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Underworld Initiation by RJ Stewart...and a question


Marion

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Firstly, having just got my not-so sweaty mitts on a copy of this book, but yet to read it, I wondered what forum members thought of it, if they have read it?

 

Secondly, what do you think of this - the opening paragraph of the introduction?

 

"The value of any transcendent tradition should be found within its liberating qualities. A tradition, of any sort, has no other ultimate value. The use of tradition for tradition's sake is a perversion, a tool of suppression."

 

...makes me a pervert, then!!! :) I find the use of tradition inspiring.

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I always thought he meant that if you are following a tradition for no other reason than to follow a tradition you are perverting the original reason the tradition was started. That if you are going to practice ro follow a tradition then you should be following it with a thorough and convicted thought process.

 

 

Fundamentalism of any kind is dangerous. It either kills or kills your right to think creatively and constructively. (Disclaimer: tradition must always be accounted for but not slavishly followed).

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  • 1 year later...

I found this book difficult to read because of the complexity of the language, it was slow going. However, I really loved the parts about folk songs and I made a playlist on YouTube of as many as I could find. RS point over all was that these songs are transmissions of mystical lore. And listening to the songs I must agree. Also in the appendix is an excellent piece which is an transmission of an experience with a genus loci of s place. I ended up skipping back and forth through this book, I am not real big on the kaballa right now, so I passed on those parts. Good book overall for reference.

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Firstly, having just got my not-so sweaty mitts on a copy of this book, but yet to read it, I wondered what forum members thought of it, if they have read it?

 

Secondly, what do you think of this - the opening paragraph of the introduction?

 

"The value of any transcendent tradition should be found within its liberating qualities. A tradition, of any sort, has no other ultimate value. The use of tradition for tradition's sake is a perversion, a tool of suppression."

 

...makes me a pervert, then!!! :) I find the use of tradition inspiring.

 

It's an awesome book, and it requires careful reading. Jumping around will miss important links needed to "get it" once all is said and done. But I think that's true of most good books. I heard R.J. Stewart talk at Pantheacon (some years back) and he mentioned the ills of practicing traditions that have lost their connections. But he also appears to feel that the word is misused. I can't recall the name of the article he wrote on it, but it had to do with unbroken lineage.

 

As to the quote in this thread, I feel he's referring to lifeless traditions that are all form without vitality.

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I always thought he meant that if you are following a tradition for no other reason than to follow a tradition you are perverting the original reason the tradition was started. That if you are going to practice ro follow a tradition then you should be following it with a thorough and convicted thought process.

 

Haven't read the book but I wanted to agree with RavenF here. That's what I took from that little bit.

 

 

 

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I disagree that books should have to be read straight through in order to get all the links. I read both ways and find lots of connections from both styles. Insistence on reading the straight and narrow way really smacks to me of being told to follow authors path as the right way instead of following my own way. When a book leads me through out if order and to certain parts that call to me, I am interacting with knowledge snd learning as a living thing, growing moving and changing. I gave this book a positive review and I like it as a reference my style of reading did not stop the interaction

Enriching my craft.

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I disagree that books should have to be read straight throughion order to get all the links. I read both ways and find lots of connections from both styles. Insistence on reading the straight and narrow way really smacks to me of being told to follow authors path as the right way instead of following my own way. When a book leads me through out if order and to certain parts that call to me, I am interacting with knowledge snd learning as a living thing, growing moving and changing. I gave this book a positive review and I like it as a reference my style of reading did not stop the interaction

Enriching my craft.

 

Yeah, I'll sometimes jump around initially in a book, especially if a chapter title is compelling. But if I want to really understand a book, and what the author has to convey, then I'll go back over the book from cover to cover. I find that second readings are often enlightening (especially when seeing the connections that arise from continuity). But, I'm a teacher by profession, and so I view things in that way. I can always tell when one of my students has only skimmed something or cherry-picked.

 

A very wise witchcraft teacher of mine once pointed out that enlightenment is often found not in what's said, but in the context in which it's said. That's why reading along in the author's sequence as he or she reveals things is important. I don't think that approach robs the reader of his or her own way, but it certainly can enhance it.

