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Posted June 7, 2001
This book marks the culmination of one mans quest for truth, as well as a place for himself, in a world that had always treated him as an outsider. In his short story 'Priest they Called Him' Burroughs creates the character of an old junkie who has transformed himself into an underworld sage. This character obviously is closely related to another Burroughs character: Hassan I Sabbah, the Old Man of the mountain. Far from being simply a character HIS was also a real person whom Burroughs was obviously fascinated with and whom he used to develope much of his own personal philosophy. In the Western Lands these two characters fuse into one along with a little bit of Kim Carsons thrown in to demonstrate Burroughs as the fully matured mystic that he always strived to be. Burroughs is, of course, not an orthodox cleric but this is what makes him so attractive to those of us who feel spiritually awakened but do not feel satisfied with the religions of the day. Summarily, The Western Lands' true message is that the road to spiritual fullfilment is a long, hard, solitary path that only a few can fully navigate and attain whatever one feels is the ultimate goal, immortality maybe. Lastly, this road is not one to be gained by submitting oneself to the so-called slave religions like Christianity and islam because these paths only lead to psychic vampirism and the second and final death.
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Posted January 21, 2010
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