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Ciencias ocultas, hechicería y magia: Una historia ilustrada

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La creencia en alguna forma de magia ha acompañado a la humanidad a lo largo de toda su historia. De hecho, en un mundo cada vez más racional y cientifista, la idea de que el conocimiento oculto o arcano puede dar acceso a otra realidad oculta está más arraigada y extendida que nunca. Este libro es una historia vívida y fascinante de lo críptico, lo místico y lo sobrenatur La creencia en alguna forma de magia ha acompañado a la humanidad a lo largo de toda su historia. De hecho, en un mundo cada vez más racional y cientifista, la idea de que el conocimiento oculto o arcano puede dar acceso a otra realidad oculta está más arraigada y extendida que nunca. Este libro es una historia vívida y fascinante de lo críptico, lo místico y lo sobrenatural, que se inicia con las primeras evidencias de pensamiento mágico en la oscura penumbra de una cueva paleolítica y finaliza en la intensa luz de la era digital contemporánea y su renovado interés por el paganismo. Con centenares de imágenes recabadas de fuentes raras y excepcionales, exploraciones en profundidad de ideas y tendencias interculturales, y perfiles de figuras clave de la historia de la magia.


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La creencia en alguna forma de magia ha acompañado a la humanidad a lo largo de toda su historia. De hecho, en un mundo cada vez más racional y cientifista, la idea de que el conocimiento oculto o arcano puede dar acceso a otra realidad oculta está más arraigada y extendida que nunca. Este libro es una historia vívida y fascinante de lo críptico, lo místico y lo sobrenatur La creencia en alguna forma de magia ha acompañado a la humanidad a lo largo de toda su historia. De hecho, en un mundo cada vez más racional y cientifista, la idea de que el conocimiento oculto o arcano puede dar acceso a otra realidad oculta está más arraigada y extendida que nunca. Este libro es una historia vívida y fascinante de lo críptico, lo místico y lo sobrenatural, que se inicia con las primeras evidencias de pensamiento mágico en la oscura penumbra de una cueva paleolítica y finaliza en la intensa luz de la era digital contemporánea y su renovado interés por el paganismo. Con centenares de imágenes recabadas de fuentes raras y excepcionales, exploraciones en profundidad de ideas y tendencias interculturales, y perfiles de figuras clave de la historia de la magia.

