We shouldn’t approach occult literature to seek entertainment or to gain material goods. The impulse that leads to occult philosophy is a need beyond the apparent, a curiosity that in its most noble aspect is a demand made by nature to seek the truth. That necessity to know, is as natural as the necessity to eat.
The soul of a human being needs spiritual nourishment in order to be able to strengthen and to enter into a state of gnosis and illumination. However, as we approach this study of invisible causes and universal principles, we commonly encounter with unnecessary mystification and mirages of ego and imagination.
It seems that, at least at the beginning, with the occult knowledge it is more difficult to distinguish the true and honest from the false and from what has evil ends; Opportunists and erroneous interpretations abound and little rigor; We open ourselves to the possibility of the mysterious, but we are not able to see the brilliance of a diamond covered by mud. To a great extent, this cognitive marsh is part of the path that each one must take, from the turbulence of the journey, to consolidate his own wisdom and to separate the grain from the chaff. At the same time that we study esoterism, we must purify our judgment and our perception, to train not only the intellect but the intuition.
In 1935 Manly P. Hall, one of the great esoteric scholars of the world, was at the epicenter of a new boom of metaphysical literature in California, with the ideas of the New Thought, Cosmic Consciousness, Theosophy and the first waves of Orientalism , All of which would give rise to what we know today as the new age. At that time, Hall already detected the problem of charlatanism, false gurus, pocket spirituality and above all the state of confusion and vulnerability with which many of the “seekers” approached these regions of thought, making them easy prey. Awesome teachings. Many of them sought a miracle cure, a magical passage of enlightenment, a pill for the soul without being aware that in spirituality there is no magic that is not part of the natural laws of the causality of an essentially moral universe. This state of affairs motivated him to write Words to the Wise, which is a serene preventative guide for those spiritually enthusiastic neophytes. There Hall mentions:
There is no shortcut to God. There is no patented formula for the attainment of wisdom. All things must grow and unfold. The truth and wisdom in the human being must likewise grow and unfold according to the laws of their own nature. Manly Palmer Hall
A man who seeks wisdom seeks the most valuable in the world. He desires a treasure that is not easily obtained, but superior in value to all the riches of the earth. He must know that “those who live the life are those who can know the doctrine”.
In other words, there is no wisdom if there is no life that reflects the learned precepts if the student does not also become a practitioner. “He who wants to study the Book of Nature must walk his pages with his feet,” said Paracelsus. This is one of the clear differences between philosophy in its original sense and purely academic philosophy. “The purpose of knowledge is the perfection of the soul – with soul we mean the part of man that transmutes experience into spiritual strength.” The true philosopher, in his love of knowledge, discovers that he must be trained to access the truth and lead a life leading to the purification of his mind and perception. “Philosophy is more than the ability to think and argue, it is the science of building the capacity to know. Most people do not realize the limitations of their thinking tools,” says Hall. The ancient philosophers thus developed disciplines to cultivate their faculties and “rise to the level of truth,” and it is that one is only capable of knowing that which has succeeded in establishing affinity and sympathy.
As a guide, Manly P. Hall included in this text a list of 10 occult books for the student of the occult sciences who “wish to direct and perfect their knowledge”. Hall mentions that these occult books, if “studied seriously” and above all “diligently applied”, can “release an inner flow of inspiration” and constitute “a sure approach for the occult student toward the teachings of the ancient masters whose wisdom We are so missing in this world dominated by materialism. ”
1. THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY, Thomas Stanley
This book is one of the greatest stories of philosophy that has been written, however, it has not been updated for the contemporary public and requires a significant effort from the reader. Written between 1655 and 1662 in a four-volume series, Stanley’s masterpiece, in the only edition available on the market, is approaching 800 pages in a very small letter, in addition to keeping the old fashioned writing ” S “so that is confused with” f “, so you should do a mental gymnastics to find the fluency of prose.
