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


Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership

Laurie Beth Jones

“After many years in business, Jones was struck by the notion that Jesus’ leadership approach with his staff ran counter to most of the management styles employed today… Following the example of Jesus—a ‘CEO’ who took a disorganized ‘staff’ of 12 and built a thriving enterprise—Jesus, CEO details a simple, profound, fresh and often humor-filled approach to motivating and managing others.”

Publisher: Hyperion
Paperback: 352 pages

The Key of Solomon The King

Edited by S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers

Mathers, founding member of the late 19th-century magical Order of the Golden Dawn, assembled this key work of Western Hermetic knowledge from several manuscripts available at the British Museum. The Key of Solomon remains one of the best-known historical grimoires. Although the work is reputed to be ancient, the oldest manuscript Mathers works with is from the end of the 16th century. Although it is tempting to cast The Key of Solomon into some antique mold like the Masonic Hiramic legend, this volume tells us far more about the Renaissance occult revival than it does about so-called ancient works attributed to the biblical King Solomon. After the 1492 ejection of the Jews from Spain, many settled in Florence—then the hotbed of neo-Platonic and neo-Gnostic thought. Scholars like Pico Della Mirandola were all too eager to graft the Kabbalah onto syncretic Christian and neo-pagan frameworks, thus begetting all the correspondences cobbled by Mathers and later published by Crowley in 777. The book is lavishly illustrated with charts of “magical” alphabets, angelic tables and Hebrew-inscribed pentacles. MM

Publisher: Weiser
Paperback: 128 pages

Larson’s Book of Rock

Bob Larson

Focus on the Family’s Bob Larson starts off with some tried-and-true Tipper Gore material: Frank Zappa’s congressional “Porn Wars” and the Giger-poster-as-kiddie-porn trial of Jello Biafra, then he gay-bashes the New York Dolls (?), Elton John and the general androgyny implied in rock. (Gee, there’s a male singer named Alice Cooper who wears makeup!) Larson then proceeds for most of this unintentionally comedic book with the usual who’s who of rock stars and how each is Satanic, expressing a ravenous, unrequited lust for Pat Benatar. He really wants to hit her with his best shot, and so we all must suffer. Let’s see, kids use rock music to rebel, but you can deprogram them after reading this book and they will thank you while burning their record collections. “There may be more to Led Zeppelin’s success than meets the eye,” but the author consoles us with the news that more kids than ever are boogieing to teen rock at Christian discos these days. But won’t self-righteous hacks like Larson ever realize that Black Sabbath has always been a Christian band? MS

Publisher: Tyndale
Paperback: 192 pages

Larson’s New Book of Cults

Bob Larson

A “cult hero” of sorts himself, Larson is probably best known currently for his internationally broadcast radio show Talk Back, a forum for his unique blend of bleeding-heart liberalism and conservative Christian morality. Larson has developed an entertaining love-hate relationship with the ever-Satanic Boyd Rice, inviting Rice over for dinner in between their legendary on-air battles.
A rock musician back in the mid-’60s (check out his band the Dirty Shames’ track “I Don’t Care” on the Pebbles CD, Volume 8), by the decade’s end he became known as one of rock’s most vociferous opponents, even going so far as to punctuate his high school assembly anti-rock rants with some righteous solo guitar jams, with a tone grungy enough to wake Kurt Cobain, accompanied only by his blow-dried Bobby Sherman comb-over and enormous sideburns. Now that Satan’s involvement with rock music has become old hat since you can’t play CDs backwards, Larson has transferred his alarmist mania to an even easier target—the wacky world of cults. His new Book of Cults contains everything a “Bible-believing” Christian needs to know about over 100 different cults, from Mormonism to Manson, with each deviation from his own fundamentalist beliefs meticulously itemized.
There’s a whole section devoted to “common cult teachings,” explaining such un-Christian concepts as enlightenment, meditation and reincarnation; a chapter on “cultic origins” of Christianity’s major competitors in the world dogma market; and an “encyclopedia of cults,” including such obscurities as the Foundation Faith of the Millennium (the religion formerly known as the Process Church of the Final Judgment), the Asatru Free Assembly, the Holy Order of MANS, Silva Mind Control, the Findhorn Foundation (allegedly a bunch of New Age elf worshipers), the “Love Family” a.k.a. the Church of Armageddon, and Swedenborgianism. Also catalogued are the bulk of the cult-leader A list like Tony Alamo, Da Free John, Rev. Ike, Sai Baba and Elizabeth Clare Prophet; old favorites like the Children of God, the Aetherius Society, Crowelyianity, the Snake Handlers, est, Freemasonry and the “New Age Cults” (all in one handy entry), and some groups that aren’t exactly cults but what the heck, like UFOs, martial arts, astrology, trance channeling and, of course the Ku Klux Klan. There are a few glaring omissions, like Satanism, for instance, and more understandably, Heaven’s Gate (HIM). Still, if you can ignore some of the more offensive bits of Jay-sus propaganda (like his convoluted explanation of why enlightenment is bad), the new Book of Cults is an entertaining read, and thanks to Larson’s latent Luciferian tendencies, it contains a lot more well-researched, factual information than your average Christian “reference” work. DB

