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This epic study unveils the esoteric masters who have covertly impacted the intellectual development of the West, from Pythagoras and Zoroaster to the little-known modern icons Jean Gebser and Schwaller de Lubicz. Running alongside the mainstream of Western intellectual history there is another current which, in a very real sense, should take pride of place, but which for the last few centuries has occupied a shadowy, inferior position, somewhere underground. This "other" stream forms the subject of Gary Lachman’s epic history and analysis, The Secret Teachers of the Western World. In this clarifying, accessible, and fascinating study, the acclaimed historian explores the Western esoteric tradition – a thought movement with ancient roots and modern expressions, which, in a broad sense, regards the cosmos as a living, spiritual, meaningful being and humankind as having a unique obligation and responsibility in it. The historical roots of our “counter tradition,” as Lachman explores, have their beginning in Alexandria around the time of Christ. It was then that we find the first written accounts of the ancient tradition, which had earlier been passed on orally. Here, in this remarkable city, filled with teachers, philosophers, and mystics from Egypt, Greece, Asia, and other parts of the world, in a multi-cultural, multi-faith, and pluralistic society, a synthesis took place, a creative blending of different ideas and visions, which gave the hidden tradition the eclectic character it retains today. The history of our esoteric tradition roughly forms three parts: Part One: After looking back at the earliest roots of the esoteric tradition in ancient Egypt and Greece, the historical narrative opens in Alexandria in the first centuries of the Christian era. Over the following centuries, it traces our “other” tradition through such agents as the Hermeticists; Kabbalists; Gnostics; Neoplatonists; and early Church fathers, among many others. We examine the reemergence of the lost Hermetic books in the Renaissance and their influence on the emerging modern mind. Part Two begins with the fall of Hermeticism in the late Renaissance and the beginning of “the esoteric counterculture.” In 1614, the same year that the Hermetic teachings fell from grace, a strange document appeared in Kassel, Germany announcing the existence of a mysterious fraternity: the Rosicrucians. Part two charts the impact of the Rosicrucians and the esoteric currents that followed, such as the Romance movement and the European occult revival of the late nineteenth century, including Madame Blavatsky and the opening of the western mind to the wisdom of the East, and the fin-de-siècle occultism of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Part Three chronicles the rise of “modern esotericism,” as seen in the influence of Rudolf Steiner, Gurdjieff, Annie Besant, Krishnamurti, Aleister Crowley, R. A Schwaller de Lubicz, and many others. Central is the life and work of C.G. Jung, perhaps the most important figure in the development of modern spirituality. The book looks at the occult revival of the “mystic sixties” and our own New Age, and how this itself has given birth to a more critical, rigorous investigation of the ancient wisdom. With many detours and dead ends, we now seem to be slowly moving into a watershed. It has become clear that the dominant, left-brain, reductionist view, once so liberating and exciting, has run out of steam, and the promise of that much-sought-after “paradigm change” seems possible. We may be on the brink of a culminating moment of the esoteric intellectual tradition of the West. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The gritty business of politics is not something we usually associate with the occult. But esoteric beliefs have influenced the destiny of nations since the time of ancient Egypt and China, when decisions of state were based on portents and astrology, to today, when presidents and prime ministers privately consult self-proclaimed seers. Politics and the Occult offers a lively history of this enduring phenomenon. Author and cultural pundit Gary Lachman provocativly questions whether the separation of church and state so dear to modern political philosophy should be maintained. A few of his fascinating topics include the fate of the Knights Templar and the medieval Gnostic Cathars, the occult roots of America and the French Revolution in Freemasonry, Gurdjieff and the swastika, Soviet interest in UFOs, the CIA and LSD, the Age of Aquarius, the millenarian politics that inform the struggle with Islamic terrorism, fundamentalism, and more.
First published in 2003, Book of Lies was hailed as a 21st century grimoire and instantly became a cult classic. Now reformatted for the next generation of magicians and all counterculture devotees, it gathers an unprecedented cabal of occultists, esoteric scholars,and forward thinkers, all curated by Disinformation’s former "wicked warlock" Richard Metzger. This compendium of the occult includes entries on topics as diverse and dangerous as Aleister Crowley, secret societies, psychedelics, and magick in theory and practice. The result is an alchemical formula that may well rip a hole in the fabric of your reality: Mark Pesce, author of The Playful World, compares computer programming and spellcasting. Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, father of Industrial Music and Rave culture explains how samples in a rave song can have magical consequences. William Burroughs and the occult. Nevill Drury, Australia's most noted occult writer, tells of Dion Fortune, Austin Spare, and Rosaleen Norton. Donald Tyson's "The Enochian Apocalypse Working" ask if the seeds of the end of the world sown in the Elizabethan era. A biographical essay on Marjorie Cameron, the fascinating character from Los Angeles' occult and beatnik scene. Hitler and the occult--Peter Levenda interview by Tracy Twyman. Robert Temple on how his book The Sirius Mystery's, controversial thesis (for which he was ridiculed) was proven by the Hubble telescope twenty-five years late. An exclusive Anton LaVey interview by Michael Moynihan, author of best-selling book Lords of Chaos. Erik Davis, author of Techgnosis, looks at H. P. Lovecraft's Magick Realism Robert Anton Wilson on Timothy Leary and Aleister Crowley Comics genius Grant Morrison offers Magic for the people. It’s all here and more!
In the winter of 1922-23 archaeologist Howard Carter and his wealthy patron George Herbert, the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon, sensationally opened the tomb of Tutenkhamen. Six weeks later Herbert, the sponsor of the expedition, died in Egypt. The popular press went wild with rumours of a curse on those who disturbed the Pharaoh's rest and for years followed every twist and turn of the fate of the men who had been involved in the historic discovery. Long dismissed by Egyptologists, the mummy's curse remains a part of popular supernatural belief. Roger Luckhurst explores why the myth has captured the British imagination across the centuries, and how it has impacted on popular culture. Tutankhamen was not the first curse story to emerge in British popular culture. This book uncovers the 'true' stories of two extraordinary Victorian gentlemen widely believed at the time to have been cursed by the artefacts they brought home from Egypt in the nineteenth century. These are weird and wonderful stories that weave together a cast of famous writers, painters, feted soldiers, lowly smugglers, respected men of science, disreputable society dames, and spooky spiritualists. Focusing on tales of the curse myth, Roger Luckhurst leads us through Victorian museums, international exhibitions, private collections, the battlefields of Egypt and Sudan, and the writings of figures like Arthur Conan Doyle, Rider Haggard and Algernon Blackwood. Written in an open and accessible style, this volume is the product of over ten years research in London's most curious archives. It explores how we became fascinated with Egypt and how this fascination was fuelled by myth, mystery, and rumour. Moreover, it provides a new and startling path through the cultural history of Victorian England and its colonial possessions.
Writers have been killing themselves for centuries. From Petronius in ancient Rome to the 20th Century Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima, writers, more than any other kind of artist, have taken their own lives in an extraordinary number of ways. With bullets, poison, drugs and swords, poets, playwrights, novelists and philosophers have sent themselves off into the big sleep. Others, one step shy of that last exit, have made great literature about the urge to self-destruction. For the first time, Gary Lachman investigates the many links between self-death and the written word, bringing together an unusual gallery of literary greats and a host of other fatal characters. Typically for Dedalus, the covers gorgeous. Sasha Selavie in QX International Dead Letters ultimately proves to be at once stimulating and thought-provoking and the section devoted to various suicidal writings is most diverting. Peter Burton in One80 Reviews

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