A BRANCH OF WISDOM

- R E V I E W S -

MYSTICAL QUEST FULL OF RIDDLES

The index is preceded by a mandala. The chapters have titles such as "Divination", "Pilgrimage" and "An Egyptian God", and for the greater part of this reading experience one is unaware what part of this autobiography is factual.

Christopher (who is writing under his first name only) makes no secret of delving into most of the pinnacles of popular mysticism - the I Ching, Jung, hieroglyphics, Taoism, even Pythagorean number theory.

The story begins with the author's nervous breakdown when he was a soldier in 1984. He was transferred to a military hospital in Pretoria, where he experienced a series of visions until shock therapy was used to "cure" him.

Fifteen years later he is a successful businessman, but the depression and nightmares that still afflict him, lead him to suspect that his earlier stay at the psychiatric institution was perhaps a "divine madness" that contain the answers to his life's questions.

Thus begins a spiritual quest that eventually leads him to the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, while he searches around the fringes of esoteric spirituality for signposts beyond the dualisms that drove him out of his mind - the Apartheid's State's division between white and black; modern man's division between work and life.

"A Branch of Wisdom" is full of illustrations and word puzzles and, as is inherent in a mystical journey of detection, one is never certain if the unfolding jigsaw puzzle will fit together, and if the final answer will in any way answer the initial question.

The book reads easily, is gripping and has an interactive introduction at www.thewordproject.com.

- Johannes de Villiers Editorial Staff DIE BURGER (translated from Afrikaans)