I am sometimes known (by those who approve of wizards) as The Wizard of Eutopia. I live in The Story Ark, an old army barracks on the main road of Kaiwaka, 'The Little Town of Lights' - blink and you miss it, only at night you can't because it has fairy lights everywhere. For twelve years I've been building, also on the main road (well, a little to one side of it), a sculptured ferrocement 'folly' called Café Eutopia.
What is Eutopia and why should you care? Well, it's an organic café, a temple to Love Beauty Truth and Freedom, and a bookshop - not necessarily in that order. See photos. For lots more, taken by tourists from all over the world, just enter 'Cafe Eutopia' in Google images. The tourists love me; the locals keep asking, 'When's he going to finish the darned thing?'
Unbeknown to them, for even more than those twelve years I've also been building a much more ambitious, unseen 'folly' - a fantasy epic named (in a dream after I failed to come up with a title) THE APPLES OF AEDEN. I've also written a few other books, as you can see - fiction, non-fiction and some in between.
To release the writing from the computer screen (and beat the gatekeepers of traditional publishing)I started a digital printshop and developed a quick method of book-binding, and more recently, embossing and 'edge-carving' antique-fantasy-style books (and, at the other end of the book spectrum, ebook uploading).
I spent much of my earlier life, like many of us in the troubled 'post-everything' West, in an angsty quest for Truth (between enterprises intended to feed us but always threatening to consume us - spinning wheels, clocks, oval picture frames). A teen convert to radical Christianity, I thought I should become a Bible translator, so I got a BA in classical Hebrew and Greek. But in the process I 'lost my faith' (quite rationally I think!)and became an angsty agnostic.
To feed a growing family, I tried to focus on the oval frames and sacrificed a few tormented years on the anvil of manufacturing, much of it in a cold, dickensian defunct woollen mills in Dunedin. Upon reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance I had an epiphany which saved our business.
But in 1990, just when we had paid off my father-in-law and even started to make some money, the rubberband of my soul (I felt) was stretched to breaking point, and I had to leave the workshops of the North where we had moved, and go to the City to study Philosophy at Auckland University. In 1995 I wrote (in a database), an infamous 'evolving' MA thesis called 'Process and Inquiry'. The professor rang me to say he had 'wondered whether I was an undiscovered genius,' but after an outside examiner from Alberta (an expert on Aristotle no less) pooh-poohed it, he felt emboldened to say, 'But now, I don't think so.' Ah, how good it is to be able to fall back on peers!
'I have abandoned my quest for Truth, and am now looking for a good Fantasy' (Ashleigh brilliant).
We left the City then, and to detox from the philosophy department I began Eutopia, 'singing outside the walls' of academia. I was free at last - but (at least compared to the philosophy professors) broke.
As a Neoplatonist/Pagan free-thinker/Defender of the True West, I love inspiring others by what I create in buildings, artefacts and ideas. In the Story Ark I have started the New Leaf Network, a book-binding and self-publishing group. And in the old hall at the back of the Ark I am developing the School of Wisdom and Wizardry, based on the Tree of Life, the Flow Rainbow and the Wheel of Wisdom game. Also the Tree of Life 'wizard's staff', representing the power we actually all have, to 'ground' at least a bit of heaven on a bit of earth - so creating 'Eutopias' - Good places - wherever we may be.
PS: I met Raewyn Crisp in Greek 101, and we married the next year (so young!). Thirty-five years later we can say we have four (mostly) grown-up children. We think we may be almost there too! But they may differ with me on that. Raewyn too. She is a perennial student, and now the kids are grown, is back doing a post-grad psychology degree. She refuses to psychoanalise me, however - she's a behaviourist.
PPS: My main blog for general reflections, offerings and creations, is www.wizardgifts.wordpress.com
PPPS: Main influences: Tolkien (of course!) C.S.Lewis, Nietzsche, R.Pirsig, R.Bach, C.S.Peirce, J.M.Barrie... oh and Plato (how not?), Plotinus... So, if you wonder why read P.J.Harris, well, the compost of my mind has grown a garden with some trees which I think do sometimes sway in a wind from beyond the walls. Also, I know quite a bit about the walls themselves.
