Blog Post

Is "The Twelve Gifts of Birth" New Age?

charleene costanzoWe recently had a reader who asked for an opinion on The Twelve Gifts of Birth and other works by Charlene Costanzo.

In short, I am not a fan of Charlene Costanzo’s work. Her ideas seem innocent and uplifting to the average reader, but a deeper read reveals that they go beyond mere inspiration and instead tout the New Age belief that we can change anything about our lives – and ourselves – just by using our own powers. There is no need for God, grace, or salvation. It’s all up to you.

For those who never heard of her, Costanzo is the author of the book, The Twelve Gifts of Birth, which she wrote for her daughters as a gift. It is based on a fable about some wise women – aka fairy godmothers – who would travel to the castle of the King whenever a royal child was born to confer 12 special gifts upon the new prince or princess. These gifts are strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love and faith. These gifts are conferred in the form of a blessing. One day the wise women realized that a time was coming when every child born would receive these wondrous gifts. And so it happened.

“Here is the secret they want you to know,” Costanzo writes. “At the wondrous moment you were born, as you took your first breath, a great celebration was held in the heavens and twelve magnificent gifts were granted to you.”

These gifts have nothing to do with baptism which could explain why this site recommends Costanzo’s book as being “a wonderful wiccaning gift.”

She went on to write other books with the same themes, such as The Twelve Gifts of Healing, The Twelve Gifts of Marriage, Touchstones: Stories for Living the Twelve Gifts, and The Thirteenth Gift.

For the most part, they are very uplifting and encouraging, but only because they attempt to train you to think and act in a certain way – not because you are being led to perfect your soul through an ever deepening surrender to God.

I was also disturbed by some of her blog posts, such as this one dated September 1, 2014 in which she mentions taking a pause every day at 1:11 for peace. She instructs us to "pause, center yourself, and focus on peace for one minute. Envision peace. Pray for peace in your own way. Meditate or send waves of love throughout the world . . " and to be guided by "the love, compassion and wisdom in your heart." That's about as New Age as it gets. The blog features a photo of a little boy meditating with his fingers joined in what appears to be a somewhat awkward Gian mudra which is associated with eastern meditation.

And I’m not the only one who thinks her books are New Age. The Twelve Gifts of Birth received the MIPA 1st Place Award for New Age category.

Although I’m sure Ms. Costanzo means well, her approach to achieving personal peace and fulfillment in life based on New Age principals of human potential seems shallow and lackluster compared to the richness and depth of genuine Christian spirituality.