Friday, 4 January 2019

Library Generation Tables: Comparative Theology

Comparative theologists are a syncretic bunch; that is, they try to see beyond the trappings of spiritual phenomena and their responses to the root cause of the issue. In effect, they try to see what unifies religious experience across all cultures, rather than what divides them. They are on the one hand, very humanist in their approach but with what (where they do subscribe to spiritual urges) can only be described as agnostic aims: they want to believe but need to pin down what there is to believe in.

The library of a comparative theologist NPC will contain a wide variety of fundamental religious texts along with their commentaries and concordances – it will surprise no-one to see La Vey’s Satanic Bible sitting alongside The New Testament on their bookshelf. Other works will be of a philosophical, theological or psychological nature, with a sprinkling of anthropological and ethnological material thrown in.

Religious Texts (Roll 1D6, then 1D12)*
The Book of Mormon (1830)
Aradia (1899)
The Gnostic Gospels (1945)
Bardo Thodol (c.1300 CE)
Mahayana Sutras (186 CE)
Tripitaka (500 BCE)
Torah (400 BCE)
Talmud (200-500 CE)
The Qu’ran (609-632 CE)
The Vedas (1,500-1,000 BCE)
Bible Concordance
Bible - Greek
Bible – King James Version (KJV) (1611)
Bible – New International Version (NIV) (1973-1978)
The Bhagavad Ghita (c.400 BCE)
Guru Granth Sahib (1704)
The Kojiki (711-712 CE)
I Ching (1,000 – 750 BCE)
Analects of Confucius (475 BCE – 220 CE)
The Heavenly Doctrine (from 1749)
The Secret Doctrine (1888)
The Satanic Bible (1969)
The Urantia Book (1924-1955)
*If the result falls outside of the time period for your narrative, use the result in the opposite column, or re-roll.


The Book of Mormon:

The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi, to give it its full title, is the holy text of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon faith. The text was given to the religion’s founder – Joseph Smith, Jr. – after four years of tutelage by the Angel Moroni, in the form of a set of golden plates bound together by gold wire. According to Smith, the Book was originally written in “reformed Egyptian” and he was blessed with the ability to translate this language by his angel guide. The translation and publication of the work was a torrid affair but it was accomplished by 1830 and talks about lost Tribes of Israel walking the North American mainland in the time of Christ. The original golden plates were returned to their angelic guardian upon completion.


American folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland spent some time in Italy at the end of the 1800s and worked to make contact with a local group of practising witches. Their leader, a woman whom he referred to as “Maddalena”, was his main source of information and, after working with him for 11 years, she gave him a copy of a manuscript called the Vangelo, or “Gospel”. It contains 15 chapters, outlining the nature of her faith and its origins back to an ancient cult dedicated to Aradia, the daughter of the goddess Diana, who was sent to Earth to teach witchcraft to the peasants so that they could oppose their oppressors. Leland took two years to edit the book and published it using the title “Aradia” in 1899. It attracted no great attention until the 1950s when ideas that European folk religions might all have derived from a single ancient religious tradition began to gain currency. The book has had vast impact in the creation of modern notions of Wicca across the planet, although academia is still divided as to whether Leland was a faithful conduit of secret knowledge, or whether he made the whole thing up.

The Gnostic Gospels:

Discovered in the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945, the Gnostic Gospels are a series of 13 leather-bound codices which were sealed inside a clay jar and buried. Also known as the “Nag Hammadi Library” and the “Chenoboskion Manuscripts”, the works created a seismic wave of interest across the Christian, Islamic and Hebrew communities, and the anticipation of what they might have contained, caused much anxiety within religious communities. Some of the material was mostly of no great interest – some excerpts from the Corpus Hermeticum, for example and parts of Plato’s Republic – but other books were treatises of a Gnostic bent, which threw light on many unconsidered aspects of the life of Jesus Christ. Textual echoes from known Bible sources proved the authenticity of the texts and a tentative composition date of around 80 AD has been proposed, while the books themselves date to the 3rd or 4th Century AD. The best known book from this collection is the Gospel of Thomas, but improved restoration techniques have also discovered the Gospels of Mary and of Judas from within the damaged pages. The books would seem to have been buried in response to a decree by Saint Athanasius in 367 AD, banning the use of non-canonical texts in religious discussions. Today they are housed in the Coptic Museum in Cairo.

(These days, with the Internet and everybody feeling as though their personal opinion is unshakeable fact, there is a groundswell movement attempting to claim that the Gospels are, in fact, a hoax. When someone out there in the world says 'white' it seems there's an endless stream of entitled know-nothings who have to shout 'black' in order to make themselves feel important. I'm looking at you Flat-Earthers...)