PPPPS: Zarathustra: 'O afternoon of my life! What have I not given away that I might possess one thing; this living plantation of my thoughts, and this dawn of my highest hope.' What was his hope? Perhaps this quote comes close to the vision: 'I will make company with creators, with harvesters, with rejoicers: I will show them the Rainbow and the Stairway to the Overman.'
Update 28th Oct 2012: I am now doing 'Fantastic Ferrocement' gardens and sculptures as a 'contracting' business, and hope to get back onto the cafe Eutopia building using the team I will build, and the money we scrape together doing the contracting. The adventure continues, in the abstract and the concrete!
Where to find Peter Harris online
Where to buy in print
Beyond Murphy's Law
You can live beyond Murphy's Law! George and Eileen guarantee it - they've done it. This is their story of personal discovery of God and liberation from 'Murphy'. Five years on a Maori settlement, in jail with a ghost, how to be a no-hoper... the anecdotes come thick and fast, told with the tongue-in-cheek humour that has made their magazine articles and broadcasts so popular - and controversial.
Beyond Small Cords
Here's a fresh attempt to nudge religious thinking out of its comfortable rut. An attempt to ignore orthodoxy and take what the Bible says literally. An attempt to put the teachings of Jesus first and foremost, rather than in second place.
The Gift of Mamaku
When a little girl’s mother walks between two Mamaku trees one night in her back garden, she enters a forest from a time long ago. She meets a magical man from that time, and brings back a gift of love for her sick daughter...
This is a story from the magical land of Aotearoa. A story of Love -Aroha- that crosses all boundaries. Wherever there is great Aroha, all things are possible.
The 7 Colour Meditation - turn the pages and breathe in the colours!
A simple new way to pace yourself, slow down and be blissfully mindful. As the title says, you just turn (or click) the pages and breathe. One breath per page is a 6 minute meditation through the seven colours. To really get into a colourfully altered state, try seven breaths a page! Each colour can represent a chakra; or just a pure experience of quality...
First, Love Yourself - A Meditation Journey Through You
A new visualisation to systematically explore our own being in all its Levels (chakras) and Zones, the process phases we all use without thinking whenever we act.
Find your 'Qor', or central being, at each level, identify blockages, and practice being in the ultimate Qor of pure Being, then come down again through the levels of your being with new perspective.
The Pillars of Aeden
The fourth volume of the 'Apples of Aeden' epic. This first edition is a 'beta' for you keen readers to contribute any thoughts, comments, ideas and questions. When the (hopefully definitive) second edition comes out, of course you can download it at no extra cost, thanks to Smashwords.
The War of the Heartstone comes to an end, and the long-awaited Diamond Age begins - for some...
Happiness - it's Now or Never
This book is about loving your life and becoming Happy Now.
It's a convenient but hard-to-accept fact that happiness is not to be found by trying even harder to get what we want, but by opening up to our Here and Now, which we can enjoy right now. Anything we get after that is a bonus.
Wheel of Wisdom - The Whole-brain Creative Thinking Game
Has the world lost its marbles? Well don’t lose yours! Use the Wheel of Wisdom to ‘Think Full Circle’ and solve any problem a mad world can throw at you!
Download the free gameboard and use it to create ideas and solve problems. It ‘patterns’ your mind for amazingly clear, balanced whole-brain thinking.
Take turns to ‘be’ Love/listening, Beauty/creativity, Truth/reasoning, and Freedom/action.
The Rebels of Aeden
In Volume One, "The Girl and the Guardian", Shelley Arkle ended up alone in the terrible Valley of Thorns, with only a half-crazed Third-lifer, the serpent Thornfoot, to help her. Now Thornfoot seems to be her only hope. But his idea for escape looks more like suicide to her…
Out of Edartha
Shelley is back on Earth, seeking the stolen Heartstone. A dithery Englishman is the only one who believes her story - or her sanity.
On Aeden Quickblade is in trouble. His only hope is the blue fungus addict Moonwit. The Boy Raiders are away on their most daring raid yet, while Shelley and Quickblade are driven to the bottomless Springs of the Wouivre, where even the Frozen Army can't help...
