Marlowe Sand recollects 15 years of relentless pursuit of liberation as a student of guru, Andrew Cohen. For a woman from the remote English countryside destined to be a wife, mother and ordinary professional, the meeting with a modern-day, radical Buddha bore extreme consequences for her and her children. She develops her story in intriguingly deft strokes, capturing the interior experiences of a person being drawn ever deeper into the cult setting of a charismatic and despotic guru. She invites the reader to share her experiences of love and liberation, pain and agony and excruciating disillusionment. Marlowe Sand doesn’t blame, instead she paints a picture of a complex, dangerous phenomena. While she is unambiguous about the destructive nature of this communal setting and each participants’ responsibility for its co-creation, Marlowe’s reckoning is with herself. Paradise and Promises is a spiritual memoir by coincidence but more importantly it is an audacious self-reflection on choices, consequences and reconciliation. Almost anyone will find this stark “coming of age” narrative compelling.
Marlowe Sand is a nom de plume. The author chose to remain anonymous in order to not jeopardize any further her own life and family. However, revealing the toxic dynamics of cult life and modern spiritual bondage of the student/teacher relationship is an important message Marlowe Sand wants to share.