Stacked :: Ancient Civilizations, Talking to the Dead, and Pretty Shapes of All Sizes.
Stacked is a topic that I’be been posting on my personal blog, FiveTwentyThree, for the past few years. I’ve always been an avid reader, and have found that many of our subscribers here are, as well. Now that we are expanding Haute Macabre into realms other than just fashion, I thought Stacked might find a good home here. I hope you enjoy it.
I don’t know how many of you know this, but I’m a nutball for ancient alien theories. Graham Hancock fed right into my we-don’t-really-know-what-went-down-for-the-majority-of-earth’s-history spiel, and he filled my head with new and exciting theories. He proposes that there were advanced civilizations pre-dating what we currently consider to be ancient civilizations, and I bought right in. Why does the Sphynx show signs of water damage? What the crap are the Nazca Lines? Why are there detailed maps of an iceless Antartica dating from the early 1500s? Who built these amazing structures, and when did they do it? Fingerprints of the Gods poses these questions, and comes up with some incredibly valid theories (no spoilers here!).
Shortly after reading Fingerprints of the Gods, I picked up a copy of one of his other books, Supernatural : Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind. It could possibly because my days of experimentation with mind-altering drugs are long behind me, but a good part of it was a little too far-out for my tastes. I have heard that experiencing a DMT trip is completely life altering, however, as I’ve never had such an experience, I cannot attest to it. Supernatural does illustrate some very convincing points, though, specifically the incredible similarities in “primitive” cultures’ shamans’ self-induced hallucinations on spirit quests and more modern alien abduction accounts.
In both books, Hancock reaches far into our collective history, and tries to theorize what could have happened, and where, from seemingly out of nowhere, humans suddenly had symbolism, massive monuments, art, and religion. Even though he does at times seem to go off the deep end of the I’ve Done Lots of Drugs, Here’s My Trip, I find his theories absolutely fascinating.
Excuse me while I straighten up my tin foil hat. SO SAY WE ALL.
[Also pictured is Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia, which I have thumbed through, but have not read cover to cover yet. It's more of an reference book than anything else, which I purchased for tattoo research.]
While I really wanted to enjoy this, it fell quite short for me. Christine Wicker sets off to find the modern occultists of America, but it seems like she did a search on Myspace to find her sources. There are ample chapters devoted to “witchy” tourist shops in Salem, MA, pancake-makeuped vampires looking for “victims”, and house parties for folks clad in their Ren-Faire best, with not so much focus on actual magical spiritual beliefs. Yes, she does spend some time with legitimate root workers, but she seems to group all of the practices into one blanket “weirdo” group. I suppose the conclusion of how magic is changing America should be a resounding “Yay! We don’t get burned at the stake anymore!”, and let ourselves be free to be a Waldenbooks Wicca, Valley Vampire or whatever monster of the week takes your fancy, but sadly, it felt more like a “check out these freaks” and shuffle right along.
Overall, meh, but that might be because I had very high hopes for it. I have friends that have read and enjoyed it, so should you, let me know what you think.
Also by Christine Wicker was Lily Dale, an account of the small town in upstate New York, founded and still populated by Spiritualists. In Lily Dale, the dead are just as present as the grocer or the postman, still hovering about, and communicating through the mediums that inhabit the community. Wicker follows three visitors to the community and gets fairly in-depth with some of the mediums, although never really concludes whether it’s all fact or fiction.
My interest in the town was piqued when I ordered a piece from BloodMilk’s Lily Dale collection (pictured above is her mini Planchette Oracle ring on my very unmanicured hand). I’ve always had a fascination with existence after death, and whether or not the departed can step back and forth between this world and where ever they might be – if anywhere, at all. The occupants and visitors of Lily Dale are steadfast in their belief that the dead are very much a part of the living world, and you can continue to converse with them. For a price, of course.
I read Lily Dale after Not in Kansas Anymore, despite my reservations about Wicker’s approach. I enjoyed this one much more than the other. I’m not sure if it was because she took this subject matter more seriously than the other, or because this was her first book, and Kansas was just a stretch for her, but her voice sounded much more genuine and objective.
I love these little Wooden books. They’re all bedside reading, quick little things for subjects like sacred geometry, coincidence, the golden selection, all tiny books of wonder. I have a collection of the Quadrivium, covering the four classical liberal arts (this small sacred geometry book is a part of it), that I reference back to every now and again. I’m hoping to one day have the complete collection, and I highly recommend them to all.
Hopefully, you enjoyed this new feature! Have you read anything awesome lately that you could recommend?