When millennial spiritual hunger replaces '90s infinite perfectibility as the trend du jour, self-help guru Ashton Robinson is there to catch the breaking wave. He's a surfer--a handsome, dreadlocked black Yale grad with a palatable message ("Try Harder") and no real convictions to capsize his motivational juggernaut. Then one night while he's tripping on a heady blend of expired cough suppressant and primo weed, a gender-bending Brazilian midget turns up, seduces him, and delivers this message: "You're hiding your ashay.... God chose you and only you to bring the world to the future. It will be a lonely and difficult journey, but you can do it." Ashton does enough spotty research to find out that axe (pronounced ashay) is more or less the Yoruba equivalent of chi--spiritual life force--as expressed in the Afro-Cuban-Brazilian traditions of Candomble, Santeria, and Vodun. To this he adds a much more rigorous pursuit of Tantric sex, collects a handful of true believers, and converts his California bachelor pad into the residential headquarters of a New Age cult, complete with GAP uniforms and cough syrup sacraments.
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Submitted on: 7-Jan-2003