Oriental Magic is recognized as a brilliant study of how, what and why people think, in territories extending from North Africa to Japan. Profusely illustrated, the book is the product of years of research and field-work in a dozen different cultural regions. Its scholarly accuracy and genuine contribution to cultural understanding have made it a key text for anyone interested in informal beliefs, and esoteric practices. The work includes material on Indian alchemy, the Arabian Abjad system, on divination and talismanic charms, and it even contains an ancient Brahmin spell for immortality.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have been reading works by Idries Shah for many, many years, and have a much older version of this work, which I am glad to say did not cost me what this edition retails for by half! I am constantly amazed by the scope of this authors superlative treatment of the spiritual life of the East. Idries Shah is for me in many ways the Robert Graves of Eastern philosophy and spirituality and in his work 'Oriental Magic' he has in a lesser (in size only) volume given us the equivalent of Graves' 'The White Goddess'. Shah is the esoteric anthropolgist par excellence and covers just about every Eastern society and group, their pagan beliefs and their occult and esoteric practices from the ground up. I would highly recommend this work to anybody interested in Occult anthropology or those coming from a Theosophical or comparative religious background, as you will find yourself returning to it for many years to come.
ORIENTAL MAGIC is a fascinating, clear-eyed look at a difficult and potentially confusing subject. Author Idries Shah avoids the twin pitfalls of knee-jerk skepticism and foolish credulity, approaching the topic with an open yet critical mind. He makes accessible, in a highly readable way, the results of extensive and wide-ranging research, leavened with firsthand accounts of his own experiences. The result is an instructive book that’s well worth reading, regardless of what one’s beliefs about magic may be.
Who seeks information about magic? To name just a few:
1. Those who passionately desire to use it for their own achievement or to better the world: seekers of power, secrets and special knowledge, those who desire deep knowledge of and control over the invisible.
2. Those who wish to debunk its public forms and help others not to be fooled by it: Illusionists, for interest, who reveal or duplicate the tricks, misdirection, and mild hypnotic suggestions that make up so much of the typical stage magician, guru, public faith healer, and other miracle worker's amazing feats.
3. Those looking for information about the roots human psychology. Magic, ritual, and trance states have been with humans since earliest paleolithic times. They seem to be an ancient natural part of the developed human brain, possibly with biological roots.
4. Those who see magic as either a metaphor for something else, like exterior evidence of an inner development or...
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