Western Way

Caitlin and John Matthews. The Western Way. Arkana, 1985.

Most cultures have evolved their own systems of spiritual self-development. In this century, and particularly in the last twenty years, an explosion of literature has brought into the public domain systems of meditation, ritual and self-development from every culture. The benefits of this unveiling have been the cross-fertilisation and revitalisation of systems which were in danger of becoming fossilised. However, in the past, the secrets of each method were carefully guarded, and to good purpose: to one unprepared a particular path may be ineffective and even dangerous. These difficulties redouble if one tries to follow a system which evolved in a culture quite different to one's own.

Caitlin and John Matthews, who both have had deep experience of several paths, have in this book developed a system of specific value to Westerners. The sub-title of the book is "A Practical Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition", and such is exactly what it is: practical and written from experience.

A series of progressive exercises is given which seeks to put the practitioner in touch with the source of his being; each exercise is explained both to purpose and methodology. Having been fortunate enough, long ago, to have received instruction in one of the exercises from the authors, I can personally vouch for their effectiveness. All in all one of the most intelligently written guides to the Western way.

Amidst this paen of praise I must strike one note of disappointment: I have long given up expecting East European names to be written correctly in books in English, but to spell the famous anthropologist's name as Malinowski and then a few lines later as Malinowsky indicates that a proof-reader should be spoken to. -- Wojtek Gaworzewski, from Magonia 22, May 1986.

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