Sunday, March 31, 2019
While extremely short this work needed to be released in a modern edition because it is perhaps one of the best examples of claims made by proponents of hypnotism in its era; its efficacy at treating certain disorders is now beyond question but claims here that it works almost invariably and can cure everything from tuberculosis to asthma of course are now rendered into the same family as bloodletting and electroshock.
The arguments made against the comic use of mesmerism as entertainment, and its words about the use of hypnotism in crimes are both quite a good read.
This little book is the result of the efforts of JCF Grumbine, who for his life led a Rosicrucian offshoot called the Order of the White Rose. It is partially philosophical in nature and dwells on the form of natural law and deific forces and things of that kind, but is essentially split into lessons each with a short sort of how-to "experiment" involving mindfulness and similar things.
It is, overall, dense but well written and contains material related to the spiritual side of electricity and magnetism, as well as telepathy.
Friday, March 29, 2019
This short work is partially about nothing more technically supernatural than the topic of sleep paralysis, also known in colloquial terms at the time as the night-mare. This frightening topic is, literally speaking, not yet even quantified fully by science so I suppose that element is still of occult import; but of greater interest here are two other subtopics; herbal preparations for the condition, and a bit of back-story and lore regarding the older, demonic principle of the incubus supposedly responsible for such a phenomenon. This work is over 200 years old but displays a fairly advanced amount of rational insight.
Thursday, March 28, 2019
This fairly short work is another of the various bizarre releases of its era, which has little back story and content which fluctuates wildly from subgenre to subgenre. Supposedly based off an older German version (said here to be popular, but which may indeed not exist at all), it first lays out some philosophical principles tied with the use of willpower and psychic force, then launches off on a series of situational tales regarding the use of iron will and such- indeed, the author (or the avatar the author depicts) claims to have become miserable by having too much force of will, leading to a life utilizing it for money and fame, to the neglect of spirituality and wisdom, warning the reader to be wary of the use of true will, which is in part prefaced by a simple declarative refusal to surrender or back down.
Sunday, March 24, 2019
This short outline has only one subject; the founder and long term leader of Theosophy, Madame Blavatsky. This work chronicles her life in a fairly substantial degree of detail, however one with the intrinsic bias of being written by a member of the Theosophical Society- therefore it refutes some largely accepted claims such as fraudulent spiritual tricks in Blavatsky's apartment; the author here claims some rotating panels used as evidence of fraud were built after she left- it's difficult to determine whether this counter to the rationalists of the era is true.
For those interested in Theosophy this is a must-read.
Friday, March 22, 2019
This work is quite interesting; and at this point it takes quite a bit to trip my interest since I read and edit similar works all day. Written at the dawn of the 20th century, it is partly about how to mesmerize (theory and action both) and partly about mind reading and similar topics, but it meanders into the realm of sociology and begins, about two thirds of the way through, to give advice on society and civics in a general sense, as works of the era sometimes did.
It should be noted that mesmerism is indeed real; however some of the claims then accepted about it were overblown; it remains medically accepted for a limited number of uses to this day.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
This short work represents a contemporary look at Theosophy from a perspective different from that of the Oriental tradition. While Theosophy at large brought East to West, this and similar works spoke more of Jesus and attempted to re-assert the supremacy of Christendom over spiritism and similar phenomena.
Largely, it encourages prayer for healing, claiming that the dispensation of healing miracles did not end in antiquity.
Sunday, March 17, 2019
This little work is an interesting compilation of poetry (partially related to love, partially to nature) with a pagan twist- sometimes literally- included. The author crafted a number of poetic works in his era, and wrote this one under the pseudonym "paganus."
It isn't strictly pagan in the sense of epic poems about Valhalla, etc, much of it refers to cupid-style love and sometimes bereavement.
Saturday, March 16, 2019
This work is quite nice, and was written from a dedicated Catholic perspective- indeed, the slow march of time has seen some of these feasibly canonical ideas cast aside by the Vatican even as they are retained by lay Catholics in large part- such as a belief that seances and ouija boards can actually cause demonic influence. These days the church itself tends to render those to the realm of quasi-sinful but not paranormally dangerous.
It provides numerous examples of mystical phenomena like bilocation and bicorporeality as well, and gives many short stories and tales to illustrate its claims. In one very interesting passage we see a story about a priest who became cataleptic only for his apparition to be seen attending the then-dying pope.
Friday, March 15, 2019
This book is one of those works Rudolf Steiner wrote which primarily compiles and analyzes and draws from secondary sources; namely, as the title suggests, some of the mystic minds of the Renaissance, although it includes, also, Medieval minds and some contemporary work by Eckhart and others. It goes from Paracelsus and Agrippa through Boehme and many others.
The statements made here vary both from those sources and Steiner; it speaks of the nature of being, the nature of divinity, the relationship between man and the deity or deities he worships, and meanders from those into sub-topics as well. It is quite well written and interesting as Steiners' works tend to be. As a pointless but meaningless aside the initial source file was around 300 pages in length, which goes to show you the odd format and line spacing used in the early 20th century.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
This short work is quite interesting; it is a fairly lengthy exposition on the topic of miracles within a Christian framework, especially with regards to the resurrection of the dead- not just of Lazarus (the most well known example) but of other figures in and out of a spiritual context. The suggestion here is made that rationalizing these events is at least partly necessary, basing that opinion on then-modern and very real accounts of people buried alive, catalepsy, and the like.
