Book Reviews

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
obnoxion
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Book Reviews

Postby obnoxion » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:26 pm

Yuri Stoyanov: "The Other God - Dualist Religions from Antiquity to the Cathar Heresy" (Yale Nota Bene/2000)

There are two very powerful ways for Religions to act in the World - The Syncronist way and the Dualist way. And although one of the major topics of this book, the chameleon-like Manichaeism - the great Heresy and once a world religion, which in its prime was the single most threatening enemy of Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism alike - partook of both ways, this book deals exclusively with the history religious dualism.

Beginning with the Two Principles of ancient Egyptian tradition, the book gets more detailed and fascinating as it progresses toward the Gnostic religions, and its latest manifestations, the Balkan Heresies of the Middle Ages. It is clear that these are the particular field of expertise of the writer.

Many who have an active interest in religions might find the first chapters of this book mostly dealing with familiar topics, but it definetly pays to read on. When we get to the gnostic religions, it is almot impossible to put the book down. And the amount of information in such a readable form is unbelievable.

If i had to choose on particular reason to recommend this book, it would be the way it shows the active exchange of religious Ideas between far corners of Europe and Asia. Also the stories of the pagan supremacy of the late antiquity Bulgaria sparked a whole new interest toward this fantastic Eastern-Europian country. Apparently there's a lot more to Bulgaria than the Sunny Beach!
One day of Brahma has 14 Indras; his life has 54 000 Indras. One day of Vishnu is the lifetime of Brahma. The lifetime of Vishnu is one day of Shiva.
Necrosophiacos
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Re: Book Reviews

Postby Necrosophiacos » Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:15 am

I have felt moved to add this text to the topic, This book contains various aspects of interest related to Jesus Christ, and relations with Pagan mythOs and ideas.

JESUS CHRIST, SUN OF GOD: ANCIENT COSMOLOGY AND EARLY CHRISTIAN SYMBOLISM.
By David Fideler

"The early Christian Gnosis did not spring up in isolation, but drew upon earlier sources. In this book, many of these sources are revealed for the first time. Special emphasis is placed on the Hellenistic doctrine of the "Solar Logos" and the early Christian symbolism which depicted Christ as the Spiritual Sun, the illumination source of order, harmony, and spiritual insight. Based on 15 years of research, this is a unique book which throws a penetrating light on the secret traditions of early Christianity. It clearly demonstrates that number is at the heart of being. Jesus Christ, Sun of God, illustrates how the Christian symbolism of the Spiritual Sun is derived from numerical symbolism of the "ancient divinities."
Fomalhaut
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Re: Book Reviews

Postby Fomalhaut » Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:46 pm

I just have realized we have a topic called "Book Reviews", sorry for inconvenience that I have opened a topic called "book suggestions". I deleted the topic.
"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become."
— C.G. Jung
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Nefastos
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Re: Book Reviews

Postby Nefastos » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:31 pm

Here's a list of books in English I'm reading right now:

Bukert: Ancient Mystery Cults (A very nice, compact study.)

Dante: Divine Comedy, The: 3: Paradiso – Italian text with translation and commentary by John D. Sinclair (I never got in end of the Paradise while reading Dante in my youth, and it was awesome to start it while literally flying above clouds of Italy earlier this summer.)

Dzielaska: Hypatia of Alexandria (Every critic of Christian fanaticism must be aware of Hypatia, but it's easy to make it just a legend of hate arousal; so here's some solid data, but not too heavy to enjoy.)

Beyer: Magic & Ritual in Tibet - The Cult of Tara (There are actually quite a lot of very good books made of Buddhist magic in Tibet, & this is one of those. Practices like the exact mantras are given at any opportunity.)

Blatty: Redemption, The (A novel. William Peter Blatty seems to be just as bad getting over with the problem of theodicy as am I.)

Skinner (ed.): Veritable Key of Solomon, The (If you think about buying this interesting & large collection of the texts of the Key of Solomon, be aware that the scanned pictures inside this quite expensive book are of poor quality. Still a very good book.)

Payne (ed.): White Pony, The (An anthology of Chinese poetry, to give mind some rest between work.)

Moorcock: Wizardry and Wild Fantasy - A study of epic fantasy (I don't tire repeating that fantasy fiction is today's mythology. It's good people who are not academics but invested in a deeper level give it some theoretical thought, too.)

