Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Last Barrier: A Journey into the Essence of Sufi Teachings by Reshad Feild:
This tale of an Englishman’s gradual induction into Sufism in Turkey provides an engaging, mystery-ridden narrative, and some convincing descriptions of mystical states. The angle is highly experiential, with little explanation of Sufi doctrine, and only a modicum regarding practices. The author-aspirant is eventually received into the Mevlevi Order, but it is unclear whether Hamid, his principal teacher throughout the account, is himself of the Mevleviye. Important social subtexts include the outsider status of Feild (not an orthodox Muslim) and the proscribed status of Sufism in Turkey. This latter item suggests that the story—which offers no specific dates—took place prior to the Turkish government’s lifting of its ban on the Mevlevi Order in the 1950’s.
It is a quick read, and I found myself pretty sympathetic to its ideals—despite its invocation of the “New Age” in the last chapter. The indicia note that “Portions of this book have appeared in New Age Journal.” The “last barrier” of the title doesn’t even occur until the epilogue, but it involves a pristine example of spiritual development by magical means.
Perhaps this book would be a good pick for those who savored the initiatory mechanics in Fight Club. It has that abusive (yet illuminating!) guru groove. [via]
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