30 review for Ciencias ocultas, hechicería y magia: Una historia ilustrada

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    Doesn't go very in-depth on many things, but mentions a lot. Lots of great pictures. Quotes: Western Esotericism's six key concepts: Correspondences: the idea that there are sympathetic bonds within the universe, as seen in the notion of macrocosm—microcosm, or the Hermetic saying 'As above, so below' Living Nature: that all of nature is part of a conscious order, and that everything shares a life force Imagination and Mediations: that rituals, symbolic images and intermediary spirits can connect di Doesn't go very in-depth on many things, but mentions a lot. Lots of great pictures. Quotes: Western Esotericism's six key concepts: Correspondences: the idea that there are sympathetic bonds within the universe, as seen in the notion of macrocosm—microcosm, or the Hermetic saying 'As above, so below' Living Nature: that all of nature is part of a conscious order, and that everything shares a life force Imagination and Mediations: that rituals, symbolic images and intermediary spirits can connect different worlds and levels of reality Experience of Transmutation: that esoteric practice can transform the individual, principally in the sense of a spiritual transformation Practice of Concordance: that all religions, beliefs, etc. stem form a single, original principle, and that understanding this principle will bring the various belief systems into closer alignment Transmission: that occult knowledge is transmitted from master to adept, often by means of a process of initiation. Hecate's equivalent in the Roman pantheon was the goddess Trivia, the goddess of crossroads, ghosts, and witchcraft. The name 'Trivia' means 'three roads'. Abracadabra is thought to be Aramaic in origin, it has been translated as 'I create as I speak'. In Japanese culture, one finds the concept of kotodama, or 'word spirit'—the idea that mystical powers reside in words and names. Finding and keeping the perfect partner is a universal human concern. Some love spells can be shockingly unsentimental, such as this one from the Greek Magical Papyri: 'remain in her heart and burn her guts, her breast, her liver, her breath, her bones, her marrow, until she comes to me.' Necromancy is communication with the dead in order to predict the future. Scholomance, said to be located deep in the Transylvanian Alps, in what is now central Romania, was believed to be the Devil's own school for black magic. According to legend, every tenth scholar there was kept by the Devil as payment. The most famous of Norse mythic objects was the cursed ring known as Andvaranaut. Capable of making gold, the ring was guarded by the dwarf Fafnir, who turned himself into a dragon for the purpose. Later, Fafnir was killed by Sigurd, who, after drinking the dragon's blood, was able to understand the speech of birds [the song of nature that is]. It is said that Arthur many only be in hibernation at magical Avalon. In the early Middle Ages, accusations of witchcraft were more likely to be made against men than against women. 'As above, so below' is the fundamental tenet of Hermeticism. It is also the rational basis for much of the magic that seeks to influence human affairs through interaction with a higher plane. The idea of an interrelated microcosm (man) and macrocosm (universe) goes back to the concept of the 'Great Chain of Being', derived from Plato and fully developed by the Neoplatonists of the third to the sixth century AD. Simply put, the Great Chain concept states that everything is interconnected, from God on high down to the inanimate objects, with humankind somewhere in the middle. This interconnectedness is essential to the intellectual underpinning of much magic, since if man is a smaller-scale replica of, or somehow linked to, the universe, then there should be naturally repeating patterns and sympathies between the two. Well established by the twelfth century—and, of course reinforcing the hierarchical structure of society at the time—the concept of humankind having a fixed place in the universe was challenged in the Renaissance, when such figures as the Italian nobleman and philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola suggested that humans might elevate themselves above the angels into a mystical union with God. Witches' ointment was a hallucinogenic substance that was believed to help witches fly. The satori is a monkey with mind-reading abilities. More than a century after the Italian's death, Aleister Crowley would claim that he was a reincarnation of Alessandro Cagliostro. Stage magician Robert Houdin was sent by Louis-Napoleon Bonaparter to North Africa to demonstrate that French magic was more powerful than the traditional Marabout sorcery. He succeeded. Abramelin oil is used in ceremonial or ritual magic, the recipe having been taken from a medieval grimoire known as The book of Abramelin the Mage. Based on a recipe for holy anointing oil, Abramelin contains a mixture of myrrh, calamus, cinnamon, and olive oil. Aleister Crowly had his own recipe fro the substance, which is still used in the Thelema religion for anointing the heads of magicians. Leila Waddell—magician and Crowley's muse The Morning of the Magicians (1960)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Leisa

    What a pretty book! I agree with several others that it's not super in-depth, but it covers a heck of a lot of ground. Beautifully illustrated, it gives you a lot to look at and admire. What a pretty book! I agree with several others that it's not super in-depth, but it covers a heck of a lot of ground. Beautifully illustrated, it gives you a lot to look at and admire.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    It was all going so well until the author called Harry's invisibility cloak one of the "HORCRUXES" ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Lauren is OUT. It was all going so well until the author called Harry's invisibility cloak one of the "HORCRUXES" ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Lauren is OUT.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Yaseen Jabbar

    First of all, this book is heavy. And for good reason. Each page is a glossy, gorgeously crafted series of text and illustrations. Aesthetically, this book is absolutely gorgeous. The font is very gothic, the front and back covers are eye-catchingly laid-out, and each and every illustration is rendered in such detail that the only thing reminding you that it's not the real copy is the gloss. The content of the book is - essentially - a summary of the history of the occult and magic since the beg First of all, this book is heavy. And for good reason. Each page is a glossy, gorgeously crafted series of text and illustrations. Aesthetically, this book is absolutely gorgeous. The font is very gothic, the front and back covers are eye-catchingly laid-out, and each and every illustration is rendered in such detail that the only thing reminding you that it's not the real copy is the gloss. The content of the book is - essentially - a summary of the history of the occult and magic since the beginning of human society. No mean feat. Dell manages to give insight and background to magic from the early humans, to the Middle Ages, to the Renaissance, to today. He does so with a critical eye - one that isn't dismissive of the subject, and one that gives weight to the topic. Whether or not magic is real, this book gives a detailed and respectful look at the history of the magical arts and sciences (and tricksters), with biographical insights to certain individuals. Reading this gives you a really good perspective and understanding on how magic has influenced and developed our society. For example, alchemy developed into the modern science of chemistry. The term "mesmerise" comes from the work of Dr Mesmer, who thought you could act upon individuals "from a distance". Dell gives each section of history (arranged in chronological order) it's own depth and look. His style of writing is interesting and often mildly dry. But what gives Dell his killer edge in this book, is the sheer amount of detail and research he's done. And not just into western occultism, but also Eastern and native occultism. Dell draws links between the various world and historical cultures and makes it feel like there are similarities and links between their magicks. One could reasonably say, that after reading this book, the history of magic is more a history of humanity's desire to understand and change our environment and others, and the history of our interaction - he points out that western magic is influenced by Arabic scholars, Indian mysticisms, and ancient Druidic beliefs. The only criticism of this book, is well... This book is really heavy. It makes it difficult to physically read. Otherwise, I reccomend this book wholeheartedly to anyone interested in the occult or magic, in any shape or form.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mads Whitmarsh-Jones