Bardo Thodol (“The Tibetan Book of the Dead”):

“The Bardo Thödol began by being a 'closed' book, and so it has remained, no matter what kind of commentaries may be written upon it. For it is a book that will only open itself to spiritual understanding, and this is a capacity which no man is born with, but which he can only acquire through special training and special experience. It is good that such, to all intents and purposes, 'useless' books exist. They are meant for those 'queer folk' who no longer set much store by the uses, aims, and meaning of present-day 'civilisation'.”

—Carl Jung, from the Introduction to Evan-Wentz’ translation

This is an exoteric textbook for ensuring the safety and positive reincarnation of dead souls. The work describes the process of entering the afterlife, the encounters that a dead soul will experience and the means to obtain a beneficial existence after reincarnation. Specific chants and incantations are designed to ward off monsters and other hazards which could prevent the soul from reincarnating; exercises prepare the reader for the experience, shortly after death, and ready them for these encounters. To Western readers the work is dense and largely incredible, much like being given instruction for operating the tools in the ‘workshop of the afterlife’.

Mahayana Sutras:

These are the collected teachings of Siddharta Gautama (c.563/480 – c.483/400 BCE) known as the Buddha. It is a canonical work of that major stream of Buddhism known as Mahayana Buddhism as well as the Tibetan version of the faith. Originally transmitted orally after his death, the sutras which comprise the collection were codified at a later stage and their final form preserved.


The “Three Baskets” were composed around 500 BCE and then committed to print around the 1st Century BCE, when fears of it being lost due to famine and wars became pre-eminent. It consists of three sections – the Vinaya Pitaka, or basket of expected discipline for monks; the Sutra Pitaka or basket of discourse; and the Abhidhama Pitaka or basket of special doctrine. As can be expected, every Buddhist monastery has a copy of this work and, in Theravada Buddhist sects it is referred to as the Pali Canon.

The Torah:

The Torah is the name given by those of the Jewish faith to the first five books of the Old Testament (which Christians call the Pentateuch) and which are traditionally the words passed on to Moses directly from God. The complete Jewish “bible” consists of 24 books and is called the Tanakh. This excerpted body of literature is also important to the Islamic believers, although considered of lesser importance than the Qu’ran. Some copies of the Torah contain commentaries along with the basic text and a majority of these works are printed on scrolls rather than in book form, especially when used within synagogues.

The Talmud:

The Talmud consists of two parts – the Mishnah (c.200 CE) and the Gemara (c.500 CE), although sometimes only the Gemara – and is most often encountered written in Hebrew. It is a compendium of rabbinic theology and the foundation of Jewish religious law. It covers a wide range of subjects, from history to ethics, and is considered to be the cornerstone of Jewish thought.

The Qu’ran:

The Qu’ran is the written revelation from God transmitted through the Archangel Gabriel (Jibril in Arabic) to Mohammed, beginning in his 40th year on 22 December 609 CE and continuing through to 632 CE. For some time this information was only disseminated orally but it was eventually written down. The text pre-supposes knowledge of the Semitic Bible and much historical information between the two works is shared, although occasionally the Qu’ran supplants or replaces these events. Some versions contain, or are accompanied by, another work called the Hadith, which are commentaries on the source material; Qu’ranist Moslems however, eschew all other texts.

The Vedas:

The Vedas are a large body of religious and other texts which comprise the earliest known Hindu writings. While the Hindu epic the Mahabharata credits the creator-god Brahma with these texts, internal evidence within the writings states that the work was created and compiled by a series of enlightened sages. However it was written, Hindus consider it to be an inspired body of literature, originating directly from the divine, and essentially authorless. The work consists of four sections – the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda. An excerpted part of the whole which is sometimes encountered separately is the Upanishads, a philosophical work on meditation and spiritual knowledge.

Bible Concordance:

These works provide thematic breakdowns to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, allowing readers to quickly access relevant parts of the texts. They usually also provide some textual analyses of the material including mentions of sources and translations.

Bible – Greek:

The Christian Bible mainly derives from sources written in Classical Greek and many Bible students choose to examine the original forms of the texts where these are useful for their investigations.

Bible – KJV:

King James I of England sought to provide translations of the Holy Bible in his own language and hired a group of translators to embark upon the work. The result is the somewhat florid King James Bible which has become a standard Biblical text, despite some errors of sense and a certain obsession with witchcraft (of which, King James was quite terrified).

Bible – NIV:

One of the most popular and accessible versions of the Holy Bible (also available in Spanish and Portuguese), the New International Version was begun in the early 1970s, with the New Testament being released in 1973 and the Old Testament published in 1978 (re-packaged along with the New Testament).

The Bhagavad Gita:

The “Song of God” is an excerpted section of the Mahabharata, which tells of the Prince Arjuna travelling to a war in a chariot being driven by the deity Krishna. Arjuna bemoans the forthcoming battle and worries about its effect upon his soul, to which Krishna responds in a narrative that discusses duty, the nature of the soul and the concept of moksha (breaking free of the wheel of karma) among many other topics. It is the single most-read and influential text of the Hindu faith.


