I have known Gavin Harrison as a student, friend and colleague since 1981 and although I have spent many hours over all these years in intimate conversations with him, his extraordinary new book Petals and Blood: Stories, Dharma and Poems of Ecstasy, Awakening And Annihilation reveals even more of his personal story. Gavin’s early years in South Africa, his time in Iran and the United States, and his return visits to South Africa are all deeply imprinted upon his life journey. It is a journey of spiritual discovery that finds the beauty of life in the depths of his struggles with illness, in the often-impoverished conditions of black South Africans, and in the profound depths of his spiritual unfolding. The fierceness of Gavin’s commitment to the Truth has been the spark that has ignited the vast compassion of his heart.
It is rare to find a book in which the intimacy of the prose, the inspiration of the poetry and the striking beauty of the photographs interweave into such a unified whole. Of course, that wholeness describes Gavin himself, and Petals and Blood is a fitting testament to his amazing life. It is a book to savor in quiet hours, letting his personal story open your heart; his poetry, and that of the great masters Rumi and Hafiz, inspire new depths of understanding and love; and the beautiful imagery of the photographs provide a refuge of silence, peace and repose.
I’m grateful that Gavin has shared his life in this way.
September 15, 2012