    A great overview, and a wonderful place to start for those pursuing knowledge of the history of the occult. However, as it is such an ambitious project, it does not delve very deeply into any given facet of what it examines. Additionally, it was frustrating to have pop cultural information included that was incorrect (Harry Potter's invisibility cloak is *not* a horcrux, it's one of the Deathly Hallows) - Dell obviously did his research for the rest of the book, so such an obvious error included A great overview, and a wonderful place to start for those pursuing knowledge of the history of the occult. However, as it is such an ambitious project, it does not delve very deeply into any given facet of what it examines. Additionally, it was frustrating to have pop cultural information included that was incorrect (Harry Potter's invisibility cloak is *not* a horcrux, it's one of the Deathly Hallows) - Dell obviously did his research for the rest of the book, so such an obvious error included was disheartening.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Alexandria

    I skimmed this book to determine if I wanted to buy a copy. There is some very interesting information that could lead to deeper research. It is written a little simplistically despite the size of the book which is the only downside I could see. But, again, it could lead to deeper research and it does have fascinating illustrations, so I will likely be adding a copy to my collection.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nikki

    Does what it says on the tin: a gorgeously illustrated overview of magic through the ages. It has also given me a whole list of obscure texts to track down.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Loved the illustrations. Very interesting but a lot to take in.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lucie Morningstar

    A beautifully illustrated book though not very in depth in regards to the information. I did find a few errors too.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarai

    A general overview of various subjects, but very vague.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Talia Franks

    This book is pretty to look at, but absolutely not worth the $39.95 list price. It's a decent coffee table book to flip through, but the information contained within is basic trivia about witchcraft and the occult, and dubious trivia at that, given that the text is riddled with errors. There are the copyediting mistakes such as missed periods, but then there are the straight up wrong facts like when they reference Harry Potter and get a critical plot point wrong in confusing the horcruxes with t This book is pretty to look at, but absolutely not worth the $39.95 list price. It's a decent coffee table book to flip through, but the information contained within is basic trivia about witchcraft and the occult, and dubious trivia at that, given that the text is riddled with errors. There are the copyediting mistakes such as missed periods, but then there are the straight up wrong facts like when they reference Harry Potter and get a critical plot point wrong in confusing the horcruxes with the deathly hallows, which is *such* a critical plot point that it's the literal title of the book they were referencing. These errors are nothing when compared to the fact that the book participates in appropriation, marginalization, erasure, and fetishization all at once when it comes it its portrayal of magical systems outside of Europe. There are nine chapters in the book, the first dedicated to 'Ancient Magic' -- Mesopotamia, China, Egypt, the Old Testament. Of the remaining eight there is a chapter on Greek & Roman Magic, a Chapter on Northern Magic [Celtic, Norse, Germanic], Medieval [Europe] Magic, Renaissance [Europe] Magic, Enlightenment [Europe] Magic, The Magic Revival [in Europe and the United States], Modern Magic [in Britain and the United States]. The ONLY chapter that dives into other cultures is chapter six, "World of Magic" where 45 out of the 400 pages of mostly pictures (remember, this is a coffee-table book) we get the categories "Shamanism" "Native American Magic" "Voodoo and Hoodoo" "Latin American Magic" "Magic in Africa" (the entire continent gets a whole 7 pages!) "Magic in South East Asia" "Far Eastern Magic" "Magical Creatures." Truly this book insults the culture of anyone who isn't invested in exclusively Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Nordic, and British traditions. Moreover, using Shamanism as a blanket term is very controversial under the best of circumstances, but the author of this book thought that not only was it a good idea, but cites as reason for doing so Mircea Eliade, who even a cursory Wikipedia scroll will show was while *technically* not a Nazi still unmistakably a fascist, and besides that a dubious authority and not an anthropologist, but a historian that had many people question the legitimacy of his research. My thoughts on Eliade aside, that doesn't even get in to how patronizing this book is toward modern occultists and magical practitioners, and the insult it pays to pagans and polytheists is so egregious I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. Would that I could give it zero stars, excepting the very pretty artwork.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ilana

