An Encyclopaedia of Occultism by Lewis Spence
  • Title: An Encyclopaedia of Occultism
  • Subtitle: None
  • Author(s): Lewis Spence
  • Publisher: Cosimo, Inc.
  • Year: 2006-09-01
  • ISBN-10: 1596052376
  • ISBN-13: 9781596052376


An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” by Lewis Spence is an extensive and comprehensive guide that delves into the realm of occultism. Covering a wide array of topics including witchcraft, astrology, alchemy, tarot, and spiritualism, this book acts as a valuable resource for anyone interested in the esoteric and mysterious. Lewis Spence, a renowned author and scholar, provides a detailed exploration of the origins, beliefs, practices, and historical significance of occultism, making it accessible to both novice readers and experienced practitioners.

Throughout the book, Spence draws upon a wealth of knowledge from various cultures and traditions, offering a well-rounded perspective on the subject matter. His writing style is engaging and thorough, as he delves into the intricacies of each topic, often citing historical events and ancient texts to provide a solid foundation for his explanations. Whether you are curious about the origins of tarot cards or the principles behind divination practices, “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” offers a comprehensive overview that will satisfy the curiosity of both casual readers and dedicated occult enthusiasts alike.

Book Review

Unveiling the Mysteries: A Deep Dive into "An Encyclopaedia of Occultism" by Lewis Spence

An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” by Lewis Spence offers readers a vast and illuminating exploration into the enigmatic realm of occultism. With a comprehensive range of topics covered, from witchcraft and astrology to alchemy and spiritualism, Spence’s work serves as an invaluable resource for both curious seekers and seasoned practitioners. Drawing upon a diverse range of cultural and historical references, Spence weaves a captivating narrative that sheds light on the origins, beliefs, practices, and historical significance behind occultism.

One of the most commendable aspects of Spence’s writing is his ability to meticulously research and present information that is both informative and intriguing. He takes readers on a journey through time and across cultures, exploring the varying interpretations and practices associated with occultism. For instance, in the section on witchcraft, Spence expertly dives into the origins of witchcraft, delving into ancient texts, folklore, and historical events. He elucidates the differences between practices in different regions, such as the Salem witch trials in the Americas and the witch persecutions in Europe, providing a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

Furthermore, Spence’s attention to detail enables him to demystify and clarify the often misunderstood concepts within occultism. A prime example is his exploration of astrology, where he unravels the complex system of celestial interpretation. Spence elucidates the significance of planetary positions and their impact on human life, explaining the various astrological signs and characteristics associated with them. Through detailed examples and historical references, he demonstrates how astrology has been influential in shaping cultural beliefs, political decisions, and personal choices throughout history.

Another notable aspect of “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” is Spence’s treatment of spiritualism. He examines this fascinating field by scrutinizing the practices of mediums, séances, and communication with the spirit world. Spence explores the rise of spiritualism during the 19th century and its links to the popularization of séances and the belief in contacting deceased loved ones. The author takes care to provide both the historical context and the skepticism surrounding this phenomenon, presenting a well-rounded analysis that encourages critical thinking.

In addition to its educational value, the book’s writing style is engaging and accessible. Spence’s prose flows smoothly, making complex concepts understandable even for those new to the subject. His use of anecdotes, historical accounts, and intriguing stories adds an extra layer of interest to the encyclopedic nature of the book. For instance, in the section on alchemy, he explores the legendary search for the Philosopher’s Stone and its association with the quest for immortality. He discusses the legendary figures such as Nicholas Flamel and Paracelsus, offering readers a glimpse into the mystical and alchemical traditions that have captivated minds throughout history.

However, one minor drawback of this encyclopedic work is the occasional lack of depth in certain entries. Given the vastness of occultism as a subject, it is understandable that some topics may receive less attention than others. As a result, readers with a specific interest in certain areas may find themselves craving for more detailed explanations or discussions. Nevertheless, Spence’s work admirably surveys and introduces readers to the breadth of occultism, serving as a solid foundation for further exploration.

In conclusion, “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” by Lewis Spence is a remarkable and comprehensive guide that unveils the mysteries of the occult. With its erudite research, engaging writing style, and diverse range of topics, the book serves as an invaluable resource for those curious about the esoteric. Spence’s ability to navigate through history, beliefs, and practices within occultism is exemplary, enabling readers to understand the origins and intricacies of the subject. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned practitioner, this book is an essential addition to any library seeking to explore the shadows and depths of the occult.

