Feminine Mysteries in the Bible: The Soul Teachings of the Daughters of the Goddess, by Ruth Rusca
Bear & Company, 9781591430889, 144 pp., 2008
Rusca approaches the feminism in the Bible from a somewhat unique perspective. Born in Switzerland in 1929 to German Protestant parents who lived in an Italian-speaking Catholic village, she received a religious education which encompassed both cultures. Add to that mixture an appreciation of the work of Carl Jung and you have the makings of a unique approach.
She has found a four-fold path of women as both mothers and daughters. She sees them as embodying the aspects of sacred sexuality without, necessarily, approaching the concept of the Mother Goddess as it is currently conceived by modern neo-Pagans. Continue reading
Aleister Crowley: A Modern Master, by John Moore
Mandrake of Oxford, 97801906958002, 215 pp. (incl. bibliography and index), 2009
A Modern Master aims to present itself as a cultural examination of Crowley, yet Moore does not seem quite up to the task.
Moore wries that one of his goals in writing this book was “to make excuses for him, defending what has been criticised as a more contemptible side of his character”. This is severely misguided. Crowley was who he was, excuses are rather moot at this point. (Do we excuse Baudelaire? Rimbaud? Berber?) Rather than attempt to shine up the unsavoury bits Moore would have done better to explore them in context and describe how they influenced his work.
Continuing, he writes: Continue reading
Initiation in the Aeon of the Child: The Inward Journey, by J. Daniel Gunther
Ibis Press, 0892541458, 224 pp., 2009
In 1904, Aleister Crowley become the prophet of the New Aeon, declaring the Aeon of Horus, the Child is dawning and that the worlds, inner and outer must change and reflect this. J. Daniel Gunther follows this belief and a century later begins to explore what the Aeon of the Child is all about.
James Wasserman says in the introduction, “In my opinion, this is the most important original work to be published since the death of Aleister Crowley. This builds either a high degree of expectation or scepticism, or perhaps both. While I may think that is a bit of a grandiose claim, I did find the book interesting and educational. Continue reading
The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, by H.H. Tenzin Gyasto, the 14th Dalai Lama
Broadway Books, 978767920810, 216 pp., 2005
Many books that touch on science and spirituality follow the pattern of using one to try to (dis)prove the other. In this book, while His Holiness seeks the middle path of Science and Spirituality, he doesn’t try to marry the results, but the process. Rather than trying to show how science is directly supporting or opposing Buddhist thought, he spends the time focused on the process of science and the importance it holds to Buddhism, as well as how Buddhism must change with the understanding of our world.
“My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the finds of science and abandon those claims.”
His Holiness so believes Continue reading
Yoga Morality: Ancient Teachings at a Time of Global Crisis, by Georg Feuerstein
Hohm Press, 1890772666, 292 pp. (incl. bibliography and index), 2007
“The idea current in some circles that spirituality has nothing to do with morality is an unproductive and even dangerous will-o’-the-wisp. If spirituality is not embodied here and now, it is nothing at all.”
In the preface Feuerstein writes that “Yoga is not to be measured by the glamour of its spectacular physical postures or fabulous states of meditation.” Instead he notes that yoga is a spiritual tradition “concerned with personal growth and the goal of self-transcendence to the point of perfect inner freedom.” As such, this book as little to do with the yoga we’ve become familiar with, no postures, no exercises. Instead, Yoga Morality focuses on the ethical side of things, as Feurerstein sees it. Continue reading
The Weiser Concise Guide to Aleister Crowley, by Richard Kaczynski, edited and introduced by James Wasserman
Weiser Books, 978157634569, 126 pp. (incl. appendices), 2009
Richard Kaczynski is the author of the acclaimed biography, Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (sadly out of print), and it’s not surprising that he is able to sketch the outlines of Crowley’s life so. Naturally, the book begins with a biography of Crowley, briefly describing his early life, his time at Cambridge, poetry, the Golden Dawn, the reception of Leiber AL vel Legis, the OTO and the A.’. A.’., the Abbey of Thelema and his end. The section concludes with an annotated list of twelve books of Crowley’s work as recommended reading.
Part I deals with “Mystical and Magical Societies”, specifically Continue reading