The Morning of the Magicians
by Louis Pawels & Jacques Bergier © 2009 Destiny ISBN: 978-1-59477-231-1
480 pages Paperback $18.95 (U.S.)
I must say at the outset that I was a bit disappointed
with this reissue of a classic in the field of Ancient Mysteries.
It was first published in France in 1960, and I was hoping that there
would have been some revisions and updating done. This was not the
case. It is a simple reissue of the original English translation.
This does not mean that it lacks value. There are obvious incongruities
in this book, viewed through the lens of past events. Given the progress
(???) that has been made in nearly half a century politically,
scientifically and culturally there are obviously dated references
which some younger readers may not understand. At the time this work
was produced the Cold War was in full swing, the Summer of Love
was unimagined and nuclear energy was only a dream (although nuclear
weapons were already a nightmare).
Much of the information in this book is severely dated, as is to be
expected after nearly half a century, but by the same token, much
of it is still relevant. It follows in the footsteps of Charles Fort
(Book of the Damned) and lays the ground work for Douglas Kenyons
Forbidden series of books (Forbidden History, Forbidden
Religion, and Forbidden Science) which draw attention to those events,
beliefs, and phenomena which are routinely dismissed by the
authorities as being mere anomalies, and therefore unimportant.
As an example of how our knowledge has expanded, the authors write
concerning a secret Order unknown to the specialists The Golden
Dawn. They say that the Golden Dawn had one member (Florence Farr),
while we now know that there were others (Dion Fortune, Anne Horniman,
and Moina Mathers among others).
On the other side of the coin, they write from personal experience
when dealing with the horrors of the Second World War, and the apparent
motivations of some of the major players. This lends a sense of, if
not urgency, validity to their observations.
Their speculations regarding mans progress were perhaps a bit
optimistic (or maybe we just arent aware of some of the research
which has been undertaken and which continues within undisclosed locations).
Their stated purpose in making these speculations public was to encourage
research, and I am sure that many of their lines of investigation
have been pursued, even if the man on the street isnt
aware of such investigations.
While I was hoping for more current data, this is a book which I recommend
for two very important reasons. First, because it brings to the attention
of the average reader information which has probably not bee seen
before. And, second, because it is sure to inspire at least some readers
to go further, and learn more about the anomalies in our world and
how they affect the world in which we live.
The Secret History Revealed by Barbara Frale © 2004 Arcade Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-55970-889-0 248 pages Hardbound $25.00 (U.S.) $28.00 (Canada)
The author of this book has advantages which most
other author writing about the Templars do not. The least of these
advantages is that she is a specialist in the field. However, the
primary advantage she has is access to primary documents. She is a
historian on staff at the Vatican Secret Archives.
Her approach is that of good, basic, solid historical research. There
is reference made to a document which most had assumed had not survived
into the modern era (The Chinon Parchment). Surprisingly, not only
had it survived, it has hidden in plain sight, the victim not of a
conspiracy, but of simple bureaucratic slip-ups. It had been inadequately
described when it was filed away in the archives, so no one recognized
it for what it was.
This is not a romanticized look at the Order. There are no flights
of fancy or unsupported speculations between these covers. Oh, there
are occasional presumptions made, but they are based on the facts
as they are known and are mostly restricted to the events leading
up to the final years of its existence.
Ms. Frale displays a familiarity with the overall organization of
knighthood in general (not surprising in view of her specialization
in Templars and the crusades) which helps to make this story come
alive. She understands the motivations and temptations of the knightly
life and the conflicts with monastic life which they engendered. The
presentation is not a dry recitation of facts, but is interlaced with
observations which put a human face on the past.
Aside from the revelation of the survival of the Chinon Parchment,
the only truly unexpected item in this book is what that document
said. It was the record of an inquest in the diocese of Tours.
It was no less than the record of the trial of the leaders of the
Knights Templar by the personal representative of the pope and the
results of that inquest.
As a result of that trial the Grand Master and other high-ranking
Templars were found innocent of heresy and other, lesser, charges,
and were fully restored to the Catholic community. While this is not
exactly earth-shaking news (it was discussed in the media when it
was discovered in 2001), it does undercut the conspiracy theorists
who insist that there was an organized opposition to Christianity
with the ranks of the order.
What motivated the move against the order by Phillip the Fair (Phillip
IV of France) in 1307? Was it mere greed for the treasure held in
trust by the Templars? Was it politically motivated by a desire to
bring the order under his personal control? Was he manipulated by
outside forces? Lacking definitive proof the answer cannot be stated
beyond question. The motivation may be in doubt, but the result is
not. Through manipulation, misrepresentation, and outright lies, one
of the two most powerful religious/military organizations in the Western
world was brought down. And the groundwork was laid for unsubstantiated
speculation, fears of the destruction of social order, and wild claims
which have lasted for 700 years.
Ms. Frales analysis of the order benefits from her ability to
assemble a compendium of the testimony as it existed over the complete
course of the trail. This allowed her to compare behavior based on
region, rank, and situations which may be unique in the history of
investigating the order.
This is not a book aimed at historians. It is intended for the average
reader. There is a great deal more which could be said on the subject,
but that would make this book far more extensive (and expensive) than
it is. This book presents an easily understood presentation of the
basic facts, and serves as a valuable starting point for those who
wish to learn more about the historical Knights Templar and their
ultimate destruction. I recommend it highly.
Wellspring of Magic
by Jan Fields © 2007 Annie's Attic ISBN:
978-1-59635-147-9 120 pages Paperback $5.99 (U.S.)
I don't know if you believe in coincidence or not.
In fact, I'm not sure how I
feel about the idea myself. In any case, my daughter and I had been
one of our
periodic discussions about the appearance of magical-themed books
mainstream bookstores when an offer arrived for my wife to join a
club" (scrap booking, jewelry making, etc.). Included in the
package was this
book, aimed at 7 to 12 year-old girls. So of course I pounced on it
interested in joining, but the book was way too providential to pass
Admittedly, the book is aimed at encouraging the
target audience to get involved
in day-to-day crafting activities, but it still tells a magical story.
encouragement to look at things creatively is a lesson we can all
Although the story is fairly simple, and the plot
line is uncomplicated, this is
not a boring book. It grabs the reader's attention and engages her
Along the way it shows potential conflicts; grants resolutions, and
care about the characters.
I'm reasonably sure this is the start of a series
and, while I doubt I will be
seeking out additional titles (I'm not in the target audience, nor
do I know
many in that range) I have no hesitation encouraging parents to pick
for their daughters. Even if you are not interested in stimulating
creativity (what kind of parent are you?) you can encourage them to
this book will help.