Good books on occultism for beginners

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
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Silvaeon
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Good books on occultism for beginners

Postby Silvaeon » Sun Aug 21, 2016 2:24 am

Greetings,

I'm curious to know if there are any really good books that members here might recommend as essential reading for anyone relatively new to occult concepts.

Some things I have on my shelf and have found useful so far:
The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P Hall: a treasure trove of information, I find this good to read in small sections and is excellent to have as a reference.
The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish: This seems to be widely available. I found it to be a decent introduction to some concepts like numerology, astrology, alchemy, and magic. It definitely has a bit of condescending outsider looking in tone, but it was informative to me anyways.

On a less general note, I really enjoyed The Order of the Skeleton Key (containing Kosmology and Lanterns of Wisdom From The Firmament) by Jeremy Christner. This was an easy to understand and poetic intro to Gnostic Luciferian thought for me, which had much more depth than the Michael Ford and Lavey type Satanism which is very common here in the west. I would recommend this book. As for Ford etc. these types of books were interesting to me for a brief period, but the focus on ego and lack of real spirituality quickly grew stale (not to mention the horrendous editing).

Has anyone read the Pillars of Tubal Cain by Nigel Jackson and Michael Howard? It seems like this might be up my alley.

I've managed to receive all the writings of the SoA that I'm aware of so far which are in English (Catechism of Lucifer, Fosforos, Argarizim and Unseen Fire) and would consider these essential reading although far from the beginner level.

I've recently acquired a copy of Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine and can tell that it is going to be a rewarding, but large undertaking. So any recommendations of things on a smaller, more beginner scale are what I am hoping for at this time, although all recommendations are appreciated for the future as well. What books have been most influential and most useful in your path? Discussion encouraged, rather than just lists.

Thanks,
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Heith
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Re: Good books on occultism for beginners

Postby Heith » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:40 am

I always find this kind of question very difficult to answer, if I don't know the person and their reading habits.

My interest lies in Shamanism (of Siberian and Scandinavian variations currently) and the various folk magic practices and old magical beliefs that stem from it. It's very hard to find beginner friendly books on a subject which describes a oral tradition, but then academic books can be too tough to crack in the beginning as they rarely describe the basic principles of various world views.

True, I began by reading more popular books on Runes and had real struggle reading academic papers on the topic, because the language was so different and often the text is quite dry and packed with information. Nowadays I have little patience for interpretative (let's say, new age) books on the topics, and I solely rely on academic books when finding ground for my own interpretations and beliefs too. I am of course also very much indebted to my good brethren with whom I've discussed and learned a lot. This forum is pretty good for that too, once one gets a conversation going back and forth like a tennis match.

I guess the most important thing is to find a book that sparks interest, so one wants to carry on learning. I find myself unable to recommend anything, although we did put together a reading list on Rune - topics. I think that is on the members' forum, but I can see if I can find it, and then post it here.
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Re: Good books on occultism for beginners

Postby Nefastos » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:27 pm

ShieldAnvil wrote:Has anyone read the Pillars of Tubal Cain by Nigel Jackson and Michael Howard? It seems like this might be up my alley.

Yes, one of our brethren showed it to me after joining the Star of Azazel some years ago, and I was very positively surprised how similar the book's ideas and even many detailed accounts were to ours in many aspects.

ShieldAnvil wrote:I've recently acquired a copy of Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine and can tell that it is going to be a rewarding, but large undertaking. So any recommendations of things on a smaller, more beginner scale are what I am hoping for at this time, although all recommendations are appreciated for the future as well.

Sounds very good. I think that one should definitely try and read also the books one feels like intuitively right, even when they could not be at the moment be grasped in full. Large part of occult study is to read with intuition, to collect knowledge more to the use of manas (non-formal intellect) than kâma manas (formal intellect, e.g. academical knowledge). In a way those parts that "go over us" help us to gain more positive changes than those which use the structures that we are already familiar with.

This once again brings to mind how I started to study Secret Doctrine for the first time. It was pre-internet era in a small town, so all those special terms and words from all the different mythologies I had to write down in hopes that I could find them later. That kind of work is a true pleasure, since the mind can work & expand in so many different levels at once.

Heith wrote:I always find this kind of question very difficult to answer, if I don't know the person and their reading habits.


Yes, answer to that is necessary an aspectual one. But since I have some free minutes here, I will go through my personal library and suggest some books. I think it will mostly be just a list for now, regretfully. You can get more info from the 'net, & more discussion can follow. I think it should be noted that what is nowadays known as occultism, was for centuries the esoteric side of religion.

