The Mystery Traditions

The Mystery Traditions

Secret Symbols and Sacred Art

by James Wasserman


Paperback: 160 pages, full color throughout

ISBN: 1-59477-088-3

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The basis of the Mystery Traditions is correspondence. The theory of correspondence recognizes an implicit interdependence of all things with all other things, the existence of multiple relationships between various aspects of Nature?s kaleidoscopic richness. Symbol and image are the alphabet of correspondence. The beauty and symmetry of the holy art of the alchemist, the magician, and the priestess reveal the spiritual heritage and operating principles of Western Esotericism.

In The Mystery Traditions James Wasserman offers a full-color lexicon of occult imagery drawn from the Kabbalah and Tarot as well as the traditions of Magick, Alchemy, Esoteric Sexuality, and Astrology, accompanied by commentary on each image's significance and the wisdom teachings from which it derives. In this revised and expanded edition of Art and Symbols of the Occult he also looks at the pivotal role played by Secret Societies in safeguarding and transmitting these teachings and presents rarely seen artifacts of such groups. Among the splendid offerings in this collection are all 22 paintings of the medieval alchemical masterpiece Splendor Solis in full color, and works by significant artists and esoteric thinkers such as Leonardo da Vinci, Robert Fludd, Austin Osman Spare, Harry Smith, Manly P. Hall, and Raymond Lull. This book provides an excellent introduction to the timeless and hidden dimensions of occult practice. An extensive bibliography of classical occult works also complements this unique collection.

James Wasserman is the author of the bestselling Templars and Assassins: The Militia of Heaven and The Slaves Shall Serve: Meditations on Liberty. He is responsible for the widely acclaimed restoration of the Papyrus of Ani, The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day published by Chronicle Books. He has also played a key role in presenting the works of Aleister Crowley including the Thoth Tarot cards, The Holy Books of Thelema, as well as his Aleister Crowley and the Practice of the Magical Diary.

…unless you make yourself equal to God, you cannot understand God: for the like is not intelligible save to the like. Make yourself grow to a greatness beyond measure, by a bound free yourself from the body; raise yourself above all time, become Eternity; then you will understand God. Believe that nothing is impossible for you. Mount higher than the highest height; descend lower than the lowest depth. Draw into yourself all sensations of everything created, fire and water, dry and moist, imagining that you are everywhere, on earth, in the sea, in the sky, that you are not yet born, in the maternal womb, adolescent, old, dead, beyond death. If you embrace in your thought all things at once, times, places, substances, qualities, quantities, you may understand God. — The Mind to Hermes, Hermes Trismegistus

Magic can be said to be the expansion of human consciousness through the willed interaction with greater levels of consciousness than we possess ourselves or are naturally conscious of in normal life. Whether gods or spirits exist "out there" or within ourselves is not the issue. The question is, how can we contact Them and thereby raise our level of consciousness to a more advanced state?

The Magician's attunement to the all-sustaining and underlying current of universal energy requires a pure and ordered life. The body must be fully mastered so that it will not distract the Magus in his or her conjuration. The active, chattering mind must be capable of supreme quiet and unwavering concentration on a single idea, unaffected by outside interference.

On the intellectual plane, the symbol set employed by the Magician must be capable of suggesting to his taut mental state the one idea with which he is working, again and again through all the senses. The laws of analogy and the theory of correspondence ascribe colors, herbs, perfumes, geometrical patterns, oils, and other symbols to various archetypes—planets, gods, Sephiroth on the kabbalistic Tree of Life, and so forth.