Category Archives: Hermetic Library Reading Room

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition, Hermeticism in a broad sense, and Aleister Crowley’s Thelema. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Richard Hittleman’s Yoga

Magdalene Meretrix reviews Richard Hittleman’s Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan in the Bkwyrm archive.

Originally published in 1969, this book is a great way to begin a regular daily practice of Hatha Yoga. Using the standard asanas (postures), Hittleman introduces a few new postures every day and goes over the ones learned on earlier days, adding repetitions, new variations or length of time spent in asana to each one, creating a program that gradually eases you into the practices.

The asanas are liberally depicted in hundreds of photographs and carefully described in detailed text. My biggest complaint with this book is that I wish it were spiral bound so that I could leave it laying open while working on a new posture rather than fumbling with bookmarks or destroying the book by leaving it splayed open on the floor. After working the program for 28 days, you have theoretically laid the groundwork for a new habit. The book concludes with three programs of asanas, meant to be alternated daily. Unfortunately, I’ve found it far easier to work through the daily part of the book than to stick with the three alternating routines and so I have gone back to this book over and over, trying to build the habit again. Be warned that, despite Hittleman’s assurances, the hardest work begins when you’ve finished this book.

Find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s.

Legionnaire

Legionnaire, book 1 of the Galaxy’s Edge series, by Jason Anspach and Nick Cole is Generation Kill in space. In spite of the science fiction setting, the particulars are thinly veiled allegory for recent military misadventures, with all the usual suspects and situations. The danger didn’t quite reach the Hidden Fortress level of impossible-situation plot-twists, but it was an entertainingly constant chaos of complications.

For me there was cringingly uncomfortable racist overtones to the description and conception of the main alien species, with the double whammy of being both Innsmouth-look-ish (which for me added a whole other genre can-of-worms by reference) and clearly Middle Eastern inspiration, on the planet where the action takes place, but if you can get over that, or accept it as littérature vérité, the rest is a pretty strong and stirring story about the common (hu)man trying to survive a vertically-integrated perpetual-motion military-diplomatic clusterfuck.

The epilogue felt wildly out of place to me because that little story-within-a-story went completely wibbly-wobbly Flash Gordon science fantasy pastiche. I’m not sure how the bodes for the rest of the series. I hope that was just an anomaly. Otherwise this was a solid first installment in a series with promise for worthy visceral commentary on recent global political-military history through a very thinly-drawn distancing lens of uncomfortably-close-to-real fiction.

I made 7 highlights, but 3 of those were notes about errors.

Originally posted on my personal blog at Legionnaire

If you want to push things toward The Way of Men and start the Interphase, create disappointment.

Jack Donovan, The Way of Men

Rites of Passage

Bkwyrm reviews Rites of Passage: The Pagan Wheel of Life by Pauline Campanelli in the Bkwyrm archive.

If you can ignore the slightly goofy illustrations by Dan Campanelli, this is a good book to have in your library. I’d suggest it be read in conjunction with Book Two of the Witchcraft Today series, edited by Charles Clifton. The work gives an introduction and overview of the major rites of passage in a Wiccan’s life, from birth through death. Note that the book does not contain information on those rites in other traditions; though the title says “Pagan”, the focus of the book is Wiccan. An especially useful chapter is the one on Initiation, as it contains information on both group and solitary dedications and initiations. Also includes ritual guidelines for those who wish to incorporate the Campanelli’s rites of passage into their own lives.

Find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s.

Ritual Book of Herbal Spells

Anonymous review of Ritual Book of Herbal Spells: A Collection of Unusual Spells From the Hither and Yon, Incorporating the Use of Herbs. by Aima in the Bkwyrm archive.

This book has a simple cover, no frills, and is to the point. It’s a book written for the use of herbs during rituals.

It was written during the 1970’s which in itself, is not a bad thing. There are several well written and useful books published during that time, involving the Occult, the Craft, and spiritual matters. However, “Ritual Book of Herbal Spells” is not one of them.

Much of the information for rituals in this book was obtained from oral legends and interpretations of Voodoo Masters and Qabalists, as stated in the foreword, but alas, like many legends and oral rituals passed down from generation to generation; the original ritual or reading becomes garbled and the meaning lost, such as the King James version of the Bible. The majority of “Ritual Book of Herbal Spells” was meant for the “hexing” of someone, or the removal of “hexes”; using Voodoo and Qabalist rituals, which are seen throughout the book. However; there are a few useful passages on the uses of absinthe and the like, just not many.

If someone wanted a book involving rituals using herbs, I would not recommend this one, unless the reader was looking for a good laugh.

Find this book at Amazon, Amazon.