Any library designed along this theme must contain a range of general philosophical treatises to provide back-up. Chief among these is a copy of Plato’s Republic but there should also be copies of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Descartes’ Meditations and Principles, the works of Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death, amongst others.

Guru Granth Sahib

The holy text of the Sikhs. The book was written by the last living leader of the faith who committed the writings of himself and the ten previous leaders into this single body of work: it was intended that the book replace the idea of a religious leader and, as such, is considered a “living being” in and of itself. It was written in 1604 and revised with some additions one hundred years later. It speaks of a society free from oppression, governed by divine justice.

The Kojiki

The Kojiki , or “Records of Ancient Matters”, is a holy Shinto text written by O no Yasumaro at the behest of Empress Genmei in the period 711-712 AD. It is a collection of legends, genealogies, songs and other earlier writings which codify the history of Japan and connects the rulers and great clans of the country to heavenly creator beings.

I Ching:

The I Ching, or “Book of Changes”, is one of the five noble books of Confucian thought. Legend has it that the Yellow Emperor derived the I Ching from observing the markings - which he 'translated' into six-line hexagrams - on the shell of a turtle while he was bathing in a river. The combinations of broken and unbroken lines led him to write 64 prophecies based on the interpretations of these sequences. Each series of lines (or hexagram) is composed of six stacked horizontal bars comprising yang lines (unbroken) or yin lines (broken), with a gap in the centre. These hexagrams fall into two different camps: either ‘fixed’ or ‘moving’, according to the interpretation. Contemplation of these 64 verses is said to aid in the process of attaining enlightenment and to allow the philosopher to better evaluate the world and his place within it. The writing is dense and abstruse, with a multiplicity of interpretations.

In one of his rare scholarly moments, Aleister Crowley translated the I Ching into English, complete with annotations designed to make the work relevant to his Thelemite theories of ‘magick’. Unlike many of his other translations, it fortunately does not attempt to ‘improve’ upon the original text.

The Analects of Confucius:

Both Taoism and Confucianism take as their foundation the Five Classics of Chinese literature; however, this work – a series of commentaries upon the Classics by Confucius and his contemporaries, begun during the Warring States period (475-221 BCE) and finalised in the middle of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) – has largely superseded those other works. It has been regarded as the most culturally influential religious text in China right up to the present day.

The Heavenly Doctrine:

This is a collected series of works written by Emmanuel Swedenborg during his lifetime. It outlines his view of a reformed Christian church, and was written as a product of divine inspiration with, as he says, Jesus and other heavenly figures dictating the texts directly to him. In total they comprise the holy texts of the flavour of Lutheran Christianity referred to (somewhat inelegantly) as “Swedenborgianism”. Specific titles of interest include Heaven and Hell, The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine and True Christian Religion.

The Secret Doctrine:

The Secret Doctrine, the Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy to give its full title, is the 1888 magnum opus by Helene Petrovna Blavatsky outlining her theories of religion which would give rise to the cult of Theosophy. It is, in fact, the plagiarised and cobbled-together, bloated waffling of a deranged mind and hardly worth getting excited about. H.P. Lovecraft used the introductory volume – The Stanzas of Dzyan – as a Mythos tome, The Book of Dzyan, and argued that his version was the misremembered original of Blavatsky’s knock-off.

The Satanic Bible:

Written by Anton Szandor LaVey in 1969, this is a collection of rituals and philosophical essays compiled to espouse the particular style of Satanism that LaVey was crafting. It provides an anodyne contrast to Crowley-tainted thinking and has greatly influenced modern Satanist thought. Like most books of this kind, it strives to be confronting and to excite opposition, which somewhat obscures its otherwise unremarkable philosophical issues.

The Urantia Book:

Also known as The Urantia Papers or The Fifth Epochal Revelation, this work appeared out of Chicago between the years 1924 and 1955. It tries to blend together a theology equal parts religious, philosophical and scientific, and is unusual for a religious text claiming a divine origin in that it contains an enormous amount of discussion on scientific matters. It discusses the origins and meaning of life on this planet (“Urantia”); the role of humans in the universe; humanity’s relationship with God; and the life of Jesus. The authors are referred to as celestial beings communicating to the transcribers via a medium and the work was compiled and edited by Chicago doctor, William S. Sadler and his wife, Lena. A tax-exempt educational institution for dissemination of the Book was created in 1955 and it was released in October of that year.

In 1991, a woman published an online Concordance of The Urantia Book and sold CD-ROM versions of the text itself; she was sued by the Urantia Foundation and was initially found not guilty; an appeal overturned this ruling. Later, a print publication on the life of Jesus Christ was found to have lifted whole swathes of the text into its pages – this time, the Urantia Foundation lost their case outright: it was determined that the descendants of the original medium were the only ones who had the right to reinstate copyright over the Book after it had lapsed in 1983; since they did not, the Book was deemed to exist in the public domain.