Woodroffe: Tantra of the Great Liberation: Mahânirvâna Tantra (A classic.)

Quennell (ed.): Byron: A Self-Portrait – Letters and diaries 1798 to 1824 (Byron isn't very well known in Finland, so much I know of him are just hazy impressions. These letters should do the trick.)

...Plus a couple of books so bad they are better left unmentioned here.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Heith
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Re: Book Reviews

Postby Heith » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:49 pm

Currently I'm reading:

Freya Aswynn: Power & Principles of the Runes (arrived today)

I'm familiar with most of the material in this book, as I've seen it elsewhere before. I do think that there was at least some divination material that is new to me, but I've read maybe fourth of this so far. A good book, and a little different from her previous Northern Mysteries & Magick (also called Leaves of Yggdrasil). Freya's a radical dame and I like her work and personality.

Johannes Setälä: Shamaanin Matka (journey of the shaman)
A shaman in the finnish Kalevala-styled tradition. Setälä is quite interesting. His books don't explain anything. He just describes his drum journeys, sometimes there's drawings as well.

Gullveigarbók,
as recommended by fra Jiva. Only read a little bit as I suddenly wanted to make diagrams to go with the text. Basically, this book studies the Norse myth of Gullveig (Sometimes thought to be another aspect of the goddess Freyja) from a little bit different point of view than other texts I've encountered.

Also reading the Eddas again. Völuspá never ever stops to thrill me. What a fantastic work of art!


Just finished reading:
Another book by Setälä, and Carlos Castaneda's Journey to Ixtlan.

Not sure if I liked Castaneda or not. Definitely I'm not thrilled, but I didn't hate it either. It had some nice parts to it, and then a awful lot of describing physical movements etc. I wish there would have been more of la Catalina (a sorcerer opponent), she seemed like a interesting character. I also enjoyed the scene with the magical coyote. Particularly the description of the eyes. The main character's whiney nature annoyed me a little bit. What a spineless git!


On queue:
A book by Nefastos, a book by Nox. And one million more.
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Heith
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Re: Book Reviews

Postby Heith » Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:50 pm

Nefastos wrote:
...Plus a couple of books so bad they are better left unmentioned here.
It is completely unfair to peak my interest like this!
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Jiva
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Re: Book Reviews

Postby Jiva » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:09 pm

Firstly I must thank Necrosophiacos for the recommendation of David Fideler – Jesus Christ, Sun of God. It has opened my eyes to various interpretations of Biblical stories (the fish in the net, feeding of the 5,000) and links to Greek and Egyptian mythology. In fact it has helped me to view the mythologies of the Mediterranean in a more unified context. This book also contains information on sacred architecture, sacred geometry, the Kabbala, the Key of Solomon and a variety of other topics. As a musician there are some particularly interesting applications of gematria to music theory. Basically it is an excellent source-book and I'm sure everyone would learn something from it. I've actually been planning to draw some accompanying diagrams to René Guénon's Symbolism of the Cross; I may now try to include some of the mathematical symbolism I've learned from this book in the final drawings.

I recently read Charles Lak – The Śūraṅgama Sūtra. I haven't actually read much about Buddhism so I've no idea why I decided to read this translation of Chinese Buddhist teachings instead of something easier and less controversial for a beginner. My immediate perception of it is that it avoids the nihilism and the regressiveness I associate with more monastic Buddhism. The apocalyptic consequences for “wrong thinking” are a distraction, but there are interesting examinations of thought and memory, interaction with society and the various degrees of enlightenment. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but it bears quite a lot of similarity to general Hindu tantrism.

Books in my reading queue at the moment are:
Agrippa – De Occulta Philosophia
Mikhail Bulgakov – The Master and the Margarita
Georges Dumézil – Gods of the Ancient Northemen
Friedrich Nietzsche – Daybreak
David Chaim Smith – The Kabbalistic Mirror of Genesis; Commentary on Genesis 1-3
Zosimos of Panopolis – On the Letter Omega

I'm also expecting a translation of Manas, the national epic of Kyrgyzstan. It might in fact be the longest epic story that exists. Apparently the translation isn't the best, but then I have no other choice.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'
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Nefastos
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Re: Book Reviews

Postby Nefastos » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:08 pm

Agrippa, Bulgakov & Fideler seconded. Read these & be three little steps closer to nirvâna already...
Heith wrote:It is completely unfair to peak my interest like this!


