Friday, August 31, 2018

The real mojo?

"The New Encyclopedia of the Occult" is John Michael Greer's encyclopaedic survey of the Western esoteric milieu. It's perhaps good as a reference work, but could be confusing to the general reader. Topics covered include the Hermetic Qabalah, Golden Dawn's ritual magic, Theosophy, Wicca, astrology and Tarot. Among the innumerable persons mentioned are W. B. Yeats, Dion Fortune, Charles Williams, Nostradamus, Franz Bardon, Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and even one Jesus of Nazareth (who Greer believes was a magician).

While the emphasis is on “Western” traditions, there are also a few loose end entries on Hoodoo, perhaps because the author is a member of a Hoodoo Church. I always assumed Hoodoo was an urban legend! Apparently, it's the real mojo. Topics *not* covered, or covered only briefly, include black magic, Satanism, conspiracy theories and the Nazi-occult connection. Greer has clearly endeavoured to write a “serious” volume on a subject often treated in somewhat different fashion by other authors. The author's esoteric-magical tradition of choice is the Golden Dawn, which shows. He has also included information on his own little group, the Ancient Order of Druids in America.

I admit that I found this subject both fascinating and somewhat weird, being steeped in more rationalist or at least main-line philosophies. (The main line isn't necessarily rational, as we all know!) I admit that I deliberately sought out the strangest pieces of information, about Taphthartharath, Zos Kia Cultus, Order of the Sat B'hai, the Diakka (watch out for those guys!) or Ob, the ruling spiritual hierophant of the Dark Satellite housing the Black Lodges. Any relation to Windom Earl in Twin Peaks? And who wouldn't want to dance along with the Hasidic Druids of North America?

But OK, this is probably the wrong approach, I know. Perhaps people like me need to be reminded from time to time that serious esotericism is neither evil nor comic…

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