Apart from religious tracts and philosophical glosses, the library of a comparative theologian will contain many other works on aspects of religion or philosophical works to do with the nature of the religious experience and its expression in human society. Within this range, there are some bona fide Mythos Texts which might be of value to Investigators. Roll on the following table:

Texts of Comparative Theology – Roll 1D6 then 1D12*
Die Unausspreclichen Kulten (1839)
Magyar Folklore (1800s)
De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum…
Pert Em Hru
The Zohar
A Discourse on Witchcraft… (1735)
The Witch Cult in Western Europe (1921)
The Occult Sciences
Mythologiques (1964-1971)
The Sacred & the Profane (1957)
The Golden Bough (1890)
The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)
E.A. Wallis-Budge (1857-1934)
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)
The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902)
Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942)
Notes toward a Bibliography of World Occultism (1927)
Mysticism (1914)
Malleus Maleficarum (1487)
Wonders of the Invisible World (1693)
Jackson Elias (1887-1925)
Chariots of the Gods? (1968)
Remnants of Lost Empires (1809)
On Ancient Civilisations (1910)
*If the result falls outside of the time period for your narrative, use the result in the opposite column, or re-roll.


Die Unausspreclichen Kulten - Freidrich Wilheim von Junzt:

“I happened to spy the title that day and bought the book for a ridiculously small sum. Certainly small compared to the price I’ve paid for reading it.”

-“Dope War of the Black Tong”, Robert M. Price

Friedrich Wilheim von Junzt wrote the manuscript of this work and left it with his friend, Gottfried Mülder the Düsseldorf publisher, before embarking upon a journey through Asia. He returned from an exploration in Mongolia only to lock himself in his study and begin writing another book: he was found strangled six months later inside the locked room with the manuscript torn and scattered about him. Von Junzt’s friend Alexis Ladeau worked to piece the document back together: once finished, he read it, burnt it and slashed his own throat with a straight razor. The contents of this second work are unknown although several pages were rumoured to have been buried with Ladeau. It was left to Mülder to publish the original manuscript in a limited edition, which he did in 1839 with illustrations by the troubled artist Gunther Hasse.

The circumstances surrounding the printing of the work and speculation as to what the supposed sequel may have contained, proved much too dark for the taste of its readers and many who bought the book burnt it after learning of the author’s fate. That might have been the end of the book but for the fact that a Jesuit priest, Pierre Sansrire, translated a copy into French and had it published in St. Malo, in 1843. Again, a short run edition, no known copies of this version have survived; however, it is known that unscrupulous bookseller, M. A. G. Bridewell, bought a copy in a London bookstore and found it so scandalous that he had it disbound, translated into English and published under his own imprint. This quarto volume was re-titled Nameless Cults and was released in 1845. It was a poorly presented production, riddled with mistakes and errors and marred by the presence of lurid woodcut illustrations with little relevance to the text.

In 1909, the Golden Goblin Press of New York issued a translation from the German original complete with full-colour plates redrawn from the Hasse originals by Diego Vasquez. Unfortunately the editors saw fit to expurgate fully one quarter of the text and the final result was so expensive as to render it largely inaccessible to the general public. In the same year, the Starry Wisdom Press is said to have released its own translation but copies have never been located. The Miskatonic University Press has often come forward with plans to reissue the work in a scholarly edition complete with annotations and accompanying essays but the heirs of the von Junzt estate have repeatedly refused to give permission for another printing.

The text deals with the traditions of cult patterns around the world and touches upon such well-known phenomena as the Thugs and the African Leopard and Lion Cults. A weighty central section prefaced by an essay entitled “Narrative of the Elder World”, deals with the worldwide Cthulhu Cult, the Tcho-tcho peoples and their diaspora, the cults of Leng and Ghatanathoa and the People of the Black Stone. In places von Junzt’s masterful, precise prose breaks down and he dwells ramblingly upon seemingly meaningless tangents such as the uses of unicorn horns and his supposed sojourn in Hell; the faithful reader will not let such meanderings distract them from the multitude of other useful insights to be found.

Magyar Folklore:

An obscure tome of folklore collected by an author named Dornly, of whom little else is known. It was produced as a limited edition work with no publication date. It contains a chapter entitled “Dream Myths” which discusses a certain Black Stone near the town of Stregoicavar in Hungary.

“De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum Chaldaeorum, Assyriorum. Proclus In Platonicum Alcibiadem De Anima, Atque Daemone: Idem De Sacrificio & Magia. Porphyrius De Divinis Atque; Daemonibus Psellus De Daemonibus. Mercurii Trismegisti Pimander: Ejusdem Asclepius”:

Also known as the Theurgia, “De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum...” (“On the Mysteries of the Egyptians...”) is attributed to the Neoplatonic scholar Iamblichus Chalcidensis, who studied under Porphyry. The two disagreed over the practice of theurgy, that is, the importance of rituals in order to ensure the operation of higher beings – or gods – in human affairs. The two parted over their respective views and many of Iamblichus’s responses to his master’s criticisms are contained with the Mysteries.

