Intoduction to the Occult, Richard Smoley, Paperback January 2022, Amazon. For more info click HERE
Perhaps I’m a touch over-optimistic but it seems to me that more and more people are reaching that pivotal point in their lives where they start asking those big questions. Who am I? Why am I here? What’s the purpose of life? Where did I come from? What’s my destiny? What happens when I die?
Is there really more to life than mortgages, shopping, sport and sex? And collecting 1960s vinyl records?
Religions such as Christianity, modern materialistic science and even mainstream philosophy provide few coherent answers to these mighty issues. Of course, they often pretend to. Sometimes they insist they have all the answers or the only answers. But their explanations are often shallow, flawed or completely wrong.
However, there’s an exciting alternative in the form of an ancient wisdom tradition exploring occult or hidden knowledge which does provide logical answers and indeed panoramic explanations of ourselves and everything else in the cosmos. It operates under various guises.
Those approaching these ideas for the first time can be forgiven for the bewildering array of books purporting to deal with these subjects. Some do. Many don’t. There’s so much New Age literature that if stacked together it would reach the moon and maybe beyond. Many of these books deal with worthy subjects like healing, mindfulness or meditation. Others deal somewhat more selfishly with using angels, crystals or rituals to get rich and famous or have a better sex life or career.
The theosophical tradition is replete with books on these ideas but many were written in the nineteenth century and are often obscure and impenetrably difficult to read today. For time reasons alone, a newcomer may feel disinclined to conduct a personal autopsy of Helena Blavatsky’s magnificent 2,000 plus page magnum opus The Secret Doctrine. This is a serious endeavour likely to take years. There are, of course, many other more modern renditions of these ideas good, bad and indifferent.
But for those approaching esoteric subject matter for the first time, this new addition to the esoteric canon by Richard Smoley is an excellent introduction to this timeless and often heavily veiled wisdom of the ages. With an engaging, concise style and a refreshing absence of technical data and jargon, this is an easily accessible and highly readable overview of big ideas which have the power to re-shape human destiny.
Covering subjects as diverse as psychic powers, hidden forces and the astral light, the book also deals with life after death, reincarnation and lost civilizations as well as hidden entities, meditation and healing. Astrology, the Tarot and notions of good and evil are also covered alongside other key topics such as The New Age and the use of psychedelic substances for spiritual development.
Drilling down into this book’s diversity three key messages emerge: firstly, take responsibility for everything you think, say and do; secondly, be open-minded to new ideas, concepts and explanations; and thirdly, the truth is within you not floating out there somewhere. In my opinion – and Richard’s too – these notions represent the very cornerstones of what spirituality is all about.
As a life-long student of these timeless ideas and universal concepts I regard Richard’s book as a trail-blazing attempt to hugely widen the appeal of these ideas. Admittedly, these concepts aren’t exactly mainstream, but they are attracting a growing minority of the questioning and the curious. With a clear talent for explaining complex and often demanding ideas in a simple, straightforward manner, Richard will no doubt have these individuals in mind as his target audience. Teenagers and young adults whose attention spans have been dramatically contracted by the ongoing incursions of the digital age, will find this book especially easy to absorb and digest – a light and enticing soufflé rather than a heavy-on-the-stomach hog roast.
Even those who’ve grappled with these exciting but demanding concepts for some time will find simple, unembellished truths in this book which is concise enough to be read on a two-hour train journey.
With the world engulfed in seismic and cyclic change this is most definitely a book for our times. I’d recommend it to any truth-seeker fresh to the trail of discovery or indeed some way along it.
This edition of Notable Books was compiled by Tim Wyatt