Remembering the Life and Legacy of Shakti Gawain (1948-2018)


Shakti Gawain, the renowned author, and co-founder of New World Library, left an indelible mark during her lifetime until her passing on November 11, 2018. Born as Carol Louise Gawain on September 30, 1948, in Trenton, New Jersey, she embarked on an extraordinary voyage of self-discovery and spiritual exploration.

Honoring the Life of Shakti Gawain

Shakti initially pursued her education at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, before transferring to the University of California-Irvine, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance in June 1971. Following her graduation, she briefly worked as a receptionist at the South Vietnamese Embassy in Washington, D.C., just before the conclusion of the Vietnam War. Driven by a thirst for adventure and enlightenment, she embarked on a two-year journey across Europe, traversing countries like Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

Upon returning to the United States, Shakti found her calling in San Francisco, dedicating herself passionately to the study of consciousness and metaphysics. It was in 1974 that she crossed paths with Marc Allen, who bestowed upon her the name “Shakti,” derived from the Sanskrit term representing the divine feminine creative force. This name resonated deeply with her true essence, and from then on, Shakti became her chosen identity.

Together, Marc and Shakti began leading workshops and crafting educational booklets from their humble apartment kitchen in Oakland, California. Starting with minimal resources and sales, their partnership experienced a transformative breakthrough with the publication of Shakti’s first book, Creative Visualization. This groundbreaking work quickly gained widespread acclaim through word-of-mouth recommendations. In the early 1980s, Shakti’s appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which had just gone national, catapulted Creative Visualization to international bestseller status, with over seven million copies sold worldwide. This pivotal achievement marked the ascent of New World Library (formerly known as Whatever Publishing) as a prominent independent publishing house.

Shakti’s literary contributions extended far beyond her groundbreaking debut. She authored several other influential books, including Living in the Light, Return to the Garden, The Path of Transformation, The Four Levels of Healing, Creating True Prosperity, and Developing Intuition. With a cumulative readership of over 10 million and translations into 38 languages, Shakti’s books continue to inspire and transform lives.

In 1988, fate brought Shakti together with her soulmate, Jim Burns, during a captivating sunset on a beach in Big Sur, California. They celebrated their marriage in August 1990 at her beloved home on the picturesque island of Kauai, Hawaii.

In 1992, Shakti bid farewell to New World Library and joined forces with Jim to establish Nataraj Publishing. Additionally, she founded a healing center in Mill Valley, California. Throughout the remainder of her career, she dedicated herself to mentoring individuals, publishing enlightening books, and facilitating transformative workshops.

Despite grappling with health challenges, Shakti demonstrated remarkable strength and grace in the face of adversity. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the late 1990s, followed by Lewy body disease, she persisted in her unwavering spirit. In 2015, Shakti made the courageous decision to step away from the public eye, prioritizing her own healing and cherishing precious moments with Jim. Surrounded by his unwavering love, she peacefully passed away, her journey culminating with complications following hip surgery.

We are deeply grateful that Shakti’s profound legacy continues to thrive through the enduring impact of her books, empowering audios, and enlightening videos. Her wisdom and teachings have touched the hearts of countless individuals, propelling them toward profound personal growth and spiritual awakening. As we pay tribute to the extraordinary journey of Shakti Gawain, her spirit remains alive, illuminating a path toward a brighter future for all who seek fulfillment.


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