My lips are sealed. Well, ok, just this one:

Norvill: Giants - The Vanished Race of Mighty Men

I said it was bad, and in here it means that the author has read Däniken, Blavatsky & such like luminaries telling high stories & giving hints about giant Atlanteans, ancient astronauts, sasquatch & cetera, & then he pours from this caudron filled with all those chicken legs & what not telling how "many scholars" agree with those things. It's entertaining in a way, but it's also an apt way to tell people outside occult circles that we are all a bunch of lunatics who believe anything we're told.

I'm not to say I won't believe in crazy wild stories of all of the above myself, but I think it's not the wisest move to handle bizarre & occult stuff in the way of gonzo journalism, claiming it to be something else. Philosophy, metaphysics, magic - those are things that need not any references to objective sources... but when we start to talk with objective phenomena, at least the tiniest bit of academical viewpoint & healthy scepsis should necessarily be included.
Faust: "Lo contempla. / Ei muove in tortuosa spire / e s'avvicina lento alla nostra volta. / Oh! se non erro, / orme di foco imprime al suol!"
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Heith
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Re: Book Reviews

Postby Heith » Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:58 pm

I started to read Tapio Kotkavuori's Vasemman Käden Polku ("Left Hand Path"), as said author has been mentioned in private conversations so often lately. He's a finnish member of TOS, for those who aren't familiar with the name. Almost read this through, liked it so far. Clear representation, with further reading lists. There was also a few good exercises that I was thinking to tweak a little bit for my own uses, mostly to go with runic practices.

Also, music-to-read-to, Tapio Kotkavuori's music from Terra Hyperborea. There's a few links in youtube, I see.
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Jiva
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Re: Book Reviews

Postby Jiva » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:52 pm

Edred Thorsson (Stephen Flowers) – Alu: An Advanced Guide to Operative Runeology.

I think this book is in summary a good book, but one that suffers from a few issues, pretty much all of which derive from having two focal points: 1) an academic study of the runes and their possible meanings; and 2) a psychological occult interpretation. It is often not entirely clear where these avenues of research are separated.

Furthermore, the psychological occult interpretations are sometimes quite shallow. An example of this is during the academic analysis for Laukaz it is mentioned that the Germanic peoples viewed the sea as more of a highway than a barrier. However when discussing the Anglo-Saxon Ior rune (an extension of the Elder Futhark Jera) it is referred to as possibly meaning “snake/serpent” in the vein of Jörmungandr as a restrictive barrier. At least esoterically, a mythological device such as Jörmungandr could be seen as a barrier, but also as a symbol of equal and complete unity.

There is also a focus on the superficial cosmic-ordering forms of Odin and Tyr rather than any deeper esoteric interpretations. I think the root of this direction of analysis can be traced to early statements regarding the “superiority” of the Æsir due to their harnessing of the power of the Thurses to realise conscious plans. At the same time it's also stated that the Thurses are superior in their own way as they outlive the Æsir by being “more basic”. Later in the book Ragnarök is presented as a transformation, although this isn't expanded upon which is unfortunate as this could perhaps explain this dissonance. I should mention Thorsson references himself heavily, so perhaps this is contained in an earlier or forthcoming book?

However, less of the negative! The more academic side of the book presents a number of really interesting interpretations for each of the runes which in turn open gateways for the reader to develop. A particularly revelatory one for me was the direct association of Uruz/Uram with Auðumbla and Ymir (Aurgelmir) from a linguistic point of view: "aurr" (moist eath, clay; mud), connected etymologically with úr (rain, i.e. primal waters) and the literal rune name aurochs. This adds another dimension to the rune itself but also to the Alu formula.

I also agree with Thorsson's brief comments regarding the Uthark theory: that it doesn't seem to be historically viable, but that this doesn't effect it's psychological occult importance. At some point I'm going to have to sit down with this book and Thomas Karlsson's Uthark – Nightside of the Runes to compile some notes.
'Oh Krishna, restless and overpowering, this mind is overwhelmingly strong; I think we might as easily gain control over the wind as over this.'

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