Eclectic Wicca - Reading
Article ID: 15181
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Posted: September 9th. 2012
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Everybody you know has read Starhawk, or Farrar, or Cunningham. Very occasionally, you'll run across someone who's read Gardner 'in the original': the manuscripts. Your favorite HPs has a bookshelf crammed with a hundred 'Intro to Wicca' -style books. But, where does the Intro leave off, and the True Craft begin?
Let me delineate some other works you might consider, and why you might want them, if not for your collection, then to have browsed them in some Bookshoppe, at a Craft fair, or in someone's home. I'll list these 'informally', as though, as it has been said elsewhere, a good book is 'an old friend', sitting on your shelf. The titles sometimes don't matter as much as the author hirself, when (almost) any book by that author, would do.
Here's a reading selection, of an Eclectic Nature, for the Inquiring Mind:
'James Frazer, The 'Golden Bough'' -- The (British) classic of comparative mythology, at the folk-level, across most of Western Europe. Herein you will find the Oak King and his Holly King brother, their conflict, the women who were attendant to the rites, the Tree-shrouded shrine at Nemi, the roots in society of what eventually led to the Crusades, and of course, the 'Golden Bough' (and the 'Silver Bough') itself (but Not: its Egyptian counterpart, the Golden Bough of Egypt, Ptolemaic) , and other such tidbits about Western European Mystery Schools. You might also see some Gardner in here, if you look closely. Frazer comes complete with an exhaustively 'comprehensive' bibliography. If you need to allude, in some ritual, to traditional European practices, you will find much good reading here. Note that Frazer (like John Lennon and Mick Jagger, is British Knighted, hence was 'worthy contributions to The Crown', i.e., the official Monarchy viewpoint for Agriculture, in his day) . This is available at gutenberg.org (free books) , also excerpted at sacred-texts.com (free to read online; non-free to download -- whatever that means) .
'Marion Zimmer Bradley - The Mists of Avalon -- The Book' -- Unlike the film (which omits much material) , the book delineates, in a very detailed manner, the precise thought process that the Lady of The Lake uses when training her Maidens (Morgause) and reveals Merlin's long-term love affair with her (hand-fasted?) , as well as the Brother-Sister kingship that Arthur shared with Morgaine, by the Olde Rites, under the guidance of the Lady of the Lake. If you like Merlin, this is a must-read. A friend of mine got this for his 12-year old daughter, though some might think it 'unsuitable for children'. It's not your traditional Church literature.
'Astrolog.DAT, plus The Swiss Ephemeris' -- This is a piece of 'freeware' Astrology computer software (for Linux, Mac, and Windoze) . Astrology is an 'ancient' science of aligning the motions of planets and stars with the ebb and flow of daily existence on Earth, which is subject to interpretation (just as is the Tarot) both for similar purposes as the Tarot, as well as to pick proper times for Ritual and other activities in Wicca (also get glean additional information about past events in Wicca, and their alignments) . Astrolog uses the now-famous add-on Swiss Ephemeris 8000-year calendar (which you can 'browse' in numeric form, if you want -- great for ecliptic estimates, realigning henges, and so on) . The Ephemeris contains data for the 10 planets (with Kiron) but also major asteroids, such as Ceres, Lilith, Juno; also major Fixed Stars (Constellations) and also (by computation) the Arabic Parts. It allows all 12 major House Systems (Placidus, Koch, etc) and also Vedic, can compare up to 4 charts for Synastry and Relationship spreads, allows incremental fine-tuning (both by keyboard taps and under automatic stepping) in 1 arc-second increments forwards/backwards in Time (so you can get that 'precise' feel for an alignment or transit in your Mind) . Built-in, printable interpretations for most, but not all, transits and alignments of inner planets, and not stars.
'Diane Stein - any' -- Diane is a, if not the, proponent of Wiccan Feminism as existent since the dawn of religion, back in the Ice Age. These books may not contain a working reality description that men would find useful, but to women who want to study male-style power in organizations, its crafting and its use, they will prove indispensable.
'The Tarot and Transformation' -- This is a take on a re-interpretation of the Tarot, that anyone can use, beginner or expert, which highlights the use of the Tarot for explaining the Transitions one might endure in one's Life, mostly from a 'light and airy' see-the-good-side-of-this-stuff viewpoint, but also with emphasis on The Changes, both female and male. Being about Tarot, it tends to be Jewish Temple or Masonic, rather than Green Man or Forest, but it's sufficiently useful, to get included here.
'Malcolm Rhodes James - The Apocrypha' -- This is in print in Britain (and therefore probably available in 'The Strand Bookstore') . M. R. James, who I 'prefer' in his 'Ghost Stories Vol. 1 and 2' (both available at gutenberg.org -- if you like Ghost stories; also try Algernon Blackwood, also at gutenberg.org) , was a Deacon of the Church, who spent his later years collecting all the fragments of the New Testament that didn't make their way into the official King James version. There is much good Pagan work in here: all those anecdotes from Pagan cultures at the time of the Roman Empire that were 'Too Pagan' and 'Not Xtian Enough' for the Synod that assembled the New Testament. For example, the 'Book of Esther, almost in its entirety: the matriarchal Jewish epitaph of Syria, Punic Berber Edicts and Epistles (also of the matriarchy) , and the trip the Christian prophet took to India, where he was 'converted to paganism' (temporarily) by a harlot of the Ishtar Temple on the banks of the Indus, and other such 'hidden texts'.
