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The Endangered Occultist

By Christopher Penczak

When I first got interested in all the topics that would eventually lead me to my spiritual path, they were neatly shelved under the “Occult” section of the library or local book store at the mall. Thankfully, by the time I really got involved, there were a few more “how to” manuals out there, but talking to people who started not that much earlier than me, they would wax nostalgic about the days when the shelf was ten to twenty books at most, and the Satanic Bible sat next to books such as Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine, The Sea Priestess, Drawing Down the Moon, something related to the Golden Dawn or Aleister Crowley, Mastering Witchcraft, Sybil Leek’s Diary of a Witch, Magickal Rites from the Crystal Well, and what we now affectionately call “Uncle Buckie’s Big Blue Book.” Depending on how they arranged the books, you might even get Seth Speaks by Jane Roberts or one of the many Carlos Castaneda books thrown in there too.

If you were looking for more, you had to go into the mythology section, or look at the ancient philosophers from the Greeks and Romans. You had to look into folk lore, and your local library, in its own occult section, would have out of print books from the sixties and seventies, usually with many photos, detailing the history of occultism and hitting highlights such as tribal witch doctors in Africa, tales of Medea and Circe, a bit about Isis, the persecution of Witches by the Christian Church, some alchemy and Rosicrucians, through the modern revival of the Spiritualist Church, Theosophy, the Golden Dawn, ESP studies, and the rise of Wicca. Somewhere in there would most likely be a scantily clad photo of an Alexandrian circle for the sheer shock value.

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