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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Accepted Mason to Zos Kia Cultus
I'm reading this as we speak. It's not often that I feel a strong urge to read an entire encyclopaedia from cover to cover. This bizarrely brilliant work by John Michael Greer is an exception! Greer is a self-confessed member of several "secret" societies, including the Freemasons. Apparently, he is a 32nd degree Freemason of the "Scottish" rite. I suppose that makes him...
Published 9 months ago by Ashtar Command

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3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Disappointing
It's quite a compact, comprehensive view - but I think that it was more interested on the sub/offshoots of Masonary/Rosicrucianism, rather than other societies. This is understandable as a lot of groups 'hive off' from the central group, but I found it a bit repeptative and rather limited. Okay as a reference book.
Published on 10 July 2012 by Calico Pye


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Accepted Mason to Zos Kia Cultus, 3 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies: The Ultimate A-Z of Ancient Mysteries, Lost Civilizations and Forgotten Wisdom (Paperback)
I'm reading this as we speak. It's not often that I feel a strong urge to read an entire encyclopaedia from cover to cover. This bizarrely brilliant work by John Michael Greer is an exception! Greer is a self-confessed member of several "secret" societies, including the Freemasons. Apparently, he is a 32nd degree Freemason of the "Scottish" rite. I suppose that makes him eminently qualified to pen a work like this one.

"The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies" includes entries on occult groups, Neo-Paganism, conspiracy theory, Masonry, and various charitable fraternities. There are also articles on revolutionary organizations such as the Carbonari, the Conspiracy of Equals or the First International. Even burlesque orders have been included, including the Shriners and the Concatenated Order of Hoo Hoo. Yes, there really *is* such a fraternity! (Not included are the purely fictitious Justified Ancients of Mu Mu.) Greer is the current head of a group mentioned in his own encyclopaedia, the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA).

If you have read too much conspiracist literature, or too many Dan Brown novels, get braced for a reality check! Greer doesn't believe in conspiracy theory and is pretty moderate as "rejected knowledge" goes overall. Still, there *are* revelations in this book. Personally, I was somewhat surprised to learn about the Scottish Masonry-Shriner connection. Isn't Scottish Masonry supposed to be a serious mystery cult? Or is the rabbit hole even deeper than we imagined...?

Despite a few entries on Africa and the Muslim world, the encyclopaedia is really about "Western" secret societies and their mythology, but I suspect a world-wide work would be three times as large! According to another encyclopaedia on matters occult by Greer, the author is actually a consecrated priest in a hoodoo church (!?), which may explain why a few items on Africa has sneaked into a work about Occidental delusions.

That being said, John Michael Greer definitely deserves five stars for this modern classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and informative, 13 Mar 2012
By 
Nigel Collier (Hull) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies: The Ultimate A-Z of Ancient Mysteries, Lost Civilizations and Forgotten Wisdom (Paperback)
This is an excellent little encyclopedia covering the full gamut of secret or 'rejected' histories, secret societies and the main personalities and theories which have driven them. Greer is well versed and has obviously done his research; he writes succinctly (with entries usefully cross referenced) and remains well placed as an author between enthusiasm, neutrality and skepticism.

Aside from the textual content I'd like to highlight one great feature and one no so great: there are small woodcut/etching style illustrations peppered throughout the pages which really look interesting and lift the content at first glance BUT...they are randomly placed repetitively and are therefore meaningless. Greer has missed a trick really because a better choice of illustrations or symbols placed in relevant pages would really have enhanced the entries no end. This is a shame moreover because the quality of the book's production is really outstanding - high quality paper (with subtle red DaVinci watermarks in places) and binding, attractive and quality soft cover and, best of all, rounded corners to the pages which gives an unusual but really pleasing effect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, well researched and not your usual conspiracy nut hogwash, 17 Jan 2013
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At last a book that covers a substantial range of secret societies, and that has been well researched.

Often, books on this subject are little more than conspiracy theories or fundamentalist claptrap. This work offers up alternative view points, references, and clearly delineates facts from supposition.

It is structured as an encyclopaedia - but can easily be read-end-to end, or surfed - as the author provides helpful cross referencing throughout.

It is surprising how many clubs and societies (some secret, some not so) have appeared and disappeared over the ages. I would recommend this book to anyone interested the history of fraternal and charitable societies, or the murky history of clandestine political organisations.

As well as explaining the origins and history of these societies, the author also reviews notable people, movements, beliefs and events in history that have connections with secret societies (or conspiracy theory).

I have the Kindle version of the book - and my only criticism is that the book has not been adequately formatted for the device. Font sizes change (you need to page forward then backwards rapidly to reduce the print to a manageable size) - and the cross referencing would be REALLY effective if hyperlinks to the relevant sections were imbedded.

Small quibbles overall for a book with such interesting and well thought through content.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Disappointing, 10 July 2012
By 
Calico Pye "Calico Pye" (St Ives, Cornwall, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies: The Ultimate A-Z of Ancient Mysteries, Lost Civilizations and Forgotten Wisdom (Paperback)
It's quite a compact, comprehensive view - but I think that it was more interested on the sub/offshoots of Masonary/Rosicrucianism, rather than other societies. This is understandable as a lot of groups 'hive off' from the central group, but I found it a bit repeptative and rather limited. Okay as a reference book.
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