The book is composed of a series of seven biographies the most important philosophers of ancient Greece, including in an exposition of their most important theories; Also of an interpretation of 12 sects or groups of philosophers. The work also includes a final exposition of the philosophy of the Chaldeans, following the ancient tradition of considering Zoroaster (or Zoroaster) as one of the great influences of Greek philosophy. Stanley’s extraordinary version of Pythagoras can be read in another edition, more friendly to the modern reader and with an introduction by Manly P. Hall. Stanley studied at Oxford, was a poet and lawyer and is considered one of the greatest experts in ancient philosophy who has written in English.
2. PROCLUS ON THEOLOGY OF PLATO, Thomas Taylor
Thomas Taylor’s translations of Platonic and Neoplatonic philosophy is a book that Manly P. Hall always recommends . Taylor, known as “the English Ficino,” devoted his life to the Platonic tradition and his translations were read and inspired poets like Emerson, Shelley, or Byron. Plato’s Theology of Proclus is the text in which the great Neoplatonist philosopher systematizes his vision of Plato’s work, to which he dedicated much of his life, making extensive commentaries on his most important dialogues. The so-called “Platonic successor” was the last luminary of this school of philosophical mysticism that had Plotinus as its main exponent. This book can be downloaded from this site.
The book consists of six commentaries to different dialogues of Plato including a seventh reconstructed by Thomas Taylor and an introduction of more than 60 pages, which is a jewel that preserves, in immortal amber, the true spirit of the Platonic vision.
3. THE RESTITUTION OF PLATONIC THEOLOGY, Thomas Taylor
This is another occult book hard to find as it is not available under this title. The interested reader should acquire the tome Oracles and Mysteries, Volume 7 of the full works of Thomas Taylor, of the Prometheus Trust. It will be well for the reader to take a walk through this elegant editorial that preserves Taylor’s work in formidable editions that capture the spirit of the tradition of perennial philosophy and the so-called golden chain or what Ficino called the Prisca theology. The book mentioned is the inspired vision of Taylor in which it categorically affirms the importance of returning to Platonic philosophy to the highest lecture and retake the values of a philosophy centered in the soul.
4. ANACALYPSIS, Godfrey Higgins
This is an easier book to acquire but also presents a challenge to the reader, as it exceeds 400 pages in a mythological linguistic exhibition of ancient cultures, investigating its esoteric origin. Higgins, a language scholar born in 1772, dedicated more than 20 years to this work in which he suggests that there is a common root to the myths and the Hebrew, Greek and Hindu religion. Higgins also explores the subject of Atlantis as a possible source of these traditions.
5. ISIS WITHOUT VEIL, H. P. BLAVATSKY
In this book Blavatsky explores mesmerism, parapsychology and spiritualism and other manifestations of his time and tries to validate them philosophically and scientifically, seeking to reverse the Cartesian division between matter and spirit. In Volume 2 of this book, Blavatsky traces a “Prisca theology”, a common basis of the different religions that originate in a single pristine religion as old as the human being.
6. THE SECRET DOCTRINE, H. P. BLAVATSKY
The main occult book of Blavatsky. The great madam of theosophy suggests that there is a “secret doctrine” common to all esoteric traditions. In this difficult book to penetrate Blavatsky narrates the creation of the cosmos and presents a spiritual theory of evolution, based on seven root races and seven eras. The text is divided into two volumes, Cosmogenesis and Anthropogenesis. In the case of cosmogenesis, Blavatsky makes his own interpretation of the history of Brahmanic creation (following the revelation made by his Mahatma, an ascended master), this is the day of Brahma (manvantara) or manifestation and the night of Brahma (pralaya ) Or dissolution. Cycles of creation and reabsorption of the cosmos in the divine consciousness that exists imminently and transcendently to the cosmos. Anthropogenesis tells the creation of man and his cyclical evolution from the continent of Hyperborea to humanity today, in a process of seven humanities that culminate with the ascension of all beings on the planet and Earth itself. The vision of the evolution of Blavatsky considers that the human body has been sculpted by intangible planetary spirits from remote times.
Followers of theosophy consider this the masterpiece of Western occultism, a revelation of initiatory schools based on the Book of Dzyan, a supposed Tibetan Tantric text is taken care of by a secret brotherhood; For most modern scholars the work is a complex synthesis of various spiritual traditions and not an original work.
