Top positive review
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The best book on Occultism
on December 16, 2004
I just purchase Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosphy and I must say so far it has been one of, if not the best, book I've read on occultism, magic, or western occulticism/religion/metaphysics. Here are a few of the things that really impressed me:
For starters, Agrippa seems very modern in that, whether he was aware of it or not, he brings up two points that I've only heard from more contemporary occultists. First, much of his book, to me, seems to tie in with Joseph Cambell's The Power of Myth(which discusses world myths and comparative religion). Agrippa, often when discussing a single concept, simultaneously pulls from hebrew and the Qabalah, christianity and the Bible, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology, and Greek philosophers such as Plato and Pythagoras. It seems that in his mind, all these beliefs and philosophies hold truths in them and he takes them all into consideration, like a scientist would take in all the facts he recieves from the natural world. I'm certain that if Agrippa was fimilair with far east philosophy, such as Taoism and the concept of Yin and Yang, he would have incorporated that too, since it easily ties into a lot of the concepts he already elobarates on through the ideas of multiple religious and spiritual schools of thought. And secondly, the idea that what a magician is really doing is using words, symbols, etc. to focus and strengthen the mind and will, and that it is really the human mind and will that creates all the magic, is also suggested by Agrippa. I've read this theory from Aliester Crowley and another modern occultist (Brennan, I think). Agrippa states that words, numbers, and symbols have power because of the way they interact with our souls and that it is our souls that are actually effecting the world, not the words, symbols, etc. themselves. Further more, while the book has no apparent actual magic rituals, spells, etc., it provides the philosophy and concept behind the magic, which I feel is ultimatly more important. The book is thoroughly annotated, to the point were the footnotes are often longer than the chapters, so that everything is understandable to a modern reader, and provides a great springboard for further and more indepth study into all of Agrippa's sources and influences, and into some of the most important spiritual and philosophical writings in western history. And, just to make me love it more, Agrippa is probably the first occult writer who doesn't write with that annoying pompous, or arrogant attitude, nor talks down or oversimplifies things as if he thinks his readers are to stupid to understand. So many occult writers come off this way, either oversimplifying or overdoing it to the point of sounding arogant or full of themselves. Agrippa talks like an educated scientist, talking to someone of equal intellegence on a subject that is serious, but accessable to all. in his words, occultism and magic don't seem to be some mysterious, shadowy, and dark subject, but rather a divine science and wisdom that can and should be used to elevate all mankind.
So far I've been extremely inspired, pleased, and excited with this book. I strongly suggest this book to anyone and everyone interested in not only occultism, but also religion, spirituality, metaphysics, and even history.