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We've all heard the story of the female trial attorney who, fed up with defending child molesters and corrupt plastic surgeons, is molested by her corrupt boss and then flees to the country, where she renovates an old farmhouse and learns how to garden. Very John Grisham. The story line of Richmonder Sylvia Clute's book, "Destiny Unveiled," takes a turn away from that traditional disillusioned lawyer novel when the heroine, Christi Daniel, begins to have afternoon tea and cookies with Founding Father George Washington.
Any reader who balks at Mr. Washington's ability to access multiple dimensions for the delivery of the Seven Spiritual Principles for Governing a People should read the author's bio before getting the New-Age heebie-jeebies and moving on.
In "Destiny Unveiled," Clute deftly weaves her knowledge of Masonic symbolism, quantum physics, the Constitution and our current legal system with her own vision of how to create a government that could unite in peace, love and restorative (rather than vengeful) justice.
"The main struggle that I've written about in 'Destiny Unveiled' is in moving from one world into another," Clute says. "It's not always easy, but for me, the decision has definitely been made."
The author's interpretations of Governing a People stem from an interest in those forces that govern everything, from people to particles. But it started with the law.
Clute has had a successful career as both a trial attorney and co-founder of the only women's bank in the South. With a master's degree in public administration from the University of California at Berkeley, she was one of a few women to enter Boston's University School of Law in 1970 (at the age of 27.) Shortly after 9/11, at the age of 60, Clute received her second master's degree in public administration from Harvard.
But it was her investigation into the history of the Freemasons, the field of quantum physics and the practices of holistic medicine that inspired Clute to abandon her law career, become a novelist and seek alternative solutions to what she sees as the United States' model of vengeance-as-law.
"In the 1980s I realized that every case I took involved a breach of relationship at the center. But everything I had learned to do as a lawyer just made it worse. I began to look for different models of study," Clute says. "For example, I had originally been taught the Newtonian model of science, so I began to read quantum physics, which raised a lot of questions."
Questions about the meaning of everyday things. Although almost everyone with a dollar is familiar with the eyeball floating above the pyramid, the phrase "Novus Ordo Seclorum" and the eagle clutching arrows and a laurel branch, not everyone knows that these Masonic symbols stem from the mystical and universal beliefs that our first president espoused when founding this country.
Clute began to formulate seven principles that form an alternative to "going for the jugular," as she was taught in law school. Thus Clute's Seven Spiritual Principles that time-traveling George Washington espouses in the novel.
Clute's message is getting out there. In addition to her being endorsed by the Professors World Peace Academy, filmmaker Lucas Krost (winner of the 2006 Current TV Seeds of Tolerance award) is planning a documentary about Clute and different strategies for restorative justice. Clute herself recently hand-delivered her book to 30 senators and congressmen, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
She's also created www.metaunited.org, promoting positive public policy at home and abroad for readers who want to get involved. "I think we're at a crossroads, and either we make a major shift or we'll self-destruct," Clute says. "It all depends on who steps up to be heard. If people can step into the mode of love, it certainly can be done." SClute signs "Destiny Unveiled" March 10 at Barnes & Noble Short Pump, 9-11 a.m.; Barnes and Noble Brandermill, noon-2 p.m.; and Barnes & Noble Huguenot, 3-5 p.m. There is a discussion and signing at the Fountain Bookstore March 13 at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.destinyunveiled.com