||Magic and witchcraft are as old as humanity itself. From the earliest animist concepts of a universe alive with potent spiritual forces to the emergence of Wicca and contemporary neopaganism, magic and its associated practices have provided a sense of power and purpose in an often mysterious world.| Beginning with shamanism--widely acknowledged as the world's earliest spiritual tradition--this book explores myth and magic in the ancient world, the quest for gnosis, or sacred esoteric knowledge, and the emergence of the kabbalah, alchemy, and the Hermetic tradition. It then describes the rise of medieval witchcraft, the origins of the tarot, and the secret philosophy of the Freemasons and Rosicrucians.| The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, started in Britain in 1888, led to a twentieth-century revival that extends into the present millennium. The influence of controversial occultist Aleister Crowley, the rebirth of witchcraft and goddess worship, the emergence of contemporary satanism, the revival of interest in shamanism and indigenous spirituality, and the intriguing connection between digital magic and cyberspace are all explored here in detail.| The book reminds us that magic is not so much about superstition as the quest to be at one with the spirits, gods, and goddesses of the magical realms. Magicians have always sought to tap the mysterious forces of the universe and to use them for their own specific purposes, good or evil.
||Like rainstorms and mushrooms, religion and magic hover around each other in a relationship that may not be directly causal but are provocatively connected. Nevill Drury, an expert on shamanism and other esoteric traditions, ambitiously traces the history of magic and witchcraft, and their context within more "legitimate" forms of worship, from their first primitive appearances (tribal witchdoctors and shamans) through ancient Egyptian mystery religions, Gnosticism, the Kabbalah, and Alchemy. He observes the recent reemergence of Paganism in all its varieties, and the mainstream acceptance of practices such as Tarot and numerology. Drury's attitude towards all the magical traditions is respectful and scholarly, and he clearly honors the basic mystical properties at the root of all of them.
|Editors Note 2
||A richly illustrated look into the enigmatic world of magic, mysticism, and the power of theology explores shamanism, Wicca, neopaganism, and the Western esoteric tradition, covering sacred knowledge and beliefs, witchcraft and goddess worship, the origins of the tarot, secret rituals, and more.