'The I-Ching, with a commentary by C. G. Jung' -- This book purports to be a rune-style work of divination (for all you Initiates: the Tarot) , but upon further reading, especially if you like mathematics, and want to work out the probabilities of the 'Yarrow Stick Casting Method' (in an Appendix) , you will find this to be an exploration of large monolithic hierarchies (such as large corporations, monasteries, the Church, the military, and academia) . Using this book on a weekly (or daily) basis, the Seeker will find their mind-set guided into the arch-conservatism inherent in such (traditionally male-run) organizations and will learn what to expect from Change when it impinges upon them.
'R. Buckminster Fuller - Critical Path' -- Fuller (best known as inventor of the Geodesic Dome) was a shoe salesman, who, after his divorce and disillusionment, began an in-depth study duplicating Plato's work on geometric solids: the Cube, the Tetrahedron, the Icosahedron and others. He started his project, as he writes, 'with the premise of assuming nothing, and documenting everything, even my failures'. To my mind, this is the proper mind-set of the Witch, when doing new research (aka, the Scientific Method) . He began constructing basic three-dimensional shapes using toothpicks and glue, and later, string. This led to his theory of Primes (a basic building-block of Nature) , Tensegrity (the non-Roman-Empire mode of building structures using e.g. pre-stressed (tensioned) concrete with Re-Bar; the Romans merely piled one stone upon another, which is said to be 'compression-based' technology) . In Critical
Path, he delineates a, to his mind, required course of actions for human history, using Design Science, to achieve greatness, faster (typical engineer) , while providing a Harvard-level overview of Human society since the Ice Age (studiously avoiding religion) . You can infer the religion for yourself.
'Basilius Valentinus - The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony' -- A profound neo-Classical work on the subject of Antimony (aka Stibnium) , quite thought provoking, if not tongue-in-cheek, full of sassy humor (available online, in its original Latin, if you so desire) . Part of alchemy, the (often veiled) anecdotes of scientific inquiry, before global acceptance of democracy, while under the watchful eye of The Church. Read on, and be happy you don't have to write for publication that way anymore.
'Giordano Bruno - any' -- Bruno was both a Theological Philosopher tolerated by the Roman Catholic Church, and also a Heretic (who was nearly burned at the Cross, several times in his career) of a Natural Philosopher Scientist. Reading Bruno (either in 1600s Italian, or in Latin, or in translation) , you will get an acute 'feel' for just what the Catholic Church would put up with, in the way of a scientific document, back then, and you will glean enough information about the system he devised, within which to present his 'conclusions', to become acutely aware of 'veiled language use' in e.g. Wicca, especially sources before Gardner (e.g. 'The Chatelaine's Guide to Witch Practice’ from ~1880) .
'NGDC - USA' -- The National Geo-physical Data Collection (Online, and for-pay DVD) . Here (ngdc.gov) you will find a collection of Earth measurement science archives of 'raw data'. The collection can be daunting to navigate, so be prepared to spend several weeks looking through it, since they, as so many others these days, are out to make a profit, and hence will tend to refer you to their 'newest and best' data products (for-pay, on DVD) , rather than their older (and often, therefore: free of charge) raw data products. Highlights here include North American continent (and World) topo maps, not 'political annotated' (meaning: no towns, roads or rivers) , wide-beam bathymetry (which is topo, but of the ocean floor) great for boating parties, or to discover new volcanoes beneath the sea (St Brendan's Isle stands right out, if you know where to look, and the Faerie Countries of Europe are right where you'd think to find them) . Also, check out the Rishi Cities region of India: you'll see their flood-plains. Looking around Europe on one of their 3.5megabyte Ice Age jpeg images, you'll see the old, pre-Flood coastlines of the Black Sea, and you'll wonder whether the Mycenaeans actually knew anything of Sailing, back when. The older data is available (try using their local 'search' box, from many different locations within their website, since not all pages use the same database for their search result) as .xyz 'raw data', for such programs as Garmin and .DEM; also, Simtel used have a freeware product from France (a .fr website, I forget where exactly) that would paint a triangulated grid from a .xyz data set.
'The Mammoth Trumpet - back issues' -- This is a Journal of an archaeological Society in USA. Most issues go 'out of print' very quickly; the out-of-print issues can be had (for academia) in reprint, for a fee and some are viewable/indexed/searchable online. The information here is quite variegated: you're going to have browse 'eclectically'. Examples include paleo-Indian digs in North America (such as the Achuleian theory, and the Mississippian Culture) , but also scientific research regarding carbon- and thermo-luminescence dating of finds. In a nutshell, there were Neanderthal-era cave dwellers in Mexico in 55'000 BP (before present) , and a dig in Bolivia yields similar dating (Samai-pata 28'000: a circular 'seating' arrangement of 12 stone chairs with 3 central pillars) . These people were 'displaced' by the 28'000 BP across-the-Bering-Strait migration. Also check out their document on Irradiation of Cherts and re-Dating the Acheluian record in North America.
* * * * *
As with all Things Wicca, Speak ye Little of these matters, and let the ideas accumulate and ferment in the mind. You will gain much understanding of Humankind's drama on Earth, their tentative forays into Science and mastery of the Elements, and the general vociferous opposition to such endeavors by the Agricultural Church.
As a side note: Did you ever feel intimidated, at a Craft Fair, by those College Grads, with their quick off-the-cuff snappy rebuttals? Be intimidated no more; help has arrived: The Schaum's Lecture Series (for pay) . These are available at most larger bookstores (I learned my Micro-Economics this way) . Math at your fingertips, when you need it, without all the debt to get it.
Knowledge is a tool of the Craft. People were burned alive for possession of knowledge like this, back in the day. Remember the Burning Times: use the knowledge with Wisdom, in Silence, only for Good.
Blessed Be, by the Goddess Hecate, at the Crossroads of Wisdom Learning.
Magister, Foaming Seas Coven, Arizona 2012
(no Fido: BBS number these days :0 )
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