Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Good Religion. The Occidental Temple of the Wise Lord: a Review

I have just completed my reading of The Good Religion. The Occidental Temple of the Wise Lord by Darban-I-Den (Dr Stephen Edred Flowers/Edred Thorsson) and found it quite fascinating. This book may appear to signify a turning point for Edred as he is currently engaged in the formation of a Zoroastrian or Mazdan religious order in the West. This order is called The Occidental Temple of the Wise Lord, the Wise Lord being Ahura Mazda. This does not necessarily indicate to me that he is moving away from his Germanic and runic research. In the past he has produced for instance studies on the Celtic Ogham (The Book of Ogham, 1992), Hermetics and Alchemy (Hermetic Magic. The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris, 1995 and Carnal Alchemy, 1995) as well as forays into Freemasonry (Freemasonry and the Germanic Tradition, 2008) and his alleged involvement with the Temple of Set.

So this latest work follows a pattern of Edred examing and bringing to light Indo-European or Aryan sources of spirituality and making them accessible to a wider readership. In my opinion he is the ultimate modern day Germanic Faustian man and I commend him in his pioneering endeavours. My readers will be pleased to note that many of the now out of print Runa Raven titles are being republished by Lodestar. However a more mainstream publisher Inner Traditions Bear and Company is bringing out his Icelandic Magic: The Mystery and Power of the Galdrabok Grimoire in 2016. This may be a different work from his earlier Runa Raven book The Galdrabok. An Icelandic Book of Magic, 2011). This earlier work was originally published by Red Wheel/Weiser in 1990. Inner Traditions recently republished his groundbreaking and authorative Lords of the Left Hand Path: Forbidden Practices and Spiritual Heresies in 2012. In the same year Weiser published his ALU, An Advanced Guide to Operative Runology. See my review

In the book Edred sets out the history of Zoroastrianism and the life of the prophet Zarathustra and places this in an Indo-European context as he has done with his researches into the Celtic, Hermetic and Freemasonic paths. In this sense the book follows that pattern. Indeed there are three chapters on the Indo-Europeans, the Indo-Iranians and the Iranians in the Historical section of the book. After this section there follows an Ideological section with chapters on Theology, Demonology and Cosmology and finally a section on Ritual and Prayer. The first two sections of the book were the most interesting for me as I have no intention of becoming a Mazdan although Edred stresses that this religious path may run alongside any other that the individual is practicing. He demonstrates that this is an Indo-European religion built upon the tripartite system but nevertheless is intended to become a universal religion to counter the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. However the Mazdan path allows for people to continue also in their original religious path if they so wish. This shows remarkable tolerance which is a known trait of Indo-European systems of belief.

In his book Edred stresses the communal nature of this religion although most of it can be practiced alone as an individual. I think in this area he may struggle as I can see that isolated individuals may adopt this religion but to find small groups or individuals coming together in a wide geographical area will be difficult as those of us who follow a heathen path know only too well. To sum up this book is no doubt to be regarded as a foundation text of this new revival of an ancient religion and is specifically intended for the western man as western Mazdaism will inevitably have many differences to Iranian Zorastrianism. It will also be of interest to anyone who is drawn to Indo-European religion and spirituality regardless of what particular path you may follow.

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