    In my more imaginative moments (read: harmlessly delusional) I sometimes think I may be a white witch with powers that have yet to be tapped into and so when I saw this book I instantly fell in love with the cover designed by the brilliant gray318 and “intuited” that simply poring over its pages would somehow transmit to me age-old charms and incantations I could use against the forces of evil that operate in this world. That however was not to be. But I have no intention of joining a covenant o In my more imaginative moments (read: harmlessly delusional) I sometimes think I may be a white witch with powers that have yet to be tapped into and so when I saw this book I instantly fell in love with the cover designed by the brilliant gray318 and “intuited” that simply poring over its pages would somehow transmit to me age-old charms and incantations I could use against the forces of evil that operate in this world. That however was not to be. But I have no intention of joining a covenant of wiccans anytime soon either because I am far too misanthropic to engage in that sort of group activity so will have to look elsewhere to hone my skills. This volume, aside from looking great on a coffee table and being a neat conversation starter, is a nice though rather slight overview of the topic of occultism and some of the personalities who have left their mark on history. With gorgeous and inspiring illustrations throughout (more than 400 of them), as you know Thames & Hudson is more than capable of delivering, I suppose that amply covers the price of the book despite the lack of practical advice for would-be good witches ready to engage in the battle to save the universe from the dark ones. And of course we all know who THEY are.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fox

    Although 400 pages long, this book goes by all too quickly. I believe the longest section in the entire book was four pages, interspersed with heavy illustrations throughout. The illustrations are what propelled this book from a two star book to a three star - they are beautiful, incredibly detailed, and sourced at the back of the book as well as in footnotes at the bottom of each page. When it says an illustrated history, it means an illustrated history. There are probably more images than ther Although 400 pages long, this book goes by all too quickly. I believe the longest section in the entire book was four pages, interspersed with heavy illustrations throughout. The illustrations are what propelled this book from a two star book to a three star - they are beautiful, incredibly detailed, and sourced at the back of the book as well as in footnotes at the bottom of each page. When it says an illustrated history, it means an illustrated history. There are probably more images than there is writing in the book. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. While the book treats each subject very shortly, it does treat a vast array of subjects. Although every section is fleeting, it is more than enough to pique the imagination and make you want more. For a more thorough view of the histories this delves into The Secret History of All Ages is the best bet, but this is a nice (and less daunting) introduction.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Saskia

    3.5 stars Very broad but also insightful and a good starting point to find topics of interest that you might want to have a closer look at later on. I liked the many pictures because they allowed me to get a pretty clear idea of the examples Dell discusses in the text and it was really interesting to follow the evolution and changes of magical practices as well as philosophies throughout the ages. It felt a little like taking a guided tour through a museum at exactly the right speed and I found h 3.5 stars Very broad but also insightful and a good starting point to find topics of interest that you might want to have a closer look at later on. I liked the many pictures because they allowed me to get a pretty clear idea of the examples Dell discusses in the text and it was really interesting to follow the evolution and changes of magical practices as well as philosophies throughout the ages. It felt a little like taking a guided tour through a museum at exactly the right speed and I found heaps of names, rituals and objects that I recognized from books and movies. I am looking forward to use my new knowledge of all things magical and occult in future readings! One detail that Dell got mixed up, however: Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility is part of the Deathly Hallows which are completely different from the horcruxes. I suppose it's just a minor research mishap but it did make me question the other references and examples. :/