The Girl and the Guardian
Shelley is lost in a World once known as Aeden. The ancient Tree of Life is dying, and deadly Thornmen are hunting her.
Someone else has been waiting for Shelley. He asks to be her Guardian on a perilous quest to save Aeden.
The Thornmen are closing in as the Girl and the Guardian seek the faery refuge of Urak Tara.
In the terrible Valley of Thorns they make a daring - and fateful - pact...
How to be a Wizard - How life is magical, and we are too
This short book is not about 'pointy hats'.
Instead, I outline the foundations of the True West, and list the 'Wizard's Desiderata' - what is needed to live a life which is truly powerful, truly magical, truly mythical, and truly possible. It always has been possible to be a 'wizard' of one's life, though never perhaps with as little danger of being burned at the stake!
The Nautilus Project - Adventures of the Story Gatherer
Arthur Pike is summoned by his reclusive grandfather to join him at his secret hideaway on a lake in the forests of Northland.
What does Arthur's grandfather want with a rebellious young hacker?
What is the secret of the lake?
What is the SHELL and why does it desperately need Arthur?
Join Arthur and Tess as they try to stop a secret brotherhood from using the power that lies beneath the lake..
The Sword of the Fifth Element
A tale set in ancient Cornwall and the lost world of Aeden, about a man and his wife, and the man's quest for Truth at any cost - and for the Perfect Woman. He finds her, and she teaches him to honour the Goddess in his wife, and to return to her. But she has been taken far away. He must find her and win her back. Only then will they fulfill their remarkable destiny - and at last find true love.
How to be Creative - A Passport to Creativity
This 'passport to creativity' is a simple guide to creating entirely new things, making creative improvements, and solving problems, using the 'IdeaTree', a five-part diagram of process which enables all stages to be clearly visualised.
The IdeaTree diagram also makes it clear just how the creative 'zone' can fit in with the other essential aspects of life and work, in a dynamic balance.
Peter Harris’s tag cloud
Smashwords book reviews by Peter Harris
- Children of the Cromlech
on May 09, 2012
This is an 'almost perfect little book' as my wife (a hardened and critical reader of fiction) said when she put down the paperback version, and there were tears in her eyes. I thought, my God, I'd better read this! And, though I have more romantic tastes, I too was impressed and moved.
As a sculptor I found the resolution at the end particularly moving. There is something about stone, and cromlechs, ancient sacred stones that can bring us back to what really matters in life. Also the redeeming power of admiration of the Feminine for souls lost in the patriarchal wilderness of the Catholic Church.
Anyone who has in any way struggled between loyalty to a woman, or a friend, or principles, or enthusiasms, and the 'higher'loyalty to a Faith, will resonate with this story. So will anyone with an interest in the real Ireland and Irish.
All this, and it is well-written too - taut, concise and understated, with much subtle humour and irony, and above all a positive take on life even at its grimmest.
Now as an ebook may this story go out to find its deserved readership world-wide - yes, in Ireland too!
- Where Lions Roar at Night
on May 13, 2012
Definitely destined to be Classic! Perfect family bed-time reading, with each chapter a self-contained adventure, heart-warming or laugh-out-loud funny - and all true things that happened in this big, boisterous and love-filled family as they lived their dream on their new land. The print version in New Zealand has already launched a thousand family fan-ships, as children - and their parents - yearn to learn more about the home-schooled Boom family and their life together in the big old barn, and all the animals and all the adventures they have together. Good old-fashioned homesteading, christian life and family at its BEST - I know because I'm Rosie's brother and it's all true. They are an inspiration to me and my wife, and I am proud to have been able to encourage Rosie to start her writing journey which has led to this wonderful series. This first book is just the beginning! The others are just as good. I told Rosie don't you dare stop at just the six! What if C.S.Lewis had only written six Narnia books! I know you will echo my cry after you have read the sixth and are hanging out to find out what happens next in the unfolding of the Boom family story...
Read this, enjoy, like it on facebook or on whatever media you use, and help spread the word. In this troubled age we need all the hope and down-home values that this series is so rich in. And the best part? This is not fiction!
P.S: it is well and simply written, in a lovely style that reflects Rosie's sunny nature, faith and optimism. Now stop reading reviews, and READ THIS BOOK!