At the birth of Jesus, so the story goes, three magi came from afar to find a child who the stars had foretold would change the world.
In a new book called The Three Dangerous Magi,author PT Mistlberger looks at three wise men of the 20th century - Osho, G I Gurdjieff and Aleister Crowley - whose teachings have also changed the world. But these three men gained reputations far more dangerous than those of the biblical Three Kings.
Publisher O-Books says: "The Most Dangerous man since Jesus Christ, the Sex Guru, the Ambassador from Hell, the Black Devil of Ashkhabad, The King of Depravity, and the Wickedest Man in the World. These were some of the labels given to three of the most notorious figures of 20th century spirituality: Osho (formerly known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh), G.I. Gurdjieff, and Aleister Crowley."
I started reading the book a couple of weeks ago because it sounded the ideal antidote to all the pre-Christmas hype - the TV programmes telling us how to have a perfect Christmas, the adverts showing happy families opening expensive presents with delighted faces, our expectations of what Christmas should be like, but never is.
And it isn't just Christmas - the world is not all sweetness and light; and spiritual teachings that tell us it is - or that it can be if we are good enough - are simply wrong. Osho, Gurdjieff and Crowley were certainly not guilty of putting forward that kind of New Age fluff. They were dangerous teachers, for a dangerous world.
Publisher O-Books continues: "Beneath the controversies and scandals that swirled around all three the author argues that these men, egocentric tendencies notwithstanding, were brilliant thinkers and extraordinary masters of their craft, that of the science of inner transformation, and in particular the art of balancing the so called Left and Right Hand spiritual paths. These men were not humble sages. They were bona fide crazy wisdom masters and consistently went where angels fear to tread. They did not teach with the faint praise of new age fluff or the stuffy platitudes of religious sermons, but rather with a flaming sword, and were a genuine menace to all seekers who fear to face the abyss of their own egos."
I haven't finished reading the book yet - it is a very long book and I'm about half way through - but I am really enjoying it. It starts by giving the biographies of the three men, then outlines their teachings before going into more depth by analysing various aspects of their controversial lives and work.
Author Mistlberger is a transpersonal therapist and meditation teacher, and has also done a great deal of research into each of the three men. His style is entertaining, balanced and thought-provoking and he really knows his subject.
If you are looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for anyone who is interested in the occult, magick or personal growth then I'd thoroughly recommend this book.
Now I'm getting back to finish reading it myself...
The Three Dangerous Magi: Osho, Gurdjieff, Crowley is available through Amazon.
The Three Dangerous Magi: Osho, Gurdjieff, Crowley