  15. 4 out of 5

    RB

    "The Occult, Witchcraft and Magic" is a gorgeous book. This hardcover is loaded with beautiful images and small synopsis on magic and those related to the topic. However, that's all this book is: a beautiful primer to the topic of magic. If you're looking for something charged with a good deal of information about these topics, this is not the book for you, but if you either know this stuff already or just want to have a brief dip into this world, this is unquestionably a beautifully put togethe "The Occult, Witchcraft and Magic" is a gorgeous book. This hardcover is loaded with beautiful images and small synopsis on magic and those related to the topic. However, that's all this book is: a beautiful primer to the topic of magic. If you're looking for something charged with a good deal of information about these topics, this is not the book for you, but if you either know this stuff already or just want to have a brief dip into this world, this is unquestionably a beautifully put together book that's worth owning for the artwork alone and also if you need a quick reference and don't have access to non-tainted internet articles. No loony conspiracy theories here, just the facts set next to stellar paintings and photographs, page after page - an easy and fun read, just don't expect a thorough examination of the occult.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maarit

    A good overall look to the history of witchcraft, the occult and magic. Lots of interesting photos and pictures, with a text that supports them. A bit of a negative thing is that there is a lot of jumping between pages, especially when names are mentioned and it gets a bit annoying after a while. Also, for some things I hoped there would have been a bit more text as some interesting parts seemed just end a bit too fast. But still, overall an excellent book for those interested in this subject or A good overall look to the history of witchcraft, the occult and magic. Lots of interesting photos and pictures, with a text that supports them. A bit of a negative thing is that there is a lot of jumping between pages, especially when names are mentioned and it gets a bit annoying after a while. Also, for some things I hoped there would have been a bit more text as some interesting parts seemed just end a bit too fast. But still, overall an excellent book for those interested in this subject or those who just want to see what's it about. 4 stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gabriella

    Gorgeously illustrated overview covering a wide range of cultures. It's fascinating to see how magical traditions have influenced one another through the ages, and how some of these beliefs manifest today. This book is more a starting point than an in-depth study of the history of magic, but this is what I was expecting. The reproduced artworks and photographs really are stunning (especially Waterhouse's paintings) and complement the entries perfectly. Gorgeously illustrated overview covering a wide range of cultures. It's fascinating to see how magical traditions have influenced one another through the ages, and how some of these beliefs manifest today. This book is more a starting point than an in-depth study of the history of magic, but this is what I was expecting. The reproduced artworks and photographs really are stunning (especially Waterhouse's paintings) and complement the entries perfectly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chloe (thelastcolour)

    read this for some research for a project I am working on. Discovered some interesting people that I shall research further. This book is excellent if you want to get a brief overview of the history of magic and witchcraft but it does not go into a great amount of depth. The illustrations were wonderful though!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    I love this book! Because it contains a lot of pictures (art, symbols, photography), it's a very quick but very informative read. I love how this book covered forms of magic in many different cultures, from ancient civilizations to present day. Would highly recommend to anyone interested in the history of magic/witchcraft/occult-related stuff! I love this book! Because it contains a lot of pictures (art, symbols, photography), it's a very quick but very informative read. I love how this book covered forms of magic in many different cultures, from ancient civilizations to present day. Would highly recommend to anyone interested in the history of magic/witchcraft/occult-related stuff!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    As most people seem to have said, this isn't a particularly thorough book, but it does cover a lot of ground and a number of topics, making it a good jumping off point. Lots of images, and a quick read too, but very interesting. As most people seem to have said, this isn't a particularly thorough book, but it does cover a lot of ground and a number of topics, making it a good jumping off point. Lots of images, and a quick read too, but very interesting.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.reads)