7. MANKIND, ITS ORIGIN, AND DESTINY, Anonymous Master of Arts of Oxford
This book, published in 1872 by an anonymous author of the Master’s degree in Art from the University of Oxford, is also a universal history of religion from an occult perspective. Arthur Dyot Thompson is now credited with almost nothing. The text is basically known to be quoted by Hall. It is an extraordinary compilation of ancient esoteric sources to review the history of the Egyptians, the Jewish people and the rise of Christianity; Especially valuable is his mythological-astrological study of Christ.
8. THE ROSICRUCIAN COSMO-CONCEPTION, Max Heindel
The conception of the Rosicrucian cosmos of Max Heindel is one of the fundamental texts in the education of Manly P. Hall, who when he was still an adolescent he met the widow of Heindel in California, with whom he studied astrology and began in the Rosicrucian mysteries, joining To a lineage that includes Robert Fludd, Jakob Böhme or Rudolf Steiner. In this text, apparently revealed by the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucians, Heindel exposes the creation of man, the different humanities and the orders of angelic beings who have participated in the creation of the world (his cosmology is similar to that of Theosophy). Evolution is also explained as a spiritual phenomenon in which matter is only the vehicle for different spiritual beings to achieve reunification with the divinity. This includes solar systems and planets that are also in a process of conscious evolution, according to Heindel. This book is available online.
9. MORALS AND DOGMA OF THE SCOTTISH RITE, Albert Pike
Manly P. Hall was named Mason 33 Degree and this book is recommended for those who seek to know the ancient rites and foundations of the mysterious religions that flying this secret society. Hall once also suggested that it was Pike’s reincarnation, something we do not know whether to take very seriously, although we certainly know that Hall considered Pike the most admirable of American Masons and in his library of the Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles had A statue of Pike. This 1871 text can be found on internet. The text was given to members of the Scottish rite who were above grade 14 and contains an intricate exposition of the mysteries of the cabal and the mystery religions, keys to understanding the conformation of the gestures, rites, and symbols of Freemasonry.
The most poetic passage of the classic and unabashed Mahabharata on the immortal nature of the Atman. This text has come to be considered, especially for the western look, as the great emblem of Hinduism. Arjuna’s legendary conversations with his charioteer Krishna on the battlefield are powerful illustrations of the spiritual essence of Indian thought. As Krishna says to Arjuna: “There has never been a time when I was not there, neither you, nor these chiefs of men; And, truthfully, there will never be a time when we no longer exist. ”
These are 10 books recommended by Manly P. Hall, one of the great restorers of a philosophy centered on the soul and the ancient traditions of initiatory wisdom, something that suffers so much our society. 80 years fighting materialism and entering the secret jungle of the occult (which certainly does not offer miracles or easily obtainable results ), I think it is convenient to make an appendix to the list, partly because Manly Hall omitted a text that seems to me to be one of the main referents of any student who seeks to approach esotericism and ignite the flame of metaphysical curiosity, his encyclopedic The Secret Teachings of All Ages. In order to include this text and to round Hall’s effort with some texts closer to our time and contemporary mentality, I have added 10 additional essential books to approach esotericism and to form a more complete picture of the different philosophical traditions and religions that Constitute a perennial philosophy or a primordial theology, perhaps like that tree imagined by the Kabbalists whose roots are in the sky and whose branches extend over the Earth.
Finally, it should be mentioned that the order chosen here is not necessarily one of priority or hierarchy. In the case of Hall’s list I have respected the order that followed in his book Words to the Wise, but apart from Stanley’s text which gives a fairly useful overview as a basis, it is unlikely that Hall considered the list to be chronologically followed or ordered by importance.
11. THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES, Manly P. Hall
The great Manly P. Hall, in this book Hall brings together the knowledge of mysteries, mysticism, and idealism of the different Western esoteric traditions, is today a necessary critique of the predominant materialist model; A truly incredible treasure made up of a 27-year-old youth in the 1920s who had read everything or almost everything in esoteric matters (at least as far as the West was concerned) and exhibited a legendary memory that some of his students and Friends considered proof of extrasensory faculties. There is Orpheus, Plato, Pythagoras, Plutarch, Proclus, Paracelsus, Jakob Böhme, Swedenborg, Eliphas Lévi, Blavatsky, the alchemists, Rosicrucians, Templars, Masons … A book that prefigures the greatest “academic” The academy, certainly was in the original Platonic sense) in the modern history of esotericism. It is extraordinary to note that at that age the essence of his thought was already in its full maturity, which would not in any way divert its view of the world, perhaps because it was not a personal opinion but simply a reaffirmation of the perennial tradition, Of the ancient mystical schools. The secret teachings of all ages should be mentioned along with Pico Della Mirandola’s 900 theses.
A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery and perhaps some other text as one of the great feats of esoteric precocity. Works that by their monumental example of erudition and ability of discernment seem unequivocal fruit of the years, of the most rested intelligence and that perhaps mysteriously verify that Platonic maxim of which “to learn is to remember”.
12. THE THREE BOOKS OF LIFE, Marsilio Ficino
In his extensive work Hall makes little mention of Marsilio Ficino, who is one of the most talked about and translated authors of esoteric philosophy and Renaissance magic by the current academic world. I think because there were few translations of Ficino’s texts when he was in his formative stage. Either way, Ficino is an undeniable referent. The great translator of Plato and Corpus Hermeticum, under the auspices of the Medici, makes a lucid synthesis of Platonic and Hermetic philosophical traditions with a certain knowledge of Arabic, Kabbalistic and Persian magic, and of course Christian mysticism, since Ficino was above all a Catholic priest.
Ficino’s work consists mainly of numerous letters and small treatises (such as his extraordinary commentary on Plato’s Banquet, his monumental Platonic Theology And a text perhaps a little easier to access and certainly more folkloric, De triplici vita. The three books of Ficino’s life are: De vita sana (On Healthy Living), dedicated to helping scholars to achieve a healthy life through proper habits (Ficino was a medical doctor, as well as an astrologer and priest). De vita longa (On Long Life), something like the Greco-Roman “Tao” of long life where Ficino offers a similar advice for the elderly. The third and in which we want to emphasize is De vita coelitus comparanda (On obtaining the life of the heavens); Here Ficino reflects and provides a series of magical and philosophical techniques to make the human being take energy from the celestial objects and harmonize his life with the cosmos. In this text there is an exposition of the astrological magic and its relation with the elements, the precious stones, the plants and other objects that are able to capture the planetary spirits. Ficino teaches to become like the sky and to nourish itself spiritually, on all sides leaving evidence of an extraordinary erudition, like a species of Da Vinci of esoterism and philosophy.
A basic commentary and exposition of this book can be found in Thomas Moore’s excellent book: The Planet’s Within: The Astrological Psychology.
A team of translators led by Ernesto Priani have translated two occult books related to this subject to obtain the spirit of the cosmos, On the Sun and On the Lumen, two treatises in which Ficino with great lyric wealth and philosophical depth studies the spiritual nature of the Light and the relation between the Sun and the human being, taking from Plato and other philosophers in his understanding of the metaphysics of light.
13. THE UPANISHADS
The Upanishads are perhaps the first truly philosophical texts of which we are aware. It is possible that they were born to allow the renunciants who had retired to the forest, and for whom the complicated sacrifices of the Vedas could not be fully realized, could continue to practice the doctrine, somehow thus initiating a process of elimination of Everything that was not strictly essential. The Upanishads seem to be distinguished from the only religious and for the first time in a written way introduce man to self-reflection and self-knowledge as a method – the royal way in reality – to know the divine and achieve liberation. Since, as the Brihdaranyaka Upanishad points out: “Atman is truly Brahman,” the being of an individual is not unlike the universal Being, the soul is not unlike God.
For those who are interested in the mystical thought of India, we also recommend the important and erudite exposition of the brahmana (texts linked to the sacrifices) made by Roberto Calasso in his recent Ardor.
