Richard Tennant Cooper, 1910. Image © source

Pseudomonarchia Daemonum

Johann Weyer

Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, also known as the False Hierarchy of Demons , is a great compendium from the 16 th century dictating the names of sixty-nine demons.  The title itself indicates that the demonic monarchy depicted in the text is false, in many ways an insult to those who determinedly believe in the demons of hell.  The list initially appeared as an appendix to Johann Weyer's first book about demonology and witchcraft, De Praestigiis Daemonum et Incantationibus ac Venificiisi, and was said by the author himself to have been inspired by an earlier text discussing spirits and demons.  Yet, it is Weyer's work—not his predecessor's—that came to be known by renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud as "one of the ten most significant books of all time." – Ryan Stone


A Lycanthropy Reader: Werewolves in Western Culture

Edited by Charlotte Otten

“Our understanding of lycanthropy is limited by our association of it with contemporary portrayals of werewolves in horror films and gothic literature. No rational person today believes that a human being can literally be metamorphosed into a wolf, therefore, in the absence of an historical context, the study of werewolves can appear to be a wayward pursuit of the perversely irrational and the sensational. This reader provides the historical context. Drawing on primary sources, it is a comprehensive survey of all aspects of lycanthropy, with a focus on the medieval and Renaissance periods.”

Publisher: Syracuse University
Paperback: 337 pages

A Witch’s Brew: The Art of Making Magical Beverages

Patricia Telesco

No decent Pan-worshiping pagan’s kitchen shelf would be complete without this thorough guide to creating 236 delicious, exotic beverages. The book covers the history and customs of early drinks, including religious and medicinal usages. This excellent investigation into beers, cordials, aperitifs, liquors, meads, punches and other odd brews will have you running to the store for fermenting supplies, pronto. Full recipes for beet wine, onion wine, rhubarb wine, soda pop, beers, long-forgotten teas and decadent cordials are all given here, plus many more. Why settle for merely reading The Pickwick Papers or Boswell’s Life of Johnson when you can giddily brew the authentic, antiquated drinks from the shadowy past described in these books and enjoy them in the blinding present. Cheers! (Hic!) CS

Publisher: Llewellyn
Paperback: 272 pages

Aghora: At the Left Hand of God

Robert E. Svoboda

“A rare view into the life of a practicing tantric master. Aghora teaches that the world is not as it seems, that reality is obtained by embracing the world rather than renouncing it, and that only by totally giving oneself to the Mother can we break through into the Light.”

Publisher: Brotherhood of Life
Paperback: 328 pages

The Airwaves of Zion: Radio and Religion in Appalachia

Howard Dorgan

“For over 20 years, Dorgan has been listening to ‘airwaves of Zion’ programs in the Appalachian regions… this ethnographic study provides an overview of radio evangelism in Appalachia… Dorgan trains his scholar’s eye on four case studies within the genre, capturing not only the unique character of each of the respective programs and stations… this book preserves an endangered segment of the Appalachian religious experience, rich in the cultural values and evangelical traditions that make this region unique.”

Publisher: University of Tennessee
Paperback: 226 pages

American Jihad: Islam After Malcolm X

Steven Barboza

Meet a Harvard professor, a practicing polygamist, and a Desert Storm convert—Muslims all. See what a former top official in the U.S. Government , an HIV-positive woman, and a Native American share in their faith. Understand what attracts a young feminist, a college grad, and an ex-hippie to the world of Islam. SC

Publisher: Doubleday
Paperback: 370 pages

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

James Randi

This book contains information on a wide-ranging variety of subjects, but the tone of it is so snide and dismissive of them that one wonders why the author even bothered to write the book. The author is an escape artist like Houdini, and in the tradition of Houdini he likes to debunk faux magic. This attitude is fine when exposing things like the levitation of tables, spirit writing and other parlor tricks. It gets a little wearing when used to describe historical or traditional things. Writing of the I Ching the author states: “… it is probably as a form of self-administered pop psychology that the system finds any value whatsoever.” The single-page synopsis of the entire Bible is funny in ways that perhaps were not intended. When the author is not being glib and clever it can be a useful resource. One place where the humor is absolutely on target is a closing appendix on “Forty-nine-End-of-the-World-Prophecies-That-Failed.” SA

Publisher: St. Martin's
Hardback: 284 pages

An Outline of Occult Science

Rudolf Steiner

“Following an introduction to the invisible nature of the human being—including sleep, dreams, after-death experiences and reincarnation—the heart of the book opens into a systematic description of cosmic evolution beyond the limits of space and time. Steiner portrays the immense drama of the cooperative working of higher spiritual beings during previous epochs of the Earth’s evolution and then traces the spiritual history of events up to the present time and into the future. There follows a detailed, practical guide to the methods, or exercises, by which such ‘initiation knowledge’ may be attained. This masterwork of esotericism places humanity—and the deed of Christ on Golgotha—at the center of vast, invisible processes of cosmic evolution.”

Publisher: Anthroposophic
Paperback: 388 pages

Apocalypse Culture

Adam Parfrey

A collection of essays—“outlaw anthropology” might be one way to describe the discipline—ranging from the outrageously eccentric to the outright idiotic. Despite the wide array of topics and the varying quality of presentation, the authors appear to be united in their impulse to push the boundaries of the possible, be those boundaries political or religious, psychic or physical. Topics include: “Cut It Off: A Case for Self-Castration”; “Long Live Death!”; “Satori and Pornography: Canonization Through Degradation”; “The Call to Chaos: From Adam to Atom.” Though not as profound as its editor would have prospective readers believe, Apocalypse Culture is an alternately fascinating and repellent survey of beliefs and world-views which defiantly clock in as outside (that’s way outside) the generic and the everyday. Not for the squeamish or politically correct. MDG

Publisher: Feral House
Paperback: 362 pages

The Apocalypse: Understanding the Book of Revelation and the End of the World

George T. Montague, S.M.

While the cover blurbs tantalize with promises of literalist hysteria and blockbuster special eschatological effects, there are actually disappointingly few references to imminent global warfare. Professor Montague provides instead a scholarly overview of the Book of Revelation, treating it less as cosmic vision and more as consciously constructed parable both chastening and edifying the ancient churches of Asia Minor. Minimizes Revelation’s role as linear historical chronicle, emphasizing instead the reinforcement of ideas through parallel and overlapping narrative, and images borrowed from Hebrew, Classical, Assyrian and Persian mythologies. Along the way, our mild-mannered interpreter fulfills his pastoral duties by deriving a contemporary homily or two from the welter of battling monsters, falling stars and burning mountains. RA

Publisher: Servant
Paperback: 246 pages

Art and Symbols of the Occult: Images of Power and Wisdom

James Wasserman

Aleister Crowley defines magic as “the science and art of causing change to occur at will.” A complex book on the art and symbols of the occult and their meanings. Many beautiful color reproductions of famous mystical diagrams such as the alchemical tree of life, Buddhist assembly tree, and the Equinox emblem, the official organ of the A:A magical order founded by Crowley and George C. Jones in 1907. The book also attempts to explain the not-so-brief history of the occult. DW

Publisher: Destiny
Paperback: 128 pages