Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Read the Books of Peaches Geldof Part Two

Continuing on from my earlier post in providing links to PDFs for the books that featured on the shelfie published by Peaches Geldof weeks before her sad and as yet unexplained demise. I post this second and final installment on the bottom shelf of the above image here to provide access to many classic texts on the occult while public interest has been stirred. If you want to honor the memory of Peaches, why not read a book she was a fan of.

Beginning on the lower shelf, we have already posted a link to a PDF for The Nag Hammadi Library (a personal favorite of mine, which sits on my own shelf) in the early Top Shelf entry. But from then on, left to right, we have:

Classical Mythology by Mark P. O. Morford and Robert J. Lenardo (Seventh Edition)
Peaches' edition of this classic text on the Classics is the ninth edition (there is a website companion to the ninth), but I link here to a PDF of the seventh edition.  The text contains a wide variety of faithfully translated passages from Greek and Latin sources, including Homer, Hesiod, all the Homeric Hymns, Pindar, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Herodotus, Plato, Lucian, Lucretius, Vergil, Ovid, and Seneca. Acclaimed authors Mark P.O. Morford and Robert J. Lenardon incorporate a dynamic combination of poetic narratives and enlightening commentary to make the myths come alive for students. Offering historical and cultural background on the myths (including evidence from art and archaeology) they also provide ample interpretative material and examine the enduring survival of classical mythology and its influence in the fields of art, literature, music, dance, and film.

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion by Sir James Frazer
I grew up with many of the books on Peaches' shelf (my father was a loose Crowleyian) and this was standard reading from the age of about 14 for me. The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion (retitled The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion in its second edition) is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion, written by the Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). It was first published in two volumes in 1890; in three volumes in 1900; the third edition, published 1906–15, comprised twelve volumes. The work was aimed at a wide literate audience raised on tales as told in such publications as Thomas Bulfinch's The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855).

Frazer offered a modernist approach to discussing religion, treating it dispassionately as a cultural phenomenon rather than from a theological perspective. The influence of The Golden Bough on contemporary European literature and thought was substantial.

The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie
The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie is considered by many to be the book that started the modern occult movement. The original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which started in the late 1800s, borrowed from a wide variety of occult traditions; Kabalah, Tarot, Geomancy, Enochian Magic, Theosophy, Freemasonry, Paganism, Astrology, and many more and created a unique and viable system of magic that is still being practiced today. Almost every contemporary occult writer and modern group has been influenced, directly or indirectly, by the Order or its members, making The Golden Dawn one of the most influential occult books of the past 100 years.

The book is divided into several basic sections. First are the knowledge lectures, where you will learn the basics of the Kabalah, symbolism, meditation, geomancy and more. This is followed by the rituals of the Outer Order, consisting of five initiation rituals into the degrees of the Golden Dawn.

The next section covers the rituals of the Inner Order including two initiation rituals, equinox ceremonies, and more. Then you will learn the basic rituals of magic and the construction, consecration, and means of using the magical tools. Once you have these you can go on to evocation rituals, talismans, and invocations.

An Unrecognizable Text

The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage
The Book of Abramelin tells the story of an Egyptian mage named Abramelin, or Abra-Melin, who taught a system of magic to Abraham of Worms, a German Jew presumed to have lived from c.1362–c.1458. The system of magic from this book regained popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries due to the efforts of Mathers' translation, The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, its import within the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and later within the mystical system of Thelema (created in 1904 by Aleister Crowley).

Unfortunately, Mathers used the least-reliable manuscript copy as the basis for his translation, and it contains many errors and omissions. The later English translation by Georg Dehn and Steven Guth, based on the earliest and most complete sources, is more scholarly and comprehensive. Dehn attributed authorship of The Book of Abramelin to Rabbi Yaakov Moelin (Hebrew יעקב בן משה מולין; ca. 1365–1427), a German Jewish Talmudist. This identification has since been disputed.

Judasim by Rabbi Dan Cohn-Sherbok
This all-encompassing textbook is an unrivalled guide to the history, beliefs and practice of Judaism. Beginning with the ancient Near Eastern background, it covers early Israelite history, the emergence of classical rabbinic literature and the rise of medieval Judaism in Islamic and Christian lands. It also includes the early modern period and the development of Jewry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Extracts from primary sources are used throughout to enliven the narrative and provide concrete examples of the rich variety of Jewish civilization.

Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa
Three Books of Occult Philosophy (De Occulta Philosophia libri III) is Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's (1486-1535) study of occult philosophy, acknowledged as a significant contribution to the Renaissance philosophical discussion concerning the powers of ritual magic and its relationship with religion.

The three books deal with Elemental, Celestial and Intellectual magic. The books outline the four elements, astrology, kabbalah, numbers, angels, God's names, the virtues and relationships with each other as well as methods of utilizing these relationships and laws in medicine, scrying, alchemy, ceremonies, origins of what are from the Hebrew, Greek, and Chaldean context.

These arguments were common amongst other hermetic philosophers at the time and before. In fact, Agrippa's interpretation of magic is similar to the authors Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Johann Reuchlin's synthesis of magic and religion and emphasize an exploration of nature. Unlike many grimoires of the time, before and past, these books are more scholarly and intellectual than mysterious and foreboding. These books are often read as authoritative by those interested in the occult even today.

The Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa
The so-called Fourth Book appeared in Latin some thirty years after Agrippa's death. Johann Weyer, a student of Agrippa's, denounced this work to be spurious (cf. Praestigiis Daemonum, 1563) and that evaluation has rarely been questioned. An exception to this is Stephen Skinner in his 1978 introduction to the facsimile edition published by Askin Publishers.

Magick in Theory in Practice by Aleister Crowley
My former work has been misunderstood, and its scope limited, by my use of technical terms. It has attracted only too many dilettanti and eccentrics, weaklings seeking in "Magic" an escape from reality. I myself was first consciously drawn to the subject in this way. And it has repelled only too many scientific and practical minds, such as I most designed to influence. But MAGICK is for ALL. So I have written this book to help the Banker, the Pugilist, the Biologist, the Poet, the Navvy, the Grocer, the Factory Girl, the Mathematician, the Stenographer, the Golfer, the Wife, the Consul - and all the rest - to fulfil themselves perfectly, each in his or her own proper function. Let me explain in a few words how it came about that I blazoned the word MAGICK upon the Banner that I have borne before me all my life. (from book)

The Tanakh (Hebrew: תַּנַ"ךְ‎, pronounced [taˈnaχ] or [təˈnax]; also Tenakh, Tenak, Tanach) is the canon of the Hebrew Bible. It is also known as the Masoretic Text or Miqra.

Tanakh is an acronym of the first Hebrew letter of each of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: Torah ("Teaching", also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi'im ("Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Writings")—hence TaNaKh. The name "Miqra" (מקרא), meaning "that which is read", is another Hebrew word for the Tanakh. The books of the Tanakh were passed on by each generation, and according to rabbinic tradition were accompanied by an oral tradition, called the Oral Torah.

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