"Magic" Books

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    Apr 27, 2008 4:39 PM GMT
    Have you ever read a book that changed your life in a profound way, or otherwise appeared to be 'more' than just the paper and ink?

    Several years ago, I read a book with the title, Unconditional Freedom, whose advertisement in the Loompanics catalog said something to the effect that it wasn't really a book, but more of a program with a meme virus that would "infect" the mind of the reader.
    Anyway, it did in a sense do that to me, at least temporarily.

    A few years later, another book contained a single sentence that changed me and my spiritual practice (if one could call it that). I tried later to find the same expressed thought in another copy of the book and couldn't.

    What led me to ask this question, however, is a book I started to read about a year ago. Its title is Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, and it was written anonymously and published posthumously. It is very slow-going and also somewhat amazing. The very idea of a book that examines the symbolism of the Major Arcana of the Tarot and which contains an afterword written by someone nominated as a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1988, is at least intriguing given the exoteric relationship between the Catholic Church and 'The New Age.' What really gets me going, however, is what it says on the back cover: "[T]he intention of this work is for the reader to find a relationship with the author in the spiritual dimensions of existence."
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    Apr 27, 2008 9:33 PM GMT
    a similarly amazing book i'd recommend is the Book of Thoth, by Alister Crowly- it very cleverly and eye-openingly attributes the major arcanum to the paths of the kabbalistic tree of life.

    i would consider anything by Israel Regardie or Alister Crowley to be a 'magick book' capable of opening one's mind to new ideas and perspectives, to answer the question for myself.
  • OptimusMatt

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    Apr 28, 2008 3:39 AM GMT
    Just about anything documenting what was said by Buddha has this incredibly calming effect on me. Not stuff written ABOUT him, stuff said BY him. I read the Dhama Pada (which is spelt so terribly but oh well) and couldn't stop. By the end I was so calm and centered...it was kind of indescribable. What he's said is so consise, and wholesome...I was pretty humbled.
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    Apr 28, 2008 4:10 AM GMT
    Wow, great question and so many powerful books. I'll offer a brief list here, and this list is by no means in order of importance and surely many will be missed.


    The Middle Pillar The Balance Between Mind and Magic by Israel Regardie

    After the Ecstasy The Laundry - Jack Kornfield

    The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings or Teachings on Love, or anything by Thich Nhat Hanh (Nobel Peace Prize Nominee)

    Sudden Awakening Into Direct Realization by Eli Jaxon Bear

    Emptiness Dancing by Adyashanti

    The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali

    Being Dharma by Ajahn Chah

    The Wings to Awakening by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (this is a very difficult book for some, but if you get it, if you really get it, its powerful)

    Most anything by Osho - The Book of Understanding is a good overview of his stuff.

    Total Freedom - Krishnamurti - (again this can be a difficult one for someone because of the stylistic differences but well worth it if you can understand the meaning through the language differences)

    Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore

    A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle


    I could never express enough appreciation for the gifts of these books. Read them, you won't regret it.
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    Apr 28, 2008 4:32 AM GMT
    YngHungSFSD saidTotal Freedom - Krishnamurti - (again this can be a difficult one for someone because of the stylistic differences but well worth it if you can understand the meaning through the language differences)
    My favorites by Krishnamurti are
    Freedom from the Known and The First and Last Freedom. The Flame of Attention is good also because it embodies one of his main principles of choiceness awareness. What he has to say is so simple that people tend not to grasp it. It is very Taoist in some ways. He stresses a direct experience of reality by abandoning all systems or paths to awareness which lead to a "second hand" experience.

    Of course as I have said elsewhere, the Tao Te Ching is about the simplest short writing on the Nature of "Everything" and simple observations of the way things are around us.

    I have lots of other books on things like this.
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    Apr 28, 2008 6:40 AM GMT
    Yeah the Tao Te Ching is an incredible book, I really, really enjoy the version with Commentary by Ralph Alan Dale. Its an excellent edition, beautifully illustrated with a profound commentary. A definite must read.
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    Apr 28, 2008 9:07 AM GMT
    Every time a thread about good books pops up, I have to post the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It may sound wierd, but I feel it has definitely influenced me heavily. Mostly for the better.
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    Apr 28, 2008 12:30 PM GMT
    This is cheesy.

    One of the first books that started me off the path of accepting my homosexuality was a sci-fi adventure book written by a woman.

    Sovereign by Rebecca M. Meluch was the first book I've read with openly gay themes. I forgot when I read this but sometime between 19 and 20. The character's inner conflict resounded so much within me and I realized I wasn't the only one going through these feelings.

