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Mystic Underground – Konstantin Serebrov (2001)

Books of Konstantin Serebrov have been translated into different languages, mostly Dutch and English. These translations are published by the Dutch publishing house Serebrov Boeken (‘Serebrov Books’). They are divided in series and one such series is ‘Lessons of Master G.’ which consists of three books: Follow Me, Live Three Incarnations In One and On The Path of Alchemical Fusion. (And the ‘psychedelic’ appendix Adventures of Master G and his faithful Disciples Morose and Bitumen in the Nigredo Valley, or Modern Alchemy. Phantasmagoria).

It took a little searching, but there were originally two Russian books and the three translations have different editions with different titles. The first book was originally called Один шаг в Зазеркалье (2001) which Deepl translates to ‘One step into the looking glass’. This became The Mystical Labyrinth In Russia translated by Robin Winckel-Mellish (a South African who lived in the Netherlands) in 2006. In 2015 a new edition (a new translation?) was published as Follow Me by Gouri Gozalov (the Gouri in the book I guess) and Maria Toonen (a Dutch woman).

The there was the book Мистический Андеграунд (‘Mystic Underground’) also published in 2001. This book is translated into two parts. The first edition of the first part was published in 2006 as The Mystical Underground Of Moscow and in 2016 as Live Three Incarnations In One. The second half was first published in 2006 as On The Path Of Alchemical Fusion and kept its title in the second edition of 2017. The physical copies have quite high prices at Amazon.

The current review is about the two part translation of Мистический Андеграунд (‘Mystic Underground’) to be obtained -as mentioned- as the titles Live Three Incarnations In One and On The Path Of Alchemical Fusion.

Just as Follow Me we basically have diary entries of Serebrov (“Kasyan”) and sometimes Gouri. How they give up their jobs to follow “Master G.” (Vladimir Stepanov) around Russian territory, constantly meeting familiar and new people, talking about ‘the Path’ and stumbling into ‘situations of high temperature’. A bit more than in the first part of the trilogy, we hear G. explaining things, mostly the bad elements of the characters of Serebrov and Gouri (which are very alike in many ways). Even though even in the last two decades of the previous century interest in the esoteric was dangerous in Russia, in every city where they go, new recruits (“sea cadets”) for the “Ship Argo” which is “in search for the mystical Golden Fleece” are found. These recruits are often lovely young ladies, but can also be male brutes. For two books I had the impression that even though G. is able to change the atmosphere in a group, give his recruits mystical experiences, etc. the “School” was mostly a teaching environment. Rudolf Steiner “who was his [G.’s] favourite author”, a bit of Blavatsky, but mostly Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, Berdyaev and to some extend “Mamley”  (Yury Mamleyev (1931-2015) the ‘founder’ of the “Iuzhinskii Cirle”?) are authors that are referred to. In what way does that explain G.’s abilities? As I wrote elsewhere, G./Stepanov came from the “Iuzhinskii Kruzhok” (‘Iuzhinskii Circle’, sometimes spelled ‘Yuzhinsky’). Several of the people in the book can also be linked to this circle. At one point G. remarks that he “had become completely disillusioned about the circles of Moscow philosophers”, but he obviously remained in touch with some of its members.

Even though Serebrov and Gouri are constantly scoffed by G. about three quarters into the second book (the first part of the ‘Mystic Underground’ translations) Serebrov starts to teach himself and Gouri is made “mayor” or the hometown of the two, meaning that his is supposed to lead the local ‘circle’. As the book continues, “Kasyan” becomes more and more of a teacher and Gouri at the same time his helper and a disciple, but Gouri’s spiritual path rises slower than that of Kasyan.

Towards the end of the book Kasyan and Gouri go into a three week drinking frenzy at the “Admiral” (another Iuzhinskii member) after which they are initiated into the mysteries of alchemy in somebody’s kitchen by means of a short ceremony.

The appendix plays six years later. It also bears Serebrov’s name, but the writing style is completely different and (contrary to the first three books), “Morose” (a new nickname for Serebrov who became depressed because of his lack of progress) is written about in the third person. It is a psychedelic book which reads like the report of the lucid dreams that become more and more frequent in Kasyan’s and Gouri’s lives.

All in all the books make alright reads. They are mostly reports of spiritual seekers and especially the look into the remains of the Iuzhinskii Circle are interesting. As mentioned before, there are no ‘clear cut lessons’, no practices that you can copy, nor even an indication how to get in contact with the “School” should you be interested in that. The books give much to think about, suggestions for spiritual development, but then in a very alcoholic, Russian way, but all as parts of a narritive.

2001 Serebrov Boeken

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