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General Esoterica

Access to Western Esotericism
by Antoine Faivre
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to This is the first systematic treatment of esotericism to appear in English. Here is also an historical survey, beginning with the Alexandrian period, of the various esoteric currents such as Christian Kabbalah, Theosophy, Alchemy, Rosicrucianism, and Hermeticism. Common characteristics of these currents are the notion of universal interdependency and the experience of spiritual transformation. The author establishes a rigorous methodology; provides clarifying definitions of such key terms as gnosis, theopsophy, occultism, and Hermeticism; and offers analysis of contemporary esotericism based on three different pathways.

The second half of the book presents a series of studies on several important figures, works, and movements in Western esotericism - studies devoted to some of the most characteristic and illuminating aspects that this form of thought has taken, such as theosophical speculations on androgyny, Rosicrucian literature, and Masonic symbolism. The book is completed by a rich and selective bibliography conceived as a means of orientation and a tool for research. This book is a very good introduction to several Western mystery traditions.

Aspects of Occultism
by Dion Fortune
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Amazon.comWhen Dion Fortune wrote Aspects of Occultism, 'occultism' was an umbrella word used to describe hidden lore, secret traditions, and arcane knowledge. Today the word 'occult' is often confused with the word 'cult' and all of its negative aspects. Fortune's essays could more accurately be referred to as 'esoteric studies'. In this book she discusses evocative magic, the sites of Druid worship, parallels between Christianity and the Qabalah, the astral plane, auras, spiritual healing, power cycles, and our relationship to our higher selves. This revised edition includes a new introduction by Gareth Knight, an additional essay by Fortune ('The Myth of the Round table'), and an index.


The Training and Work of an Initiate
by Dion Fortune
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Amazon.comThe Training and Work of an Initiate (revised edition) shows how, from ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Qabalistic roots, the Western Esoteric Systems have an unbroken initiatory tradition that has been handed down from adept to neophyte. You will discover how initiates prepare body, mind, and spirit for the challenging journey that is the esoteric path. This book is filled with accessible information and is presented in such a way so that 'even that which the smallest cup can carry away is the true water of life'. This revised edition contains a new foreword by Gareth Knight and an index.


Esoteric Orders and Their Work
by Dion Fortune
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Amazon.comPeople have been fascinated by secret traditions since the beginning of time. Fraternal brotherhoods and sisterhoods and secret orders of varying degrees exist in every country, race, and religion. Dion Fortune in Esoteric Orders and Their Work gets to the root of exactly what esoteric orders are, leaving no stone unturned. Today in the centers of the civilized world there is a renewed interest in esoteric schools. Although they may be misunderstood by many, some of the noblest people have been among their advocates. This book removes the shroud of mystery and fear from esotericism and makes the Western Mystery Tradition accessible to anyone who has ever been curious about this fascinating spiritual path. This revised edition includes a new foreword by Gareth Knight and an index.



The Mystical Qabalah
by Dion Fortune
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Dion Fortune is one of the best known, and perhaps one of the most important figures of the occult revival period in late nineteenth and early twentieth century England. The Mystical Qabalah is Dion Fortune's most well known book. The Qabalah forms the basis of the western mystery tradition. Incorporating astrology, tarot, and other disciplines, Qabalah is a system of mystical knowledge and spiritual development that fulfills in the west many of the functions that yoga does in the east.

Although The Mystical Qabalah can be a difficult read in some places, it presents a thorough introduction and explanation of the Tree of Life and provides a key to the understanding and practical application of this mystical system. This is recommended reading for anyone interested in the western mystery traditions.


The Practical Qabalah
by Charles Fielding
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Practical Qabalah offers an exciting and modern introduction to the qabalah that combines Jungian psychology and the western mystery tradition with the esoteric symbolism of the Tree of Life. Fielding discusses the Tree of Life in terms of Jungian archetypes and shows you how to work with dreams, visualization, and ritual to help you get in touch with yourself and help you to relate to others. The focal point of the book is pathworking, the process of calling upon the energies symbolized by the Tree to effect creative change in yourself and in the world.

The book also includes a practical, insightful look at ritual: how it works, what you need to know in order to practice, and how ritual can help you take charge of your life and learn why you are here. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is just starting out on, or is already on the path of return.


