Tag: john michael greer

Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth, by John Michael Greer

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Haunted tree, by Ian SaneMystery Teachings from the Living Earth, by John Michael GreerMystery Teachings from the Living Earth: An Introduction to Spiritual Ecology, by John Michael Greer Weiser Books, 9781578634897, 140 pp., 2012Reading Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth was a curious experience. I felt like I was reading two books at once: the first describing spiritual teachings we can derive from ecological laws; the second, how the mystery teachings are being misinterpreted and distorted by more modern spiritual movements.Greer devotes much time to discussing why the belief that one can create one's own reality is a partial truth and how popular spiritual movements promulgate that belief. He points out that this has been a corruption of the mystery school teaching that we are created by the reality that was here before us and that we always co-create with that reality. He nails it when he says: Read More

Necromancy in the digital age

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Skeleton, photo by Kevin DooleyWhat comes to mind when you hear the word necromancy? Do you think of ghoulishly gruesome grave robbing under the light of the full moon? Do you picture only sinister sorts enslaving the deceased and making them do their bidding? Well if so, then you only know of the sordid past of the ancient practice known as necromancy. But what of this arcane art in these modern times? Do people still revere and utilize the death current in occult operations? They most certainly do. While necromancy does indeed have roots in many ancient cultures, this sector of the occult sciences is far from dead. Read More

The Art and Practice of Geomancy, by John Michael Greer

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Art and Practice of Geomancy, The: Divination, Magic, and Earth Wisdom of the Renaissance , by John Michael Greer Weiser Books, 9781578634316, 243 pp. (incl. appendix), 2009Geomancy is a form of divination that reached the height of popularity and practice in the middle ages and renaissance. Ignored for centuries, it became part of the Golden Dawn's teaching, but it never really caught on, and there is a chance this book will help change that.Greer first places the reader Read More

Review: The New Encyclopedia of the Occult, by John Michael Greer (2)

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The New Encyclopedia of the Occult
Llewellyn Worldwide, 1567183360, 608 pp., 2004

Written in clear and unambiguous language, entries are factual and concise covering a wide range of topics in a more or less unbiased manner. Materials covered from ancient times to more recent, though Greer has opted not to include biographies still living, probably a wise choice.

It covers major and minor occult topics from Aarab Tzereq to the Gaia hypothesis to Wilhelm Reich to Zosimus of Panopolis and just about everything in between. Though with such a massive body of knowledge to cover, it’s not surprising that a few subjects are missing, such as servitors, werewolves or shape-shifting in shamanic rites.

A useful reference work covering damn near all aspects of the occult with an extensive bibliography, this is the most up to date occult compilation available.

Review: The New Encyclopedia of the Occult, by John Michael Greer (1)

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The New Encyclopedia of the Occult
Llewellyn Worldwide, 1567183360, 608 pp., 2004

This is a fairly substantial book, in size, weight, and topics covered. Even its bibliography is substantial. It covers 23 pages with authors ranging from classical Roman and Greek authors, to J. R. R. Tolkein, to the most modern.

Mr. Greer provides biographies of many of the great names of the past, while intentionally leaving out individuals who are still living (a wise decision in my opinion).

Even before I began reading the body of the work I was impressed by the author’s attitude, expressed in an Introductory Note, that simply because something is traditional, that doesn’t make it historically accurate. It is not a case of setting out to puncture cherished beliefs which inspired this book, but a desire to provide a basic reference too for those interested in the Western occult traditions (primarily European and American).

The back cover says “Presenting the Most Complete Occult Reference Work Ever”. I’m not sure THAT is true, but I would agree that it is probably one of the most complete in a single volume. This is most certainly not designed to be read through, although if you wish to, you certainly could. It is designed, like a standard encyclopedia, to be used as a reference tool. It is thoroughly cross-referenced, with suggested further reading where appropriate. The entries range in length from a sentence or two (for minor topics) to several pages.

The “further reading” entries are, perhaps, a little confusing until you get used to them. They don’t give you the title of the book, but rather the author’s name and date of publication. Since the bibliography is arranged strictly by author name, it works. It might seem a bit confusing at the start, and perhaps Mr. Greer could have explained the system in the Introductory Note.

There are some statements which, while stated as fact, are still under dispute within the Pagan/Wiccan community, but that is to be expected in any reference work by a single author. The style is clear and concise. The author clearly “knows his stuff”, which is, again, to be expected.

There are topics covered in this work about which I know, personally, know little or nothing, so I can’t comment on the accuracy of those entries. On those topics with which I am conversant, however, I can find little to criticize. That is not to say that I agree with everything Mr. Greer says. Sometimes his conclusions are at wide variance with my own. Having said that, I must admit that his statements of fact, and summaries of ideas and attitudes are (so far as I can judge) accurate.

The sheer volume of information contained between the covers of this book is almost overwhelming. It has earned a prominent place in my reference library.

At $29.95 (U.S.), it isn’t an impulse buy. But, it is well worth the investment in my opinion. The bibliography can also form the basis of a decent “wish list” of books to add to a personal (or group) library.