Get the abridged Oxford World's Classics edition which includes Frazer's original speculation on the wholly ritual, and symbolic, nature of Christ's crucifixion and, overall, you'll digest a book that will speak to you in ways you never imagined a book could. A sweeping account, from the very dawn of recorded history to the relative present, of Mankind's beliefs, traditions and rituals, The Golden Bough propels you from the start into an epic true story of nothing less than Mankind's inexhaustable quest for an understanding of - and union with - the mysterious, divine powers that create and sustain the world's existence.
With this remarkable work, so brilliantly researched and weaved together, we learn that universal themes and common tribal practices have been adopted by Man throughout all of history, and across all the world's diverse cultures, suggesting that we really do operate from a "collective unconsciousness", as Swiss therapist Jung termed it.
What is strongly suggested from Frazer's starkly drawn postcards from the past is that the enactment of myth and ritual may actually have a real impact, both esoterically and exoterically, on actual life and nature. It's not all cosmetic or mere superstition. And, indeed, once we re-engage with these universal, deeply rooted ideas, we might even find a registering of their phenomena in our personal and collective psyche. Reading this book for these metaphysical side effects alone is worth the investment!
In an ideal, spiritually oriented world, this book would be read in primary schools world-wide as a vital companion to Darwinism, to teach children how modern religion is nothing more than a re-branding of old myths and rituals - with these religions, in turn, being grossly misinterepted as facts instead of symbols, and entrusted to the "teachings" of a corrupt, inept and hopelessly unenlightened church order. The best we can do in the absence of this book being compulsory reading in schools is to get a copy as soon as we hear about it as adults and let Frazer's genius do the rest. What are you waiting for?