Mystic’s Recommended Esoteric Books

It’s practically impossible to monetize because it’s super-niche and barely anyone will want to talk to you about your ‘latest discovery’ but deep-dive research of esoteric topics is incredibly satisfying. For best results, read the actual books and take physical notes. Googling esoteric topics will send you crazy and often lead you into sites created by skeevy people.

Reincarnation In America – Lee Irwin.

The title is deceptive. Reincarnation in America is a comprehensive and academically rigorous exploration of every/all cultural beliefs around the transmigration of the soul and life post-death. The fact that it is not written to push any particular religious system or experience makes it all the more richer.

The Reports Of The Magicians And Astrologers Of Nineveh and Babylon In The British Museum – Reginald Thompson.

Published in 1900, this translation of various caches of ancient astrological notes includes fascinating little snippets of info.  If you’re an astrologer, it’s strangely moving to read words written so long ago, by your counterparts and about the same stars and planets you’re watching. Please don’t read it for anything other than academic interest though: some of the interpretations are a bit over the top by current standards.

Thunder, Perfect Mind – Author Unknown.

Part of a cache of documents found buried at Nag Hammadi in Egypt. Dating puts them at about 300 BC. They’re claimed as Gnostic Christianity but I always think this one pre-dates that religion. Strange and hauntingly beautiful.

Occult Chemistry – Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater.

Published in 1909, this metaphysical chemistry textbook was condemned for its spiritual take on a scientific subject. It blends magic, the Atomic numbers, geometry, Tarot, symbolism, the Platonic Solids, and elements they said were there but not yet discovered. If you’ve ever wondered about the esoteric component of the Table of Elements, this is your book.

The Woman’s Encylopedia Of Myths & Secrets – Barbara Walker.

Fantastic A to Z resource for a quick dip into multiple esoteric subjects. Walker brings scientific rigor to her take on an array of goddesses, biblical villainesses, ‘old wive’s tales’, and martyrs.

Ancient Egyptian Legends – Margaret Murray.

An anthropologist discredited for her allegedly illogical work on Paganism, Wicca, and – most interestingly – connecting the Holy Grail legends, Merlin/Glastonbury and Ancient Egypt, M.M. was a first-wave feminist whose work re-framing the witch trials was hugely influential.

Her take on the old myths sounds biblical at times – some say it is because she was a woman of her generation but my take on it is that she was attempting to give these legends the same gravitas as the Bible. It’s particularly useful for legit old terms. For example: The Scorpions of Isis quotes from old temple walls “I am Isis, Mistress of Magic, Speaker of Spells…

The Secret History Of Dreaming – Robert Moss.

This is one of my all-time favorite books. It outlines the way old cultures and several notable people wove their dream consciousness into everyday life. Dreaming was seen as the most vital spiritual practice for centuries. This is a history, super-erudite and informative, that does not purport to be a guide but along with my Neptunian Nights Mp3, it is my go-to for fantastic dream recall.

Li, Qi, and Shu: An Introduction To Science and Civilization in China – Ho Peng Yoke.

If you’re interested in the philosophy, maths, and physics that underly the Chinese tradition of Feng Shui, Taoism, Starlore, and Alchemy, this intricate book is your everything.

Star.Ships: A Prehistory Of The Spirits – Gordon White.

If you’ve had it with the style of historical narrative that essentially says “…everything was shit, nothing really happened and then Monotheistic religion structured everything along orderly lines,” you’ll love this book. It’s written in rollicking journo style by a practicing magician and it’s just cool.

The Symbolism Of The Serpent – Sarah F Gordon.

Not a book but a fabulous short article from the late 19th Century.

The Mysterious Woman Of The 9th Heaven – Jiu Tian Xuan Nu –

As far as I know, the books about this sidelined goddess are still untranslated, along with those about the Fox Fairy who helps divorcees. Something occurred at around 300 BC that turned polytheism and its equal quantity of male/female (also gay, bi-sexual, and transgender) deities into monotheism with one male god.  This link is simply a newspaper summary of the lost goddess, but it is enticing.

A Vision – W.B. Yeats

The literary and academic establishment thought the eminent poet had lost his mind when he released this book. It’s channeled, for a start. A Vision is impossible to summarize but essentially it combines Celtic druidic poetry, a theory/modality featuring gyres and spirals, and the lunar phases. He is my favorite poet and I love him but it’s not a book anyone would describe as accessible.

History and Chronology Of The Myth-Making Age James Francis Katherinus Hewitt.

Written, I think, in the 19th Century, this book has all the bias of that era but the author apparently had some form of private income that enabled him to spend decades gadding about the world researching this incredible work. Nothing in it can be ‘proven’ but the author talks of Canopus as the Raven Star, the Celts as having come from the Southern Hemisphere, the Indian people from Ireland, and all manner of cultural-mythological fusion. Every page is another ‘wow’ theory or connection

Psychic Self Defense – Dion Fortune.

While being very much a book of its era and reflecting the specific cosmology of the Golden Dawn and Theosophy, this is an amazing read. D.H. was an intellect and wordsmith as well as an aspirant adept. She throws off lines like “occultism has no pope,” “vampirism is contagious” and “when it comes to the curse of the (Egyptian) mummies, my sympathy is entirely with the mummy.”

Some of her strategies for psychic health may be a little unworkable. For example, in extreme cases, she suggests abandoning all of your clothes and possessions, cutting your hair, moving across a river (running water), and starting again.

Celtic Astrology From The Druids To The Middle Ages – Michel Boutet.

This is a trove of valuable and intriguing information. When you read this, you realize how much the old Phoenicians and other nearby cultures were in places like Cornwall and so on. The theory that King Arthur was possibly of African ancestry is completely plausible.

The Knot Of Time: Astrology and Female Experience – Lindsay River and Sally Gillespie.

I read this years ago and it blew my mind. Way ahead of its time, the book explores how various gender biases infiltrated astrology and became entrenched. Eg: Negative takes on the Moon, Yin, etc. But it’s not merely academic; the authors have all sorts of mind-expanding alternative takes on cosmology.