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Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen

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Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen

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    Available in PDF Format | Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen.pdf | English
    Gary Lachman(Author)
The gritty business of politics is not something we usually associate with the occult. But esoteric beliefs have influenced the destiny of nations since the time of ancient Egypt and China, when decisions of state were based on portents and astrology, to today, when presidents and prime ministers privately consult self-proclaimed seers. "Politics and the Occult" offers a lively history of this enduring phenomenon. Author and cultural pundit Gary Lachman provocativly questions whether the separation of church and state so dear to modern political philosophy should be maintained. A few of his fascinating topics include the fate of the Knights Templar and the medieval Gnostic Cathars, the occult roots of America and the French Revolution in Freemasonry, Gurdjieff and the swastika, Soviet interest in UFOs, the CIA and LSD, the Age of Aquarius, the millenarian politics that inform the struggle with Islamic terrorism, fundamentalism, and more.

Gary Lachman was a major contributor to the programme; his book was mentioned on a couple of occasions. --BBC radio 3, 4th Jan 2009

3.3 (11024)
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Book details

  • PDF | 336 pages
  • Gary Lachman(Author)
  • Quest Books,U.S.; 1st Quest Ed edition (1 Dec. 2008)
  • English
  • 9
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy
Read online or download a free book: Politics and the Occult: The Left, the Right, and the Radically Unseen

Review Text

  • By Gsorme on 19 March 2009

    Clearly an incredible amount of research and thought went into this book, but despite its dense and intricate subject matter, it's extremely readable and entertaining. Lachman brings (back) to life a broad cast of historical characters and their times. Despite the potential to completely damn or dismiss some of the more potentially disreputable characters, Lachman tends to be careful and fair in his presentation, pointing out the good and the bad. He also sheds light on some more renowned figures, demonstrating that in the flare of youth, many great men toyed with ideas that are not, shall we say, politically correct. But rather than turning the book into a silly expose that would convey only half-truths, Lachman opts for balance, thereby creating a richer tapestry. Enlightening and fascinating stuff.

  • By Ashtar Command on 6 October 2013

    "Politics and the Occult: The Left, The Right and The Radically Unseen" is a book by Gary Lachman (Gary Valentine), a rock artist with an alternative career in alternative spirituality. I wonder if he ever discussed Steiner, Gurdjieff or Jung with Iggy Pop or Blondie?In "Politics and the Occult" Lachman takes us on an extended and somewhat confusing journey through the occult "establishment" (or rather underground), taking a closer look at the principal players and their political entanglements. Were the Rosicrucians allied with the Winter King Frederick V? Did the Masons participate in the American and French revolutions? What about the famed Illuminati? Swedenborg, Blavatsky, Roerich, Jung and even Crowley turns out to have been (or suspected to have been) secret intelligence operatives. Less surprising are the political activities of Annie Besant, Julius Evola or Mircea Eliade. Besant was, of course, left-wing, while Evola and Eliade were fascists. It seems occult politics isn't above the traditional left-right divide!Unfortunately, "Politics and the Occult" is badly edited, jumps back and forth on the timeline, and looks more like a pseudo-encyclopaedia than a really robust, in-depth study. Lachman isn't a scholar, but I nevertheless found his books on Steiner and Ouspensky relatively interesting. The only thing that kept me reading "Politics and the Occult" is the bizarre subject matter. I *did* glean a few things from the book I didn't knew before: Swedenborg's "Tantric" sex meditation, Zinzendorf's depredations (I knew he was nuts, but this...), the Masonic connections of arch-conservative "Catholic" Joseph de Maistre, Nicolas Roerich's connections with everyone from FDR's Vice President Henry Wallace to émigré Russian White Guards... I'm beginning to understand why conspiracy theories can sound so convincing! The book also contains a few curious oversights: nothing about Franz von Baader, and only a sanitized version of Rudolf Steiner's contacts with the military brass of Germany.People seriously interested in these and related issues should perhaps consult Lachman's main sources, which include "The Occult Establishment" by James Webb, "The Rosicrucian Enlightenment" by Frances Yates, "Why Mrs Blake Cried" by Marsha Keith Schuchard, and "Against the Modern World" by Mark Sedgwick. Two other frequently cited sources seem to be non-scholarly: "The Sion Revelation" by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, and "The Temple and the Lodge" by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh.If this book shows anything at all, it is that there really isn't a distinct "occult politics". The original Rosicrucians were progressive, and supported the Reformation and an early version of the Enlightenment. Much later, Rosicrucianism became a conservative, aristocratic reaction against the Enlightenment. Freemasons were all over the place: Jacobites and Anglicans, American revolutionaries and British Tories, French republicans and ditto royalists...pretty much everyone was drawn to "the Craft", suggesting that Masonry - no matter how honestly pursued - wasn't a homogenous movement, but a system capable of being combined with pretty much any political agenda (just like Christianity or Islam). This has confused conspiracy theorists ever since, who draw the hasty conclusion that Freemasons "control both sides of every conflict" and hence somehow "rule the world".The smaller occult groups frequently belonged to an eclectic, alternative milieu in which contradictory agendas could be pursued more or less simultaneously. Feminists, libertines, anti-Semites and early Greens hobnobbed at the "Mountain of Truth" at Swiss Ascona in an early version of the hippie movement. Steiner was there, too. Today, occultism is often associated with the far right or even Nazis (see the books by Nicolas Goodrick-Clarke for more on this), but left-wing occultists have also existed, such as Annie Besant. Interestingly, "Politics and the Occult" is published by Quest Books, the publishing arm of the Theosophical Society Adyar.I'm not sure how to rate this book. I really only want to give it two stars, but since it gave me a couple of leads I will follow in the near future, I eventually decided on the OK rating. Three stars.

  • By idleshark on 4 June 2013

    The prose lacks flair and suprisingly also the material given the subject.Lachman is also too keen to keep emphasing his political correctness without answering what it is about the occult that interests such a politically correct author

  • By Larry Lee Snow on 18 November 2013

    I've become a fan of Gary Lachman's work since his history of consciousness. He is fair and clear, with a respectful detachment that I deeply appreciate.

  • By Gary Nottingham on 7 November 2014

    This is a very good study, whilst I have come across some of this information before, the author does present it in a very readable fashion,

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