This work is one of a number that comprised the phallic series, purportedly crafted by Hargrave Jennings anonymously to skirt censorship due to the taboo nature of the subject; it titillates the reader by rendering the solar, phallicist worship of the linga etc to degenerated status, then refusing to flesh out the more lurid parts of cultish ritual. Indeed the work isn't inaccurate per se, it just fails sometimes to mention the scarcity of the phallic cult in the East, the left hand path of sex worship and indulgence.
It contains hundreds of quotes from secondary sources and from Hindu scriptures and delves a bit into Islamic and Buddhist lore as well, albeit less. It is important to note that Jennings (or whoever the author of this lengthy series was) believed that solar and phallic worship spawned all religion.
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
This short work, by the well-known theosophist Charles Leadbeater, is interesting mostly for its attempt to divide dreams into three pieces- the physical, etheric, and astral. As a work of pure theosophy, it does not delve into dream interpretation and similar things (although it does mention dream symbolism briefly) and mostly ruminates on some examples of dreams predicting the future and their overall form, namely, how and why dreams exist at all, from the occult perspective of its author,
Monday, March 11, 2019
This is one of the flat-out weirdest works I've ever edited; a short work, it treats on poetry and prose related to vampires, details both blood drinking and psychic attack, and altogether appears to endorse the concept that literal vampires- that is, in the strain of Dracula, able to keep a corpse semi-alive or appear in apparitional form- are both real and very dangerous. Cautionary in part, it warns the reader to be mindful and not utilize ouija boards or seances or hypnotism, to avoid elemental spirits from parasitizing them.
Alluding to both fiction and supposed nonfiction accounts of injury and death from energetic vampirism, it also suggests hanging around extremely optimistic people in order to fight such otherworldly forces.
Friday, March 8, 2019
This little booklet is the result of the famous Albert Moll, whose forays into debunking spiritual things are of greater interest than his more mainstream content (including major contributions to the study of gender.)
It is interesting that here, while he casts a disdainful eye over the topic of the occult at large, he accepts that some of its content is legitimate at least insofar as healing can take place as the result of mesmerism misclassified- we today call this the "placebo effect." Much of the content here is about Christian Science; which persists in minor form today as a loose collective of groups which engage in faith healing. While it is usually a mild form of quackery, even modern medicine states that in some cases if can be efficacious because the underlying problem is mental, and not caused by injury, infection, etc.
Thursday, March 7, 2019
This mid-length book is notable not so much for its application of the occult but its treatment of two individuals in particular (although it speaks at some length of others and of various phenomena); namely, the infamous Eva Carriere, and Rudolf Steiner, developer of Anthroposophy and, prior, prolific writer and notable Theosophist.
To the former, significant applause is given; it should be noted that Carriere was later noted by her own consorts to be not just a fraud but a sexual exhibitionist who performed nude and "submitted" to "gynecological tests" primarily for her own amusement, involving a confederate who happened to be her lesbian lover. To Steiner is credited the excellence of his treatments of others' philosophical writings, although the author is quite acerbic otherwise and challenges Steiner directly on some of his assertions regarding "second sight." Altogether this is quite a good work and should be seen as cautionary to the occultist.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
If it's folklore you want it's folklore you get! This work starts out as a slightly dry, historical look at the druids, before becoming almost a completely different work which combines a bit of Masonic and Catholic pagan symbolism (the kind you find on the 'weird' side of the internet) with then-modern folklore both in and out of the British Isles. Considering the dedication passage it is likely that the work was written in two stages, accounting for this.
It speaks at length about all things druid for the first two sections before meandering into very interesting multi-page compilations of simple lore, with some poetry and folk magic included. The section on pins used in divination was of especial interest since this tradition indeed managed to find its way into multiple fortune telling works I myself have already edited.
Saturday, March 2, 2019
This short work is one of the many writings of the rather famous (or infamous!) Annie Besant; a Theosophist and one of the main figures thereof. This work lays out three particular laws (or sets of laws) governing a higher existence, ascendant and enlightened. They are, respectively, consciousness, duty, and sacrifice, and form a deeply Hinduism-tainted variant of Theosophy in part derived from her continuingly deep involvement in the Indian liberation movement. It alludes to and quotes the Bhagavad Gita and speaks at some length of aspects of Hindu mythology.
Friday, March 1, 2019
This little booklet is a rather obscure and interesting guide to a few basic concepts within Norse paganism from the semi-academic perspective. With a section on Thor and Odin and another on the rest of the major figures of Northern paganism, it includes a few strange asides about less well known subjects such as the "doom ring" (for human sacrifice) and the "Insult Post" which was a sort of magical totem designed to confuse or dismay land spirits in hopes that they would frown upon and actively hinder the plans and lives of those the post was dedicated to. It speaks a bit about the interplay between the Germanic and the Scandinavian traditions within a linguistic framework as well.
Diabology is a rather extensive work of demonology, although that is not the only subject. Indeed, it concerns itself with everything dark within the Christian spiritual framework and, naturally, thus the contrasting opposites of those same things and ideas; for the demon there is an angel, for Satan a God, and so forth. Altogether the work is quite dense as well, and it is much more an academic guide than a casual work. It is most interesting, perhaps, for its treatment of the very nature of good and evil based on the Bible, and elaborates at quite a lot of length on how this informs the Christian view of demons, including from a linguistic point of view.
It should be noted that some footnotes were omitted because they merely replicated quotations in the main work itself in German or Greek. I retained the Latin because it is interesting.