Well Worn Esoterica
My esoteric chum, Freeman Presson, an all-around awesome magister of the mystical arts, has posted a fascinating blog in which he discloses his “go to” arsenal of well worn vade mecums, and as I am nothing if not a magical mimic of the first order, I thought I would do something of the same. When I have a question or am in need of some quick inspiration, it is to these that I turn most frequently. Unlike Freeman, they are not bagged for journey, but are within quick and easy reach in my sanctum sanctorum. Let’s take a quick peek, shall we?
Unseen Forces by Manly Palmer Hall — My first book of esoterica, a metaphysical primer, if you will, that opened up a world of possibilities to me. This slender pamphlet belonged to my great-grandmother and came into my possession when I was eight years old. It’s been my most prized possession ever since. In it I was introduced to the denizens of the invisible worlds and our connection with them, including the ‘Dweller on the Threshold,’ elementals, nature spirits, thought-forms, ghosts and spectres.
Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson — Tattered and worn from nearly forty years of use, this copy is held together by tape and rubber bands. I obviously hold it in high regard. Culled from the “bring one/take one” box at my local library, this was my second introduction to Norse Myths & Mysteries.
The Poetic Edda, “translated” by Lee M. Hollander — Not the best translation of the Poetic Edda, being the poetic chronicle of Norse mythology and heroic lore, but it is far from the worst.
The Nine Doors of Midgard: A Complete Curriculum of Rune Magic and Runecaster’s Handbook: The Well of Wyrd by Edred Thorsson — I have a real love/hate relationship with Stephen Flowers, but for a comprehensive study of Rune Lore, he is at the forefront and these books are masterful and enlightening.
Magick: Liber ABA (Book 4) by Aleister Crowley (w/ Leila Waddell and Mary Desti) — Crowley’s magnum opus, I would be hard pressed to name a more influential treatise on magick and it is this volume that is my most frequent companion.
An Advanced Guide to Enochian Magick: A Complete Manual of Angelic Magick and Enochian Physics: The Structure of the Magical Universe by Gerald Schueler (w/ Betty Schueler) — These were my first in depth forays into Enochian and I consult them often, cross referencing with the next book on my list. These are the quintessential working manuals that really made me grasp Dee’s system for the first time.
The Enochian Evocation of Dr. John Dee, edited by by Geoffrey James — I still remember vividly when I stumbled upon this at Phoenix Rising when I was a student at Ball State University. I spent my entire month’s food allowance to bring this one home with me and it was well worth it.
The New Magus: Ritual Magic as a Personal Process by Donald Tyson — There’s not much love for Tyson’s New Magus these days, but in the winter of ’88 I was 21 years old and this book resonated with me then and still does. Sure, it has its problems, but I still find it inspirational and certain bits quite enlightening. I remember being so taken with it at the time that I actually bought several copies and gave them as gifts to some of my closest friends.
The Magician’s Companion: A Practical and Encyclopedic Guide to Magical and Religious Symbolism
Godwin’s Cabalistic Encyclopedia: A Complete Guide to Cabalistic Magic by David Godwin — I bought this a s a wedding gift for a dear friend, but his new bride had a proverbial cow and demanded it removed from their house. His loss was my gain. You simply won’t find a more complete guide to cabalistic magick and gematria than this.
Encyclopedia of Haunted Places: Ghostly Locales from Around the World by Jeff Belanger and the World’s Leading Paranormal Investigators (myself included) — A bit of a cheat, as I was one of the contributors to this doorstop of a tome, but it really is a fine collection of ghostly goings on, predominately here in the good old US of A, despite the “Around the World” title. As a paranormal adventurer, this is an invaluable resource. As a writer, it is even more so.
And there you have it, out of a library consisting of thousands of books, these are the thirteen I turn to most frequently for reference, inspiration, and all around mental meandering. I recommend each and every one, knowing full well that they may not tickle you in the very same places they tickled me.