted her to earth, after they had visited a Roman-looking building, which was located on thick clouds. There were also others in the building, part of whom looked like classic angels with wings. The building was like a point of departure from which souls were incarnating on earth. Some were really looking forward to their lives as human beings, but there was also someone who needed some angelic encouragement. After a while, Toni descended to earth together with a female guide. They were floating down through the clouds as they saw fields and buildings lying below them. After they had sailed through the wall of a house, Toni got a close look of her future mother, for the first time. In the spiritual world, she had already made a choice between this family and another potential mother. What had been important was that she had been shown her paternal grandmother, Mamaw Jamie. This grandmother had been praying for Toni's (future) father's happiness after his younger brother Tony had died. Toni accepted the role of becoming 'the answer to her prayer'. The woman who was going to be her mother was already well advanced in pregnancy, as was evident by the size of her belly. The guide simply 'shoved' Toni into her womb.
The author also has memories of the prenatal phase. She recalls that it was difficult to adapt to her new situation and that her guide was helping her with this. As a baby, Toni often thought about the other world. She could remember the perfect buildings, trees and spirits in it and asked herself how she was supposed to do everything for which she had come to this plane if she could not even walk yet. As a toddler she often recalled the book that had prepared her for this life and she thought about the events to come that she had already seen during her pre-existence. This gave her a calm and peaceful feeling. For years, she sincerely believed that everybody could remember heaven and that there was just as much love on earth as she had experienced over there. After some time, she became more interested in this world and unfortunately this also meant that her prebirth memories lost some clarity. Toni is still able to recall many things, but she does regret the fact that she didn't write everything down a lot earlier. Since her childhood, she really had to cling on to the things that have remained clear in her mind even now.
As a young girl, Toni had an NDE-like Out-of-Body Experience during a dangerous fall from a pony. She could see her unconscious body lying on the ground and curiously watched the dismayed reactions of her relatives. Toni realized she was feeling just as free as she had felt in heaven and she also recalled she had seen this accident before, in the book of her life. During her OBE she received help from above to return to her body as soon as possible. She survived the fall without any injury and was hoping she would know when similar things would happen to her in the future, but she did not. She did receive detailed visions of the way others passed away. For instance, she saw a girl who deliberately drove her car against a telephone pole and left her body. The girl experienced an apparition of Jesus Christ who asked her whether she loved him. When the girl failed to answer this question, she ended up in a dark realm, in which she was assaulted by snakes, rats and big black spiders. Toni had the feeling of being near the girl, but the latter did not notice her. Subsequently, Toni underwent the fears the girl was feeling from the inside. She implored Jesus to release her and her prayer was answered. The girl returned from hell into her heavily injured body. Just like her pre-existence memories, this experience seemed incompatible with the Bible-Belt religion that Toni had been taught as a child, because traditional faith states that Jesus liberates no one from hell (after death). Toni began to realize more and more how enormous the taboo in her environment really was regarding spiritual experiences that did not match orthodox interpretations of the Bible. Even though Toni developed her own version of the Christian message, nowadays she is tolerant towards other religions and philosophies. She is aware her experiences do not need to be the touchstone for the experiences of others.
Besides the experiences mentioned so far, Toni had some encounters with demon-like creatures as well and also a vision of the heavenly building in which she had prepared for this life. Experiences with angels convinced her that earthly existence was meaningful, despite all the problems she was encountering, and that she was being loved unconditionally. She has the loving mission of helping people along in life, for example by writing books like this one.
As I said before, Toni got married young, with a man who claimed he would respect her ambitions. She wholeheartedly wanted to become a successful country-singer, but her husband turned out to prefer a dedicated housewife after all. Their marriage was not going to be a success, although they did get a daughter together, Isabella, who often had paranormal experiences just like her mother. Ultimately, Toni decided to leave for Australia for a visit to her long distance friend (and later husband) Michael Maguire. Her husband was so upset about this decision that he denied Toni the right to maintain a normal relationship with their daughter. Isabella did not understand why her mother had left her either. It is very easy to understand why one of the reasons the author has written this book is to explain the course of events to Isabella and that she is still hoping for the healing of their deep emotional bond. She loves Isabella just as much as she loves her new family in Australia.
Apart from her remarkable experiences, Toni Maguire also wishes to share certain life lessons with her readers. Such as: that it is important to forgive others and to continue loving them if they're hurting you, because all this can even be a part of a higher plan to make you grow spiritually. Toni believes difficulties on our path are meant to train our 'spiritual muscles' and to teach us how to produce more light.
This personal, autobiographical work still describes many other experiences. I would like to recommend it to anyone with an interest in spiritual realm of Light and the ways in which memories of the Light can influence life on earth.
Anyone who wishes to order the book or contact the author for other reasons, can reach her at: email@example.com
Free translation of a Dutch review published in Terugkeer, Journal of Merkawah/IANDS The Netherlands, Fall 2012, volume 23, number 3, pages 26-27.