History & Occulture

Biographies, history, and cultural criticism.

The Morning of the Magicians, by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier

By Gesigewigu's | January 10, 2010 | Leave a comment

The Morning of the Magicians: Secret Societies, Conspiracies, and Vanished Civilizations, by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier
Destiny Books, 9781594772313, 414 pp, 1960, 2009

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to get out of this book when I picked it up, and must say the introduction already had me very concerned when the authors said “so as not to weigh down the book too much, we have avoided a multiplicity of references, footnotes, and bibliographies.” It should be pointed out that a “multiplicity” of bibliographies means not including any bibliography, multiplicity of references and footnotes refers to a sparse inclusion that information was taken from somewhere, but rarely stated where.

In general a lack of sources has me a bit worried about a book, but this book really supported that worry, for it wasn’t common knowledge, or acceptable stories, but it was wildly “out there” stories as fact, with no backing. Pauwels and Bergier felt that science was too constraining, and that people should open themselves up to the reality of other possibilities. A notion I can agree with, but a quick look at Continue reading


The Last Pagan, by Adrian Murdoch

By Mike Gleason | July 17, 2009 | Leave a comment

The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World, by Adrian Murdoch
Inner Traditions, 9781594772269456, 260 pp., 2008

Who was the last pagan emperor of Rome? When did he die? What did his contemporaries, and those who lived after him, think of him? These are all very basic questions. And they are ones that Mr. Murdoch (a fellow of the Royal Historical Society) answers in this enlightening and, more importantly, easily readable book. This is history told as biography, and relies less on dates and places and more on perceptions and actions – both those of the subject and those who wrote about him. Continue reading


Witchcraft in Yorkshire, by Patricia Crowther

By Mike Gleason | July 9, 2009 | Leave a comment

Witchcraft in Yorkshire, by Patricia Crowther
Harvest Shadows, 9780974174013, 71 pp., 1973, 2008

The public perception of Witchcraft (or Wicca, if you prefer) has come a long way in 35 years. Looking through this short facsimile edition of Patricia Crowther’s 1973 work will make abundantly clear. Books written today tend to be too dedicated to explaining the history of the Craft, the contributions of various “names” in the community and forget about the witches were feared as often as admired and that there was (and is) a basis in local folklore. In the beginning, there was more emphasis on the more recent history and memories.

Ms. Crowther, one of Gerald Gardner’s priestesses, has gathered Continue reading


Lucifer’s Court, by Otto Rahn

By Psyche | March 22, 2009 | 1 comment

Lucifer’s Court: A Heretic’s Journey in Search of the Light Bringers, by Otto Rahn, translated by Christopher Jones
Inner Traditions, 9781594771972, 242 pp. (incl. bibliography and translator’s bibliography), 2004, 2008

Otto Rahn (1904-1939) was a German medievalist.  His Crusade Against the Grail (1933) “attracted the attention of Karl Maria Wiligut, better known as Weisthor Heinrich Himmler’s esoteric “lord” of runology”. In 1936 Rahn formally entered the SS, attached to Weisthor’s department. Denounced for possible Jewish heritage and homosexual behaviour, Rahn committed suicide in March 1939.

Lucifer’s Court was originally Continue reading


Review: Mithras Reader, Volume 1, edited by Payam Nabarz

By Mike Gleason | February 1, 2009 | Leave a comment

Mithras Reader: An academic and religious journal of Greek, Roman, and Persian Studies, Volume 1, edited by Payam Nabarz
Twin Serpents Ltd., 9781905524099, 2006

This book, the first in an ongoing series, is divided into three sections. The first section in composed of academic papers. The second is filled with Mithraic-based art work and the final section is devoted to articles by modern practitioners. As such, there is a unifying theme, even while there are divergent views.

The series is dedicated to all the religions of the classical world in their varying aspects. Obviously, however, there is a bias towards Continue reading


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