    While this is a really gorgeous book that I initially bought for the art and illustrations, it is a very poor history book. My main problem is the lack of inclusivity. For example, throughout the book, there are profiles of influential figures. Of the 22 profiles, only 4 are women and exactly 0 are people of color. Further, of those 4 women, 3 are Circe, Hecate, and Morgan le Fey (aka they are goddesses or enchantresses from mythology, not real people). That lack of balance alone is really tellin While this is a really gorgeous book that I initially bought for the art and illustrations, it is a very poor history book. My main problem is the lack of inclusivity. For example, throughout the book, there are profiles of influential figures. Of the 22 profiles, only 4 are women and exactly 0 are people of color. Further, of those 4 women, 3 are Circe, Hecate, and Morgan le Fey (aka they are goddesses or enchantresses from mythology, not real people). That lack of balance alone is really telling about what kind of history you are getting here. The shortest chapter is the World of Magic chapter, which only gives the most cursory overview of topics like shamanism, hoodoo, and magical practices in Asia, even though a lot of those practices are fundamental for how magic spread in Europe and the US. So that's disappointing. There is no mention at all of the appropriation, marginalization, and other negative effects that European imperialism has had and continues to have on other cultures—especially communities of color—and their religious, spiritual, and magical practices. The perfunctory way that topics are barely covered in this chapter felt especially ill-considered and comes off like erasure. On top of all that, the writing and editing of the book felt like a complete afterthought as there are errors all over the book, both typos and factual errors. When I find incorrect information multiple times in a book, I just can't trust the book at all anymore because I know there are more errors that I'm not catching. And there is no excuse for that in any kind of nonfiction. I can appreciate how putting together a visual history like this could pose challenges because the narrative of Imperialist history has been dictated by those in power, aka white men. So paintings and other art tend to show their perspective, rarely giving anything close to the full picture. (It would be interesting to count up how many women artists or artists of color have work featured in the book, but I don't have time for that, and without a doubt, it would be heinous.) But this seems like at least something that should be addressed in the book, instead of completely ignored. There could have been a really interesting book here, but this one is only interested in upholding the status quo, aka white supremacy. If you are interested in esoteric art, this might be worth perusing for the pictures, but honestly, you can better spend your money and energy elsewhere. If anyone knows of a more expansive and inclusive history of the occult, I'd love to know about it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    THE OCCULT, WITCHCRAFT, & MAGIC is one of those books that looks big (because it is, you can do some damage with this thing), but it’s mostly pictures. Lovely pictures. I actually think I got more out of the pictures than anything else. I mean, it is an illustrated history and all. But there was still a decent amount of writing, Dell giving a very high level overview of how the occult and witchcraft came to be and how it evolved over time. If you want a more in-depth look then there are far bett THE OCCULT, WITCHCRAFT, & MAGIC is one of those books that looks big (because it is, you can do some damage with this thing), but it’s mostly pictures. Lovely pictures. I actually think I got more out of the pictures than anything else. I mean, it is an illustrated history and all. But there was still a decent amount of writing, Dell giving a very high level overview of how the occult and witchcraft came to be and how it evolved over time. If you want a more in-depth look then there are far better books that do offer much deeper dives on the subject, but have far fewer pictures. I don’t read a lot of books with pictures, but I definitely value those I do! How often can I whip through a 400 page book in like a day and still say I absorbed a lot of information? Not often at all. Most of the pictures were drawings and paintings of various things, the recent history portion of the book taking up, at most, the last fifty pages or so, so there wasn’t much for recent, photographical-type stuff. But I loved what I saw and I found the notes I took were less informational and more pointing me to various things that I want to look deeper into. So while this was supposed to be a research book for me, it served a slightly different research purpose. Basically it opened up more rabbit holes for me, which I’m fine with. But I feel guilt from procrastination at actually writing the book coming on . . . The only thing that irked me was when Dell mentioned Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak as being a horcrux, which it’s obviously not. It’s a small little mention, something in passing, but it was like nails on a chalkboard. If that was missed, what else wasn’t accurate, you know? I doubt that’s the case, but I couldn’t help but wonder. Overall a good starting place for learning about witchcraft and the occult, which was exactly what I was going for. Now I have a bunch of different places to focus on. This book definitely served its purpose and it had so many pretty pictures that I almost want a copy for myself. 4

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ninjamalin

    This is a beautiful book that covers a lot of ground in the history of the occult and magic. And while an extremely ambitious work, it kind of left me wanting. Unfortunately. The problem isn’t that it’s missing anything, the problem is it brings up too many things - which means it never once goes in depth about anything. Not only does it make it slightly hard to follow, but it also feels more like a book of pictures with some random texts accompanying them. It is however an extremely well resear This is a beautiful book that covers a lot of ground in the history of the occult and magic. And while an extremely ambitious work, it kind of left me wanting. Unfortunately. The problem isn’t that it’s missing anything, the problem is it brings up too many things - which means it never once goes in depth about anything. Not only does it make it slightly hard to follow, but it also feels more like a book of pictures with some random texts accompanying them. It is however an extremely well researched book, and it’s so gorgeous that you can forgive almost anything. One thing I will not forgive though - did they actually call Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak a HORCRUX? I mean come on, how did that slip through all the editing stages? With all the things being covered in this book, THAT is what it gets wrong? UGH. Anyway, it’s a very extensive overview of the occult and magic, and I think it’s probably a good place to start if you want to delve into these subjects. And did I mention it’s GORGEOUS?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Krix

