I highly recommend the book, and not just because I worked on it. Jim did a spectacular job narrating his story, and the book includes many great pict...moreI highly recommend the book, and not just because I worked on it. Jim did a spectacular job narrating his story, and the book includes many great pictures. (less)
I enjoyed this book immensely the first time I read it. Then I went back and read Pratchett's Watch series from the beginning, which added even more d...moreI enjoyed this book immensely the first time I read it. Then I went back and read Pratchett's Watch series from the beginning, which added even more depth and humor to this book. It still ranks as one of my favorite Discworld novels!(less)
I like how the author explored many essential questions about angel magic in the text. He had some great ideas about how it all works. However, I did...moreI like how the author explored many essential questions about angel magic in the text. He had some great ideas about how it all works. However, I did not like how the book ends. The author spends more time defending the pedigree of the Golden Dawn than talking about their views on angel magic. The book feels incomplete; it needed a good editor.(less)
Excellent book. The subtitle should read "How Arabs saved Western Civilization from the ignorance of the Roman Catholic Church." I found it an even mo...moreExcellent book. The subtitle should read "How Arabs saved Western Civilization from the ignorance of the Roman Catholic Church." I found it an even more interesting read in light of the current rise of Islamophobia in the Unites States. A little dense in places, but otherwise easy to digest.
This book loses a star by cause of the fact that it could have benefited from better supporting material. The timeline at the front of the book seemed incomplete, while the list of notable persons needed dates to help put the entries in chronological perspective. But most of all, this book needs a map, maybe two or three. The average person (the target audience) lacks familiarity with 10th-12th century geography, so a map would really help pull the book together.(less)
I really enjoyed reading this book. Cooper's examination of Masonophobia (his term for Anti-Masonry) brought to light some fascinating and disturbing...moreI really enjoyed reading this book. Cooper's examination of Masonophobia (his term for Anti-Masonry) brought to light some fascinating and disturbing facts. For example, Adolf Eichmann identified and cataloged information on Freemasons and their organizations before he was called away to deal with the so-called "Jewish problem." The author also gives evidence that the Germans specifically hunted down and murdered Masons in the same systematic manner as they did with the Jews. The Red Triangle from the title refers to the Nazi concentration camp badge used to identify Freemasons and other political enemies. The author also reports on modern Masonophobia in Scotland, where ignorant people recently demanded that the government require employees to register as Freemasons. It concludes with an analysis of Masonophobia and its causes. Highly recommended.
I wonder if anyone has written about Masonophobia in America? That sounds like a good read.(less)
I saw a copy of the original publication of Culling's GBG curriculum when I first started getting into occultism back in the late 90s. I didn't have a...moreI saw a copy of the original publication of Culling's GBG curriculum when I first started getting into occultism back in the late 90s. I didn't have any money at the time, so I didn't get the book; later I regretted passing it up. So you can imagine how happy I felt when I heard that Llewellyn had republished the GBG curriculum.
What a disappointment! I only made it a quarter of a way through the book before I gave up, saying “I don’t have time for this crap!”
You may ignore the "Commentary" and the "Definitions and Discussion Points" at the end of each chapter. (Note: the subtitles lack consistency; the section labeled "Definitions and Discussion Points" in the preface changes to "Study and Discussion Points" in Chapters 1-5, then returns to "Definitions and Discussion Points" from Chapter 6 forward.) Weschcke appears to have very little knowledge of Thelema, a big problem when analyzing the papers of an order “based on three points: The Book of the Law, Thelema, and the Aeon of Horus.” (page XXVIII.)
For example, consider his definition of the A.’.A.’.: “An order founded by Crowley after leaving the Golden Dawn. It was reputed to reflect Crowley’s bisexuality. See the website www.ordoaa.org/ for information and essential instructions for aspirants of the A.’.A.’.” This definition, repeated throughout the book, offers no real information! What about the curriculum, or the fact that each member only knows a teacher and a student, or maybe even its use of Thelema? On the other hand, Weschcke’s definition of the OTA comes straight from Runyon’s website propaganda. I don’t know why he even mentions the OTA in this book other than to give Runyon a plug. But I digress.
