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.

Al: You’re looking fuckin’ well, Jack.
Jack: It’s the learning fuckin’ nothing, Al, that keeps me young.

Regina Corrado, Ted Mann, Deadwood, s03e03

Hermetic quote Corrado Mann Deadwood young

The Blessing of Pan

Julianus reviews The Blessing of Pan by Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett in the Bkwyrm archive.

Dunsany Plunkett The Blessing of Pan

Heralded by no less an authority that Aleister Crowley as “a noble and most notable prophesy of Life’s fair future,” this novel recounts the return of the Old Gods to an English village sometime in the late 19th century. Told from the point of view of the local Church of England Vicar, it begins humbly enough. A not-terribly-bright boy makes panpipes from some reeds and plays them in the forests of an evening and from there the entire valley is slowly brought to the worship of Pan. Dunsany’s eye for the significance of small actions- or omissions- and his prose, less lofty that his earlier works but still marvelous to read, make this the perfect literary counterpart to “The Wicker Man.” One strongly suspects that Gerald Gardner had a copy on his bookshelf and all good Pagans should hope that this comes back into print.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s.

The Book of Lilith

Renee Rosen-Wakeford reviews The Book of Lilith by Barbara Black Koltuv in the Bkwyrm archive.

Koltuv The Book of Lilith

A feminist Jungian interpretation of Lilith, this book is a fun and interesting read and can serve to spark an interest in Lilith for those with no background on her. It is, however, not of much use to those wanting to do scholarly research into Lilith or even just for those seeking a general overview of Lilith. Koltuv falls into the trap that many Jungians do of not clearly distinguishing archetypal connections and historical connections between things which leads her to make claims that are simply not sustainable historically, such as claiming that Lilith appears in Teutonic mythology. (The closest thing to this claim would be her appearing in Ashkenazic myth, which is hardly the same thing as Teutonic.) Also, she engages in the same baseless gender essentialism as do most Jungians, only this time it’s from a feminist perspective instead of the more standard one. The book is not entirely useless, however–it collects many interesting images, as well as fascinating excerpts of various works. Not all of these images and excerpts are directly connected to Lilith, however, and the reader should not assume that they are merely by their being included in this book.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s.

The Book of Runes

Ingeborg Svea Norden reviews The Book of Runes: A Handbook for the Use of an Ancient Oracle: The Viking Runes with Stones: 10th Anniversary Edition by Ralph H Blum in the Bkwyrm archive.

Blum The Book of Runes

To people seriously interested in the runes, this one has become infamous. The research is way out in left field, depending heavily on non-Germanic religious texts and Blum’s personal experience with divination. Most other authors I’ve read would disagree violently with his interpretations of the runes: his notes on Thurisaz, for instance, say the exact opposite of Gundarsson’s or Aswynn’s. Maybe one of my current rune students had the best idea: “When I get home, I’m throwing that book in the trash!” Blum is also the author of “Rune Play,” which is just as bad as his first book.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s.