I’m sorry to report that Mike Gleason (1951-2012) passed away on 30 August. He was a prolific reviewer of Pagan books and music, and contributed hundreds of reviews to this site (among countless others), and there remain dozens that have yet to be posted.
Selena Fox has written a beautiful obituary on the Circle Sanctuary site, which I invite you to read. He’s been cremated, and will be interred at Circle Cemetery at Circle Sanctuary. The above link also lists a page for those who’d like to make donations in his memory.
Rest well, Mike, and thanks for all you’ve done.
Confessions of a Black Magician, by Nathan Neuharth Original Falcon Press, 9781935150794, 191 pp., 2010
Our hero in this tale is the author himself, and as no occultist anywhere ever had but one name, he's known variously as Nathan Neuharth, Frater Parsifal, and Natas, or Saint Natas.The book opens with his initiation into the Golden Dawn, introducing a colourful cast of characters in his new fraters and sorors. Neuharth allies himself with Fater Azazel, a brother in the order who shares his affinity for Aleister Crowley and Thelemic magick. His experiments lead him to encounters with angels, and devils too, not to mention aliens and Atlanteans who offer him questionable messages.Inspired by Jack Parson's Babalon Working, Neuharth seeks to undertake a similar project he called the Babalon Isis Working. Various incarnations of Babalon appear as she is won, lost, regained and eventually walks out of his life. In the process Neuharth loses his wife, his kids, his job and very possibly his mind. Read More
Victor Hugo's Conversations with the Spirit World: A Literary Genius's Hidden Life, by John Chambers Destiny Books, 1594771820, 372. pp, 1999, 2009
I’m sure that, at one time or another, many of us have played with a Ouija ™ board. And we may have gotten "messages from beyond." Most of us, I am sure, tired quickly of it, or had serious doubts about the information coming through the board.Well, Victor Hugo lived before the Ouija ™ board was created. He did, however, live during the time when Spiritualism was in its heyday. The use of small, lightweight, three-legged tables to tap out messages was commonplace in parlours across Europe. The uncommon aspects of M Hugo’s attempts were quite extraordinary, however. They included the people involved (writers, philosophers, and military men) as well as the "sources" of this information (living individuals [Napoleon III], concepts [Civilization], as well as the more common discarnate individuals). Read More
Jesus the Wicked Priest: How Christianity Was Born of an Essene Schism, by Marvin Vining Bear & Company, 9781591430810, 243 pp (with indexes), 2008
The topics of the origins of Christianity
and their relationship to the Essenic community as portrayed in the scrolls discovered around Qumran in 1947 and afterwards are still being debated more than sixty years after first coming to the attention of the world. There have been hundreds of books written – scholarly and popular – which have been praised, condemned, and ignored. Why review another book on this theme? Because this author makes an effort to present his premise in terms understandable by the “common man.” Read More
Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock, by Vere Chappell, with an introduction by Mary K. Greer Weiser Books, 978157863476, 258 pp. (incl. appendix and references), 2010
Described as an anthology embedded in a biography, Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic
contains most of Ida Craddock
's published writings edited, annotated and placed in context by Vere Chappell
.Ida Craddock was a 19th century American sexologist, feminist, and mystic who was persecuted by Anthony Comstock's Society for the Suppression of Vice. Her contribution to conventional sex reform, and her mystical writings on sex with spiritual beings are exceptional for the period. Read More
Frances Yates and the Hermetic Tradition, by Marjorie G. Jones Ibis Press, 9780892541331, 262 pp. (incl. end notes, bibliography and index), 2008Frances Yates and the Hermetic Tradition
is the first full-length biography of Frances Yates, who was among the first wave of late Victorian female historians. Notes were compiled for an autobiography, but it remained incomplete at her death, though she did leave instructions for future biographers.The account of Yates' early years are taken in part from the unfinished autobiography, and the journal her father kept about her growth and progress from birth to a young child, with notes on her character and conduct.Jones traces her personal and scholastic interests through Read More