Fiery the angels fell; slow thunder rolled around their shores, burning with the fires of Orc.' Whether in recent popular culture, or back across countless centuries, angels have perpetually enthralled and even terrified us. 'Every single angel is terrible,' wrote the German Romantic poet Rilke: 'and so I hold myself back from the dark bird-cry of my anguished sobbing.' For sceptics, angels may be no more than metaphors: poetic devices to convey, at least for those with a religious sensibility, an active divine interest in creation. But for others, angels are absolutely real creatures: manifestations of cosmic power with the capacity either to enlighten or annihilate those whose awestruck paths they cross. Valery Rees offers the first comprehensive history of these beautiful, enigmatic, and sometimes dangerous beings, whose existence and actions have been charted across the eons of time and civilization. Whether exploring the fevered visions of Ezekiel and biblical cherubim; Persian genii; Arab djinn; Islamic archangels; the austere and haunting icons of Andrei Rublev; or Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire and the more benign idea of the watchful guardian angel, the author shows that the ubiquity of these celestial messengers reveals something profound, if not about God or the devil, then about ourselves: our perennial preoccupation with the transcendent.
Gilgamesh is considered one of the masterpieces of world literature, but until now there has not been a version that is a superlative literary text in its own right. Acclaimed by critics and scholars, Stephen Mitchell’s version allows us to enter an ancient masterpiece as if for the first time, to see how startlingly beautiful, intelligent, and alive it is.
A description of Glastonbury that remains one of the most evocative and poignant accounts of this wild yet holy place; a power center polarizing with distant Jerusalem and linking and harmonizing the Christian way with the primeval and pagan past of England.
A thorough, academic look at the past, present, and future of Norse polytheism. Welch highlights many Norse goddesses as well as other divine females of the Norse pantheon - Valkyries, Norns, Giantesses, Disir - and in a straightforward manner, makes a definitive case for the primordial goddess.
A monumental study of comparative folklore and religion, THE GOLDEN BOUGH was originally published in two volumes in 1890, grew to 12 volumes for the third edition in 1915, then abridged by the author into this one-volume edition in 1922. Drawing on the beliefs and customs of ancient European civilizations and primitive cultures throughout the world, James Frazer's work continues to be an important reference.
In these fictional accounts, the wisdom of Ancient Egypt is revealed through the eyes of young Her-Bak, a candidate for initiation into the Inner Temple. The events related take place between the XX and XXI dynasties. In this volume Her-Bak's training in the living school of Nature and in the Outer Temple unfolds.
Reflecting the spirit of East Indian myths, legends, and fables, these illustrations were compiled by one of the nineteenth century's foremost Orientalists. Edward Moor published The Hindu Pantheon in 1810, and this new volume draws upon his exposition of India's religious iconography to offer a spectacular array of images of Hindu deities.
The raw, ancient and primordial force symbolised by horns has long had associations with mystery, magick and power. Our ancestors often envisaged their gods as anthropomorphic beings who encapsulated this wild essence. Today the gods of the bull, the ram, the goat and the stag still hold tremendous power and are invoked at rituals by a new priesthood who continue to seek the wildness of nature and the inspiration that it holds. These deities transcend the safe and known boundaries of human structure, sometimes even luring us across the threshold of the known into the unknown worlds beyond. This unique anthology brings together the work of more than twenty people, including that of dedicated scholars and modern day mystics. Through their written and artistic contributions they illustrate some of the many manifestations of the Horned God. A true cornucopia of both insightful and well researched essays takes us from the well known Celtic Cernunnos and the legend of Herne the Hunter, to the goat-footed Greek Pan, the lesser known Slavic Veles and Egyptian Khnum. Horned serpents, unicorns, the tale of the Battle of the Bulls in the Irish Táin Bó Cúailnge, the Welsh Gwyn Ap Nudd and the faery Puck are all also considered. Then a wild hunt as we journey with the mystics who share their own experiences of the gods of the wildwood and untamed beasts. Each story is as different as the person who experienced it - and each illustrating in its own unique way a Horned God who is wild, unpredictable, loving - and at heart a trickster. For those who wish to dare a bit more than others, visionary meditation journeys to explore the mysteries of Cernunnos and Gwyn Ap Nudd are included. Horns of power would of course be nothing without the horns of beauty of the feminine divine, and in the final section of this anthology the reader is presented with works exploring horned goddesses, such as the lunar horned Hekate, Selene and Artemis and the antlered Elen. Whether through the mysteries of their existence, the vast scope of their influence or the endurance of their survival through to the modern day, each contribution provides a window into the wonders and mystery of the enduring magick of the horned gods.
With the publication of this book, we have for the first time in any modern literary form one of the most vital of ancient myths- that of Inanna (known to the Semites as Ishtar), the world's first goddess of recorded history and the beloved deity of the ancient Sumerians. In this groundbreaking work, Samuel Noah Kramer, the preeminient living expert on Sumer, and Diane Wolkstein, a gifted storyteller and folklorist, have retranslated, ordered, and combined the fragmented cuneiform tablets comprising the Cycle of Inanna to create an authentic portrait ofthe goddess from her adolescence to her completed womanhood and "godship." Illustrated with visual artifacts of the period, the images guide the reader through Inanna's realm on a journey parallel to the one evoked by the text. And the carefully wrought commentaries at once explicate and amplify the power, wonder, and mystery embedded in these ancient tales. Tender, erotic, and compassionate, Inanna is a compelling myth that is timely in its rediscovery.
The Kalevala is the great Finnish epic, which like the Iliad and the Odyssey, grew out of a rich oral tradition with prehistoric roots. During the first millennium of our era, speakers of Uralic languages (those outside the Indo-European group) who had settled in the Baltic region of Karelia, that straddles the border of eastern Finland and north-west Russia, developed an oral poetry that was to last into the nineteenth century.