The Inner Light: Self-Realization via the Western Esoteric Tradition, by P.T. Mistlberger Axis Mundi Books, 9781846946103, 585 pp., 2013The Inner Light is a book geared around self-realization in the Western magical system. It seeks to help the reader find and understand the path to one's self, how to peel away the layers of falsity to find their core.As a reader, it is sometimes hard to tell if a book is right for me, so I’m happy to see when the author discuss whom the book is written for. Mistlberger describes the text as being for “spiritual seekers who desire some historical rigour and background theory,” as well as “academics or intellectually oriented students of the esoteric paths who desire to undertake some practical ‘inner work,’“ in addition to “the curious general reader,” and lastly the “serious student of inner work.” So this book is for occultists and non-occultists, as well as beginners and seasoned practitioners, and people interested in history and theory and people interested in practical work. Needless to say I wasn’t reassured by the sweeping claim of the book being for everyone literate, but that’s just the intro and authors need to sell their books, so let’s look deeper at The Inner Light and see who it is really for. Read More
Divine Duality: The Power of Reconciliation Between Women and Men, by William Keepin, Ph.D. with Cynthia Brix, M. Div. and Molly Dwyer, Ph.D. Hohm Press, 9781890772741, 298 pp., 2007Divine Duality is perhaps one of the most interesting attempts at a meaningful reconciliation of contemporary gender issues I have read in a long time. It asserts no certain formula or particular answer and so I cannot find any particular or certain fault with it. Abandoning the trite simplifications of popular self help models (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) which ultimately not only fail to address the deeply conditioned and limiting idea’s about gender (held internationally, regardless of social model, religious bias or cultural prerogative,) but most often shamelessly reinforce them.Instead, Dr. Keepin attempts to provide guidelines for a compassionate deconstruction. Men and women are brought together and made to confront the realities and limitations of each other’s lives and perspectives. Read More
Feminine Mysteries in the Bible: The Soul Teachings of the Daughters of the Goddess, by Ruth Rusca Bear & Company, 9781591430889, 144 pp., 2008Rusca 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. Read More
The Self in Transformation, by Hester McFarland Solomon Karnac Books, 9781855755703, 332 pp., 2007Solomon is a Jungian analyst who brings a depth of understanding to and sympathy to Freudian themes that I've not encountered previously. The papers collected here were written over a twenty year period, largely published in journals, save for the final essay, which was written especially for this volume.Part I introduces the theme of the work, which is Read More
Beyond Happiness: Deepening the Dialogue Between Buddhism, Psychotherapy and the Mind Sciences, by Gay Watson Karnac Books, 9781855754041, 193 pp. (incl. appendices), 2008Psychology, psychotherapy and the mind sciences have shown a growing interest in their links with the Buddhist models of the mind and the Buddhist psychology, this book is another effort to put forth some of what has been coming out of this interaction.While it may seem odd, I was glad in the intro when Watson admitted her limitations for this writing she is "not a scientist and freely admit that my understanding of these fields come from secondary sources which report back to the interest layperson from the fields of research." Several books I've read on this topic have the authors presenting themselves as more of an authority than perhaps they have the right to.Beyond Happiness also goes beyond similar books, for it not only discusses Buddhism in light of psychology but includes neuroscience and neurobiology as part of the exploration. The book follows the pattern of View, Meditation, and Action, a familiar pattern of thought to many Buddhists. Read More
Carl Jung: Darwin of the Mind, by Thomas T. Lawson Karnac Books, 9781855754683, 226 pp., 2008Jung is often considered what of the greatest minds of the age, one of the founding fathers of psychology. Lawson seeks "to pull together the thought of Carl Jung and place it in a non-technical way within a contemporary context, so as to make it accessible to the general reader" as Jung never wrote much for the public. Rather than being a "Jung 101" book, or a dumbed down version of his writings, this book is an intelligent exploration of Jung's ideas relying less on the professional language of psychology, focusing on the consciousness and unconsciousness as a direct product of evolution.
"we have a mechanism whereby conscious might evolve. The mechanism is directly analogous to genetic evolution and operates according to the basic formula of natural selection"Lawson compares Darwin's model of evolution to Read More