THEOSOPHY
- Bailey: A Treatise on White Magic (and other books)
- Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett

TANTRA
- Woodruffe (aka. Avalon): Serpent Power (and other books)
- Feuerstein: Tantra - The Path of Ecstasy

ROSICRUCIANISM
- Pistis Sophia (hard to understand, but widens in a good way the gnostic figure of Christ & his occult teachings)
- Kingsford: The Perfect Way (Rosicrucian theosophy, incl. a very good interpretation of Satan)
- Ervast: Esoteric School of Jesus (my personal favourite of Rosicrucian occultism)

CLASSIC OCCULTISM & GRIMOIRES (not so much for philosophical study)
- Levi: Transcendental Magic
- Agrippa: Three Book of Occult Philosophy (e.g. Tyson's edition)
- (Pseudo-)Agrippa: The Fourth Book on Occult Philosophy (ed. Skinner)
- McLean: A Treatise on Angel Magic
- Peterson (ed.): The Lesser Key of Solomon
- Mathers (ed.): Key of Solomon
- Peterson (ed.): Grimorium Verum

Also I would suggest to read something from the following non-occult authors: Plato; F.M. Dostoevsky; C.G. Jung. Plus the following religious books:

- Bible: Book of Job & Gospels (e.g. Gospel of Matthew)
- Barnstone & Meyer (ed.): The Gnostic Bible
- The Book of Enoch ("Enoch 1-3", Slavonic, Ethiopic and Hebrew, are all different texts; all are worth studying)

- Hermetica aka. Corpus Hermeticum, esp. Poimandres

- Upanishads
- The Aphorisms of Siva (Dyczkowski's version with several commentaries; also other works of D. about Kashmir Shaivism are good)
- Yoga Sutras (/Philosophy, Aphorisms...) of Patanjali (different editions should be read carefully, since the translations & commentaries have vast differences)
- Bhagavad-Gita (see above)

- Dhammapada
- The Life of Milarepa
- Mind Training: The Great Collection (from the Library of Tibetan Classics, an expensive but great set of books)
- Tibetan Book of the Dead (Fremantle-Trungpa's version is a good one, although not the one most perfect with the full translated texts)

- Tao Te Ching
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Silvaeon
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Re: Good books on occultism for beginners

Postby Silvaeon » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:57 pm

Heith wrote:Nowadays I have little patience for interpretative (let's say, new age) books on the topics, and I solely rely on academic books when finding ground for my own interpretations and beliefs too. I am of course also very much indebted to my good brethren with whom I've discussed and learned a lot. This forum is pretty good for that too, once one gets a conversation going back and forth like a tennis match.

I guess the most important thing is to find a book that sparks interest, so one wants to carry on learning. I find myself unable to recommend anything, although we did put together a reading list on Rune - topics. I think that is on the members' forum, but I can see if I can find it, and then post it here.
Hi Heath! Thank you for the reply. Runes are definitely something I am interested in, but unfortunately the new age variety of books are pretty much all that is readily available where I am so it is difficult to know where to start. If you felt like digging up that reading list some day I would definitely be interested!
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Silvaeon
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Re: Good books on occultism for beginners

Postby Silvaeon » Sun Sep 11, 2016 10:55 pm

Nefastos wrote:
ShieldAnvil wrote:Has anyone read the Pillars of Tubal Cain by Nigel Jackson and Michael Howard? It seems like this might be up my alley.

Yes, one of our brethren showed it to me after joining the Star of Azazel some years ago, and I was very positively surprised how similar the book's ideas and even many detailed accounts were to ours in many aspects.
Thanks for the quick review! I will probably try and track down a copy of this.
Nefastos wrote:
ShieldAnvil wrote:I've recently acquired a copy of Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine and can tell that it is going to be a rewarding, but large undertaking. So any recommendations of things on a smaller, more beginner scale are what I am hoping for at this time, although all recommendations are appreciated for the future as well.

Sounds very good. I think that one should definitely try and read also the books one feels like intuitively right, even when they could not be at the moment be grasped in full. Large part of occult study is to read with intuition, to collect knowledge more to the use of manas (non-formal intellect) than kâma manas (formal intellect, e.g. academical knowledge). In a way those parts that "go over us" help us to gain more positive changes than those which use the structures that we are already familiar with.

This once again brings to mind how I started to study Secret Doctrine for the first time. It was pre-internet era in a small town, so all those special terms and words from all the different mythologies I had to write down in hopes that I could find them later. That kind of work is a true pleasure, since the mind can work & expand in so many different levels at once.
I definitely agree with this. For example, the first time I read Fosforos I found some concepts quite difficult to grasp although the general feeling I got was resonation. Then after letting it sit for some months and coming back to it, I was able to understand much quicker. I also love to write down different terminology and notes to come back to later - I learn much better this way rather than just reading something over.
Nefastos wrote:I have some free minutes here, I will go through my personal library and suggest some books. I think it will mostly be just a list for now, regretfully. You can get more info from the 'net, & more discussion can follow. I think it should be noted that what is nowadays known as occultism, was for centuries the esoteric side of religion.

