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Behind the Crystal Ball: Magic, Science, and the Occult from Antiquity through the New Age
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Behind the Crystal Ball: Magic, Science, and the Occult from Antiquity through the New Age

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  58 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
In this fascinating exploration of occult practice, Anthony Aveni takes the reader on a whirlwind tour through time and space to unveil the many ways people have used magic over the millennia in hopes of improving their lives. As Aveni persuasively argues, the ancients sought what we now search for through science and religion - a clearer picture of humanity's place in the ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 406 pages
Published July 30th 1996 by Times Books
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Sabrina Barnett
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a good (good, not great) overview of occult history, divided into chapters by time period and practice which allows for easy skimming based on area of interest. My biggest complaint would be that this is a fairly western-centric book whose interest seems to be in breadth (covering a whole lot of territory) rather than breadth (all-too-often the most interesting tidbits here were mentioned then quickly abandoned).
Stephanie
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a lovely balance between the rational and the intuitive for those who enjoy the places between the two.

Mr. Aveni begins at the earliest point of Western magical tradition in Babylon and Sumeria, and moves forward chapter by chapter to the modern age, examining without a judgmental stance how what we now call magic was essential the stirrings of science in its day.

It was quite delightful to read this thoughtful analysis of the steps toward understanding how the natural world works,
...more
Julie
i really think this book has a lot of interesting information, however it took me a long time to get through it.

I like reading about historical information probably because i like discovering how things begin and evolve; what reactions these new ideas caused in the past and are still causing today.

That being said, this book was a very dry read for me and very difficult to get through. My recommendation to those who choose to read it? Take your time - read bits at a time; otherwise the style of
...more
Autumn
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
I could not finish this book. The topic is fascinating, but the writing is extremely dry, and the topics do not flow together well. I'd rather read other books on some of the subjects covered in the book.
Debbie Mcnulty
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
I really enjoyed parts of this book. Some areas were a bit dry imo. I would recommend.
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