Sefer Yetzirah
The Book of Creation
by Aryeh Kaplan
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to TheSefer Yetzirah is perhaps the oldest and least understood of all Kabbalistic texts. This translation was done by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, who brings its theoretical, meditative, and magical implications to light. When properly understood, the Sefer Yetzirah becomes an instruction manual for a very special type of meditation meant to strengthen concentration and to aid the development of psychic perception. These abilities were meant to help Kabbalists to perform feats that outwardly appeared magical.

This translation includes the meditation in five dimensions, the transition from Binah to Chakhmah consciousness, the point of infinity, kabbalistic astrology, Ezekiel's vision according to the Sefer Yetzirah, and the mystery of the 231 gates. Also included is a digest of major commentaries on the text of the Sefer Yetzirah and a bibliography of many of the major kabbalistic works that discuss it. This volume is the most complete work on the Sefer Yetzirah in English.


A Kabbalah for the Modern World
by Migene Gonzalez-Wippler
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to First Published in 1974, this book remains as a pioneer work in attempting to look at the system of mystical knowledge and practice known as Kaballah from a contemporary, scientific point of view. The author refutes the dominant view of the Godhead as a male deity and proves the equal significance of the female principle in the creation of the universe.

Gonzalez-Wippler presents a view of the creation of the universe as being parallel to the human act of procreation. She presents the essence of Kaballah as a system based on dualities, in which the universe is seen as the union of two intrinsically opposed principles harmoniously balanced in a third whic is the result of their union. This is an intriguing book that belongs on any serious seeker's shelf.


The Hermetic Tradition
Symbols & Teachings of the Royal Art
by Julius Evola
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to The Hermetic Tradition is a remarkable survey of alchemical symbols and doctrines. It introduces and explains the mysterious world-view and teachings of the practitioners of this Royal Art. Julius Evola was one of the premier scholars of the hermetic tradition. He draws from works on alchemy, theurgy, magic, and mythology to demonstrate the unity of the subject matter that lies behind the words of all adepts in all ages. He shows how alchemy - often misunderstood as primitive chemistry or a mere template for the Jungian process of individuation - is nothing less than a universal secret science of human and natural transformation.

The first part of the book outlines the symbols and teachings of the Art, while the second is concerned with techniques and effects of the practice. Throughout the the exposition of this sacred tradition, the reader is encouraged to listen with the ear of the heart; a leap of consciousness is required to leave our time-bound and analytical world and enter the timeless realm of nature's continuous creation.

It requires patience on the part of the reader if they are to grasp the hidden meanings of the symbols as they are revealed. This is material that must be absorbed on the subconscious level for it to really begin to make sense. This is a book that when read and re-read many times, new discoveries can be made every time.


The Greek Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a new English translation with notes and introduction
by Brian P. Copenhaver
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to The Hermetica are a group of theological and philosophical texts that are generally accepted to have been written during the early centuries of the Christian era, but are believed by some to have had much earlier origins. Hermes Trismegistus, their purported author, was thought to be a contemporary of Moses. The Hermetica was regarded as theology that paralleled the wisdom of the Christian Bible, supporting its revealed teachings and connecting them to the philosophy of the Platonic tradition. This edition is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in ancient philosophy and religion, early Christianity, Renaissance literature and history, or occult traditions.


The Tarot
A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages
by Paul Foster Case
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Paul Foster Case was the Supreme Chief of the Order of the Golden Dawn in North America. He later founded the Builders of the Adytum. In addition to his key roles in these schools of the western mystery tradition, he was also a pre-eminent authority and lecturer on the tarot and other occult topics.

In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, this book is one of the finest available on the occult meaning of the tarot. Included are sections on methods of study and tarot divination. Case explains tarot tradition, principles, techniques, and applications in clear language that modern seekers can appreciate. This is a must read for anyone interested in the mystery traditions of the west. 


Astrology The Next Step
Complete Horoscope Interpretation
by Maritha Pottenger
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Astrology: The Next Step offers a well thought out and logical path to horoscope delineation and interpretation. It takes the reader through the process of discovering themes - repeated messages that emphasize important energies and influences - within a horoscope. Over 40 themes and other combinations are described. Easy to follow examples and illustrations appear throughout the book. Sample charts are analyzed in detail. This is a good book for a beginner or for anyone seeking to improve their knowledge of astrological charts.


Alan Oken's Complete Astrology
by Alan Oken
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to This is an updated publication combining Alan Oken's first three books that pioneered the development of New Age interpretation in Astrology. Alan Oken's Complete Astrology charts the cosmological pathway to greater personal fulfillment and spiritual attainment through a deeper, more intuitive understanding of our own power - and the age we live in.

