Saturday, 15 November 2014

RIP Spanish journalist Julio Rivas-Pita (5 August 1952 – 2014)

I received sad news in the mail today, that Spanish journalist Julio Rivas-Pita has recently died in tragic circumstances. In the past, Julio had contributed to the Idries Shah / Sufi-related groups The Caravansarai and The Tenth Donkey at yahoo!, and briefly at Facebook. He and his family had been beset by all-manner of difficulties in Caracas, Venezuela and were forced to flee the country after being made homeless, a necessary move that sadly compounded his family's difficulties.

Spanish journalist Julio Rivas-Pita (5 August 1952 – 2014)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The prodigious Work of the Sufis: Book review

The Sufis (2014) by Idries Shah
The Sufis by Idries Shah offers a wide overview of the historical development of the Sufi Way, through the works of individual masters (many of whom were highly successful polymaths), schools and orders, and through a whole host of fields in which they were engaged or through which their work was projected, such as religion, ethics, learning, science, the arts, traditional psychology and (not least) humour. Though it came to maturity in the classical Islamic era, the Sufi Way (which may be thought of in part as the esoteric heart of [exoteric] religion), it is said to have been a vital "yeast" or leaven in societies since time immemorial.

The Sufis shows the extraordinary and largely unknown or unsuspected influence and shaping of society, of what some term the "Ancient Teachings" or the "Secret Doctrine", not only in the East but also gradually diffusing throughout Medieval Christondom, a process which continues to this day, being re-presented as ever in accordance with the needs of time, place and people.

There's little point in reading out a list of the many topics covered by the chapters in the book, but suffice it to say that the Sufis influenced or were behind a great many of our institutions, or that these institutions are relics of previously dynamic Sufic operations. At random, then, we can see this Sufic influence in our poetry; literature; mythology; magic; alchemy; freemasonry; and in the Troubadour movement (with the concept of chivalry, romantic love and hence much modern music that has come along in its wake).

Friday, 5 September 2014

Which are the best books to read first?

Which of Etienne de L'Amour and H.M Forester's novels are best read first?

• Etienne de L'Amour

The best book to begin reading is Escape From the Shadowlands or the next book, In Search of Destiny. Although they are preceded by two prequels, they stand on their own and are pretty much self-contained.

Escape From the Shadowlands book cover
(a) Escape From the Shadowlands by Etienne de L'Amour is a soft scifi / mystical adventure ebook available for the Kindle at just $2.99 (or the nearest permitted equivalent outside the US).

☆☆☆☆☆ "Astounding, dizzying journey! Entertaining, enlightening."

If you like Doris Lessing's Shikasta; James Hilton's Lost Horizon; the writer, thinker and Sufi teacher Idries Shah, or the legendary Sarmoun Brotherhood, then give this book a try.

Amazon US Amazon UKGoodreadsBlog post

If you haven't got a Kindle, check out free Kindle reading apps.

In Search of Destiny book cover
(b) In Search of Destiny is set in the disparate realms of the Outlands; Sher Point, the metropolis of the so-called Freelands, and the mystical kingdom of Narayana in the East.

It tells the story of Conrad Harper, who sets out one day to search for his destiny and heart's true desire; of the help offered him by a mysterious organization known simply as the Network; his journeys with the Master of the Tradition, Tenzing Jangbu Rinchen, and of his finding romance and ancient knowledge.

And it shows how ordinary and everyday experiences, which we tend to take for granted and often do not value, can be brought into service and woven together into a rich tapestry with an altogether higher purpose.

☆☆☆☆☆ "The story rocks along as any good adventure story should, but with an added bonus of the sprinkling throughout of bits of wisdom, guidance offered to readers ... I highly recommend you read this most interesting and enjoyable book!" (Amazon US)

☆☆☆☆☆ "If you have ever wanted more in life than programmed work, entertainment, economy-worship, and political sideshows, you'll love this book ... I got my copy free as a review copy, but I would have paid for it easily knowing what I know now!" (Amazon US)

Although In Search of Destiny is book 4 in the Shadowlands series, feel free to read this first.

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreadsBlog post

If you haven't got a Kindle, check out free Kindle reading apps.

• H.M. Forester

Saturday, 16 August 2014

21st century Sufism meets Self-realization?

In a promotional review of Irving Karchmar's Master of the Jinn, which I recently read, the reviewer writes: 'There is an added social component in the novel: the modernization of Sufism. At the beginning of the 20th century, Muhammad Iqbal wrote Asrar-e-Khudi (The Secrets of Self), a Sufi love poem which argued that negation (fana'), the longstanding obsession of the mystic, had to be replaced with affirmation (khudi). Without it, Sufism would become irrelevant in the modern world.'

Delving a little deeper into Muhammad Iqbal's biography yields a little more about his thinking:

'In the development of this dynamic philosophy, which is expressed in Bergsonian vitalistic terms (although unlike Bergson, Iqbal regards God as being outside the process of history), the key role is played by the twin terms khudi ('self') and 'ishq ('absorbing love' or elan vital). The goal of this ethical dynamism is to expand and fortify the self (which is the only way to individual survival after death), since only when an enlarged and fortified self is realized can a meaningful community of the faithful be launched on earth as the prophet Muhammad was able ...'

~ The Hole Pitcher.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Free review copies of Etienne de L'Amour and H.M. Forester's ebooks

Review copies of all the current ebooks by Etienne de L'Amour and H.M. Forester, published by Sher Point Publications, UK, are now no longer available except on an individual basis. Sorry.


King's Fellows Garden, Cambridge, England

However, you can still buy the books at just $2.99 each from Amazon (or the nearest permitted equivalent outside the US).

For more details see the blog post: "Which are the best books to read first?" I'd particularly recommend In Search of Destiny (mystical adventure) and Game of Aeons (soft scifi / virtual reality).

Above all else, enjoy!

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

Image: Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in Cambridge/U.K. (King's Fellows Garden).
Photographic credit: Attila Malarik from Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cambridge_Secret_garden.jpg

Saturday, 8 March 2014

What do you make of Katie Hopkins?

Katie Hopkins is a British tabloid newspaper columnist and television personality who has become notorious for her controversial opinions on the woes of modern society. She is especially active on the social media network Twitter, where she appears to be waging a crusade or a psychological and ideological warfare campaign, under the Twitter handle @KTHopkins.

For her part, Katie Hopkins maintains that she is 'telling it like it is'; giving voice to opinions that she believes society really thinks but is afraid to or too politically correct (PC) to openly talk about; and that it's 'all panto'. I'll let you decide.

Katie Hopkins' twitter profile

Like Marmite (a popular brand of yeast extract), some love her for bravely stating and standing by her beliefs, and for what they see as her brutal honesty and for her wit; while others hate her for what they in turn see as attention-seeking, narcissistic, monochromatic and inflammatory right wing views. She is nothing if not provocative and divisive.

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Caravanserai, Facebook discussion group

The Caravanserai

A caravanserai is an inn in some eastern countries with a large courtyard that provides accommodation for caravans, and hospitality for travellers.

The Caravanserai Facebook discussion group

The Caravanserai is a new open and informal group at Facebook for people interested in a broad range of fields such as spirituality, mysticism and similar traditions; psychology; cultural research; education; learning; human rights and humanitarian concerns; the environment, and creativity ... or whatever material, news or internet links you feel would interest other members here.

Feel free to take part in formal discussion; to share your experience, or to simply engage in relaxed chat.

You can find The Caravansarai discussion group at Facebook.

The frame story behind the name "caravansarai" can be found in the writer, thinker and Sufi mystical teacher Idries Shah's works: