[HF] The Encyclopedia Of Magic And Alchemy

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Posted on 2011-03-15. By anonymous.

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Checkmark Books | 384 pages | PDF | 10.5 MB

Interest in magic and sorcery has been rekindled in recent years due to the success of popular fiction and films such as the "Harry Potter" novels and "The Lord of the Rings". Surprisingly, much of that fancy is founded on fact, and now readers looking for the history and lore behind their favorite fantasies will have a resource on which to rely. With more than 500 entries, "The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy" is a fascinating A-to-Z reference to the history of the Western magical and alchemical traditions, sorting history from myth and folklore and examining mystical beliefs through the ages.

With roots reaching back to ancient Egypt, the classical world, and the Middle East, magic and alchemy have often played an integral part in science, politics, and religion. From the quest for the Philosopher's Stone to 20th-century wizards like Aleister Crowley to contemporary pagans and wiccans, the full range of Western magic and its influence on society is documented here. Topics covered include history, lore, famous people, philosophies, procedures, materials, rituals, and relationships to science.

Magic and the dream of turning base metals into gold have always fascinated people, and this work provides a wide spectrum of information for the curious reader. To appreciate the book, it is best to start with the introduction, which states that "magic is a real and powerful resource." Once one understands the point of view of the author, this encyclopedia is easier to comprehend.

Arranged in alphabetical order, more than 400 entries range in size from a short paragraph to several pages. Most end with a list of further readings. Black-and-white illustrations, mostly from the author's own collection, are used liberally throughout the work. All the expected terms-Grimoires, Rituals, Runes, etc.-are explained. The volume ends with a comprehensive bibliography and an index with main entries in bold.

Among the best parts of the work are the biographies of such figures as John Dee, Florence Farr, and Nostradamus. Devotees of Harry Potter will find that one of the characters from the first book, Nicholas Flamel, was a real person. Especially strong are the articles on The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings. The work is marred by a few typos, such as a wrong date in the entry for Count Alessandro Cagliostro. Not having an entry on cats while including one on the horse is curious, and readers will have a hard time finding the reference to cats in the short article entry Familiars since the index has no cats entry.

The best approach to using this work is to realize it is written from the point of view of a true believer. Skeptics will find the lack of critical examinations annoying. This work will have the strongest appeal to users who already believe but want additional information. Recommended for public and academic libraries that have a high demand for this type of information.
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