However, stylistic differences between this work and Iamblichus’ other writings have shed the light of suspicion over the authorship of the Mysteries. Despite this question, whoever wrote it must have studied under Iamblichus and attended his school. The work traces the emergence of cult ritual practice in a polytheistic world, noting parallels in worship and rationalising them in a Neoplatonic framework.

Pert Em Hru:

Literally, “The Book of Going Forth by Day”, this work was a standard issue of information and spells designed to be buried with the dead of Ancient Egypt so as to prepare them for the ordeals that would follow once they had entered the Afterlife. It was translated in English as “The Egyptian Book of the Dead”. As part of the preparations for burial, an Ancient Egyptian would have a copy of this scroll prepared for them, with their own name and other personal details filled in to the relevant spaces so that it would be pertinent to their particular situation. Wallis Budge’s “Scroll of Ani” is simply one of these personalised forms of the document; however, it was considered at the time a unique work and published at such.

The Zohar:

“...from the fourteenth century [the Zohar] held almost unbroken sway over the minds of the majority of the Jews. In it the Talmudic legends concerning the existence and activity of the shedhim (demons) are repeated and amplified, and a hierarchy of demons was established corresponding to the heavenly hierarchy...Even the scholarly and learned Rabbis of the seventeenth century clung to the belief.”

-M. Gaster, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics

Devised as a mystical interpretation of the Torah, known in Christianity as the Pentateuch or the five Books of Moses from the Bible, The Zohar is the foundation work of the Jewish mystical system called the Kabbalah. Like the Rabbinic commentary on the Torah called the Midrash, it offers scriptural interpretations as well as material on theosophic theology, mystical cosmogony and mystical psychology. It outlines the nature of God, the origin and formation of the universe, the substance of the soul, the path to redemption and the complex relationship between the “universal energy” and humanity.

The Zohar (lit. “Splendour”, or “Radiance”) first appeared in Spain in the 13th Century. It was published by a Jewish writer named Moses de Leon, who ascribed its authorship to one Shimon bar Yochai, a rabbi of the 2nd Century AD who hid from Roman persecution in a cave for 13 years and who was inspired to write the work by the Prophet Elijah. According to Jewish legend, the Kabbalah was an oral tradition revealed by God to Biblical figures such as Abraham and Moses and which was then passed on by word of mouth until Shimon bar Yochai chose to write it down. However, textual analysis has demonstrated that Moses de Leon is the most likely author of this work: the Zohar is mostly written in an exalted and eccentric style of Aramaic which, while not impossible, would be an unusual format for a writer of the 1st Century AD. Today, non-Orthodox Judaism holds the Zohar to be apocryphal and outside mainstream Judaism; Orthodox Jews hold the work to be canonical.

“A Discourse On Witchcraft: Occasioned By A Bill Now Depending In Parliament, To Repeal The Statute Made In The First Year Of The Reign Of King James I, Intituled, An Act Against Conjuration, Witchcrafts And Dealing With Evil And Wicked Spirits”:

From the reign of King Henry VIII, England passed several Acts relating to the practice of Witchcraft and outlining punishment for those found guilty of the crime. The initial Act was particularly punitive, requiring the death of the guilty person after a trial in the clerical courts and the forfeiture of all their possessions to the Crown. Later Acts softened the official stance until this final one, passed in 1735, which reduced the crime from a supernatural effect to an act of fraud against the gullible. It remained in force in England and its colonial territories until repealed in the late Twentieth Century.

The Witch Cult in Western Europe – Margaret Murray:

Published at the height of the success of Frazer’s Golden Bough, Margaret Murray’s thesis was that all of the things which are discussed about witches in Europe across the ages stem from the idea of a wide-spanning and now debased religious cult, which worshipped a horned god and which was driven out by successive religious cultures, most notably the Christian faith. Her theory was widely celebrated at the time of its publication (1921) but detractors feel that her claims go too far – they acknowledge the possibility of a widespread ‘pagan tradition’ across Europe with regional fluctuations, but feel that it lacked the coherence of an organised faith. In modern times, feminist writers and followers of modern Wiccan movements have championed Murray’s work once more.

The Occult Sciences - A Compendium Of Transcendental Doctrine And Experiment, Embracing An Account Of Magical Practices; Of Secret Sciences In Connection With Magic; Of The Professors Of Magical Arts; And Of Modern Spiritualism, Mesmerism, And Theosophy:

"The subject of occultism has been very fully dealt with during recent years by various students of eminence. It has remained for the results of their studies to be condensed into a portable volume, which shall conduct the inquirer into the vestibule of each branch of 'the occult sciences,' and place within his reach the proper means of prosecuting his researches further in any desired direction."

