The Dedalus Occult Reader: The Garden of Hermetic Dreams Paperback – 6 Dec 2004
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One of the best historical novels of the period ... permeated by Bruisov's occult studies .. a tour de force. --Stephen Ruby in Encyclopaedia of World Literature --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Gary Lachman was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, and has lived in London since 1996. He is a full-time writer with more than a dozen books to his name on topics ranging from the evolution of consciousness and the Western esoteric tradition to literature and suicide and the history of popular culture. Lachman writes frequently for journals in the US and UK and lectures on his work in the internationally. His work has been translated into several languages. Mr. Lachman's books include "Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality" (2012); "Rudolf Steiner: An Introduction to His Life and Work"(2007); "Jung the Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung s Life and Teachings "(2010); "The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus" (Floris, 2011); and "A Secret History of Consciousness " (Lindisfarne, 2003). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
He finds a woman illuminated by moonlight. She is writhing on the ground and at turns laughing and screaming, seemingly possessed by a demon. When her "familiar" finally vacates her body, she collapses to the ground, seemingly exhausted. Despite the pleading of our hero for her to rest, sleep and recover she insists upon telling her story.
When she was young she used to play with an angel called Madiel("His face shone, his eyes were as blue as the skies, and his hair of fine gold threat"). When she became a woman she asked him to be hers "in carnal union" and he fled in disgust.
After some time apart, he appears to her again and says that since she wants to be joined with him in bodily union, he will appear to her as a man. A few months later she meets Count Heinrich, in whose face she sees the angel Madiel. Even though the Count never admits to being the angel in human form they marry, and live together in his castle.
After a few years, things turn sour and he leaves, abandoning her to "fiendish powers, who leave her no peace". She then goes on a quest to find him and escape the 'dark forces' that are tormenting her.
From this moment our hero becomes obsesessed and bewitched by this mystifying creature, Renata, who we are never quite sure is angel or devil (but most likely the latter). He follows her, fulfilling her every whim and assisting her quest for the lost Count.
So beings an Occult romp through 16th Century Bohemia, via the mysterious "knockers", incantations, a black midnight mass, a flight through the stars on the back of a he-goat, the devil, witches, necromancy, possessed nuns, Helen of Troy and the Inquisition. Even Cornelius Agrippa and Faust himself make an appearance!
The story drags at some points to towards the end, hence the score, but overall "The Fiery Angel" is a wildly entertaining Gothic story for people who like their stories camp, over the top, and with lashings of occult imagery.
Dive in and enjoy! If not, the demons may get you. And believe me, you don't want that.
(Incidentally, the one star review posted here seems to refer to an unrelated book by different authors.)
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
"The Fiery Angel" is a strange journey trough beautifully and vividly invoked 16th Century Europe, with sojourns into its occult and religious underbelly. You'll encounter strange, seemingly supernatural occurrences, but they are quite underplayed and their reality is is left in the air for the largest part of this novel, much like the nature and reality of that titular figure. Humanism, "enlightenment" clash with the religion and the occult, Good clashes with Evil, much like two opposites clash in the case of our narrator and his beloved. And that last clash makes the core of this novel, and it is indeed fascinating, layered, unpredictable, rich in symbolism.
But, as I've said, supernatural is underplayed, occult is mostly occulted - you'll find neither the elaborate ceremonies, nor spectacular apparitions, nor heavy handed symbolism here- and novel can be excruciatingly slow at times. Patience and understanding are necessary. Translation itself is gorgeous, joy to read, but its archaic and flowery nature might deter many a reader.
There's a somewhat rough gem of Russian literature here, but it is not meant for everyone.
A powerful work that leaves you thinking about it long after you read it. Can see why Prokofiev made into an enjoyable opera later on.
If you want this in hardback, get a second-hand copy of the Neville Spearman (1970) edition with Colin Wilson providing the foreword also available on Amazon.
One of the things I love about Dedalus collections is that they typically dig for hidden gems -rather than going for the obvious... how disappointing.
As a comparison... I received Dadelus's Surrealism2 collection at the same time. and Im only familiar with about 3/50 writers.
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