Christopher Bamford is the editor in chief of Steiner Books and its imprint Lindisfarne Books. A Fellow of the Lindisfarne Association, he has lectured, taught, and written widely on Western spiritual and esoteric traditions, and is a contributing editor to Lapis magazine. In this thought-provoking and soul-stretching work, Bamford shares the fruits of his "more than twenty year affair with the wisdom tradition of the West."

Bamford has not just skimmed the surface here. It's abundantly evident that he has done some serious thinking and heavy duty musing on the vitalities and visions of Sophia, Divine Wisdom in all of her tricky and abundant manifestations. For him, this is the path of the heart which is always open and hospitable to the variety of human thought and behavior. Sadly enough, most of us have never been exposed to the riches of this woefully undercovered and unappreciated Christian esoteric tradition. Consider this substantive work a primer on the ideas, ideals, doctrines, and practices of Sophia. Approach it with the "listening heart" that Jesus demonstrated during his brief sojourn on earth.

Bamford does a magnificent job summing up the main mystical points of Celtic Christianity. We also loved the chapter on "The Troubadours and the Cultivation of Eros" since we're convinced that this tradition contains important antidotes to the incivility of our times where shouting and selfishness are the major features of public dialogue. He quotes Arnaut de Mariel: "Whoever has joy is given great honor, for everything springs from joy — courtliness, pleasure, learning, candor, measure, a loving heart, the desire to serve, mercy, insight, and the capacity to speak well and reply pleasingly."

Another outstanding chapter is "The Love That Moves The Stars: Friendship and Walking" where Bamford lays out the marvels that can accrue to those who keep their bodies and their souls in motion. Other themes covered include the profundities of Pythagoras, Goethe on the evolution of consciousness, the literature of the Grail, the work of Novalis, the meaning of the Rose Cross, deserts and gardens, and the washing of feet.