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In Search of the Golden City Paperback – February 1, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Experiences early in Mia’s life have led her to search for true healing. In the process, she discovered the shamanic way: a relationship with the essence of all things. In the worlds that opened up to her through shamanism, she found the stories of the unconscious that often take expression in myths. Through her writing, she hopes to give the reader access to these otherworldly realms. She grew up in South Africa in an environment that she describes as religious, patriarchal and academic. After school, she studied psychology and classical literature at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. She worked for a business in customer service for five years, during which she continued her studies of healing and spirituality in her own time. In 2010 she did a course in cross-cultural shamanism with The Four Gates Foundation, following this up with a course in African Tree Essences in 2013. She moved to Edinburgh, UK in 2013, where she did a master’s degree in classics, focusing mainly on mythology and ancient civilisations. She currently works as a healer in Edinburgh.
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Akim’s adventures are deep, profound, and you may at times feel yourself lost. But if you have urgings of the philosophical nature and love adventures that take you new places, one that can have you dreaming new dreams, you need to check this out.
The Golden City, I suspect, is the land of awakened humanity. The philosophical statements made are glorious.
That said, there are flaws in the writing. It starts with Akim longing after a girl, until she finally tells him their love is forbidden. It is a distraction—I keep waiting for her to return. He goes eventually to work for a king with his special runes to tell the future, and at first says no major changes and at the same reading sees major upheaval.
This has the feel of being two different books. In the first half he’s living with the king, and we can feel societal changes. In the second half, from the threshold on, it feels like little happens except a lot of self-questioning. What perplexes me is why they are separating at the threshold, when the whole point of their running off was to get her away from the king. And now how he has no qualms about leaving her behind to seek – what?
So if it were divided into two, the author might be able to give us a better idea for what’s really going on at this threshold. Or something, somewhere was given to me and I missed it. But where Akim decides he wants to forget is counter to what he’d just pages before said, that he would lose a piece of himself if he forgot her. So the problem in the second half, then, is that I felt left out of what he was searching for. At times it gets too vague to be interesting. Like where it says “random memories of the past continue to haunt him,” without showing us what any of them are. He eventually does mention the Golden City again, but there was no mention of it in the Threshold.
Her writing, when she was philosophical, is where this author shines. The adventure is worthy, but be advised, it is more an adventure of mind, than of physical action. It will get you thinking, and questioning, as it did me, about life's purpose.
The story is the tale of Akim , a peasant who leaves home to learn the trade of furniture manufacturing. Akim apprentices with a hermit named Asteodor, whose teaching goes way beyond carpentry. Among other lessons he imparts, he tells Akim that “...everything is alive. Nature always talks to you, but you have to learn how to communicate with her if you want her to assist you. The second thing that you must always remember is that life gives you back what you put into it.”
Akim continues to learn from Asteodor and to use his own special abilities to help others, until his reputation grows to the point when he is called on to help the king of the land. When he falls in love with someone above his station, the two young people must search for “The Golden City” to find a place where their love can thrive. They travel in three ways, physically, through dreams, and in trances, yet all their journeys hold equal weight – and danger.
The short biography in the “About the Author” section at the end of her book, expresses well why this book is fascinating. “Experiences early in Mia's life have led her to search for true healing. In the process she discovered the shamanic way: a relationship with the essence of all things. In the worlds that opened up to her through shamanism, she found the stories of the unconscious that often take expression in myths. Through her writing she hopes to give the reader access to these otherworldly realms.”
Although the plot is important, in this type of book the real substance is found by considering the lessons the characters learn on their journey and by looking at their experiences as metaphors. Mia Lutsch hints at this when she says, “All the central parts of his being – his heart, his mind, his body, and most importantly, his will – felt cloudy and blocked as he fought the metaphorical demons.”
Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul, White Horse Regressions, and Hopatcong Vision Quest