    This book was very easy to read and presented a simple overview of the history of magic, leaving no stone unturned. However, they referenced Harry Potter several times throughout, and they got a very simple fact wrong - they called Harry's invisibility cloak a Horcrux (it's not a Horcrux, but one of the Deathly Hallows). I'm not sure who was in charge of the research for this one, but a quick Google search would have cleared that up. That alone made me question the veracity of everything else in This book was very easy to read and presented a simple overview of the history of magic, leaving no stone unturned. However, they referenced Harry Potter several times throughout, and they got a very simple fact wrong - they called Harry's invisibility cloak a Horcrux (it's not a Horcrux, but one of the Deathly Hallows). I'm not sure who was in charge of the research for this one, but a quick Google search would have cleared that up. That alone made me question the veracity of everything else in this book. I ended up noting down everything that particularly interested me so that I could research it later and make sure I got accurate information. But at the end of the day, it was an approachable and digestible foray into the known history of magic, and it would be a reasonable entry point for anyone who wanted to dip their toes into the subject.

  25. 5 out of 5

    nil

    This book does not go into very great depth on any of the information that it covers. However, I do think that it is invaluable as an art coffee table book for collecting so many depictions of the occult, witchcraft, and magic imagery. I checked this out from the library and I actually might purchase it specifically as an artistic reference. I give it 4 stars for its breadth and inclusion of visual materials. 3 for the information--it is just too broad and too shallow of a look at the subject ma This book does not go into very great depth on any of the information that it covers. However, I do think that it is invaluable as an art coffee table book for collecting so many depictions of the occult, witchcraft, and magic imagery. I checked this out from the library and I actually might purchase it specifically as an artistic reference. I give it 4 stars for its breadth and inclusion of visual materials. 3 for the information--it is just too broad and too shallow of a look at the subject matter.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Krystalle

    The photographs, drawings, and images in the book are very informative, and the text is not as light on details as the title would have you imagine. It does focus mostly on European and ancient Middle Eastern occult tradition and history, as most books of this kind do, which is disappointing given the generality of the title, but what is is in the book was a decent trove. A good summary and detail reminder for those who are very knowledgeable on the subject, and an in depth overview for the casu The photographs, drawings, and images in the book are very informative, and the text is not as light on details as the title would have you imagine. It does focus mostly on European and ancient Middle Eastern occult tradition and history, as most books of this kind do, which is disappointing given the generality of the title, but what is is in the book was a decent trove. A good summary and detail reminder for those who are very knowledgeable on the subject, and an in depth overview for the casual reader who grabbed this book for its heftiness.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andreas

    If I had to summarize this book as anything it would be, "A great introduction to Western magic throughout time." Not that it's bad in general, just that what it brings up is barely scratching the surface and even less when it comes to non-western magic. I think that using this as a reference tool to find more interesting texts is the smarter choice, but using it as a source is a bit weak if that makes sense. If I had to summarize this book as anything it would be, "A great introduction to Western magic throughout time." Not that it's bad in general, just that what it brings up is barely scratching the surface and even less when it comes to non-western magic. I think that using this as a reference tool to find more interesting texts is the smarter choice, but using it as a source is a bit weak if that makes sense.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    3.75 stars. I got sucked in by the cover, okay?? The guts of the book though are brief, but do cover a wide range of information. If anything this could be a jumping off point for other research ideas if this sort of thing is your jam. It does have a ton of art throughout as well which is fantastic.

  29. 5 out of 5

    A.

    A good introduction to terminologies and characters (mostly European characters) involved in magic. But it felt like it had 90% of Western history of magic, and 10% the rest of the world. I did learn from this book and I did enjoy it, but personally, it was less than I had expected from the title.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This is an interesting overview of the history of magic in cultures around the world. It doesn't go too in-depth but there are lots of great pictures and enough info to make you want to seek out more. This is an interesting overview of the history of magic in cultures around the world. It doesn't go too in-depth but there are lots of great pictures and enough info to make you want to seek out more.

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