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The Spiritual Tourist: A Personal Odyssey Through the Outer Reaches of…
by Mick Brown
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 158234034X, Paperback)Nick Brown's entertaining journey into contemporary expressions of spirituality starts with bemused reports of alleged miracles in dreary North London suburbs and the appearance of Christ in the East End. The author's respect for the intensity of belief in such stories leads him to a journey along the Indian spiritual trail, where he stays among the passionate followers of the self-proclaimed deity, Sai Babi. There is a brief trip to Tennessee to witness more alleged miraculous signs, but the tone is markedly more skeptical here. The book is at its most interesting when it provides the history of the Western "prophets" of Eastern spirituality, tracing the claims of Mr. Creme in North London in the 1990s back to the story of the founding of the Theosophical Society in the 1880s by Madame Blavatsky. This hashish-smoking, circus-performing Russian occultist was condemned as an outrageous fraud in 1884, yet Theosophy has spawned an influential set of beliefs that clearly inform current New Age thinking. Mick Brown retains a healthy skepticism about some claims, but he also professes that he has "come to believe that the world is more of spirit than of matter", and so he respects rather than vilifies those he meets. The result lies somewhere between Fortean weirdness and genuine spiritual searching. --Roger Luckhurst
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:43 -0400)
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