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I can definitely see it being a hallmark of a certain style of teacher to want things to be read a particular way. But thank goodness I am not doing homework to impress a teacher anymore, but instead trodding my own path! If I seek out teachers, I find ones that teach the ways I learn and don't have to pretend I am doing it the teachers way on top of my own way of study in order to keep the top grades I loved to maintain. It was so tiring to pretend to highlight the book for the teacher that felt you could only learn if you highlighted. And to buy the book the teacher wrote but lectured the entire contents repeatedly, just so I could have it on the desk so he would think I had to read it even though his lectures covered it for me. I could go on, each teacher had their pet projects and I had to pretend I did things their way to keep my good grades, while in private learning my own way in order to actually get the material and succeed in the practical applications for the long haul. I can only say WOOT that I don't have to fake it anymore and can be comfortable here and in my job and so forth learning and applying my learning the way that works for me!

 

Its like this: wallbash.gif versus this flyaway.gif learning my own way cuts out the kissass.gif.

 

 

With this particular book, I can't tell you how helpful listening and signing along o the folk songs was for me! It really sunk in for me. I could very much see how the folk songs were about the spirits of the land and the underworld. What was even better was finding some American adaptations of the British songs, so that the songs had resonance for the land where I live. I always loved folk music, but I hadn't looked to it for occult symbols before I read this book a few years ago. Now listen at concerts and so on for the deeper meanings too. This book is a great resource for getting that sort of familiarity with folk songs if it is something you hadn't worked with before. Another similar line of inquiry is fairy tales, and I have been amazed to see how many deep layers of lore there are in lovely old fairy tales, especially the lesser known ones, but even Snow White has its bits and bobs. Magic Mirror anyone one? Glamoury spells?

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I can definitely see it being a hallmark of a certain style of teacher to want things to be read a particular way. But thank goodness I am not doing homework to impress a teacher anymore, but instead trodding my own path! If I seek out teachers, I find ones that teach the ways I learn and don't have to pretend I am doing it the teachers way on top of my own way of study in order to keep the top grades I loved to maintain. It was so tiring to pretend to highlight the book for the teacher that felt you could only learn if you highlighted. And to buy the book the teacher wrote but lectured the entire contents repeatedly, just so I could have it on the desk so he would think I had to read it even though his lectures covered it for me. I could go on, each teacher had their pet projects and I had to pretend I did things their way to keep my good grades, while in private learning my own way in order to actually get the material and succeed in the practical applications for the long haul. I can only say WOOT that I don't have to fake it anymore and can be comfortable here and in my job and so forth learning and applying my learning the way that works for me!

 

It seems somewhat natural that we should see this matter differently. And,of course, I don't see the role of teacher as one that needlessly burdens a student or wrings pretense from them. I teach at a University, and thankfully my students are motivated to learn from their studies as opposed to trying to impress me. I like to think that people can operate in ways that are natural and fruitful for them even within a structure. To me it's like building a house with traditional methods of construction, and then the occupants decide how to decorate it and how to live their lives within the house.

 

With this particular book, I can't tell you how helpful listening and signing along o the folk songs was for me! It really sunk in for me. I could very much see how the folk songs were about the spirits of the land and the underworld. What was even better was finding some American adaptations of the British songs, so that the songs had resonance for the land where I live. I always loved folk music, but I hadn't looked to it for occult symbols before I read this book a few years ago. Now listen at concerts and so on for the deeper meanings too. This book is a great resource for getting that sort of familiarity with folk songs if it is something you hadn't worked with before. Another similar line of inquiry is fairy tales, and I have been amazed to see how many deep layers of lore there are in lovely old fairy tales, especially the lesser known ones, but even Snow White has its bits and bobs. Magic Mirror anyone one? Glamoury spells?

 

Yes, the old ballads and songs are powerful, and they preserve much of what otherwise might have been lost to us in terms in terms of meaningful lore. I've read that in the original tale of Cinderella, what is now the Fairy Godmother was originally Cinderella's deceased mother in the fairy realm (exoteric lore versus esoteric foundation).

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