The Magus of Strovolos: The extraordinary world of a spiritual healer – Kyriacos C. Markides
Penguin, 1990, 222pp.., 9780140190342.
It is unusual that I read a book and I’m so unsure what I think of it, but that’s exactly how I came out of reading “The Magus of Strovolos.” I first read it years ago during my Abramelin period, and the book still confuses and intrigues me having just reread it.
The book is a sort of student-teacher memoire in the same vein as Carlos Castaneda, except Markides’ teacher actually existed, just to start. Markides tracks down a man he had heard of his entire life, a man to whom a great variety of miracles were attributed to, and begins to learn from him and this book tells that story.
What confuses me and intrigues me is that this book has me vacillating between “this has to be bullshit” and “this is so true” so often and so quickly it’s hard to know what to think. This happens both in terms of the theories of spiritual/magick that Daskalos puts forth, and also the events he and Markides experience. (Note: Daskalos is just the Greek word for teacher, used as an alias for who was later revealed after the book was published as Stylianos Atteshlis) Daskalos is a Christian mystic, and in many ways that term could be applied loosely, he was definitely a devout Christian, but many of his beliefs run counter to that of contemporary Christianity, his beliefs in reincarnation and energy healing for instance, and beliefs that just fit awkwardly with Christianity: transportation, karma, magick, aliens, and the like.
The stories/miracles range everywhere from healings and possessions, to bilocation and communicating with aliens who are visiting Earth and using their assistance to prevent Skylab from falling anywhere it could cause damage. Sometimes the healing is what we’re more familiar with, other times he describes reaching into someone and dematerializing their bones, and filling in gaps in their bones to instantly fix spine problems. Regarding which I’m assuming people can see where my issue is, but it’s a bit worse than that, even the more outlandish stories have something to them, something in the description, in the experience or explanation that seems…right. Even when Daskalos is talking about something outlandish, even when it’s coded in the jargon of his system, it’s something that I can recognize as see the value too. I’m sure we all have a few really out there experiences, well Daskalos is surrounded by them, but the way they play out, the way they’re explained, they seem plausible, they seem to fit my understanding and worldview, even if their degree seems unrealistic.
What I appreciated in the text was Markides and his sense of skepticism, he wasn’t trying to convince the reader, but was relaying what he saw, and questioning what he could. Daskalos also had a bit of a skeptic in him, in the way he wanted things to be tested, but he admitted he couldn’t fully be skeptical anymore. “’How can I not be convinced? This is my life, my every-day reality. How can anyone who does not share similar experiences convince me that my world, my reality is illusory?’” (53) He also wasn’t trying to convince, or impress, he merely was a man recounting his experiences or his understanding/interpretation of them.
The same right/unrealistic balance goes for his theories on cosmology, some of them seem out there, but a lot of them seem in line with my own. In fact the system of Daskalos probably bears more similarities to my personally developed/intuited cosmology than most codified systems I’ve come across, and that’s a bit unusual in its own right. Regardless of how much is real, there is still value to the spiritual system he expounds, much like Castaneda’s work. If you’re looking for the tale of a modern mystic, a contemporary sage with bizarre skills, a modern magickian who can get results, then this is a book to read. Take it as you will, truth, embellishment, or total fiction, it is interesting and worth the read, and I feel that the story of Daskalos has been overlooked by too many and deserves some consideration from occultists. If you’re interested in his experiences you can find more about them in the books by Atteshlis himself or by looking into his order The Researchers of Truth.