It was a snake, cold of eye, its tongue flickering, its fangs dripping with poison. It hissed, and a drop of poison from its mouth dripped onto Loki’s face, making his eyes burn. Loki screamed and contorted, writhing and twisting in pain. He tried to get out of the way, to move his head from beneath the poison. The bonds that had once been the entrails of his own son held him tightly.
“Fairy tales seem to be innocent stories, yet they contain profound lessons for those who would dive deep into their waters of meaning. In this book, Marie-Louise von Franz uncovers some of the important lessons concealed in tales from around the world, drawing on the wealth of her knowledge of folklore, her experience as a psychoanalyst and a collaborator with Jung, and her great personal wisdom. Among the many topics discussed in relation to the dark side of life and human psychology, both individual and collective, are:
· How different aspects of the “shadow”—all the affects and attitudes that are unconscious to the ego personality—are personified in the giants and monsters, ghosts, and demons, evil kings and wicked witches of fairy tales
· How problems of the shadow manifest differently in men and women
· What fairy tales say about the kinds of behavior and attitudes that invite evil
· How Jung’s technique of Active imagination can be used to overcome overwhelming negative emotions
· How ghost stories and superstitions reflect the psychology of grieving
· What fairy tales advise us about whether to struggle against evil or turn the other cheek ” — back cover
Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches by Charles Godfrey Leland, newly translated by Mario Pazzaglini and Dina Pazzaglini, with additional material from Chas S Clifton, Robert Mathiesen, and Robert E Chartowich, with foreword by Stewart Farrar, a 1999 paperback from Phoenix Publishing, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“When Charles Godfrey Leland published Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches at the end of the nineteenth century as the crowning product of his Italian researches of the 1880s and 1890s, he believed he was preserving what remained of an ancient but dying tradition before it was too late. he could not have known that in so doing he was providing one of the key source-books which would inspire a vigorous revival of that tradition half a century after his death. Had he been able to foresee it, he would have been astonished, probably amused, and almost certainly gratified; for in spite of the occasional Victorian caution with which he expressed himself, his research was clearly a labor of love.
This expanded edition features contributions by several eminent authorities:
Mario Pazzaglini, PhD, whose family origins on both sides are deeply rooted in the area where Aradia originated, has spent 25 years working on this new translation. He gives line-by-line transcription showing where Leland made his original errors as a result of his lack of comprehension of the dialect of the area. The new translation is then presented in the same format as the original edition (which is included here as well), Mario’s research notes are also included.
Chas Clifton has been studying witchcraft and the occult for over 25 years. He teaches at the University of Colorado and has a long list of published books to his name, including: Iron Mountain: A Journal of Magical Religion, The Modern Rites of Passage, Witchcraft and Shamanism, and Sacred Mask, Sacred Dance. He discusses the significance of Aradia on the revival of modern witchcraft.
Robert Mathieson [sic], PhD, has been a member of the faculty of Brown University for over 30 years. During the last decade most of his research has been on the historical development of magical theories and practices from the Middle Ages to the present. He writes on the origins of Aradia, including the culture and religion of the area, as well as the difficulties involved in retranslating the book.
Stewart Farrar is a professional journalist and author of many books on the occult including The Witches’ Goddess, The Pagan Path, Spells and How They Work and The Witches’ Way. He regularly appears on television and radio and has been featured in a film on witchcraft.” — back cover
Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions by H R Ellis Davidson, the 1988 paperback from Syracuse University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Most people know of Valhalla, the World-Tree and the gods of Norse mythology, or the strange hunts and voyages of the ancient Irish tales. Yet few people realise the significance of the similarities and contrasts between the religions of the pre-Christian people of north-western Europe.
The Celts and Germans and Scandinavians has much the in common in their religious practices and beliefs, and this is the first serious attempt that has been made to compare them. There are striking resemblances in their ideas about battle-goddesses and protective spirits, holy places, sacrificial rituals, divination and ideas about the Other World; and Myths and symbols in pagan Europe poses questions like: do such parallels go back to early times or are they owning to late Viking contact?
