Book Review: The Mystic Fool By Andy Hill
Ian, the main character, is the quintessential twenty-something adrift in Asia consuming drugs, drink and tattoos. Slowly his spiritual side is shown starting with his knowledge of being in “Saturn Return when Saturn come back to the same place relative to Earth when you were born roughly the ages 28-30.” His downward spiral includes vomiting blood from an ulcer, volunteering with young Cambodian children while drunk and ever on the edge of suicide. Constantly overstaying his visas, his tale is perhaps cautionary for travelers loose from all anchors. It is also a change from the flowery perfect tales of my wonderful year trip where I gained so much insight.
Overtime, we learn that Ian has layers and is ever in search of religion, UFOs and meditation. His daily yoga practice and knowledge of Tarot surprised me and I wondered if I judged him too early. In Cambodia, he is driven to help (alas while under his constant state of inebriation) and seems to really care about and for those he meets who are less fortunate.
This tale of overdoing it takes place in many hot-spots for the GAP year backpacker through Laos, Vietnam and Thailand and shares some of the answers to what does a backpacker do all day as well as how to cross the street in Hanoi.
Somehow amid drinking, thinking, and meditating, he finds time to aid and be aided by the kindness of strangers. Helping Rupert, an older man in Chiang Rai, send money or accepting help to find an apartment all takes place along with sharing joints, LSD and one-night stands. He muses on Rupert’s guidance, “Change someone’s life for the better and when you are given the opportunity, take it.” Ian wants more for himself but is deeply mired in drug dependence.
Like Dorothy, Ian is from Kansas but he stumbles around stoned, keeping buzzed as protection from his feelings and questions about our society. In Vietnam he worries about being American as if someone will ask, “I wonder if your dad killed my dad?” Ian does believe “we are what we think about. We are our habits,” and attempts regular meditation. He is floored several times when asked directly “Why do you drink so much?” His daily habit distracts him from his journey to wholeness during his third year in Asia.
At moments while deeply discontent he muses on how friends make the difference and ponders the meaning of our time on this planet. Perpetually short of cash, and occasionally his shoes, this fool wants to be mystical like the tarot card and be
a hero in the making. The Fool represents the essential, and our innermost desire to move toward a sense of oneness, of infinite opportunity, and a working reconciliation with the world around us. His quest is to seek and understand his true nature.
Recklessly wandering drunk from country to country, Ian desires to be more. If I met Ian, I would send him to G. Kamana Hunter’s Bloodline Healing Project. Just as their motto suggests; “Be the Free member of your Family“, Ian clearly longs to be free. But what he may not realize is that there is a whole growing community of workshop attendees who come together to support each other in that quest for freedom. He doesn’t need to wander alone, carrying his family’s habits of old. Nor do we need to wait until our life has bottomed out to ask for help in creating our best life. Ian does appear to find an almost fairy tale guide to wholeness, but you can have the real thing on May 17th-20th at the next Bloodline Healing Workshop at Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades, CA. There, you can find healthy anchors and a way to reconnect to your trusted ancestors while releasing habits that no longer serve you.
Ian has clarity about what spiritual means to him, “that integral sense of connectedness we all can tap into. It’s ironic that we are all connected up to the gills with all these gadgets, but people seem less personally connected.” His guide agrees and says, “in one sense we are getting ‘smarter’ and progressing, but in another we are completely losing a kind of intelligence that keeps us living, keeps us connected to one another, and attached to the Earth as we have to be to survive.” Learn to do more than just survive, live to your fullest potential. Enter Ian’s dark and twisted world, which highlights how some of us live with coping mechanisms that no longer work for us but with the background changed to another country we can see the lives of quiet desperation that need changing.Maybe this fool can be a foil for you to view life with a new prism and get ready for your next adventure.