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Key Ideas

An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” by Lewis Spence is a comprehensive reference work that delves into the realm of occultism, uncovering its history, practices, beliefs, and prominent figures. Within its pages, readers will find a wealth of information on various esoteric subjects, shedding light on the mysterious and often misunderstood aspects of the occult world. Here are some of the key ideas and topics explored in the book:

  1. History and Origins of Occultism The book provides a historical overview of occultism, tracing its roots from ancient civilizations to more modern times. It explores how occult practices and beliefs have evolved over centuries, drawing from diverse cultural and religious traditions.

  2. Esoteric Beliefs and Philosophies “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” explores the core beliefs and philosophies that underpin occult practices. It delves into concepts such as magic, alchemy, astrology, divination, and numerology, offering explanations of their origins and significance.

  3. Occult Figures and Personalities The book introduces readers to prominent figures in the history of occultism, including mystics, magicians, and philosophers who have contributed to the development of esoteric traditions. It provides biographical information about these individuals and explores their contributions to occult knowledge.

  4. Rituals and Practices From ceremonial magic to ritualistic practices, the book offers insights into various occult rituals, their purposes, and the symbolism behind them. It explores how rituals are performed and how they are believed to connect practitioners with higher spiritual realms.

  5. Occult Symbolism and Iconography “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” decodes the symbolism and iconography commonly associated with occult practices. It discusses the meanings behind symbols, sigils, and mystical diagrams used in rituals and magical work.

  6. Secret Societies and Orders The book uncovers the existence of secret societies and occult orders, shedding light on organizations that have operated in secrecy and influenced occult thought and practices. It explores the purposes, rituals, and teachings of these groups.

  7. Paranormal Phenomena In addition to traditional occult practices, the book also touches on paranormal phenomena such as ghosts, spirits, and psychic abilities. It examines how these phenomena intersect with occult beliefs and practices.

  8. Alchemy and Mysticism “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” delves into the world of alchemy and mystical traditions, exploring the transformation of base substances into spiritual gold as a metaphor for personal and spiritual growth.

  9. New Age and Modern Occultism The book also addresses how occultism has evolved in the modern era, including its intersection with the New Age movement. It explores how contemporary individuals and groups continue to explore and reinterpret occult teachings.

Overall, “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” serves as a comprehensive guide to the vast and intricate world of occultism. It provides readers with a well-researched and informative resource that helps demystify esoteric practices and beliefs, offering a deeper understanding of the historical, philosophical, and spiritual dimensions of the occult.

Target Audience

The book “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” by Lewis Spence is targeted at a diverse audience interested in exploring the realm of occultism. It is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Occult Enthusiasts The book is a treasure trove of information for individuals passionate about occult practices, beliefs, and history. It provides a comprehensive overview of various occult topics, making it an essential guide for those seeking to expand their knowledge in this field.

  • Scholars and Researchers “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” is highly recommended for researchers and academics interested in the study of occultism. Lewis Spence’s meticulous research, incorporation of historical references, and insightful analysis make it a valuable resource for scholars looking to delve into occult traditions and their impact on society.

  • Novice Readers For individuals new to the occult, this book serves as an excellent introduction to the subject. Spence’s engaging writing style and clear explanations make complex concepts more accessible, allowing beginners to navigate the vastness of occultism and gain a foundational understanding.

  • Open-Minded Seekers Individuals seeking to explore alternative beliefs and practices will find “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” to be an enlightening read. The book challenges preconceived notions and encourages critical thinking, encouraging readers to approach the subject with an open mind and consider its historical and cultural significance.

  • Cultural Historians The book offers valuable insight into the cultural impact of occult traditions throughout history. It explores how occultism has influenced art, literature, and societal beliefs, making it a recommended source for those interested in understanding the intersections between occult practices and various cultural movements.

In conclusion, “An Encyclopaedia of Occultism” is recommended reading for a diverse range of individuals. Whether you are an occult enthusiast, a scholar, a novice, an open-minded seeker, or a cultural historian, this book provides a comprehensive and engaging exploration of occultism, enriching your understanding of the subject matter and inviting you to delve deeper into its captivating mysteries.