14. THE SEVEN TREASURES, Longchen Rabjam
The seven treasures (mdzod bdun) of Longchen Rabjam (Longchenpa), “the omniscient dharma king of vast space” are probably the summit of the Dzogchen, Great Perfection, the highest yoga that Tibetan Buddhist tradition has attained. The same name of this great teacher, who lived in the fourteenth century, explains a little his philosophy, which is like the radiant purity of the celestial space. Longchen means “vastness,” or “immeasurable space.” “Long” implies a space “free of any form or limitation”; “Chenpo” means “great” or “the greatest”; “Rabjam” means “of inconceivable qualities”. We have here a concept somewhat similar to the Ein Sof of the cabal (which has no limits, the infinite), which we can link with dharmadatu, the space that is the basis of all existence. In his Seven Treasures, Lonchenpa systematically studies Buddhist thought, emphasizing the nature of the foundational space and the untranslatable Tibetan term “rigpa” which refers both to a consciousness and a gnosis, which is like space itself in all its vastness, In all its emptiness, cognitive luminosity without limits. This is the essence of a non-dual teaching of spontaneous enlightenment, in which the practitioner must do nothing but realize his own enlightened mind which is one with the neurocognitive vastness of the universe.
David Germano, one of the main experts in Tantric Buddhism in the West, believes that Longchenpa in this florilegio of texts:
He systematically refined the terminology used by tradition with a series of clear but subtle distinctions; He brilliantly revealed his relationships with established exoteric Buddhist thought; Clarified its internal structure; Created from it masterpieces of poetic philosophy notable for its philosophical beauty, rigor, clarity and aesthetics; And pointed out the inner quintessence of tradition with texts … which creatively explain and make clear the unprecedented revolution in the form, content, structure and “philosophical” thinking of the Dzogchen (Great Perfection) on Indo-Tibetan Buddhist thought.
We recommend the translations of Richard Barron of these texts, however, it should be noted that at least one of these seven gems is restricted access to a previous initiation or empowerment within the Dzogchen tradition, such as the Precious Treasury of the Genuine Meaning and certainly it is well that it be … one must gain access to gnosis not only with literary curiosity! It is also recommended that they be studied with the guidance of a teacher or lama, especially because it is not easy to understand the apparent paradox that teaches Great Perfection or Ati-yoga, which is not necessary to practice, meditate or something like: Occurs spontaneously (this can greatly confuse someone who is immersed in a “spiritual work”). On the other hand in this garland are texts like The Precious Treasury of the Pith Instructions, which constitutes a series of instructions of practical and moral order, that can be read for great benefit without necessity
15. The SUTRA OF THE GUIRNALDA (Avataṃsaka Sūtra)
This Sutra, which has been poured from Chinese to English by Thomas Cleary in more than 1,500 pages in the only edition existing in a Western language, is the fruit of hundreds of years of meticulous compilation within the Mahayana tradition and, in its vastness , Is an appropriate image of the cosmos that describes: the whole universe as a necklace of luminous jewels in which each one reflects the totality of the others; A vast network of light, emptiness and interdependence. His translator has even described it as “holographic” and “psychedelic” and certainly not equivocal.
D. T. Suzuki, one of the main responsible for bringing Zen to the West, has said that this Sutra constitutes:
The consummation of Buddhist thought … For my mind, no other religious literature in the world can approach the grandiosity of conception, the depth of feeling and the gigantic scale of the composition of this sutra … The abstract truths are so Concretely and symbolically represented here that one will eventually come to realize that even in a particle of dust the whole of the universe is reflected – and not only this visible universe but a vast network of universes conceivable only by the highest minds.
A wonderfully poetic idea follows from the conception of the universe as a garland or a decoration that stands on the emptiness of Buddha’s luminous mind. “All manifestations, all phenomena, can be considered as mere ‘ornaments.’ The characteristics of this world may be called the ornamentation of space,” Cleary writes. Suns, galaxies, celestial worlds and vast beings that are only adornments in the mansion of the cosmos, brief glimpses of emptiness for the delight of the self-perception of an immeasurable space.
