Arthur Versluis. Restoring Paradise: Western Esotericism, Literature, Art, and Consciousness.

Focusing on how spiritual initiation takes place in Western esoteric religious, literary, and artistic traditions from antiquity to the present, Restoring Paradise provides an introduction to Western esotercism, including early modern esoteric movements like alchemy, Christian theosophy, and Roisicrucianism. The author argues that European and American literature and art often entail a written transmission of spiritual knowledge in which writing itself works to transmute consciousness, to generate, provoke, or convey spiritual awakening. He focuses on several important figures whose work has not received the attention it deserves, including the American writer and Imagist poet H. D. And the British painter Cecil Collins, among others. While Arthur Versluis presents a new way of understanding Western esotericism in a contemporary light, above all he has crafted a book about knowing, and about how we have come to know, and what “knowing” by way of literature and language actually means.

A volume in the SUNY series in Western Esoteric Traditions
edited by David Appelbaum
State University of New York Press, Albany. 2004.
ISBN 0-7914-6139-4

Christopher McIntosh, Garden of the Gods: Myth, Magic and Meaning

Garden of the Gods
is an invitation to look at and create gardens in a new way—or rather a very old way that has been widely forgotten. Its theme is the garden as a sacred space, an outdoor temple carrying an intentional message: religious, mystical, poetic or philosophical. Christopher McIntosh reveals the basic elements of the visual language used to convey meaning in a garden: its form and proportions; the decorative features in it; and the plants with their symbolic or mythological associations. He gives examples of motifs most frequently used and most pregnant with meaning, such as labyrinths, grottoes, fountains, monoliths and sacred groves. The reader is then taken on a fascinating tour of the great gardening traditions of different periods and regions. These include the gardens of China with their moon gates and immortal rocks, the Zen gardens of Japan, the paradise gardens of Islam, those of Renaissance Italy, the landscaped parks of England, and some striking modern examples of symbolic gardens, such as the Tarot Garden of the sculptress Niki de Saint Phalle in Italy.

I.B. Tauris, London. 2005.
203 pages.
ISBN 1-86064-740-5

Marsha Keith Schuchard. Restoring the Temple of Vision: Cabalistic Freemasonry and Stuart Culture.

This book uncovers the early Jewish, Scottish, and Stuart sources of “ancient”, Cabalistic Masonic themes that emerged in Écossais lodges in the eighteenth century. Drawing on architectural, technological, political, and religious documents, it provides the real-world, historical grounding for the flights of visionary Temple building that were later expressed in the rituals of “high-degree” Freemasonry. While tracing the concepts of Solomonic architecture, Hermetic masques, and Roiscrucian science from their Jewish origins through their Stuart development in 1695, the author explains the persistent and potent attraction of early Scottish Masonry.

Marsha Keith Schuchard, Ph. D. (1975) in English, University of Texas at Austin, has published extensively on eighteenth-century Cabalistic and “illuminist” Freemasonry and its influence on Swift, Ramsay, Swedenborg, and Blake.

Part of Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History, Volume 110.
(Leiden: Brill, 2002).
845 pages.
ISBN 90-04-12489-6

Sophie Page. Magic in Medieval Manuscripts.

Magic in Medieval Manuscripts explores the place of magic in the medieval world, examining representations of the magician, wise-woman, and witch, magical objects and ritual procedures. It is illustrated throughout from The British Library’s extensive collections, and shows how magic texts and images formed part of life in the Middle Ages.

The British Library. 2004.
ISBN 0-7123-4813-1.

Vladimir Solovyev. Transformations of Eros.

Vladimir Solovyev(1853-1900) is one of the most influential of Russian philosophers, and his most well-known writings outlined his philosophy of love. In Transformations of Eros, Solovyev guides the readers through and intellectual and spiritual journey from a Platonic to a Christian understanding of eros, from a partial to a complete understanding of love. As Javro Lavrin puts it, “Solovyev’s entire work can best be described as a continuous endeavor to reconcile philosophic, religious, and scientific thought in an organic synthesis.”

(St. Paul: New Grail, 2004)
103 Pages.
ISBN 1-59650-001-8

Johann Georg Gichtel. Awakening to Divine Wisdom: Christian Initiation Into Three Worlds.

Johann Georg Gichtel(1638-1710) is one of the greatest mystics in the theosophic school of Jakob Böhme, and Awakening to Divine Wisdom is his introduction to this tradition of mystical practice based on devotion to Sophia, or Divine Wisdom. This work is most well-known for its central illustrations that depict the transmutation of the inner dimensions of the body through spiritual awakening, and some have even claimed that these illustrations show the Christian parallel to Asian traditions concerning the chakras. Without a doubt, in Awakening to Divine Wisdom, Gichtel offers his most concise and direct guide to Christian mystical practice. This is a classic work of mysticism, and should be in the library of anyone interested in this field.

Translated and edited by Arthur Versluis.
(St. Paul: New Grail, 2004).
ISBN 0-9650488-2-9