-A.E. Waite

An important catalogue, this encyclopaedic work was first published in London by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co. Ltd., in 1891 and then again in 1923. Within its pages, Arthur Edmund Waite catalogues and discusses a myriad magical philosophies and practises both high and low, good and evil, including overviews of such organisations as the Rosicrucians, the Freemasons and the Theosophists.

Mythologiques – Claude Levi Strauss:

This is a four-volume work of cultural anthropology begun in 1964 and concluded in 1971. The first volume - The Raw and the Cooked – examines many Amerindian societies and looks at how much of their spiritual viewpoints are defined by diametrically opposing states of being. The remaining three volumes are From Honey to Ashes (1966); The Origin of Table Manners (1968); and The Naked Man (1971).

The Sacred & the Profane – Mircea Eliade:

In his best-known work, French philosopher Mircea Eliade traces manifestations of the sacred from primitive to modern times, in terms of space, time, nature, and the cosmos, and life itself. Eliade shows how the total human experience of the religious man compares to that of the non-religious and observes that even moderns who proclaim themselves to live in a completely profane world are still unconsciously nourished by the memory of the sacred, in camouflaged myths and degenerated rituals.

The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion – Sir James Frazer:

“No sooner had I read this great work than I became immersed in it and enslaved by it. I realized then that anthropology, as presented by Sir James Frazer, is a great science, worthy of as much devotion as any of her elder and more exact studies and I became bound to the service of Frazerian anthropology.”

-Bronislaw Malinowski

Renamed “The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion” in its second edition, Frazer attempts to correlate aspects of mythical and magical practise across time and space by exploring cross-cultural similarities, in an attempt to trace the religious impulse back to its source. He theorizes that human religious and scientific thought stems from ancient fertility cults which featured the veneration and periodic sacrifice of a sacred king figure; he argues that humanity has moved from these magical roots, through to religious expression, and on to scientific thought. The first edition in 1890 comprised two volumes; the second edition in 1900 expanded to three, while the third edition – which was released between 1906 and 1915 – was published in twelve volumes.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell:

This is a work on comparative mythology, first published in 1949, in which Campbell traces the similarities to be found in the concept of the ‘Journey of the Hero’ in legends across the world. It has become a highly influential work across many intellectual and creative platforms and its publication is now controlled by a Foundation which was established for the dissemination of Campbell’s ideas. In 2011, it was listed on “Time Magazine’s” 100 most influential books written in English since the time of the magazine’s inception in 1923.

E.A. Wallis-Budge:

Wallis Budge is pretty much the father of Egyptology when it comes to the English language. Largely self-taught, he was taken on as an assistant in the Eastern Antiquities section of the British Museum as a youth and put to work classifying the inventory. He taught himself cuneiform and smatterings of many other Levantine ancient scripts including Egyptian Hieroglyphs. He produced many fundamental texts concerning Egyptian Archaeology and, while most of the material contained within them has been revised, discarded or amended, his books still attract a fair degree of interest, if only in the antiquarian book trade.

While considered an important leader in his field, Wallis Budge was also something of a prankster and thus often undercut his credibility. He started a rumour that a “cursed” Egyptian mummy was aboard the RMS Titanic – citing acquisition documents from the British Museum collection - and implied that it was responsible for the ship’s sinking. Later investigators, tracing the museum details, discovered the artefact still within the collection. His best known works are as follows:

1-2: The Egyptian Heaven & Hell – Outlines the cosmological worldview of the Ancient Egyptians, discussing their notions of the Afterlife;
3-4: Egyptian MagicDiscusses the notion of magic in the Ancient Egyptian culture as revealed through translated papyri and other hieroglyphic markings;
5: The Mummy A detailed overview of the mummification process with a thorough investigation of why the ancient Egyptians conducted this practise and what it was supposed to achieve;
6: The Scroll of Ani – A translation of The Egyptian Book of the Dead as retrieved from the tomb of a scribe named Ani. This was a very expensive and difficult to obtain work in its first edition.

Carl Gustav Jung:

Jung is the creator of analytical psychology and his work has had massive influence in the areas of psychiatry, anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy and religious studies. Among other formative concepts he discussed the notion of ‘individuation’, or the process whereby an individual creates itself out of its personal consciousness. He also wrote important tracts on synchronicity and the collective unconscious and established the idea of archetypes. Freud saw in Jung the possibility of someone to whom he could pass on his mantle as the world’s foremost psychologist; however, deep and insurmountable differences between them and their individual approaches put them at either side of a schism which remains today. As an artist and writer as well as a psychologist, much of Jung’s work was not published in his lifetime and, indeed, still more of it is waiting to be committed to print. The most pertinent titles are listed below:

1: Psychology of the Unconscious (1912)
2: Modern Man in Search of a Soul (1933)
3-4: Psychology and Religion (1938)
5: Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self (1951)
6: Symbols of Transformation (revised edition of Psychology of the Unconscious) (1952)
7: Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle (1952)
8: Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1961)

The Varieties of Religious Experience - William James:

Written by William James, the so-called “Father of American Psychology” and brother of the writer Henry James, this work is the collected series of lectures presented by James on the nature of religious phenomena. It covers all aspects of the ‘religious experience’ - from supernatural events to sainthood – and establishes a framework whereby these events can be discussed and posits the causes of their manifestations.

