The Initiate by Sue Vincent and Stuart France
A Review by Paul Andruss
I have only read spiritual writing as a tourist, never a seeker. Yet I am often captivated by the images the words conjure in my imagination. Sometimes it feels like a thousand lights are turned on inside, while I peer greedily through a chink in the curtains. Standing open-mouthed, gawking in wonder at glimpsed fragments, without ever knowing the whole.
Is this not our world? The infinite casually swapped for the instant; meaning for sensation. We greedily wade through today in search of tomorrow, relegating each experience to yet another tick on the bucket list. Tick… tick… tick… tick… tick… like the second hand of a clock, punctuating infinity. Cherry picking a soundbite here, a photograph there; souvenirs to prove we dared brave unknown realms.
It is not possible to review Sue Vincent and Stuart France’s ‘The Initiate’ as a novel, for it is not plot or character driven, instead it is a revelation – in the true sense of the word. It is to be experienced not dissected.
‘The Initiate’ belongs to that ancient and revered tradition where a physical journey is synonymous with the soul’s progress to enlightenment. The same device was used in ‘The Epic of Gligamesh’: the first story ever written down. It is found in sacred texts from India, Persia and China, in the Golden Ass and the Clementine Recognitions, and even John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. It was used as a teaching tool by Gurdjieff, Blavatsky, the magicians of the Golden Dawn, Don Juan Matus and Lobsang Rampa.
But that does not mean it is earnest or dull. It is actually a light and enjoyable read. You find yourself saying…oh just one page more then I really must get on! And then saying the same thing twenty minutes later!
Those familiar with Sue and Stuart’s writings know what to expect and will relish the breathless adventure they are about to be plunged into. As for the novice, rather than the initiate, I advise you to hold onto your hat for it will be a bumpy ride. Often you will not know where you are going, or appreciate what you see. But when emerging on the far side you will know yourself changed. You will not be able to say how, for you will not know, but you will know something happened; inside: where it counts.
Sue and Stuart’s writing about the ancient, mystical British landscape is no simple travelogue. It is not like visiting a tourist trap where all you find is a frozen moment caught out of context. Unless knowledgeable in history and folklore you have no idea of purpose or reason for the ancient landscape that surrounds you. Even if you know the what, you cannot appreciate the why. Why sacred places endure over the aeons. Why they continue to fascinate even in today’s bubble-world of instant gratification and electrickery.
In the guise of Wen and Don, Sue and Stuart provide an eclectic and erudite commentary on the sacred ancient landscape that is rich in myth and meaning. Although we may dimly be aware of some things they say, most lie beyond our day to day. So in that case, why do their words resonate so deeply in our collective unconscious?
Their prose, well poetry really, anchors the reader in a swirl of time and place where past, present and future collide; a world that stood for aeons before we came and will endure even longer after we cease to be. It is a shock to see it suddenly naked and unveiled. Like the blind man, cured at the holy well, we gape as a hawk spooks a raven on a misty morn. For an instant we see what our ancestors saw; the sun renewing the world, by forcing night to flee.
When young I read the Morning of the Magicians – a miscellany of the esoteric and occult. One passage stayed with me all my life. ‘This is not meant to be read cover to cover’, it said, ‘this is a tool to be used and re-used to meet your needs, whatever they may be at any moment in time.’ The foreword went on to claim the book was a weapon against complacency; a psychic bomb to blow your mind. It was. And I was never again the same.
Now I offer you another tool, just as potent. It will take you on a journey you cannot yet imagine. Until suddenly, cresting the hill, you see the world before you, so clearly that, in truth, you realise you were never anywhere else.
Sue Vincent & Stuart France
Imagine wandering through an ancient landscape wrought in earth and stone, exploring the sacred sites of peoples long ago and far away in time and history. The mounds and barrows whisper legends of heroes and magic, painted walls sing of saints and miracles and vision seeps through the cracks of consciousness.
Now imagine that the lens of the camera captures a magical light in soft blues and misty greens and gold. A light that seems to have no cause in physical reality. What would you do?
If you were open to the possibility of deeper realities, perhaps you would wish to explore this strange phenomenon… something two people came to know as sacred chromatography.
The Initiate is the story of just such a journey beyond the realms of our accustomed normality. It is a factual tale told in a fictional manner. In this way did the Bards of old hide in the legends and deeds of heroes those deeper truths for those who had eyes to see and ears to hear.
As the veils thin and waver, time shifts and the present is peopled with the shadowy figures of the past, weaving their tales through a quest for understanding and opening wide the doors of perception for those who seek to see beyond the surface of reality.
Over 60 Full Colour Illustrations
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About the authors
The writing partnership of France and Vincent has a peculiar alchemy of humour, scholarship and vision that has given birth to several books, including the six volumes of The Triad of Albion and the Doomsday series. Both authors have been published both traditionally and independently and both are award-winning poets.
Stuart France is the author of ‘The Living One’ which is a personal contemplation of the Gospel of Thomas and ‘Crucible of the Sun’ which explores some of the stories of the Mabingion. After gaining his BA in Philosophy and Literature, and his MA in Writing, he studied with OBOD, AMORC, and the Servants of the Light and is now a Director of The Silent Eye School of Consciousness.
Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer and a Director of The Silent Eye. She co-authored ‘The Mystical Hexagram’ with Dr G. Michael Vasey and has published a number of other books including ‘The Osiriad‘, which delves into the mysteries of ancient Egypt. The books penned by her dog are generally more popular than her own.
Triad of Albion
The Initiate Heart of Albion Giants Dance
Don and Wen thought it was just a day out in an ancient landscape wrought in earth and stone, walking the sacred ways of the Old Ones. They could not know what mysteries would unfold as the birds led them deep into the legendary history of Albion.
As the veils thin and waver, time shifts and the present is peopled with shadowy figures from the past, weaving their tales through a quest for understanding and opening wide the doors of perception for those who seek to see beyond the surface of reality…
The Ætheling Thing Dark Sage Scions of Albion
Prehistory wasn’t enough… what exactly were the Norse gods doing on a supposedly Christian artefact that looked more like a standing stone than a cross? Don is drawn to investigate, questioning the history of the Blessed Isles of Albion… while Wen determines to restore the position of one particular stone.
It would have been alright if Ben hadn’t gone back for the gun…
Lands of Exile volume one
For once, Don was right… it was all Wen’s fault.
If only Ben had not insisted in going back for the gun…
Don and Wen should hand themselves in and share the fate of their co-conspirator. It would be the noble thing to do.
Does this course of action appeal to our errant duo?
Not on your Nelly!
As Ben languishes in the dank cells of Bakewell Gaol, Don and Wen hit the road. Their headlong dash for freedom takes them north, where they are beset by a host of ‘Orphan Stones’ clamouring to be led back home.
But they are not alone… and the sinister Black Shade is not the only thing dogging their heels as they blaze their unorthodox trail through the signs, seals and sacred sites of old Albion…