Bad writing and editing turned me off to this book. I kept finding errors. Another example: the entry for the OTA in the Index lists the wrong page numbers; it duplicates the listing for the OTO. And how many OTOs exist? Weschcke seems uncertain, but a quick browse through the Wikipedia entry clearly states that Kenneth Grant no longer claims to represent the OTO. Fact-checking, please!
In a nutshell, this new agey interpretation of the curriculum from a serious magical order falls far short of my expectations. I would really like to see the papers published without Weschcke’s commentary, or an analysis by someone who has a better grasp of the subject than Weschcke. I have a great deal of respect for Weschcke as a publisher, but I wish he had handed this project over to Donald Michael Kraig instead of handling it himself.
p.s. Unfortunately, I will have to read this book again at some point as research for one of my next books. It would make me very happy if someone who has a copy of the original publication of the GBG papers would determine if Weschcke altered them in any way in this new publication. I could salvage the papers from this book if I knew for certain that Weschcke did not edit them. (less)
I only read through half of The Book of the Moon, before I put it down. The dust jacket describes the author, Rick Stroud, as an acclaimed television...moreI only read through half of The Book of the Moon, before I put it down. The dust jacket describes the author, Rick Stroud, as an acclaimed television director; but good directing has little to do with writing a book, and I think the author would have benefitted from stronger editorial direction.
I liked the first chapter on facts and figures, but I felt the text started to deteriorate soon thereafter. Some sections feel padded with extra facts, while others seem incomplete, especially some of the lists and timelines. For example, read this description of Johannes Kepler from page 78:
“Kepler was an astrologer, astronomer and mathematician. He worked for a time in Tycho Brahe’s observatory. Kepler’s most important work was his Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, in which he described his three laws of planetary motion. In 1615 his mother was tried and imprisoned for witchcraft. She was released after fifteen months.”
What do the last two sentences have to do with astronomy and the Moon? Nothing! Why should we even care about Kepler’s mother? Why not use some of that space to explain something about Kepler’s laws or what made them so important? If you only have a few sentences to describe a person or topic, make them count. Also, the portrait of Kepler following the description takes up over half the page, appearing much larger than the portraits of Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei found earlier in the section. So with Kepler, we get more illustration than information.
The occasional pull-quotes in the text serve only to pad it; the text does not have the density or complexity to warrant using them. The pull-quotes appear too close to the original text, making them feel repetitive. The pages have wide outside margins, resulting in less actual information/text per page.
I finally gave up after reading the Chapter 3: Gods and Myths. The author glosses over some deities and offers misleading or erroneous information about others. Take this poorly written description of Thoth from page 126:
“Thoth is the god of the moon and wisdom. His images are to be found in sculpture, stone reliefs and wall paintings from 3000 BC to the end of Egyptian history in AD 400. Writing about him can be found in pyramid texts and coffin texts. He was born from the head of the god Seth. He is depicted variously as part human, part ibis; all ibis; or as a seated baboon. He wears a crown of a crescent moon surmounted by a moon disc. Generally benign, as the scribe of the gods he is responsible for entering the record of the souls who pass into the afterlife. He is the inventor of arts and science and the master of magic. If angered, he will decapitate the adversaries of truth and tear out their hearts.”
Where to start? The author takes the Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts out of context, ignoring the chronological import of these texts. The Egyptians generally considered Thoth as self-created and taking part in the formation of the universe, certainly not originating from Set. However, the last sentence surprised me the most, as none of the material I’ve read about Thoth mentions an angry, violent side of the god. While I do not doubt that a mythological basis for this manifestation could exist, the idea does not appear in any common mythological or archeological accounts of Thoth that I have encountered.
On the next page, another zinger concerning Hecate:
“She has been adopted by neo-pagans as the patron of witchcraft and evil, and her plants included hazel, black poplar and willow.”
None of the neo-pagans I know have adopted Hecate as the ‘patron of witchcraft and evil’. The author’s statement seems tainted with Judeo-Christian superstition that confuses darkness (an important aspect of Hecate) with evil.
