Descripción de editorial
Explorers of occult mysteries and the edges of consciousness change the way we view not only the nature of reality, but also our deepest sense of self. Insightful author Gary Lachman presents punchy, enlightening, and intriguing biographies of some of the most influential esoteric luminaries in recent history. His 16 subjects include Swedish mystical scientist Emanuel Swedenborg; H. P. Blavatsky, Russian cofounder of the Theosophical Society; Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who inspired the Waldorf School of education; Swiss visionary C. G. Jung, founder of depth psychology; notorious English ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley; Russian esotericist P. D. Ouspensky, explicator of Gurdjieff’s early works; and British psychic artist Dion Fortune, who was influential in the modern revival of magical arts.
Lachman (Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World) presents a collection of previously published minibiographies of philosophers, occultists, and their ideas. Each of Lachman's chapters focus on one individual and range from such well-known figures as Emanuel Swedenborg and Aleister Crowley to less popular but influential individuals like Owen Barfield, Dion Fortune, and Rudolf Steiner. The profiles take a studious tone, yet are accessible to the casual reader and successfully introduce the major occultist themes and actors. Lachman's intelligence and breadth of knowledge is undeniable, though his occasional forays into the first-person voice come across as pompous, and he delivers opinions disguised as conclusions. Structurally the book is unsteady and would have been better off without the opening piece on Colin Wilson, which is chronologically out of order and tonally different. This inclusion, along with the varying perspectives Lachman takes across the range of profiles, detracts from any thematic unity. Nevertheless, the individual pieces are valuable introductions to the world and history of occultism.