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
Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plantsby, Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch and Wolf-Dieter Storl
Inner Traditions, 0892819715, 240 pp. (incl. appendix, bibliography and index), 1998, 2003
What image comes to mind when you read the phrase “Witchcraft Medicine”? Do you see a crone bent over a cauldron, muttering under her breath? Do you imagine a dark peasant hovel in the Middle Ages? Me, too! The subtitle of this volume, translated from a German edition of 1998, helps to clear away some of the misconceptions before the cover is even opened however. “Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants” lets the reader know that the topic will range far beyond narrow preconceptions.
The book is profusely illustrated with old woodcuts, drawings and full-colour photographs. Quotations from numerous sources, ancient , medieval, and modern appear frequently in sidebars. There are charts listing various plants and their associations with planets, deities, and symbolism. Continue reading
The Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors, and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind, by Claude Lecouteux, translated by Jon E Graham, afterward by Regis Boyer
Inner Traditions, 9781594773181, 273 pp. (incl. notes and index), 1996, 2009
A former professor of medieval literature and civilization at the Sorbonne, this is Claude Lecouteux’s second book to be translated into English, the first being Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies: Shapeshifters and Astral Doubles in the Middle Ages, published in 2003 also by Inner Traditions.
The Return of the Dead is a scholarly survey of pre-Christian beliefs, focusing in particular on legends of revenants in Germanic and Scandinavian folklore. Continue reading
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