Hilda Ellis Davidson has worked for many years on pre-Christian Scandinavian and Germanic religion and now compares them with the Celts from the background of previous studies, using evidence from archaeology, iconography, later literature and folklore, in a search for basic patterns which will add to our knowledge of the early peoples in Europe.
Aimed at teachers and libraries but also accessible to students of history, religion and Celtic, Norse and German languages and cultures.” — back cover
“There was no simple agreement on the subject of ‘myth’ in classical antiquity, and there remains none today. In Approaches to Greek Myth, Lowell Edmunds brings together practitioners of eight of the most important contemporary approaches to the subject. Whether exploring myth from a historical, comparative, or theoretical perspective, each lucidly describes a particular approach, applies it to one or more myths, and reflects on what the approach yields that other do not.
Contributors are H. S. Versnel, on the intersections of myth and ritual; Carlo Brillante, on the history of Greek myth and history in Greek myth; Robert Mondi, on the Near Eastern contexts , and Joseph Falaky Nagy, on the Indo-European structures in Greek myth; William F. Hansen, on myth and folklore; Claude Calame, on the Greimasian approach; Richard Caldwell, on psychoanalytic interpretations; and Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, on the iconography of vase painting of Theseus and Medea—and on a methodology for ‘reading’ such visual sources. In his introduction, Edmunds confronts Marcel Detienne’s recent deconstruction of the notion of Greek mythology and reconstructs a meaning for myth among the ancient Greeks.” — back cover
The Fifth International Conference of the Association for the Study of Esotericism on June 19th–22nd, 2014 at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The conference schedule has recently been posted and you will find quite a few presenters and presentations of interest including a couple by Hermetic library fellows:
Do check out the whole schedule, but a selection of the other presentations, that catch my eye, includes:
· John L Crow (Thelema Coast to Coast), The Theosophical Shift to the Visual: Graphical Representations of the Human Body in the Literature of Second and Third Generation Leadership in the Theosophical Society
· Simon Magus, The fin de siècle magical aesthetic of Austin Osman Spare: Siderealism, Atavism, Automatism, Occultism
· David Pecotic, Building Subtle Bodies — Gurdjieff’s esoteric practice of conditional immortality in the light of Poortman’s concept of hylic pluralism in the history of religions
· Richard Kaczynski, Inventing Tradition: The Construction of History, Lineage and Authority in Secret Societies
· Wouter Hanegraaff, The Transformation of Desire in Machen’s & Waite’s House of the Hidden Light
· Sarah Veale, Disenchantment of the Vampire: Balkan Folklore’s Deadly Encounter with Modernity
· Gordan Djurdjevic, “In Poison there is Physic”: On Poisons and Cures in Some Strands of Esoteric Theory and Practice.
“Acknowledged by T.S. Eliot as crucial to understanding ‘The Waste Land,’ Jessie Weston’s book has continued to attract readers interested in ancient religion, myth, and especially Arthurian legend. Here she reinterprets the saga of the Grail by exploring the legend’s Gnostic roots.
Drawing from J.G. Frazer, who studied ancient nature cults that associated the physical condition of the king with the productivity of the land, Weston considers how the legend of the Grail related to fertility rites—with the lance and the cup serving as a sexual symbols. She traces its origins to a Gnostic text that served as a link between ancient vegetation cults and the Celts and Christians who elaborated on the story. Conceiving of the grail saga as a literary outgrowth of ancient ritual, she seeks a Gnostic Christian interpretation that unites the quest for fertility with the striving for mystical oneness with God.” — back cover
Paul: Saint or Rascal? by Walter C Cambra, a monograph, has arrived at the Reading Room courtesy of the author.
“It is a familiar cliche of Christian folklore that the Christian Church and its main advocates were persecuted by the Caesars of Rome. It also is a cornerstone of Christian lore that the Christian Church and the Roman Empire were hostile and mutual adversaries each seeking to exclusive loyalty of men’s minds.
However, what is well established in the minds of men throughout numerous generations may have no independent corroborative basis in actual fact! I wish to examine the institutional notions mentioned in the opening paragraph with a litmus test that actually confirms the first sentence of this second paragraph.”