Bronislaw Malinowski:

Malinowski is revered as the “Father of Social Anthropology” for his work to demonstrate that cultural exchanges serve to fulfill basic human needs. While studying in London he was given an opportunity to travel to New Guinea to do fieldwork there. En route, World War I broke out and he was forced to remain in Australia, where opportunities were provided to him to undertake ethnographic work in their territories. He chose to travel to the Trobriand Islands in Melanesia where he remained until after the War. Later he went to America to work and again, the outbreak of a World War forced him to remain until the conflict was resolved. His approach to field work radically altered the nature of social anthropology and his techniques have been successfully implemented across the board. His best known works include:

1-3: Myth in Primitive Psychology (1926); and
4-6: Magic, Science and Religion and Other Essays (1948)

Notes toward a Bibliography of World Occultism, Mysticism and Magic – Henry Armitage:

Published by the Miskatonic University Press in 1927, this is the groundwork established by Armitage from which to develop a wide-ranging theory of the practise and nature of the occult universe. It stems from personal observations and fieldwork and comes quite close to challenging many accepted theories: readers often complain that Armitage tends to “play it safe” rather than to commit.

Mysticism – Annie Besant:

One of the champions and mainstays of Theosophy in its later stages, Annie Besant wrote many groundbreaking books on spirituality and the religious experience – this is probably her best known work. In its pages she establishes a framework for recognising mysticism and discusses the history and impact of the mystic impulse across the ages; she also talks about the relevance of mysticism in the modern world.

Malleus Maleficarum:

“Curiously, as soon as I opened the books, I had an uncanny conviction that I knew their contents. Yet I had never seen them before, nor, to the best of my knowledge, had I ever encountered such titles as Malleus Maleficarum and the Daemonialitas of Sinistrari. They dealt with witch-lore and wizardry, with all manner of spells and legends, with the destruction of witches and warlocks by fire...”

-August Derleth, “The Peabody Inheritance”

The Malleus Maleficarum (“Hammer of Witches”) is the best known and the most important treatise on witchcraft. It was written by the Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer (under his Latinized name Henricus Institoris) and first published in the German city of Speyer in 1487. Kramer wrote the Malleus following his expulsion from Innsbruck by the local bishop, after charges of illegal behaviour were laid against him, stemming from his obsession with the sexual habits of one of the accused in a trial - Helena Scheuberin - which led the other tribunal members to suspend proceedings. In 1519, Jacob Sprenger’s name was added as a second author, 33 years after the book’s publication and 24 years after Sprenger’s death. The work espouses extermination of witches, developing a detailed legal and theological theory on the issue, backed up by a reproduced Papal Bull and the facsimile signatures of the senior staff of the University of Cologne. It was a bestseller and second only in terms of sales to the Bible for almost 200 years.

The Malleus elevates sorcery to the criminal status of heresy and prescribes inquisitorial practices for secular courts in order to wipe out witchcraft. The recommended procedures include torture to effectively obtain confessions and the death penalty as the only sure remedy against the evils of witchcraft. Burning alive at the stake was seen at the time as the appropriate punishment for heretics and the Malleus encourages the same treatment for witches.

It was later used by royal courts during the Renaissance, and from then on contributed to the increasingly brutal prosecution of witchcraft throughout Europe during the 16th and 17th Centuries.

Comparative theologists would not have this book as a means to unearthing witches in society; rather, they would likely refer to it as the expression of a type of religious mania.

Wonders of the Invisible World – Cotton Mathers:

“The essential Saltes of Animals may be so prepared and preserved, that an ingenious Man may have the whole Ark of Noah in his own Studie, and raise the fine Shape of an Animal out of its Ashes at his Pleasure; and by the lyke Method from the essential Saltes of humane Dust, a Philosopher may, without any criminal Necromancy, call up the Shape of any dead Ancestour from the Dust whereinto his Bodie has been incinerated.”

-Cotton Mathers, Magnalia Christi Americana, 1702.

Cotton Mather lived at the time of the Salem Witch Trials and had a huge impact on those deplorable events. He was pastor at Boston’s North Church and had some very strong and very peculiar ideas about America and the things which lived there: specifically, he felt it was a land infested with “devils”, all of which were trying to tear the Puritan bulkhead that he and his folk were trying to establish. Although he was not a witness to the events that happened in Salem, he was instrumental in causing the hallucinations and visions of those involved to be taken on board by the court as “evidence”. An earlier book which he had written - Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcraft and Possessions – revealed his views that America had been the undisturbed realm of Satan prior to the puritan’s landing and fanned the flames of the witch-hunting frenzy that culminated in the Salem debacle.