A special mention here of Path to Awakening: Introduction to the Bodhisattva Path, Shantideva, which seems to me to serve as the perfect moral complement to the study of esotericism (in the Western tradition this could be complemented in the same sense by the Framework Meditations Aurelio).
This is one of the classic texts of Mahayana Buddhism, written by the monk Shantideva in the eighth century. This text is the most lucid exposition of the doctrine of the great vehicle, the path of salvation through compassion. Written in sublime verses that give us one pearl after another, Shantideva exposes the cultivation of “bodhicitta”, the enlightened consciousness, through the unity or identity between the self and the other, that is, when the awareness that does not exist Separation between what one is and others, naturally also arises a desire to protect and seek the good of others.
This is the distinctive mark of the bodhisattva, one who has the Buddha’s nature and who decides not to rest until all beings are liberated. The Dalai Lama has said that he owes this book the correct understanding of what compassion is.
This is probably not a text that comes to mind when one thinks of “esotericism,” however, we must make the highest flights on solid seeds and remember that all traditions consider that the highest levels of the spiritual path necessarily transcend Personal importance, by the dissolution of the ego and by abandoning oneself in the service of a higher good, whether it be a divinity, the law of the universe itself or space as a totality of self-consciousness. This is, along with some passages of Christian mysticism, one of the highest works of compassion. We are witnessing a boom in Buddhist literature
16, ALCHEMICAL TRADITIONS, Aaron Cheak
Dr. Aaron Cheak, who writes some of the essays in this book (some of which can be found on his website), is called to become one of the great scholars of the occult and of what he calls the hieratic arts, a Philosophy that is conceived as an art of living (and also of learning to die). I would not be surprised if in 50 years we think of Cheak as we now think of authors like René Guénon, Ananda Coomaraswamy or Frithjof Schuon, that is, great polyglot scholars of the esoteric traditions that transcended mere academic intellectual curiosity.
The text consists of a general introduction to alchemy in which Cheak defines this hieratica as follows:
Alchemy can be described, in Baudelaire’s words, as a process of “distilling the eternal from the transient.” Like the art of transmutation par excellence, the applications of alchemy have always been double: chrysopoeia and apotheosis (to make gold and become God), the perfection of metals and mortals.
Cheak and the different essayists who participate in this work present a global vision of alchemy from its hermetic origins in the “black land” of Egypt (khem), but also of its roots in Taoism, Hinduism or Tantric Buddhism ; Then leads us through a circumambulation along the European alchemy and its different manifestations that are, of course, the most associated with this hermetic science; Also includes an excellent introduction to the work of René Schwaller de Lubicz, the French alchemist and Egyptologist, and some essays on more recent alchemical manifestations. The work is an excellent panorama to become familiar with the language of alchemy from an academic perspective with a rare blend of freshness and poetic vision.
The student of alchemy who wants to go deeper and get closer to the original sources can use the compilation of British alchemy texts by Elias Ashmole Theatrum Chemicum Britanicum and the Hermeticum Museum by the scholar A. E. Waite. Another intriguing and fascinating work is Mary Anne Atwood’s A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery (1850), a book that was withdrawn from the public and composed with the most improbable erudition and precocity and which offers an original interpretation to the mystery of Hermetic Opus Magnum.
17. CELESTIAL LAND, SPIRITUAL BODY, Henry Corbin
In this book, Henry Corbin introduces us to the wonderful imaginal dimension of Persian and Sufi mystics, a journey to a lost and paradisiacal continent within the human soul. Corbin expounds his thesis that the imagination is an organ of perception and that the worlds that the prophets and poets of this tradition access are not mere lucubrations of fantasy but exist on a subtle plane. We also understand here the soteriological process of creating, through faith and active imagination, a spiritual body, with which one can attend the paradisiacal visions of divine unity, embark the ships of the celestial earth to the world of archetypes. The text is especially valuable because it has an anthology of the mystical authors of Iran Mazdistan to Shiite Iran, translated by Corbin, who is by his own merit also a great mystic at the same time as a great academic.
