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Egregores: The Occult Entities That Watch Over Human Destiny Paperback – July 10, 2018
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“Egregores: The Occult Entities That Watch Over Human Destiny marks a major turning point in popular esotericism, with Mark Stavish tackling head-on our society’s most pressing issue--the psychic and physical embodiment of ideologies and systems--with a penetrating and insightful text addressing the hidden life of thoughtforms as they emerge in our culture through mass movements, fundamentalist sects, corporate branding, and identity politics. Put down the fake news, pick up this book, and find out why Enoch warns us that the cosmic control system’s been put on divine probation!” ― David Metcalfe, editor in chief of Threshold
“It is a memorable day when the concept of the egregore enters one’s worldview. While these energy-complexes have been around as long as humanity, this is the first book to explain how they work and what to do about it. Mark Stavish’s clear writing and rich examples should convince any reader, whether schooled in esotericism or simply curious about their inner and outer world.” ― Joscelyn Godwin, author of Athanasius Kircher’s Theatre of the World
“Every now and then, there’s a book that can change the way you see the world. This remarkable little book about enthrallment and freedom is one. Read Egregores--you’ll look at society around you in new ways.” ― Arthur Versluis, author of The Secret History of Western Sexual Mysticism and Sacred Earth
“This encyclopedic account of group consciousness as an egregore, a being conceived to have arisen from the mutual psychic activity of serious initiates, traces the egregore idea throughout the history of Western esotericism and even into the practices of Tibetan Buddhism. Butler, Evola, Masters, Lovecraft, Machen, the AMORC and the OTO, and many other sources are quoted so as to give their opinions about the functions and dangers of egregores. It is unlikely that a more comprehensive book on the subject will ever be written.” ― Stevan Davies, Ph.D., author of Spirit Possession and the Origins of Christianity
“Suddenly there is a lot of talk about egregores, but what are they? Mark Stavish introduces some fascinating examples of these mysterious thoughtforms as they appear in different contexts from Tibetan Buddhism to the world of modern pop culture. Stavish’s book is an important foray into what is still almost virgin territory for researchers.” ― Christopher McIntosh, author of The Rosicrucians
“While the egregore is a concept with which most esoteric students are at least somewhat familiar, it is unlikely you would find a commonality of definitions among them. It is very appropriate for this vaguely understood concept to be the subject of a more in-depth study, and I can think of no better person to do this than Mark Stavish, whose background brings both authority and depth to such a review. The book provides a historical understanding of the origin of the term and its use through the ages, the various types that may exist in passive and active form, and an explanation of them through profound personal experience. This alone makes the book valuable. However, chapter 7 should be required reading for anyone contemplating joining an esoteric order--or any group with a common objective, for that matter. Stavish writes in a comfortable and informative style, and one comes to the end of the book with new information and much to think about. An excellent primer on egregores.” ― Piers A. Vaughan, author of Renaissance Man & Mason
"The idea of egregores could inspire paranoia in a certain kind of personality, and of course that is unwise. But it is no doubt a good idea to remember that false idols can take the form of thoughts and ideas as well as objects. Stavish's book is a timely, intelligent, and enjoyable reminder of this truth." ― Richard Smoley, Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America
"The reaction has been one of the most positive I’ve ever had. Egregores really has struck a cord in the esoteric community." ― Aeon Byte, Gnostic Radio
About the Author
- Publisher : Inner Traditions (July 10, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 160 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1620555778
- ISBN-13 : 978-1620555774
- Item Weight : 9.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #82,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Listen to the author in some interviews about this book and read some online reviews first. Then read the intro. If the author of this intro and its words resonate with you then buy it.
But, if like me you were horrified by the not very subtle extremism and bias… well then, enough said.
From the point of view of someone who really enjoys history, especially Classical Mediterranean history, this sheds a lot of light on functions of the ancient Roman state and others who regarded the people who presided over ceremonies dedicated to the gods of their city as very important functionaries. The discussion and examples provided in this book really connected a lot of dots for me regarding a variety of historical anecdotes. The book provides an intriguing lens through which to view ancient practices and the "why" behind them.
