On Russia, Central Asia, the East
Not long before my final Russian research trip, the Treasures of Schliemann’s Troy had been found in boxes in a basement in Moscow and were on public display, at the Pushkin, for the first time since their disappearance from Berlin in WWII. To me, the most interesting were not the famous, fabulous gold tiaras and necklaces worn by Schliemann’s wife in photos–but the many, many pitchers, vases and cornices depicting the Dionysian Mysteries, that were tucked away in the next room.
The second unearthing of these objects at the moment just before the New Aeon seemed to me a fitting symbol, in heralding the return of the water-bearer, Dionysus, “the god who is poured out.”
On Growth of Empire
British, Russian and Chinese: Peter Hopkirk’s swashbuckling books The Great Game, Foreign Devils on the Silk Road, Setting the East Ablaze, and more. Packed with intrigue, espionage, info, and gore.
On Clash of Cultures
- Akiner: Islamic Peoples of the Soviet Union
- Hostler: The Turks of Central Asia
- Olcott: The Kazakhs
- Grousset: Empire of the Steppes
- Sinor: Cambridge History of Early Central Asia
- Ceram: Secret of the Hittites
On History and Magic
- Secret History of the Mongols, trans. Cleves: wonderful, the Nibelungenlied of the Mongol peoples.
- The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov: the devil comes to Moscow in the 30s disguised as a magician and bedazzles an entire populance that doesn’t believe in devils or in gods. Great fun & fascinating. Considered the Russian tour de-force of the 20th century.
- Akurgal: Ancient Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey, from the guy who explored most of them, including Gordion, home of K. Midas and Alexander’s knot. With great technical drawings and maps: Univ. of Ankara.
On The Mystical Front
Rene Guenon, Gurdjieff, and Aleister Crowley run the spectrum of esoteric-metaphysical-occult-black magic of the region, as well as the skills of the ashokh (G’s father was one) who holds druid-like clan memory. I’ve read just about everything these three wrote, though Gurdjieff above all likes to obfuscate and make things seem more mysterious than they really are.
For those who are into mountain climbing, Crowley was also first to attempt an ascent of K2, C ho go-ri, one of the sacred geomantic power points of earth. His wonderful descriptions of the majesty, plus the physical brutality and team infighting, were echoed years later in Galen Rowell’s expedition. Crowley’s advice: fatten up, you’ll bum it off, don’t waste your breath on exercise, and dash up and back as fast as possible before the mountain gets you!
Nicholas Roerich, the esoteric Russian painter went to Central Asia and became a lama. His earliest paintings, filled with Himalayan light, are in the astonishing Oriental Museum (aka Museum of East & West) in Moscow, and others @ Roerich societies like the ones in NYC & St Petersburg. Must be seen firsthand to experience inner glow. Also designed costumes & sets for Diaghilev, and under Fr. Roosevelt created the Peace Pact, seed of the United Nations. Introduced the West to Agharthi and Shambhala: see his book.
On Nuclear Energy/Weapons
As readers of THE EIGHT will recall, I worked in the energy field, including nuclear. Good books now available on historical perspective and current status of energy, weapons, and the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency are from Resources for the Future, Washington DC, and from the Monterey Institute, which is also busy counting warheads and tracking the spread of materials.
G-77 information is available from the United Nations. The major question: If developing countries can’t burn fossil fuels (global warming) and they also can’t have nuclear energy (may lead to weapons)–then what can they have?
Everyone on earth, in this atomic age, should take the initiative to read the ‘Atoms for Peace’ speech Dwight Eisenhower was invited by Dag Hammarskjold to give before the United Nations. An eleventh-hour message with a note of hope.
On Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Occult
Unfortunately, you can’t write a book about the aeon without mentioning Adolf Hitler. But there are many who can write from experience, and have written of the war and the holocaust far better than I could. In THE MAGIC CIRCLE, however, I did want to pay tribute to those who are often overlooked or forgotten: the gypsies and others who were killed with no political-religious agenda, but only because they were different.
- Fonseca’s Bury Me Standing is highly recommended, with an excellent bibliography that will lead you to Leland, Borrow, and other early scholars of this fascinating culture that so influences the life of my protagonist, Ariel Behn.
- Then too, almost everybody knows the occult-Nazi traffic that’s so popular: Holy Blood, Holy Grail–by now practically a cottage industry in southern France; Spear of Destiny, Ravenscroft; Occult Roots of Nazism, Goodricke-Clarke; and the classic, Pauwels & Bergier’s Morning of the Magicians.
Though I did feel compelled to be conversant with this stuff–as well as with Hitler’s published writings and speeches, and the seven-foot wall I now possess of accepted, well-documented books by those like Toland, Shirer, Bullock, and Fest-forgive me if these works seemed to me often to dilute or even glamorize Hitler, making him out merely a symbol or a caricature, someone from another planet possessed by an inexplicable evil force, like Darth Vader.
In the dizzying landslide barrage of Nazi rehash–even adulation–I recommend one book:
- Gitta Sereny: Albert Speer, His Battle with Truth. Sereny, who practically lived with Speer & family over the course of years and years, digs out and lays down an in-depth study of an enigmatic figure who was pivotal to the period, and without whose story it cannot be fully understood. It should be a blueprint for biographers.
On Women, Mothers, Goddesses, the Shulamite
The best books written on things female and matrilineal are, so far, still by men. Though they’re rarely credited. Two of the best scholarly ones:
- The Mothers (3-volumes), Briffault
- Mother Right, Bachofen
Not to mention Robert Graves & Ashley Montague.
The best collections of goddess art are located in central Turkey. The most gorgeous Black Virgins are in Slavic countries.
On Mythology & Religion, Precession of the Equinoxes, & New Age blah-blah
The great classic was:
- Hamlet’s Mill, de Santillana, a physicist, and von Dechend, a mythographer, trace the world’s oldest consistent myth through many cultures, link it to the world axis theory and explain the precession of constellations that fascinated the ancients. Abundance of other good scholarly books like: The Tree at the Navel of the World.
Go see the dervishes dance in the winter at Konya. They really get it.