My amazon account indicates that I purchased it on December 20, 2002, which is about two years prior to finishing the book. I tried rereading it over the weekend, and found it to be somewhat sprawling, unfocussed, and repetitive. Nevertheless, it did open up a number of vital cosmic arteries for me, including in particular Meditations on the Tarot, which I purchased a month later, on January 18, 2003.
However, my first attempt at MotT was a fail, and I didn't return to it for a year or so, when Petey ordered me to give it another try. It was then a smashing success, except it now meant that my book was bobsolete, stillborn, dead on arrival.
Up to that point it was pretty much all yoga and no Christianity. Being that I wanted it to be about Everything, this put me in a cosmic pickle, such that I had to revise the whole upperating system to make it compatible with Christianity, and to this day it bears the traces or scars of I-Amphibiously spanning two spiritual worlds. The whole story has been laboriously blogged before, so I won't belabor it again.
Since I am pressed for time, today will be our weekly descent into the knowa's arkive. I searched for "Robin Amis," and this is what I pulled out, edited and updated from about 5.5 years ago:
While we're discussing Boris Mouravieff, I should point out for those unfamiliar with the name that he was an Orthodox Christian with a Gurdjieff-Ouspenskian (Fourth Way) slant, somewhat similar to how our Unknown Friend is a Catholic with a hermetic slant.
As it so happens, I first bumped into both gentlemen in the same book, Inner Christianity, the latter of which led to Robin Amis' A Different Christianity: Early Christian Esotericism and Modern Thought. It is fair to say that all of these books were central in helping me to get over my Jesus willies once and for all, being that they present Christianity in terms a soph-surfing Raccoon can sink his mischievous claws into.
Not to say that I agree with everything Mouravieff has to say. To the contrary, much of what he says strikes me as overly occult, gnostic (in the pejorative sense), and frankly unOrthodox. He maintains that he was not copying Ouspensky or Gurdjieff, but that he was supposedly dealing with the original sources found in esoteric Christianity. Not bloody likely.
Either way, when people start talking about "secret knowledge," it's time to hold onto your wallet. Yes, there is secret knowledge, but there is no real need to hide it from others (rudimentary discretion notwithstanding), since the secret is quite bashful about disclosing itself to the the unworthy. The Secret protects itself, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it.
Ultimately it is no more secret than, say, quantum physics, which is available to any intellectually qualified and sincerely motivated individual. You don't have to hide quantum physics to keep it secret. Indeed, promiscuously deepakinating it just debases the theory.
Similarly, when I write an over-the-top political hit piece, I get three or four times the traffic. But newcomers almost never return more than once, because the very next post will likely be full of openly secret knowledge which is of no use to them. It is either inaccessible, an affront to their existing faith (or lack thereof), or just too kooky to be of any practical use. In reality, it's just another routine instance of the kosher pearls protecting themselves from the porciners.
Regarding Mouravieff's unorthodoxy, Schuon once made a very important point about people's spiritual experiences. He of course had had many such experiences, but he did not wish for them to be the source of any doctrine. Rather, he wanted Truth to stand on its own merits, and to be understandable and independently verifiable within the awakened intellect (hence, to be universal). He would never dream of saying, for example, "I had a vision of the Virgin Mary [which he did], therefore she is real."
Rather, he maintained that "if one wants to impart mystical certitude to another, the import or message should be capable of being coherently expressed" (Fitzgerald). Along these lines, Fitzgerald quotes a didactic poem by Schuon (translated from the original German):
You may often keep silent about a certitude, / But if you wish to impart it, you must support it / With clear logic; for those who hear you / Want to see a meaning in what you are saying. / You must not say: I am certain of this -- / And then withdraw in proud obscurity. / Finally: what is of no use to anyone, / You are not obliged to preach in the streets.
Not only that, but all of the traditions agree that it is a breach of spiritual protocol to blab on about one's experiences to any- and everyone. Such experiences (?!) always have an aura of sanctity that makes one circumspect about sharing them with the unwashed bipedal primates.
Rather, Fitzgerald quotes another student who recalled Schuon saying words to the effect that "When a man experiences a spiritual state or favor, or when he has a vision or audition, he must never desire this to happen again; and above all he must not base his spiritual life on such a phenomenon, nor imagine that the happening has conferred on him any kind of eminence. The only important thing is to practice what takes us nearer to God..."
In short, (?!) is, yes, a gift, but even more fundamentally, it is a sacred obligation, for ultimately you are obliged to follow it back up to its source and conform your life to the conditions that make the grace flow more readily (e.g., Virtue, Truth, and Beauty).
For this reason, Schuon insisted that his "message" was contained in his books only, not in his peripheral function as a spiritual master for a particular group. The latter function was not unimportant, but it was nevertheless a prolongation of the former, not his central concern or legacy to the world.
But as it so happens -- at least for me -- Schuon's books are jam-packed with his barakah, or spiritual perfume, or transformative grace, or sanctified mojo, or just plain (↓), for which they are the occasion, not the cause. No one should forget that (↓) courses through his words, not from them.
Of this I am quite certain, but my certainty is of no use to another, except perhaps as a suggestion to try it out see for yourself.