mythic adventures, discoveries & meditations in the forest of consciousness

by Hope West

Book Cover: The Once Upon a Time of Now
ISBN: 9781039167889
ISBN: 9781039167889
ISBN: 9781039167889

The Once Upon a Time of Now is a journey of discovery into the mythic Forest of Consciousness, a compelling navigation of our internal landscape: the pathways of wonder, of curiosity, of passion. Playfully conceived, rich in both imagery and insight, this engaging allegory is a mature and evocative exposition of spirituality, connectivity, and meditation, offering exquisitely articulated guidance as its heroine, Agnes, travels on her enchanted quest. With a deep drink from the wellspring of Hindu mythological traditions, the author creates a thought-provoking and tender tale about storytelling that probes the transformative powers of community, creativity, and the courage of being fully oneself. As Agnes explores the shadowed and challenging universe that lives inside her, meeting celestials and forest creatures and developing an intimacy with the forest, she ultimately recognizes that by embracing uncertainty, each new experience has the capacity to expand her understanding of herself, the world, and her place within it. She thought her goal was simply to find the Lost Temple; instead, she learns to love the life she is living.

Publisher: Friesen Press

Wrapped in this cloak of concealment, assimilated into the night, her curiosity surged. The darkness held such promise of discovery. She found herself delighting in the mystery— the anticipation of the unexpected. Cool air tingled her lips, awakening her lungs. Silently, she sighed it back out, and like a tonic, each new breath brightened her spirit. Was her vision sharper? Her hearing? She thought so. Smiling at her secret, she savoured another inhalation, another exhalation, ease honing her senses.


The moon travelled the sky. The stars shifted. A long breeze quivered leaves and branches. Each subtle transition cast the variegated light into action, and the universe whorled about Agnes. Buoyed on its serpentine wave, Agnes took her every step in alignment with the stars. Like a message, the night spoke to her as she expanded herself into its current. Overwhelmed by the pleasure of partnership—with her friends, with the trees, with the path under her feet, with the sky and the wind and the movement of the moonlight. All her attention was here. Only here.

In complete participation, her consciousness no longer just her own, Agnes widened into imagination’s full field. She understood the calls of the night creatures, the voice of the wind. She inhaled the scent of the stars, heard the moonlight, felt the owl’s screech on the hairs of her arms. Agnes ceased to be just herself. The seams of time and space and being disappeared.

Reviews:Tova Olsson, author of Yoga and Tantra- its history, philosophy and mythology wrote:

"Hope West´s book is a multilayered, mysterious and humorous tale, where the spirit of Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland and the Chronicles of Narnia meet Indian mythology…"

Elena Brower, bestselling author of Practice You, Being You and Softening Time wrote:

“A tale for our times, The Once Upon a Time of Now returns our attention to the gifts of this life: friendship and curiosity, creativity and wonder.”

About the Author

We are each a story being told...With a lifelong involvement in Indian mythology and art history, author Hope West has worked closely with some of the world’s most prestigious scholars in the field of South Asian studies. Inspired by her research, as well as her many pilgrimages to the great temple complexes of Tamil Nadu, this story is a mythic tale that draws from her own insights to share the profound practices and wisdom offered by the uplifting philosophical traditions of the Sri Vidya of South India.