Publisher: Tyndale
Paperback: 499 pages

Liber Null and Psychonaut

Peter Carroll

Appealing to the lowest common denominator of occult fanciers—those wire-rim- spectacled creatures who haunt bookstores in their khaki vests and disheveled hair, who dream of “power” and “magick” but lack the requisite discipline to wade through volumes of complex arcana—this book provides a disappointingly simplistic portrait of contemporary ritual magic. Inspired by the works of Austin Osman Spare and written in a format pioneered by Crowley’s Equinox, this book lacks the complexity, depth or humor of either Spare’s or Crowley’s works. Carroll covers an array of so-called white and black magick rituals which appear to be for those already well entrenched in the “magickal” lifestyle, with the accompanying warning that one must be in good health before attempting any of these rituals—a sure invitation for some overweight tubercular fellow to snap it right off the shelf. MM

Publisher: Weiser
Paperback: 222 pages

Life Beyond Death: Selected Lectures by Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner

Selected lectures by the founder of Anthroposophy, who “suggests that one of the most important tasks for our present civilization is to re-establish living connections with those who have died.” Lectures include “Life Between Death and Rebirth,” “Metamorphosis of the Memory in the Life after Death,” “Life Between Death and a New Incarnation,” “The Human Being’s Experiences Beyond the Gates of Death,” and “On the Connection of the Living and the Dead.”

Publisher: Steiner
Paperback: 249 pages

Living in the Children of God

David E. Van Zandt

“At the height of the religious ferment of the 1970s, Van Zandt studied firsthand the most vilified of the new radical religious movements—the Children of God, or the Family of Love. By living full-time in COG colonies in England and the Netherlands, first feigning membership and later with the permission of the Family, he produced an informed, insightful and humane report on how COG members function in what seems at first to be a completely bizarre setting… Led by the charismatic David Berg, known as Moses David, the group demands total commitment from its full-time members and proselytizes continuously. Until recently the COG used sex as a proselytizing tool, and it continues to encourage full sexual sharing among group members.”

Publisher: Princeton University
Hardback: 236 pages

Lord! Why Is My Child a Rebel?: Parents and Kids in Crisis

Jacob Aranza

The author of such exercises in salvation as Backwards Masking Unmasked, Aranza turns his utter lack of expertise toward the field of child rearing. Aranza’s amusing habit of lurching from point to point, with many a non sequitur left dangling, strains the credulity of even the converted, meaning more laughs per page for the rest of us. Aranza is convinced teenage rebellion is witchcraft, and the only antidote is the Bible—as if any teen’s going to pass up a wild party for a prayer meeting. We can only wish him (and his children) luck. JM

Publisher: Huntington House
Paperback: 138 pages

Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages

Jeffrey Burton Russell

God has one book [the Bible), and the devil has five in this colorful series on the philosophy, theology, art, literature and popular culture of Christian demonology. “This series constitutes the most complete historical study ever made of the figure called the second most famous personage in Christianity.” GR

Publisher: Cornell University
Paperback: 356 pages

Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon: A History of the Mystics, Mediums and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America

Peter Washington

Washington traces the roots of New Age philosophy from Helena Blavatsky to Rudolf Steiner to Gurdjieff onward. Along the way he probes into the in-fighting and scandals that seemed to be a common occurrence among occult groups, such as C.W. Leadbetter’s passion for young men, Blavatsky’s chain smoking and general neglect of her health, and Krishnamurti’s shrugging off his mantle of world teacher. Throughout the book Washington also makes connections with Theosophy and other occult group’s influence on such people as Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, Frank Lloyd Wright and others.
One striking illustration of the old New Age meeting the new New Age is the instance when the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of TM fame met Krishnamurti while leaving a plane in India. The Maharishi rushed to greet Krishnamurti clutching a flower. Krishnamurti rapidly made his apologies and left. Some time after this encounter he told his friends that he would like to see the Maharishi’s balance sheet.
Washington tends to focus on the inside dope and scandals within these groups but neglects to see any positive influence that they have had on our culture, such as Blavatsky’s reacquainting Indians with their own tradition, generally questioning the materialism of our society and worship of science as God, and fostering the rediscovery of the wisdom of ancient civilizations. The book is a lot of fun to read and many loose threads are connected, but it remains basically one-sided and lacking in wisdom about the subject matter. Incidentally, the title refers to a stuffed baboon Blavatsky kept in her parlor dressed in wing collar, tail and spectacles and holding a copy of The Origin of Species in its hand, a reminder to all who came in that in Blavatsky’s opinion Darwin was wrong: man was not descended from apes but from spirit beings. TC

Publisher: Schocken
Paperback: 470 pages