Salomanic Magical Arts translated and introduced by Fredrik Eytzinger, is available from Three Hands Press. The special leather-bound and deluxe hardcover editions are both sold out, but a standard hardcover edition are still available.
“Amid the great genres of European magical books are the Scandinavian Svartkonstböcker or ‘Books of Black Arts’, the privately-kept practical manuals of magic used by rural charmers and practitioners of folk magic. Incorporating charms, prayers, and curses, as well as medicine, alchemy and physical experiments, many of these books survive today in universities and private collections. While bearing some relationship to the corpus of European grimoires which feature angelic and demonic magic, the Svartkonstböcker as texts of magic are in a class all their own.
Salomonic Magical Arts consists of two such volumes, originally handwritten in the early eighteenth century. Named The Red Book and The Black Book by one of their owners, they passed through the hands of priests and cunning men before coming to rest in academic institutions. Invoking a variety of spirtual powers ranging from Christ to Beelzebub, its magical formulae, numbering in excess of 450 individual receipts, serve as a testament to the endurance of sorcery in the early modern era. First published in Swedish in 1918, Salomonic Magic Arts is here published in English for the first time.
Introducing the work is a substantive introduction by the translator, which places the book in its cultural and magico-historical context, including Swedish cunning-folk traditions (trolldom) the European grimoire tradition, traditional magical healing, pagan belief, and the relationship between folk magic and the church.” [via]
Edmund: the Untold Story of the Martyr-King and His Kingdom by Mark Taylor is a recently released book available as an ebook in the States and in the UK. However, there is a special limited edition book in the UK which apparently contains additional and updated information than either ebook. For those interested in the intersection of esotericism, history and the physical landscape, especially the occult landscape, this may be of particular interest.
This book seems particularly tied to the work of the publisher Fodaro who say they publish “popular history, folklore, esoterica and mythology content across digital and traditional platforms” and so far offer a Secret Suffolk website, Secret York iOS mobile app and the book Edmund.
“Edmund, Anglo-Saxon king of the East Angles, was murdered by the Danes aged only 29 years. He was declared England’s patron saint 20 years later and worshipped by the Danes who killed him. Attended by royalty and honoured as far north as Iceland, he was renowned for his miracles of fertility and protection. But his martyrdom was unrecognised for 250 years. Why?
For the first time, this fascinating book reveals the secrets behind Edmund’s life and death. It explains why Edmund was venerated as a sacred king who, in death, guaranteed prosperity to his kingdom; how he represented the mysterious bond between god, king and land; how he united Saxon and Viking, pagan and Christian; and how he became a divine guardian in the tradition of other English national heroes.
If there was still any debate over whether Edmund should be reinstated as England’s patron saint, this book settles the argument once and for all!
Containing a wealth of information, including vivid photographs and detailed maps, this book is sure to be of interest to anyone with an interest in Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Norse culture and belief, paganism and early Christianity, Suffolk and East Anglian history, mythology and folklore.” [via]
“Many people are familiar with the basic story of Edmund’s martyrdom: Vikings, an oak tree, arrows, decapitation, a sentinel wolf. Yet there is much more to his legend, and the story of Suffolk, than is commonly told. This fascinating book reveals for the first time the secrets of both Edmund the sacrificial warrior-king and the sacred land he ruled over. It confirm his true significance, and his status as a divine sentinel-king in the tradition of other national heroes.
Edmund: The Untold Story of the Martyr-King and his Kingdom, contains a wealth of insights, including:
The hidden symbolism of Edmund’s martyrdom
Why the cult of St Edmund grew rapidly amongst both Christians and pagans
How Edmund embodied ancient concepts of sacred kingship
How, as king, he was explicitly linked to the welfare of the land
How Edmund’s kingly qualities are embedded in places throughout East Anglia
Why the town of Bury St Edmunds was constructed according to symbolic principles
Its pre-Anglo-Saxon origins
How Bury conforms to ideas of a mythic hero’s resting-place” [via]