William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Martha Keith Schuchard
Inner Traditions, 9781594772115, 415 pp., 2006, 2008
This is the first US edition of a book originally published in 2006 in the UK. It had its origin in scholarly research but has been diminished in size and complexity, although not in quality, to produce a book more likely to appeal to a non-academic audience.
There is a large amount of background data provided on the subject of 18th and 19th century esoterica. This is important to provide a solid base for the understanding of William Blake and his works.
As I have commented in previous reviews of books issued by Inner Traditions, this is not a book for the casual reader. It presupposes a certain level of familiarity with the general topic right from the outset. If you know nothing about William Blake or the esoteric milieu of his time, you will find yourself playing catch-up from the start. Continue reading
Frances Yates and the Hermetic Tradition, by Marjorie G. Jones
Ibis Press, 9780892541331, 262 pp. (incl. end notes, bibliography and index), 2008
Frances 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 Continue reading
Written In Wine: A Devotional Anthology For Dionysos, by Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Neos Alexandrina, 9781434836731, 220 pp., 2007
This work, a collection of thought by modern worshippers of Dionysos, includes essays, poetry, rituals and fiction as well as personal accounts of experiences. There are over 50 contributions by more than 30 writers.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina exists as a non-profit organization dedicated to re-establishing the worship of Hellenistic and Kemetic gods. Every book purchased, and there will a series of them forthcoming, furthers that goal. If you are willing to put your money to a good cause, this is one well worth supporting. Neos Alexandrian, the publisher, is helping to re-establish the Library of Alexandria, one book at a time.
This collection starts off with a short story…a piece of fiction. Or is it fiction? Might it have been a privileged channelling of Dionysos’ thoughts following the horrors of Hurricane Katrina’s damage to a city where his revels were a vital part of daily life? Continue reading
Fire Child: The Life & Magic of Maxine Sanders ‘Witch Queen’, by Maxine Sanders
Mandrake, 9781869928780, 309 pp., 2008
I have been waiting for this book to be written for years, if not decades. As I have said in previous reviews, we need more autobiographies (as well as biographies) concerning those people who helped to bring our religion out of the broom closet. We already had Gerald Gardner: Witch and King of the Witches: The World of Alex Sanders as well as several books relating the life and works of George Pickingill, Doreen Valiente, Sybil Leek, and more modern practitioners such as Fiona Horne. The Internet has made it easy to find out about individuals’ actions. Their motivations, however, may not be so easily determined.
One of the things I enjoyed Continue reading
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