|Pilgrims of the Night. Pathfinders of the Magical Way. Lars. B. Lindholm. Occult|
I'm enjoying "Pilgrims of the Night: Pathfinders of the Magical Way" by Lars Lindholm. The book provides a historical overview of Magick, the Occult and the Western Esoteric Tradition. It is not an academic or comprehensive study, but is entertaining nevertheless.
Here is a fresh, unprejudiced and exceptionally readable examination of the evolution of magical theory and practice in Western culture. In his often humorous style, Lars B. Lindholm traces the history of magic from the earliest times to modern, encountering colorful personalities such as Thomas Aquinas, Henry Cornelius Agrippa, John Dee, and Aleister Crowley along the way.
Pilgrims of the Night or Pathfinders of the Magical Way is a fascinating book about the most prominent figures in the history of magic. The subject of magic is defined rather loosely but that would deserve a book of itself to describe it properly. The author assumes the usual meaning of the word and delves perhaps not too deeply into the raging waters of Western magical history.
The book is divided into several chapters. As nothing much is really known about ancient history of magic, the author frankly admits it and gives sketchy outlines or biographies of such figures as Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, Cornelius Agrippa and John Dee.
In the chapter on Renaissance magic he starts giving more details but then the book becomes a description of history of Western magical orders starting with Rosicrucians and Freemasons and ending with the famous order of the Golden Dawn. A special attention is given to such prominent figures as Mathers and Crowley. There is also a chapter about Hitler. And finally a "new" magic or rather cult inspired by works of Lovecraft.
What is so unusual and refreshing about this book is that throughout the whole book the author maintains an ironic and rather skeptical attitude about the whole subject. He does not directly say that it is all BS, on the contrary he admits that there is something in it but he definitely acknowledges the fact that there is lots of deceit and plain power struggle when it comes to magic.
In fact the author keeps a peculiarly reticent attitude about the Necronomicon which is a subject of the last chapter. While admitting that all the existing copies are fake, he also admits that the magic in some of them works. Whatever that means. Another peculiarity is that he does not mention Simon Necronomicon by name except by briefly referring to it in a footnote. Very strange indeed, considering that it is the most famous copy of Necronomicon. Copies of Simon Necronomicon are freely available on the net so interested readers can always check them out for themselves.
There are also several interesting appendices in this book that should be a chapter by themselves but they are not, strictly speaking, about the history but rather an attempt to explain magic and other subjects closely connected with it. There are some fascinating insights there.
So I highly recommend this book. You won't find any propaganda (not overt, anyway) for doing magic. It is definitely a good primer as far as the history of Western magical orders go, though an advanced scholar perhaps won't find any new information there. For a novice, however, it is perfect: it sums up everything into succulent points and make it a very enjoyable read. And the book is quite short too, so no danger of it becoming too boring.
I found it one of the best reads on the subject of magic. It does not describe any techniques like spells, sigils, etc. It is basically a history of Western magical orders and some of the most memorable (to the author at least) moments in its history. It has curious gaps but on the whole it is an excellent book. -online review