Thursday, 24 January 2013

Review of Book of Baphomet

The Book of Baphomet by Nikki Wyrd and Julian Vayne
http://mandrake.uk.net/book-of-baphomet-2/

If you've heard this particular god-name, then you've very likely asked: What is Baphomet? Which of the many answers to that question you find the most appealing may depend on whether you identify as a Thelemite, a Satanist, a Chaos Magician. Or even a Templar. 

This book seems to have set out to cover all those bases, and a few you're unlikely to have thought of. And it does a very good job indeed.

The Book of Baphomet erupts with ideas and this review would become much too long if I mentioned a third of them, but the biggest theme is perhaps: Considerations of human life on the biggest scale and the smallest. The big questions: Nature. Wilderness. Responsibility. The nature of our identification with affinity groups and the question of what community means, within our species and including others.

Rich ideas of blending 'nature' with human technology such as control systems bring hope, by pointing towards an integrated vision of the future. We would be 'allowing the rest of the living world access to our tools... we create conditions for true embodied consciousness of our world. Baphomet...'

Then we have a superb alternative history of Baphomet. These sections build from Baphomet's various wrinkles of history and myth something approaching a coherent story. The figure of the God/dess emerges from the ground of magico-religious culture.

This is where we get to what might be the real triumph of the book: the tales told herein bridge science, magic, mysticism, history, psychology and political myth. Here we have all the elements which could make up a new and better religion. Since it seems that humans can't do without religion, it is good when narratives emerge that join up all these different threads of human experience. Who knows, maybe such a constellation of ideas will help displace the current crop of religions, which do not seem to be doing a very good job of maximizing human hope or even survival.

This book is also a good production, a nice physical object. I got a Kindle last year; it has provided me with dozens of free books, is the perfect format for reading papers downloaded from the various academies, but nothing can replace the feel of a real paper book, especially one produced with such care.

Oh, one final quote-thought for the day: 'Witchcraft is a cult of ecstasy.' If they only knew it. 

Check out Nikki's interview with Andrieh Vitimus at

http://deeper-down-the-rabbit-hole.com/2013/01/episode-87-nikki-wyrd-discusses-book-baphomet/

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