R+C Book Reviews
These brief reviews spotlight books I feel may be of interest to students of the western esoteric tradition. Most of them focus on hermetic philosophy, Rosicrucianism, Martinism and the Knights Templar because they are my personal areas of interest.
They are by no means the only paths, but they are the ones which resonate most strongly within me.
If interested, you can order these books from Amazon.com by clicking or on the book's cover or following the link at the bottom of the each review.
Written at the turn of the century by three initiates who preferred to remain anonymous, this book outlines the seven major principles of Hermetic philosophy.
The authors had no intention of founding or promoting any one school of philosophy. Rather, they felt the need to provide a single source which explains the principles common to all schools which grew from the teachings of the Greek, Roman and Egyptian mystery schools.
While these teachings form the basis behind all western esoteric traditions, they also align nicely with eastern teachings such as yoga, Zen and Buddhism.
In fact, the simple truths and principles set forth in this work are can be discerned in the framework of almost every major religion and philosophical movement in the modern world.
A careful reading and understanding of this book will prepare neophytes to begin their journey as well as clarifying points for adepts.
It is a truly valuable work. No mystic's library is complete without it.
Divided into 12 sections, this slender volume offers advice on ethics, morality, man duty to himself, his family and his society and his place in the universe.
The book is thought by some to have been written by the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep IV during the years 1360 to 1350 B.C. More commonly known as Akenaton, the pharaoh is generally credited as being the founder of the world's earliest monotheistic religion.
The language is poetic and the advice is timeless. Written in a style similar to the biblical Book of Proverbs, Unto The I Grant uses vivid sayings so its counsel will be easily remembered when needed.
For example, when the author warns against seeking revenge for earthly slights, he writes:
Revenge is painful in the intent, and it dangerous in the execution; seldom doth the axe fall where he who lifted it up intended; and lo, he remembereth not that it will recoil against him.
In my mind, the most interesting thing about Unto Thee I Grant is how true the discourses are more than 3,000 year after first being penned. The sections on dealing with servants and subordinates are a text book modern managers could learn much from.
Whether you are looking for a code of ethics, a manual for modern living or just good literature, Unto Thee I Grant would be a must for the library of any sincere seeker.
Order Unto Thee I Grant from Amazon.com.
Filled with folktales, fables and history, it gives a scholarly overview of the techniques and sciences long thought to have been the sole province of the Rosicrucian Order during the Middle Ages.
Schrodter has amassed an impressive collection of sources to document his research an does a creditable job of explaining the ancient science of the Rosicrucians and Alchemists in light of the modern science of his time.
Unfortunately, Schrodter was writing his book in post-war Germany and much of the "modern" science referenced in the work is out of date. Still, he makes some good points and nudges modern students in the right direction.
This is not a textbook for learning "magic secrets" or esoteric techniques. Instead, he focuses on the spirit of Rosicrucianism and how they may have used to seek spiritual and scientific enrichment.
Order A Rosicrucian Notebook from Amazon.com.
In addition to providing a solid history of the Templars from their founding in 1128 A.D. to the execution of their last two grand masters in 1314 A.D., Partner documents the reason the order was formed and the reason it eventually was destroyed.
But that's just part of the story.
Partner chooses to continue his work by focusing on the growth of the myth that surrounds the order to this day. Along the day, he also sheds light on the Templars role in inspiring groups such as the Masons, Rosicrucians, Martinists and a host of other esoteric ssocieties
I can heartily recommend this book to anyone seeking realistic information on one of the most misunderstood groups in the history of the world.
Order The Knights Templars and their Myth from Amazon.com.
The short story anthology collects nine stories inspired by Templar legends into one place. Written by authors such as Katherine Kurtz, Poul Anderson, Tanya Huff and Scott McMillan, it's just plain fun to read.
Stories run the gamut of time and space. Science fiction and swords and sorcery share these pages with contemporary tales. But through it all, each author offers their own unique vision of what it meant ... and still means ... to be a Templar.
Don't expect to find history or a serious discussion of metaphysics here ... but don't be surprised if a story makes you think every now and then either.
Order Tales of the Knights Templar from Amazon.com.
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