Wonders of the Invisible World – written in 1693 - discusses the Salem trials and many other cases of witchcraft and possession which Mathers took a direct hand in prosecuting. It discusses the means of freeing one’s self from the powers of the Devil (mainly through prayer and fasting) and the means of determining if an ecstatic vision derives from God or from Hell. It sifts through the evidence presented at the Salem trials and vigorously defends the verdicts reached at those hearings. Ironically, in the aftermath of the trials, those involved deeply regretted their actions, and felt that Mathers’ interference was a direct catalyst in the matter getting out of hand. In fact, a later book was published – More Wonders of the Invisible World – which critically discusses the hysterical meddling of Mathers and other notable figures of the colony during the events.

Mathers survived the backlash and went on to further his career as a religious leader in Massachusetts. He died and in 1728 and was buried in Copps Hill Burial Ground in Boston. Given the ghoulish activity Lovecraft identified as taking place in that locale, it’s probably not worth anyone’s time going to visit him there...

Jackson Elias:

Elias was an explorer and student of cult activity across the planet. His best known work remains The Sons of Death which examines the resurgence of Thuggee cults in a post Sleeman sub-continent. Elias was a cynic and a realist who disputed the existence of magic or supernatural entities; this attitude made him many enemies amongst those whom he was studying and it is possibly this which led to his death, by murder, in New York. All of his works focus on the power of cults to subvert the weak and fearful through staged representations of magical ‘power’; they were all edited by their publisher, Jonah Kensington, of the Prospero Press in New York. They include:

1: Skulls Along the River (1910) – exposes head-hunter cults along the Amazon basin;
2: Masters of the Black Arts (1912) – surveys supposed sorcerous cults throughout history;
3: The Way of Terror (1913) – analyzes the systemisation of fear through cult organizations; warmly reviewed by Georges Sorel;
4: The Smoking Heart (1915) – first discusses historical Mayan cults, then goes on to detail instances of present-day Central American death cults;
5-6: Sons of Death (1918) – outlines the activities of modern-day Thugs;
7: Witch Cults of England (1920) – Summarizes the details of covens in nine English counties with interviews of practicing English witches; Rebecca West thought some of the material trivial and overworked;
8: The Black Power (1921) – expands upon The Way of Terror; includes interviews with several anonymous cult leaders.

Chariots of the Gods? (Erinnerungen an die Zukunft: Ungelöste Rätsel der Vergangenheit) – Erich von Däniken:

In 1968, von Däniken published his world-shaking opus: the Earth, he says, has been visited by extra-terrestrial visitors for thousands of years and this visitation is visible in the ancient artworks and artefacts of bygone cultures. The German author mined a rich vein of UFO paranoia in an era when the phenomenon was an uncodified mystery and he helped to drive home the tent-pegs of this mania before anyone knew what an ‘X-File’ was.

Von Däniken’s theories are relatively uninteresting today but he manages to pack into his books images and evaluations of various neolithic, Mayan and other Stone Age relics, that nibble at the edge of the Mythos’ intervention in the history of the world and which would otherwise be unavailable to the casual investigator.

Remnants of Lost Empires – Otto Dostmann:

“Otto Dostmann's theory that the monolith is a remnant of the Hunnish invasion and had been erected to commemorate a victory of Attila over the Goths is as logical as assuming that William the Conqueror reared Stonehenge."

-“Shadows of Yog-Sothoth”, Sandy Petersen

Dostmann’s work is wildly conjectural and world-spanning, attempting to resolve the current global situation in terms of vanished civilisations, specifically, Atlantis, Hyperborea, Lemuria, and Mu. His arguments and proofs lurch drunkenly from the logical to the crazy from page to page and leave the reader as much vaguely discomfited as cheated of a satisfying rationale: he is definitely the Erich von Däniken of his day.

Fortunately, captured within his nebulous arguments is the chromolithographic image of a lost, ancient stele, which, along with Dostmann’s analysis attempting to prove that this is the language of Atlantis, is a key to understanding the fundamentals of Aklo; this image is undated and its whereabouts are not referred to in the text. To date, no-one has come forward to publish a paper on this information and it remains a ‘word-of-mouth’ irony amongst those researchers in the know.

On Ancient Civilisations – Sir Amery Wendy-Smith:

An archaeologist who was known as the inventor of the (now superseded) “Wendy-Smith Test” for dating artefacts, Sir Amery Wendy-Smith’s best known work was the 1910 title On Ancient Civilisations. It correlates and contrasts many Levantine and African societies on the basis of their religious architecture and tomb structures. It contains a folding plate with an engraving of the G’harne Fragments.