3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 1999
The book is excellent as a primer and as a supplement to one's study of the magical Cabala. I would give it 5 stars if the second part (the actual discussion of each path and sphere) was set up a bit better and wasn't discussed in such a prosaic fashion. More than once I was caught reading something that seemed to come out of nowhere, in the second part. However, the book is excellent as a primer for the beginner, as well as a supplement to the adept, and is an excellent Prologue (and Epilogue) to John Michael Greer's second book "Circles of Power."
on 5 January 2014
"The Path of Wisdom" is John Michael Greer's guide to the Christian Hermetic Cabala in the version developed by the Golden Dawn, an esoteric order that flourished in Britain over a century ago.
The bulk of the book is a mini-encyclopaedia of the various "spheres" and "paths" on the Tree of Life (the main Cabalistic symbol of the cosmos and its structure). I admit that this was way over my head, so I haven't read it (yet). However, "Paths of Wisdom" also contain chapters of a more introductory character.
Some deal with the basic metaphysical presuppositions of the Cabala: The Veils of the Unmanifest, the Tree of Life, the relation between symbol and reality, the polarities of being, and the Cabbalistic view of creation and redemption. Other chapters deal with practice, which in this tradition means ritual magic, meditation, prayer and "pathworking" (which at least to some extent sounds like astral travel).
To Greer, magic is a method for personal, spiritual transformation, so don't expect any love-spells or hexes! However, he does mention other peculiar phenomena in conjunction with Cabbalistic practice, such as encounters with "magical beings" during "pathworking". (Sounds Egyptian!)
Although I'm not ready to join W. B. Yeats on a climb towards Kether just yet, I must nevertheless say that I liked this book, so I give it four stars. Incidentally, Greer himself left the "path to wisdom" after having published this book, and took up Revival Druidism instead! But that, as they say, is another story entirely.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2005
This is one of my two favorite books on Kabbalah (or Quabala, or whatever). The author has a wonderful way of explaining very complex topics and making them clear. Highly recommended.