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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A text on Hermeticism which is itself a Hermetic Work!, 16 July 1998
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This review is from: The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art (Paperback)
Baron Evola, always controversial and provocative, is no less so here. Discussing many facets of the Magnum Opus ( 'Corrosive waters', and 'Path of Venus' for instance) which are overlooked, misunderstood, or just plain ignored by other writers on the subject, this work should be consisered a necessary part of any Hermetic Library. Evola draws extensively from Greek, Latin, Arabic, and English language expositions of the Hermetico-Alchemic Art. The notes are impressive in their relevance and ability to increase the depth of qualitative comprehension. One could wish there had been a more comprehensive index. Be prepared to have cherished assumptions challenged and intellectual horizons broadened. Read with Evola's "Eros and the Mysteries of Love," and "The Mystery of the Grail."
Good Luck!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Idiosyncratic Interpretation, Erudite and Brilliant Symbolic insights, 3 Aug. 2007
This review is from: The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art (Paperback)
This is a highly stimulating, if sometimes idiosyncratic, exploration of the Alchemical tradition written from a distinctive initiatic viewpoint. Julius Evola depicts the Alchemical tradition as being characterized by the 'virile-heroic' disposition rather than a 'religio-mystical' perspective, toward which he is consistently hostile. This viewpoint of course overlooks the continual exhortation throughout the texts of the Royal Art to a life of intense prayer on the part of the alchemist, the concept of the laboratory as mystical oratory as shown by Heinrich Khunrath and others and the persistent concept of the secret of the Lapis Philosophorum as the 'Gift of God' , the 'Donum Dei', revealed by the miracle of Grace to His elect. In fact Evola's attitudes here may be rather more influenced by 19th century anti-clericalism, Nietszchean nihilism, Spenglerian historicism and political modernist agendas than any genuine traditional Hermetico-alchemical authority, all the more so when one considers just how prominent Christian priests, monks, abbots and even popes have always been as practitioners and masters of the Hermetic Art during the last few millenia. (For instance one recalls the image of Father Nikolaus Melchior Cibinensis and his revelations of the Catholic Mass as the supreme operation of spiritual Alchemy.) Evola's quirks in describing the Hermetic Tradition as one remote from the 'religio-mystical' character and approach is simply not borne out by acquaintance with the Tradition itself as a true spiritual science with an authentic salvific-gnostic and soteriological complexion.
Also consider that the original 'Age of Gold', such as the Satya Yuga in Hindu Tradition, corresponds always to the Brahminic function and that the sacerdotal power is invariably regarded as the apex of the traditional spiritual world-view. The reader should study the magisterial works of Rene Guenon on these matters of the perennial Tradition and bear in mind that the so-called 'revolt of the Kshatriya' in truth marks the first deviation from, and symptom of decline of the Tradition. (The figure of the universal sovereign in fact unites both sacerdotal and regal functions in the Primordial Tradition.) The Royal Art of Alchemy in reality belongs to the highest function of the Traditional hierarchy and is the prerogative of the sacerdotal power of the Royal Priesthood. However if one can disregard this persistent, and sometimes misleading, Neo-Ghibelline/Kshatriya pre-occupation which colours and soemtimes distorts Evola's interpretations of myths and symbols there is plenty to be impressed by in this study - it's hard not to be dazzled by the 'Black Baron's amazing range of erudition in the Hermetic literature and his fecund and provocative insights certainly convince one of the brilliance and depth of his esoteric vision and realisation of hermetic truths. This is certainly an impressive exposition of the Alchemical Tradition by a mind of peculiar penetration and symbolic-analogical range. Evola's exploration of the Royal Art of Hermes illuminates, stimulates and commands respect. The Evolan perspective, refracted through the principle of Kshatram/Rajanya, here illuminates the inner significance of Alchemy, not as plant spagyrics (which can only be a secondary or tertiary application of alchemical principles in the medical realm rather than Alchemy proper) or the 'psychologism' of Jungian individuation - but as the authentic primordial initiatic science of the Tradition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 13 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Hermetic Tradition: Symbols and Teachings of the Royal Art (Paperback)
Extremely interesting book - GD magicians will find it useful. Evola has used many different perspectives to approach alchemy and deliver a well written piece of work
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