    It's cheap, not at all profound, but it was a book that was there when I needed it. icon_razz.gif
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    Apr 28, 2008 12:47 PM GMT
    If someone is going to recommend Crowley, you have to read one of his clunky novels. They have the thinest veneer of plot covering what is really a lecture. Diary of a Drug Fiend isn't half as depraved and shocking as it wants to be, but is a much more amusing way to read that bit of philosophy Crowley went on about.
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    Apr 28, 2008 3:20 PM GMT
    "The Primal Scream" by Arthur Janov. Fascinating exploration on how early life experiences can have a tremendous impact on human behaviour and are often the basis for neuroses.

    The thing I like about Primal Therapy is its' exploration of traumatic life experiences (e.g. birth, abandonment or abuse by parent)and how it impacts the human brain. Some of its' conclusions are supported in my own life experiences and the experiences of people I am close to.
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    Apr 30, 2008 1:54 AM GMT
    Thanks for this list of books! I know I'll try hunting some down. Maybe I'll be able to read some in Spanish some day. It's also nice to know there's a reading community on RJ.

    My brother gave me Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for Xmas a few years ago, and I couldn't get further than about 2/3rds into it. I wonder if my mind was too closed.

    It's interesting how the mind needs to be in a certain place to hear and 'get' a book's message (sometimes).

    I started writing down the names of books I've read. Here's a recent list (since Jan. 07). Do you recognize any?

    Charlie

    Peter the Great, Robert K. Massie
    Great Russian Plays, Norris Houghton, ed.
    Beautiful Shadow: A Life . . ., Andrew Wilson
    A Game for the Living, Patricia Highsmith
    Those Who Walk Away, Patricia Highsmith
    Little G, Patricia Highsmith
    The Origins of Modern Germany, Geoffrey Barraclough
    One Who Survived, Alexander Barmine
    While Rome Burns, Alexander Woollcott
    Politics in the Soviet Union, Ian Derbyshire
    Donovan’s Brain, Curt Siodmak
    Ten Days that Shook the World, John Reed
    Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolfe
    Tobacco Road, Erskine Caldwell
    Great British Short Stories, Christopher Isherwood, ed.
    The Labyrinth of Solitude, Octavio Paz
    Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, H.P. Lovecraft, et al.
    Washington, Confidential, Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer
    Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain,
    Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder
    Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
    Manchild in the Promised Land, Claude Brown
    The Bermuda Triangle, Charles Berlitz
    The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
    The Enemy Within, Robert F. Kennedy
    Ikael Torass, N.D. Williams
    The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosinski
    Napoleon’s Pyramids, William Dietrich
    Papa Hemingway, A.E. Hotchner
    The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers
    The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    The Ballad of the Sad Café, Carson McCullers



  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 30, 2008 1:58 AM GMT
    I recognize some. "Jude The Obscure" was the saddest book I ever read until I read "The Beauty of Men" by Andrew Holleran earlier this year.

    I love "The Pickwick Papers" by Dickens. I have read it 2 or 3 times. Robert K. Massie's book "Dreadnought" is excellent. I have not read "Peter The Great" as yet. I have a copy of "The Brothers Karamazov" but I have not read it.

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    Apr 30, 2008 2:07 AM GMT
    The Poky Little Puppy

    Really moving. Really.
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    Apr 30, 2008 7:36 PM GMT
    Wisi...

    What's your name? I keep having to go back and forth to type your alias. Is it a memory test?

    What's Dreadnought about?

    Also, I think you're going to love Karamazov. One of these days, I've got to get the movie with Yul Brynner just to see if it's any good.

    Charlie
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    Apr 30, 2008 7:37 PM GMT
    PS--That list reflects mostly what I can find down here (Mexico) in English in secondhand stores.
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    Apr 30, 2008 11:35 PM GMT
    CarlosGringo saidWisi...

    What's your name? I keep having to go back and forth to type your alias. Is it a memory test?

    What's Dreadnought about?

    Also, I think you're going to love Karamazov. One of these days, I've got to get the movie with Yul Brynner just to see if it's any good.

    Charlie


    My name is Jonathan. "Dreadnought" is about the naval arms race between Germany and Great Britain leading up to World War I. The chapter on the Royal Navy in the Victorian Age is great, very amusing in parts.
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    Apr 30, 2008 11:38 PM GMT
    "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo (or Paolo Koehlo)
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    May 03, 2008 1:53 PM GMT
    ha i was just going to add the Alchemist and saw you already did lol.

    but any book by Koehlo is as good. i read the Witch of Portabello this last winter and it was great.
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    May 04, 2008 10:49 AM GMT
    I didn't like Coelho... hmm. icon_confused.gif