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O sacrum convivium,
This review is from: Angels: Messengers of the Gods (Art and Imagination) (Paperback)
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Peter Lamborn Wilson is an American writer, occasionally described as a post-anarchist individualist interested in mysticism and utopianism. He sometimes writes under the pseudonym Hakim Bey, a name and character which is probably borrowed from Ekim Bey, a great magician and wizard, a sort of Great Turkish Pasha, who appears in Gurdjieff's Meetings with Remarkable Men. This title eminently accords with Wilson's exotic appearance and may explain his interest in Sufism, but perhaps not quite his prolific works of poetry.
This book on Angels, Messengers of the Gods, was first published in 1973 in the much larger format normally associated with beautiful Thames and Hudson art books, but this edition is shrunken in size to 5.5 x 8.5 ins, which fine for the text but inadequate for the 120 illustrations, 35 in colour, 85 in black and white, some of which become relatively meaningless blurs when reduced in scale. With about 60% of the book in the form of illustrations of angels, captured from the world's fine art across two and a half thousand years of history, this is really an art book, while the 40% text is an eclectic commentary that sometimes corresponds to the illustrations, sometimes does not. Entirely printed on glossy paper, this book on angels is aimed mainly at the mass market, definitely not at the scholar fraternity, who would find it lacking in sufficient depth and analysis. However, it has some value and is worth acquiring and perusing as a first taste of the subject of angels drawn across a wide spectrum of ancient Egyptian, Greek and North and South American cultures, as well as Judaic, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Zoroastrian, and Occult religions.
Quite often the text consists of stories and quotations taken from religious books, from the Kabbala, from Plato, the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the Koran, etc., which Wilson examines and discusses. He is an intelligent writer who generally confines himself to presenting the facts rather than engaging in, and superimposing, his own personal philosophy upon the subject. Different themes run through the book, including the angels of the Shaman, Sophia, Archangels and Satan, angels presiding over space and time, in Heaven and on Earth, the angels of death, divine Muses, angelic love and eroticism, guardian angels, choirs and flights of angels, as well as that surprising caste, the militaristic warrior angels, which may suggest that there are wars in Heaven as well as on Earth. Many themes, each touched on delightfully but without penetrative exhaustion. If you want a brief introduction to the enigmatic and mysterious subject of divine messengers... this book may well be of interest.