THEOSOPHY
- Bailey: A Treatise on White Magic (and other books)
- Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett

TANTRA
- Woodruffe (aka. Avalon): Serpent Power (and other books)
- Feuerstein: Tantra - The Path of Ecstasy

ROSICRUCIANISM
- Pistis Sophia (hard to understand, but widens in a good way the gnostic figure of Christ & his occult teachings)
- Kingsford: The Perfect Way (Rosicrucian theosophy, incl. a very good interpretation of Satan)
- Ervast: Esoteric School of Jesus (my personal favourite of Rosicrucian occultism)

CLASSIC OCCULTISM & GRIMOIRES (not so much for philosophical study)
- Levi: Transcendental Magic
- Agrippa: Three Book of Occult Philosophy (e.g. Tyson's edition)
- (Pseudo-)Agrippa: The Fourth Book on Occult Philosophy (ed. Skinner)
- McLean: A Treatise on Angel Magic
- Peterson (ed.): The Lesser Key of Solomon
- Mathers (ed.): Key of Solomon
- Peterson (ed.): Grimorium Verum

Also I would suggest to read something from the following non-occult authors: Plato; F.M. Dostoevsky; C.G. Jung. Plus the following religious books:

- Bible: Book of Job & Gospels (e.g. Gospel of Matthew)
- Barnstone & Meyer (ed.): The Gnostic Bible
- The Book of Enoch ("Enoch 1-3", Slavonic, Ethiopic and Hebrew, are all different texts; all are worth studying)

- Hermetica aka. Corpus Hermeticum, esp. Poimandres

- Upanishads
- The Aphorisms of Siva (Dyczkowski's version with several commentaries; also other works of D. about Kashmir Shaivism are good)
- Yoga Sutras (/Philosophy, Aphorisms...) of Patanjali (different editions should be read carefully, since the translations & commentaries have vast differences)
- Bhagavad-Gita (see above)

- Dhammapada
- The Life of Milarepa
- Mind Training: The Great Collection (from the Library of Tibetan Classics, an expensive but great set of books)
- Tibetan Book of the Dead (Fremantle-Trungpa's version is a good one, although not the one most perfect with the full translated texts)

- Tao Te Ching
Thank you for this huge list Nefastos! This will definitely keep me busy for a while. I am off work for a couple weeks so the timing is good. Some of these I have already in my collection which is nice too.

I just finished The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, based off it being mentioned in the meditation thread. I thought it was a really good book, and now that I've had some introduction to it's concepts I've started looking through The Tibetan Book of the Dead. It's astounding how much more advanced these traditions treat death and dying compared to the west. It's definitely something worth thinking about. That Mind Training collection sounds really interesting too, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

I've actually started slowly reading through The Bible too over the last year. It's interesting how different it feels reading it with a new set of eyes now (critically vs. dogmatically as a child). I got a beautiful KJV edition with all of Gustav Dore's biblical art, so it helps with the reading too knowing that every few pages I'll get to see some beautiful art haha. I do have a copy of The Dead Sea Scrolls that I'm looking forward to digging into eventually as well. I didn't know there were different Books of Enoch though, that's interesting.

Aside from the Tao Te Ching, the rest of these books are new to me. Just from browsing through reviews and information on the internet, almost all of them look like something I'd be interested in reading down the road though. So thank you!

Lots and lots to keep busy with. Looking forward to continuing the discussion
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Heith
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Re: Good books on occultism for beginners

Postby Heith » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:57 am

ShieldAnvil wrote:If you felt like digging up that reading list some day I would definitely be interested!
Sure! I've just asked from my fellow members if it's alright to share that list as it's currently on our members only - section :)
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Re: Good books on occultism for beginners

Postby ben Shachar » Thu Sep 29, 2016 5:48 pm

There is a book tittled "The Esotaric Zodiac" by Harold Waldwin Percival that makes a great compainion for the "Secret Doctrine" available for purchase through a simple web search. It is brief in context as it sticks to zodiac related concepts but offers diagrams and a final chapter that recounts the involution and evolution of mankind in detail citing the "Secret Doctrine" through each round and subset. This helps to orient oneself to the mechanism intrinsic to all things in the relm of the manifest. I offer this because I believe Theosophy to be the most practical and well aligned place to start when seeking the path of Luciferian gnosis.
There is a vast and limitless amount of information written on lhp subjects. My best advise is to take in as much as possible and you will begin to create an evolving patchwork of understanding, drawing on bits and pieces you have read that will bear sudden relevance in other context. Serendipity has played a large role in the unfolding of truth in my own experience and I trust in most everyone else as well...
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Re: Good books on occultism for beginners

Postby obnoxion » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:33 pm

Ten years ago I read a book called "Walkers Between the Worlds" by Caitlin and John Matthews. It was a practical tome in two parts: The Western ritual and the Western shamanic traditons. The authors give corresponding practices from both traditions with some theoretical backround. Ten years later I still think it is one of the better practical invitations to Western Occultism. The authors have somewhat negative concept of Lucifer, but the topic does not come up much. It is a book I'd give to my grandmother or my child if they would absolutely demand a book on the topic of easy-to-do Western Magic.
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