I recently read this book and highly suggest it to anyone who has an interest in esoteric or occult practices. The book details the uses of consciousness from the Egyptians and Greeks all the way through modern day, and how it is used in esoteric ideas by what Mr. Lachman describes as Western civilization’s secret teachers.
The basic premise is a description of the two modes of consciousness: the right brained side that deals with esoteric ideas with a knowledge of everything that has occurred, ever, and communicates in symbols and intuitive information, and the left brained side that has been dominating the Western world for centuries, which deals in separation, organization, and logical, memory-based knowledge and has a tendency to discredit and even deny the very existence of the other half of our mental existence.
Throughout the book, the author shows the progress of the rise of the left brained approach and how many teachers of the right brained approach were once revered publicly and discussed things such as magic and the hidden potential of humankind openly, but through many time periods became persecuted and driven underground until we ended up with the hidden occult groups of previous generations that feared their knowledge would open themselves up to ridicule, punishment, and even torture and death.
From reading this book I have become aware of many threads of knowledge that are holding up many of the modern occult and magickal traditions that I find so fascinating, and Mr. Lachman gives reference after reference to published works of these secret teachers that are now easily available from most online booksellers. Reading it I have built up a significant wish list of occult books that I would have otherwise been completely ignorant of, and for that alone it is an amazing reference and resource.
Typically I have found books of historical information quite dry, but not only does this book offer a significant list of profound teachers and the sources that we still have access to of their teachings, but the lively and very modern and practical oriented way in which the history is laid out makes it easy to read and retain the worthwhile pieces of information; even if the litany of Greek names can start to blur together, giving credence to the cliché “it’s all Greek to me!”
Another merit that I appreciated is how the author borrows not only from the obvious philosophical and magickal backgrounds, but how he throws in fictional writers and poets such as Dante and W. B. Yeats, who also contributed greatly to our artistic, occult products, and shows how their own interests were shaped by esoteric teachings; something that would not be obvious to many people who studied them in high school or college.
In addition, one of the most fascinating aspects of this work is how Mr. Lachman shows the esoteric basis for much of our modern scientific knowledge, and how celebrated scientists such as Pythagoras and Isaac Newton were actually dedicated esoteric teachers whose more left brained contributions to modern knowledge were only the barest tip of their greater interests, but again the left brained influences in society have oppressed or tainted that knowledge in an effort to establish a materialistic dominance over our learning.
I can not suggest this book highly enough to anyone who has an interest in the sources of esoteric, occult knowledge, or a fascination with human consciousness and how our modern mind has been shaped. Mr. Lachman ends the book with suggesting that we are moving into a more integrated consciousness in the upcoming times, and clearly making this kind of information about the past available is the only way that we can merge the two halves of our consciousness into healthy, integrated beings.