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The Occult: The Ultimate Book for Those Who Would Walk with the Gods Paperback – August 25, 2003

4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Occult is the most interesting, informative and thought-provoking book on the subject I have read" Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Colin Wilson is a highly respected and erudite writer. He has written many books, including The Outsider and Mysteries both fiction and non fiction on the occult and the paranormal. This book is probably his "tour de force". He lives in England.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Watkins Publishing Limited; 2 Sub edition (August 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184293080X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842930809
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 2.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,703,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Having read quite some books written by C.Wilson, i know that going through the ones where he's conducting research is always a great experience.

"The Occult" is famed for being probably the premiere book on its subject: the history of magic, its definitions, the paranormal, the limits of human powers and the analysis of the "hidden powers" humans possess, certain forays into specific areas (like clairvoyance, means to achieve it, etc.) , loads of examples from throughout history on people who've influenced this field, as well as a comprehensive review of views that prevail over all these areas.

This is without the slightest doubt a gripping book. Even if you have only a surface interest on all this, Wilson has a way of pulling totally into the matter, absorbing you and letting you get to the very depths of it.

But if you happen to actually care about this field -and it's indeed a field where imagination can really gallop wild- then this book is quintessential to start from.

The market is saturated with books that deal with the "occult" or specific areas of it, but before you should even bother with any of these you should start here. Alone the vast list of sources that will be introduced to you is enough to make the book nothing else than a treasure.

But its main asset is that Wilson approaches the subject with his usual hardcore seriousness and efficiency, and lets remember, this is a topic where charlatanism is often the rule. But it's the scientific approach that puts C.Wilson ahead of the pack. The gathering of evidence through exhaustive reading of anything regarding the issue, the evaluation of it, the personal analysis as well as that of others, the comparisons thereof, the analytical history of the subject.
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Format: Paperback
Colin Wilsons investigations into arcane matters span over several decades of his life. I don't believe this is the best of his works, but it's the best survey of the history of the occult in his library of contributions. A reader seeking an honest examination of best available facts and history probably won't find a better place to begin than with this one.
I believe Poltergeist is probably his best, but the range of investigation is far narrower.
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Format: Paperback
I first came across the thoughts of Colin Wilson in one of his novels, 'The Philosopher's Stone', where the hero - let's call him Will Colinson - relates:

'I developed remarkable powers as an algorist - a lowly branch of mathematics concerned with devising methods for solving problems.'

Mr Wilson considers himself an authority on mathematics, so you might think that something sensible is being said here. In fact it is a category mistake, like saying that bars are a lowly branch of music. If he can do this in a subject I know something about, it makes me think twice about trusting his judgment in areas where I know less. For not only is he an authority on mathematics and science, he is also an authority on philosophy, criminology, history and the paranormal.

This book is a long, discursive account of magic and magicians from the Stone Age to the 20th century, written in a souffle-like style which many readers find agreeable. Anyone who ever claimed to do magic is in, and some get in who never claimed to. If you would walk with the gods this is the easy route, but watch out for the boggy patches. On almost every page there are odd misconceptions delivered ex cathedra. The French Revolution was caused by Marie Antoinette's shopping sprees which bankrupted the French state. Numa, a legendary king of early Rome, was 'Emperor' when Roman territory was about ten miles across. The Spanish Armadillo was a better swimmer than the Great Seal - no, he doesn't say that but I suspect he would if he'd read '1066 and All That'. Call it nit-picking, but this rings alarm bells for me. He is a sort of intellectual magpie: a person of very wide reading with no discernible critical sense, least of all in relation to himself. Maybe that helps when you walk with the gods.
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Format: Paperback
One cannot read Colin Wilson without coming away with a slightly - or much-altered view of the universe, and in fact, life in general. Wilson's profound insights lead to optimism, and a deep appreciation for the truly magical - even when it stands on the emerging bedrock of quantum mechanics. In my library, this text will most certainly be as dog-eared and underscored as his others.
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As far as the history part goes, Wilson's book is a fascinating documentation of occultism starting with primitive shamanism and progressing through century after century of magicians and mages and adepts from Dee to Dion Fortune, Cagliostro to Crowley while touching upon almost every aspect of supernatural phenomenon. But whereas Christian beliefs teach that the occult and all its branches and manifestations are demonic in origin (or at the very least draw real demonic spirits to the ones who engage in such practices as divination, ritual magick, invoking of spirits, psychic mediums who open themselves up to any spiritual contact like a human ouija board, and astral projection), Wilson argues that the occult is a way to get in touch with the deepest part of subconscious self as well as the Jungian "collective unconscious" or universal energy/psychic ether that he contends we can manipulate or tap into thus enabling us to discern the future and relive past lives (yes, he also argues in favor of reincarnation). As a Christian I must speak according to the mainstream theological point of view which Wilson conveniently pushes to the back burner (so to speak) especially when you read of all these weird supernatural things happening to all these people who deliberately ignore the warnings of God in regards to participating in these rituals. Of course, it would be perfectly fine to engage in such occultic practices if there wasn't a God, or if there weren't real entities out there trying to kill you. And even if you don't believe in such fallen/demonic/angelic entities, why take the chance?Read more ›
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