Helpful examples, charts and diagrams can be found throughout the book. This book is useful regardless of your level of expertise. I recommend this book to all seekers.


The New A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator
by Llewellyn George
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to This book is a basic - and very good - primer for creating and interpreting astrological charts. It claims to be the all time best selling guide to astrology. It makes astrology accessible to the beginner. Covering a wide range of topics, it gives a broad overview of astrology without going very deeply into any one of them.

Some of the topics covered are horoscope construction, interpretation, progressed charts, transits, rectification and estimation of birth time, and locality charts. A useful astrological dictionary is also included.


The Alchemist's Handbook
by John Randolph Price
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Amazon.comIn The Alchemist's Handbook you will learn that the purpose of the alchemical process is to change our thinking and feeling natures; move up to a higher frequency in consciousness, know what we want in life, clear channels for Spirit, and get us back into the natural order of the universe. We can clean up our past, remove our ego projections on others, begin to think and feel more clearly, and use our active imagination in a more productive way. By embracing the alchemical process you can begin to express yourself more constructively. You can begin to bring more love, joy, peace, harmony, and contentment into your life.


To an occultist, magic has a much different meaning than it has for most other people. The books here are about magic in the occult sense. here is an excerpt from the introduction to David Goddard's The Sacred Magic of the Angels to clarify the occult meaning of Magic.

     "The student of occultism knows that the power of causation lies in the inner levels of being. What is brought about on the inner levels will automatically, by universal dynamics, seek to manifest upon the physical plane. So what appears to the uninitiated as "magic" is really the science of applying little-known laws, whereby things are brought into manifestation seemingly out of nowhere. Most people think that the physical plane is reality, and if they think of inner levels at all, they image them as rather insubstantial and vague. Whereas in truth, the inner levels are very real and they give birth to the physical.
     Anyone who has had direct experience of the inner planes knows this. Whether through a near-death experience or by using a consciousness-raising technique (meditation, astral projection, shamanic spirit travel, or deep pathworking), they have briefly seen the power, the beauty, and the wonder of the inner levels of existence of which the physical world is but a shadow.
     This is not to decry the physical level, or to advocate escape from it - for matter, like everything else, is divine in origin and physicality is the garment of the Eternal. But many confuse the garment with That which wears it."


The Sacred Magic of the Angels
by David Goddard
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Amazon.comHopefully, the excerpt quoted above has piqued your interest in this very practical guide to Angel Magic. He introduces the seven archangels of the Elohim, the seven spirits before the throne of God and shows us how to call upon them and the archetypes that emanate from them to assist us on our Path of Return to the One Source, which is also known as the Great Work.

There is much information in this book that makes it useful to anyone on the path, regardless of how long you have been treading it. We are extremely fortunate that David Goddard has offered us this ancient Angelic tradition in written form. At a time when western society needs to reconnect with the Sacred for its own healing, this book provides a practical and very wise method of doing just that.


Applied Magic
by Dion Fortune
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Amazon.comApplied Magic (revised edition) is a selection of Dion Fortune's writings on the practical applications of magical and esoteric techniques. She explains that everyone has the ability to access the invisible planes of existence (mind and spirit) which cannot be perceived with the physical senses. This book provides invaluable guidance to anyone intent on increasing their awareness. This revised edition includes a glossary that defines terms used in the study of the Western Mystery Tradition. This new edition includes an introduction by Gareth Knight and an index.


Simplified Magic
A Beginner's Guide to the New Age 

by Ted Andrews
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Amazon.comThis book introduces a system of magical working based on the Qabalah. As its name implies, it offers simplified explanations that serve as a basic introduction to an esoteric tradition that one can spend a lifetime exploring. Based on the Tree of Life with its ten sephira and twenty two paths between the sephira, readers are introduced to the symbolism of the Tree and the levels of consciousness that the symbols represent. Readers are also taught how to begin to use the symbols in magical work to attain what you want spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.


More Simplified Magic
Pathworking and the Tree of Life

by Ted Andrews
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Amazon.comThis is the sequel to Simplified Magic. It delves deeper into the mysteries of the Tree of Life. You are introduced to the magical technique of Pathworking for manifesting your dreams. You are shown how to open the Inner temples of your mind and the potentials of your soul. You discover how to create and use astral doorways. You explore the archetypal forces of the world. You build bridges to the spiritual realms of life. And you learn to use powerful tools for psychic protection.


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