Book Reviews · Mysticism

Radical Passion: Book Review

Radical PassionThis is a book to feast on, and then act upon. It pulls together a collection of Andrew Harvey’s previously published works and new interviews, and channels them into an argument for Sacred Activism. Building from his last book The Hope, Sacred Activism combines the mystic’s vision of unity and compassion with the activist’s passion for bringing about radical change in the world. Harvey believes we need a revolution in the way we tackle the many problems now facing us and Radical Passion is his prescription.

In the introduction, he highlights our growing crises – the rampant corruption, the ecological devastation, the steady erosion of civil liberties, the catastrophic number of animal extinctions – the list seems endless. But:

Perhaps the most alarming, even devastating, aspect of this unprecedented crisis is the denial, apathy, and paralysis of the great majority of the human race. In the time of our greatest danger, we are at our most hapless, distracted, and narcissistic.

But there is a way through. Harvey identifies three truths of this time:

  • We are in an unprecedented and destined evolutionary crisis – a global dark night;
  • This dark night could be the birth canal for a new, embodied divine humanity, humbled by tragedy and awakened by grace; and
  • The force behind this birth is the Motherhood of God expressed in evolutionary mysticism and radical action.

Our multifarious crises are symptoms of a deepening Dark Night of the Soul experienced by individuals and collectively by the culture at large. The shadow of the old Age of Pisces: of rampant materialism and transcendent denial of reality, is finally bearing its terrible fruits, and the call is going out for people to make positive changes to birth a new humanity and a new world.

Radical Passion, if read in one big gulp, could feel repetitive, as Harvey rams home his message: the way through the darkness of our dire apocalypse. So perhaps it is better to pace yourself. Live with the book over time and let it work from the depths of your soul and up.

Andrew Harvey is often criticised for being a doom monger, but I think that accusation is unfair. He has little patience for the self-absorbed New Agers who believe that by eliminating all negative thought and refusing to look at the darkness, our problems will simply go away.

Reality doesn’t work like that.

Alchemy does not begin in the light, but in the darkness with the dross and the shit. You cannot get to the light except through the darkness. You cannot have one without the other – reality is a whole; light and dark. We cannot transform without a descent into the dark night. Rebirth only comes after the crucifixion; the dawn breaks after night.

Only those in deep denial and in fear of their shadows could believe we are not now in serious trouble. It is time for us to wake up to the challenge of being true adults, grounded in a spirituality that has its roots in reality, not in our narcissism and self-indulgent fantasies.

It is time for the ultimate wake-up call.

Harvey understands this and has gifted us Radical Passion to light the way.

>Discover more Andrew Harvey books: Mysticism Bookshelf