The Balance of the Two Lands, by H. Jeremiah Lewis
At a whopping 372 pages, this book was packed with information. I was hard-pressed to put it down once I got it into my hands. I think one of many things I so enjoyed about this book is that it is, like it’s title says, a good balance of things. If you are looking for history, you’ll get that. If you’re looking for polytheism and pagan practice, you’ll get that, too. An even dose of both. It presents the history, mythology and mechanics of ancient Greco-Egyptian spiritual practice without being dry. It also presents very well how one can apply these ancient spiritual practices in the modern era. As modern practicing pagans and polytheists, we won’t be able to recreate everything the ancients did (nor should we, really), but it can provide the seeker and even the long-practicing polytheist with new techniques and perspectives on the application of Greco-Egyptian polytheist practice today.
This book is also excellent for the avid researcher. Packed full of references, resources and quotes, it is quite easy for one to put the book down and go off on their own personal search. Overall this book serves as a great resource for the newcomer as well as for one who has been practicing for awhile and seeks a different perspective or other techniques on how to connect on a more meaningful level with their deities, as well as the history and mythology surrounding them. I would easily recommend this book to anyone who is seeking further information, or just starting out on the syncretic path.
Five slobbering, enthusiastic chew marks out of five.
To some people, especially those in the (neo)pagan communities, bringing up the topic of cultural appropriation is either tantamount to beating the proverbial dead horse, or will be stated as a topic not brought up enough.
This book is different, however. It doesn’t present extreme arguments in black-and-white, but rather addresses the many different grey areas that occur, and brings up some important questions and aspects not often discussed, such as cultural appropriation of the occult/pagan communities by academia, and the other many different aspects that this sort of thing can take. For example, the issue of syncretism within a tradition, and the need for growth without fear of being labeled as not being “true” to said path or tradition, or the idea of “authenticity” when seeking teachers, gurus or experiences. I also liked how well some of the authors cited their sources, and offered books for the interested reader to pursue on their own.
If you have strong feelings about cultural appropriation, or want to get a better idea about different sides of the argument without sifting through debates, flame wars and other such crap, then it’s probably worth picking up this book.
Five chew marks out of five.
Yes, I’ve finally gotten around to writing a book review. Go me.
There are many things I could say about this book, mainly because there are many things about this book which make it a very skillful and well-executed work of art done by a very talented individual. Below I will explain why.
What truly makes a poet is one’s ability to bring forth imagery and, above all else, emotions with words. Phillipus does this and more, by utilizing his knowledge of ancient poetry styles coupled with his talent for words. His poetry runs the full gamut from humor to drama and many others in-between, using many different styles. If you want devotional hymns, prayerful contemplation, or oratory presentation, this book satisfies all those and more. Phillipus has a take on syncretic polytheism that is built on much knowledge, authority and divine inspiration.
Not only do you get great poetry throughout this book, you also get some never-before-seen translations of ancient text, as well as some in-depth historical and mythological background. Your brain gets entertained, inspired and fed all in one amazing book.
Five enthusiastic chewmarks* out of five.
*Some people have stars, some have pawprints, I choose chewmarks because, as a Canine-centered person, canids tend to chew the things they most enjoy!
This is a fine book written by a very talented individual. I had been planning on doing a review of my own of this–and still intend on doing so–which I will cross-post here and at Amazon. In the meantime, check out the review yourself, and you can grab your own copy here.