Kyriacos C. Markides has written several books about Christian mysticism, including The Magus of Strovolos, Riding with the Lion, Homage to the Sun, and Fire in the Heart. A professor of sociology at the University of Maine, he lives in Stillwater, Maine, with his wife, Emily.
Despite his promising subtitle, Markides (sociology, Univ. of Maine) will disappoint readers interested in classical Christian mysticism. Anecdotal evidence for paranormal phenomena such as teleportation, clairvoyance, levitation, dematerialization, and channeling, along with a disorganized collage of references to Marx, Nietzsche, Plato, Huston Smith, P.D. Ouspensky, etc., are presented in the first part of the book. Markides does not succeed in his attempt to place New Age religion and paranormal psychology within the context of classical mysticism. Where he does succeed is in the account of his visit to the monasteries of Mount Athos on the coast of Greece and his encounter there with monks of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Libraries with collections in New Age materials and parapsychology will want to consider this book, but collections in Christian mysticism would be better served by such recent publications as Evelyn Underhill's classic Mysticism (Oxford Univ. Pr., 1993. reprint).-Linda V. Carlisle, Southern Illinois Univ., Edwardsville
The journeys of contemporary spiritual seekers are often marked by the search not only for the soul's home but also for a true leader who, like Dante's Virgil, can accompany them on their quest of self-discovery. Markides here provides a kind of spiritual travelogue in which he chronicles his own search for authentic teachers of the sophia perennis. From his study of the Orthodox Christian mystical tradition, the author draws parallels with the spiritual principles enunciated in Hinduism, Buddhism and other Eastern systems of religious expression; he even counsels ways of distinguishing false teachers from true ones. Unfortunately, however, the book is marred by a soupy spirituality whose attempt to synthesize a variety of beliefs and practices into a universal spirituality represents the worst of the New Age. The book will, nonetheless, have wide appeal to those readers seeking the simple integrations of pop spirituality. (Jan.)