I skimmed through the next chapter, Gardening and the Weather. The gardening section mostly describes Rudolf Steiner’s Biodynamics. The weather section gives a brief history of theories on if/how the moon affects our climate that ends around 1850 and then simply glosses over all modern attempts to answer the question as inconclusive. Surely meteorology and climatology have advanced sufficiently in the last 150 years to offer more evidence to consider! And here, I deemed the book not worth more investment of my time and attention and put it down. The rest of the book looks interesting, but not enough to endure issues with accuracy and layout. Very disappointing and not recommended. (less)
I give Joseph Peterson five stars for his introduction, annotations, and translation skills. Arbatel itself did not really teach me anything new, but...moreI give Joseph Peterson five stars for his introduction, annotations, and translation skills. Arbatel itself did not really teach me anything new, but I feel glad that I read it nonetheless. I found the material on the Olympic spirits interesting, but I've seen it summarized in other books.(less)
I enjoyed this book so much that I started rereading it when I finished! I have read two other biographies of Levi; neither of them match McIntosh in...moreI enjoyed this book so much that I started rereading it when I finished! I have read two other biographies of Levi; neither of them match McIntosh in terms of content or clarity. Highly recommended.(less)
Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel surprised me more with its toilet humor than its occasional chapters of nonsense! No wonder Crowley liked this book...moreRabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel surprised me more with its toilet humor than its occasional chapters of nonsense! No wonder Crowley liked this book so much. Only one thing has made me laugh more than the humor and shit in Gargantua: the thought of Beavis and Butthead reading this work. It would take them a lifetime!(less)
I knew little bits here and there about the import of the Divine Proportion, but The Secret Code puts everything together in one package. This does no...moreI knew little bits here and there about the import of the Divine Proportion, but The Secret Code puts everything together in one package. This does not read like a mathematical text; The Secret Code appeals to a more general audience, moving beyond the strictly mathematical import into connections with science, art and nature. The book has over 300 illustrations to assist the reader in grasping the whole concept of the Divine Proportion--the main purpose of this book.
I found the information on Fibonacci most interesting. Many people know about the numerical sequence named after him, but he actually made much more important contributions to mathematics. He introduced the Hindu concepts of number symbols, place values, and zero to the Western world in the 13th Century. Previously, they used Roman numeral and abaci to calculate numbers. This made multiplication and division very complicated! Needless to say, eventual acceptance of these new concepts revolutionized accounting and other business operations, not to mention Western mathematics.
The Secret Code also reminded me that Ptolemy's geocentric model of the universe stood for almost 1500 years until Copernicus proposed his heliocentric model in the 16th Century. It blows my mind that we only figured this out 500 years ago! Yet another example of religious ignorance impeding science.
I do have one primary criticism of the book. It appears obvious that someone (writer or editor) padded or fluffed-up the original manuscript. The connection between some of the images and the text seems tenuous at times. The content of the final chapter of the book had almost no relevance to the subject, and its deletion would have improved the book immensely. The book ends on a weak note.
One other thing: Some marketing genius decided to make the dust jacket of this book out of vellum (or something like it), and the dust jacket does not like to stay on the book. They wrap the book in plastic to hide this fact. Don't let that deter you from buying the book though. If you desire a good introduction to the Divine Proportion, you will not be disappointed with The Secret Code.(less)
I have known of this book's significance within the Golden Dawn for many years, but I only picked up a copy a few months ago at HPB. Levi mentions Eck...moreI have known of this book's significance within the Golden Dawn for many years, but I only picked up a copy a few months ago at HPB. Levi mentions Eckartshausen in DRHM, so I pushed it to the top of my reading list. The book consists of six letters; the first three letters gave me enlightening insight on the some of the core principles of the Golden Dawn, while the last three did not interest me as much, in part because the raving about Jesus as sole lord and savior increases significantly in the last half of the text. I did not read any of the accompanying commentary or translators notes, preferring to come to my own conclusions. Well, that and the fact that Waite authored the introduction...(less)
An excellent book, offering a glimpse into the occult ideas prevalent in late nineteenth century France. Very helpful in my research, and an enjoyable...moreAn excellent book, offering a glimpse into the occult ideas prevalent in late nineteenth century France. Very helpful in my research, and an enjoyable story as well.(less)