MAGIC AND WITCHCRAFT: From Shamanism to the Technopagans

Nevill Drury, Author . Thames & Hudson $34.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-500-51140-4

Drury, the author of more than 40 books (The Shaman's Quest; Exploring the Labyrinth ), offers a comprehensive yet accessible historical guide to magic and witchcraft through the ages. This is not a how-to manual or a spellbook, but a well-researched history with a refreshingly global perspective. Beginning with shamanism, "the oldest magical tradition," Drury examines shamanic traditions in Alaska, South America, Australia, Siberia and Indonesia. He then explores ancient magic traditions in Greece, Rome, Egypt and Mesopotamia; Gnostic and Kabbalistic cosmologies; witchcraft and witch trials in medieval and Renaissance Europe; and hermetic and alchemical traditions. Other chapters delve into Tarot, astrology, numerology, Wicca, contemporary technopaganism and mystical fraternities such as the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians. One of the most interesting chapters is an in-depth portrait of Aleister Crowley, the turn-of-the-century self-styled British warlock whom some called the "most wicked" man of the age. Drury writes well and never loses sight of the big picture, offering readers broad strokes and helping them to understand the subtle distinctions between magical traditions. He draws on some legitimate theory and scholarship from the likes of Mircea Eliade, Emile Durkheim and Carl Jung (though he quotes Carlos Castaneda without divulging until the end of the book that much of Castaneda's "anthropology" has been debunked as fiction). The book is strikingly well illustrated, with more than 200 illustrations, 61 of them in color. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-500-28514-5
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