18. THE ENEMIES, Plotinus
Plotinus is the most illustrious of the Platonic successors together with Proclus and in his Enneads, compiled by his pupil Porphyry, brings to us the substance of Plato’s philosophy lucidly inclined towards mysticism (with some ariostotelic touches). Plotinus was indeed a mystic accomplished and according to account in his letter, on a couple of occasions, he managed to unite with the divinity he describes as the One. Plotinus philosophy is a philosophy of contemplation of the beauty and intelligence of the cosmos for Lift the soul back to its source, perform “The journey from the Solo to the Solo.” This text is one of the great jewels in the history of philosophy and mysticism.
19. THE KABBALISTIC MIRROR OF GENESIS, David Chaim Smith
Chaim Smith is one of the few truly mystic authors we have today in the West, that is, someone who is literate but also a practitioner; Is also one of the most original Kabalists, versed in Dzogchen Buddhism, in Alchemy and Gnosticism, which has allowed him to formulate a non-theistic, non-dual vision of a universe in which luminosity and spaciousness are unitary manifestations of the same Infinite nature, which in Kabbalah is known as Ein Sof. As in the Dzogchen, Chaim Smith calls for eliminating the perceptual obstructions that prevent us from observing that the present reality is already the enlightened mind, the paradise itself and that we have to do nothing but stop reifying existence and conceive a Subject separate and independent of an object.
The contemporary student interested in the cabal will hardly find a better introduction to the mysteries of Genesis than the work of David Chaim Smith The Kabbalistic Mirror of Genesis, recently reissued by Inner Traditions. Chaim Smith is a visual artist deeply dedicated to the Gnostic study of Kabbalah, belonging to the tradition of philosophers and mystics who conceive of knowledge necessarily as a way of transformation. This is the fundamental Gnostic idea: to know something is to become one with what is known. And this is also the idea that runs with great energy throughout the book, perception must be purified to perceive the indivisible unity between the perceiver and what we perceive.
The reading of Chaim Smith from the first three chapters of Genesis, then, allows, in its maximum irradiation, an understanding of the creative process not only from a rational perspective but from an intuitive participation. More than an exegesis seeks to be a tuning of the emanations of the creative divine present today.
I have preferred to include a contemporary author to introduce to the cabal, taking into account that some ancient texts are difficult to access. Of course, the interested reader should consult The Zohar and the Sepher Yetzirah to delve further and to know the foundations of the Hebrew mystical tradition. And, from an academic perspective, the work of Gershom Scholem is a watershed in kabbalistic studies.
20. THE TEMPLE OF MAN, René Schwaller de Lubicz
René Schwaller de Lubicz is one of the last great esotericists who has bequeathed a truly original thought. Surely no one has managed to penetrate the mysteries of pharaonic thoughts (and perhaps also the Pythagorean thought in its quintessence) as the self-styled “Aor”, “the light of the universal mind.” Schwaller de Lubicz played a preponderant role in the mystery of Fulcanelli (we could call it the mind behind Fulcanelli) and among occult circles in the Paris of the first postwar, being admired by some surrealist writers. This book, perhaps the summit of Western esotericism of the twentieth century, is the fruit of its study of more than a dozen years of the architecture and symbols of the temples of Luxor. In his Temple of Man, Schwaller advances a theory of evolution not as a progress of matter but as the channel or genesis Which takes the consciousness in its manifestation back to its origin. That is, the passage from unity to multiplicity (matter and expression of diversity), to unity again. The world is nothing more than the game of getting lost in matter, forgetting our origin and finally returning home. De Lubicz writes:
Consequently, the universe is nothing but consciousness, and in its appearance is nothing more than an evolution of consciousness from beginning to end, the end being a return to its cause. It is the purpose of all initiatic religions to teach the path that leads to this latter integration.
Also in this work gives us a powerful image of the Archetypal (or anthropocosmic) Man, a sublime expression of the analogical philosophy that had in Egypt one of its most sophisticated conceptions, the temples being real cameras of illumination created in correspondence with the human anatomy.