From a more esoteric point of view, it is an excellent model to use when analyzing groups/lodges/fraternities, etc. Using this framework, it really helped put group activities, how things can succeed, go downhill, our role in those activities, etc. in a new and very helpful light.
Very much worth your time and you'll find a lot of interesting stories and "ah ha!" moments that I think will stay with you every time you interact with a group of people, from a supper club to a nation-state.
The book is short and largely a compilation of quotes from earlier as well as contemporary thinkers on egregores (H. P. Lovecraft, Julius Evola, Kenneth Grant, Mouni Sadhu, Alexandra David-Neel, Valentin Tomberg, Eliphas Levi, Gary Lachman, Robert Ambelain, Morris Berman, Joscelyn Godwin, and others) with partial attempts to ask and answer key questions related to the phenomena: Other than etymologically, how is the modern egregore related to the “watchers” (egregorii) of the ancient Book of Enoch? At what point and with what mechanism does the thought-form entity acquire an existence of its own, separate from its creators? Once the egregore has lost the majority of its psychic supporters, how does it maintain its existence so that it can be revived at a later date as happened, according to Stavish, to the Roman imperial egregore, which Mussolini resurrected?
Credit is due Stavish that I can ask such questions —and probably other readers could add many to my list—about a word few moderns have heard of that names a phenomenon most of us sense daily but with no idea it is a specific entity, perhaps even with physical characteristics, that can be analyzed, understood, and thus at least partially controlled.
The book has some downsides, thus only four stars. I too might have been turned off, like one recent reviewer who put it away because of right-biased political insinuations expressed in the Foreword, written not by the author but by Mark Wasserman. I’m glad I got past them and to the meat of the work; Stavish himself did not veer in alt-right direction that I noticed. Wasserman’s comments were irrelevant to the book’s theme, and I hope they did not deter too many other readers.
This book is a brave beginning, a valuable compilation of what has been written so far about egregores and their impact on human existence. While it does falls short of a full justification of its subtitle, The Occult Entities That Watch Over Human Destiny, I look forward to future titles on the subject that hone in on and develop the many key concepts and applications offered by touched on by Stavish and his sources.
What put me off the most is the heavy use of quotations. I think half the book was written by people other than the author. I'd like more original thoughts and less just pasted quotes.
In the end, I got what I needed from the book: an explanation of egragores.
Top reviews from other countries
When one takes a Vajrayana Empowerment or Initiation (Tb. wang) one also takes on certain commitments called Samaya which are considered foundational to one practice, these are composed in total of hundreds of vows if one includes the Bodhisattvas ones as well as the Vajrayana ones, the first being essential to the second. NOW, this is what people are not usually told ... If ones practices properly and then for whatever reason rejects these vows without concern there can be consequences, serious ones, these practices have Protectors Deities and they can be as mean as any Demon, yes Demon, one may find in any Western Grimoire, in fact they often perform much the same functions as any Spiritual Creature found in the Grimoires. These Protectors will not only come after the person who's broken their vows they will also go after close family members and close friends, they will bring back luck, disease and even death. WHEN ARE PEOPLE EVER TOLD THIS ? NEVER, MOSTLY.
Now, look at the experiences of some Western practitioners who get into trouble by practicing Griomoiric material, if they become Obsessed or Possessed are their family members also not usually affected, more than likely yes they are and we all have stories to tell. And then there are more well known and published examples such as the late Dr. Joseph Lisiewski. Exactly the same things can happen in Buddhist Vajrayana though I'm sure many middle class converts would freak if they seen this, well that's just because some things are mostly not taught to them for Tibetans like to strip out anything that does not appeal to our liberal sensibilities ?
Obsession & Possession in both cases, most definitely in my honest opinion. How is it different ?
So, this is one of the reasons I think Mr. Mark Stavish's book on Egregores is important even to Western Yoga & Buddhist practitioners, it will help shake out some of the wooly new age love dovy dusty cobwed like attitudes out of their heads. The Kosmos is not all daisies and unicorns, not even in Yoga & Buddhism but so many ignore this.