Shirley MacLaine, author and actress, chatted with Beliefnet about her newest book, "The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit" on Yahoo, Wednesday, May 9, at 8 p.m. EST. As with all chats, this transcript is unedited.


beliefnet_ellen: Good evening and welcome to Beliefnet's chat with Shirley MacLaine about her latest book, "The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit" which chronicles her pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. For centuries, seekers have made the spiritually and physically challenging pilgrimage along Spain's famous Santiago de Compostela Camino. Tonight, Ms. MacLaine answers your question and shares the story of her travels and ongoing spiritual journey. Ms. MacLaine, what was the impetus behind this book?

author_shirley_maclaine: I had reached the point in my life where I wanted to have a solitary adventure. I had no idea it would turn into such a spiritual adventure going back so far in time. This Camino that I did has been traversed for thousands of years by saints, sinners, generals, misfits, kings and queens, with the intent to find one's deepest spiritual meaning and resolutions regarding conflicts in self.

angelxpressing: On page 59 of The Camino, Shirley talks about being able to "dip into simultaneous realities whenever I tuned into them." What are these simultaneous realities like from an experience level?

author_shirley_maclaine: I see the reality; I hear it; I sense it in every way. Sometimes I see myself, sometimes I don't. And then of course what occurs to me is: am I creating it all, just as I create all in life? Anybody can do this, but they have to be willing to get out of their own way.

heather_d7: Do you see your self as spiritual but not religious?

author_shirley_maclaine: Umm... yes!

heather_d7: What religion were you raised?

author_shirley_maclaine: My religion as a child was nondescript. Although we were taught to believe in God, church seemed to have not much to do with it. So I developed my own form of spirituality, as a result of not being conditioned by religion.

peginlex: Shirley, I loved your other three books. Is this one a continuation of your search, or more of a confirmation of what you've already discovered about spirituality and/or God?

author_shirley_maclaine: I've written nine books, not three, and I think this goes deeper and broader than the others.

gayle_88: Do you plain on writing more books after this one

author_shirley_maclaine: Oh, yes!

heather_d7: ms. MacLaine I wonder if you could start by saying a little about what a pilgrimage is? I'd assumed the Santiago Camino had Christian roots and wouldn't appeal to a spiritual seeker...why did it appeal to you?

author_shirley_maclaine: Because the Camino Santiago is said to lie directly under the Milky Way, and follows ley lines that reflect the energy from those star systems above it. So it's not really a Catholic pilgrimage - it wasn't until the time of Charlemagne. But people who were atheists took it.

ojorose: Hi Shirley, I read your book during the May alignment of the planets. Your journey was amazing! The parts about Lemuria and Atlantis were awesome!

author_shirley_maclaine: Well thank you, that's a good time to have read the book! I'd like to know what's happening to the pilgrims on the Camino right now, Because we certainly are seeing a shift in the weather since this alignment occurred.

angelxpressing: On page 102 of The Camino, Shirley states "through mind projections we nourish them (plants) as we nourish each other". Please explain what these projections are and how this is done.

author_shirley_maclaine: Ok... I think all energy is connected. And has an impact on all other energy. When you send positive energy out to anything, it's received, whether it's conscious or not. Same thing with negative. So obviously you don't want to nourish a plant with negative energy. Same thing goes for people, and animals; anything that is alive. And most everything is alive, even man-made steel.

kyatako: Shirley, I looked at your web site, I think it is wonderful :) Would you consider a chat room on there?

author_shirley_maclaine: Ok, now I'll give you a little outline of the web, and what we're going to do with my website! I just launched it, of course, and I will have a chat room on reincarnation, UFO phenomena, which would include the potential of abductees and contactees, and anything else anyone wants to talk about. I'm also going to include chakra balancing, and content on reflexology, dream interpretation, numerology, astrology, chi energy, intuition, prophecy, feng shui, transformational travels to sacred sites, stress management, which will include meditation and meditational tapes, Qi gong, the spiritual side of health, and pet spirituality.

So, all of that will be growing over the summer! And I welcome feedback on what anybody has, in terms of ideas of what they would like to see.