As additional readings, the reader will surely gain great benefit from studying the Corpus Hermeticum, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali The 900 theses of Pico Della Mirandola. The Varieties of Religious Experiences of Henry James is a good approach from a scientific but not dogmatic or materialistic view to the mystical experiences. Every student of alchemy, magic, and philosophy should refer to the work of Paracelsus, of which there are several very valuable anthologies in English.
As far as the study of magic is concerned, the reader may begin with a reputed source of antiquity, On the Egyptian Mysteries, by the Neoplatonic philosopher Iamblichus, the central work of theurgy, an influential book is also the medieval manual of astrological magic Arabic The Picatrix; Later he can consult Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Hidden Philosophy, the great referent of Renaissance magic. The book Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, by French transcendentalist Eliphas Levy and Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law and Magick in Theory and Practice, can consolidate a wider vision of ceremonial magic with modern dyes. In recent times the so-called CHAOS MAGICK has become popular, of which the referent is Peter J. Carroll.
As a complement to Manly P. Hall’s Words to the Wise, for neophytes in occultism and spirituality who can benefit from a certain compass on the road, Chogyam Trungoa’s Spiritual Materialism is highly recommended, The false aspirations and what today is known as “spiritual bypassing”. To understand Platonic-Pythagorean cosmology Plato’s Timaeus is always useful. The reader interested in alchemy from a psychologist’s interpretation, where the soul becomes the philosopher’s stone, can read Carl Jung’s Alchemy and Psychology. The Ibn Arabi Unity Treaty is a jewel of mystical devotion.
For the student of Taoist philosophy and internal Chinese alchemy, the translations of Fabrizio Pregadius and Thomas Cleary are good starting points. A classic text is Joseph Needham’s Science and Civilization in China, which has a volume dedicated to chemistry and alchemy.
The reader will do well to read the words of the Buddha (in his own words), as they are confirmed in the canon pali. You can continue with the sutras of Mahayana such as the Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra. For students of Buddhism, we also recommend the energetic effort of the great teacher Jamgon Kongtrul to compile all the Buddhist teachings as they have been preserved in Tibet, in ten volumes that have been translated into English as The Treasury of Knowledge, a work that tries to do A kind of theological summa, and non-sectarianly encompassing the different Buddhist schools, including of course the more esoteric Tantric aspects. In the case of Zen Buddhism the introductory essays of D.T. Suzuki, are a great way to approach this lucid and serene philosophy.
Christian mysticism is well represented by the sermons of Meister Eckhart, the epigrams of the Cherub Pilgrim of Angelus Silesius, The Rise of Mount Carmel, of St. John of the Cross and more recently by Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy and the evolutionary theology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, whose mystical vein can be seen in The Heart of Matter. Even Paracelsus, Emanuel Swedenborg and Jacob Böhme, although they take from different traditions like the cabal and the hermeticism, they can well be considered among this select group of Christian mystics of forced reading.
To approach Shivaist tantrism the great referent must be Abhinavagupta, the great philosopher of Kashmir, whose fundamental work is Tantra Loka. The texts of the musicologist Alan Danielou are also an excellent introduction to Shivaism and to the universe of the vibration of this tantric religion. For Practical Exercises How to learn about the superior worlds of Rudolf Steiner and to understand why philosophy is essentially an art of life or a spiritual exercise, Spiritual Exercises, and Ancient Philosophy, by Pierre Hadot. In order to approach the sacred literature of the East, Max Müller’s collection, Sacred Texts of the East, although it has some old-fashioned and loaded translations of the Eurocentric vision of the translators, remains without a doubt the best compendium that exists in the West, since That many of these texts of the Vedic literature, Taoism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and other mystic-religious currents have not been translated into Western languages or have been in an orderly and certainly not exhaustive way. Two texts that were highly esteemed in antiquity but which have fallen a bit into oblivion or smear, because their origin is not as old as they were believed to be (or why it is doubtful that the authors have actually been Zoroaster and Orpheus) The Chaldean Oracles and The Hymns of Orpheus
An excellent “history of Western esotericism” is the recent The Secret Teachers of the Western World, by Gary Lachman.
And if this is not enough, we refer to the bibliography of more than 200 texts compiled by Manly P. Hall: Great Books on Religion and Esoteric Philosophy.