Esoteric Book Recommendations 

We put together an ongoing list of or favorite books on Freemasonry and the Western Esoteric Tradition. We’ll try to keep it updated as books are mentioned on the blog and Tria Prima Podcast.

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We are always looking for new books to read. If you have any suggestions please leave a comment or send us an email. We’d love to hear it.

Books

What we are reading

Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism 

Using the 22 major arcana of the tarot deck as a means to explore some of humanity’s most penetrating spiritual questions, Meditations on the Tarot has attracted an unprecedented range of praise from across the spiritual spectrum.

Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living

This book covers complete delineations of all the major transits – conjunction, sextile, square, trine and opposition – that occur between transiting Sun, Moon and all planets to each planet in the natal chart and the Ascendant and Midheaven, as well as complete delineations of each planet transiting each house of the natal chart. These 720 lucid delineations are full of insight for both the professional astrologer and the beginner.

Psychological Astrology: A Synthesis of Jungian Psychology and Astrology

An examination of the traditional wisdom of astrology combined in the light of Jungian psycholgy shows the horoscope to be an accurate picture of the psychic structure and a key to self-knowledge and personal growth. Psychological Astrology is a must for students since the author elucidates the houses and their structure and provides an enlightening discussion of the planets as they symbolize basic human drives. First published as Astro-Psychology, this edition has been revised and updated.

Baphomet: The Temple Mystery Unveiled

Authors Tracy R. Twyman and Alexander Rivera dive into the bottomless abyss of the mystery of Baphomet. They reveal the genesis of these symbols, showing how they relate to the Witches’ Sabbath, traditions of Sufi Islam, alchemy, Gnosticism, cabalism, the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. The explain how Baphomet relates to the Templars, John the Baptist, Chinon Parchment, and the Chinon Parchment.

The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages

Many students of the Western esoteric tradition consider Paul Foster Case’s The Tarot the finest explanation that has yet appeared on the occult meaning of numbers, the construction of the Tarot, and the attribution of the 22 Major Trumps to the Hebrew alphabet.

In clear and understandable language, Case elucidates the Tarot tradition and technique for the modern thinker. Students of the Tarot will find in these pages the necessary information to understand and apply the principles of Tarot-and the correspondences of symbol, tone, color, and number-to the art of daily living.

The Rites of Passage

I just ordered this one from Jaime’s reccomendation as a source for a paper I am writing about the Chamber of Reflection.

MYTH, MAGICK & MASONRY

By Jamie Paul Lamb, Tria Prima co-founder

In MYTH, MAGICK & MASONRY, Jaime Paul Lamb develops four thought-provoking interpretations of the symbolism and allegorical content of Freemasonry and some of its appendant bodies. By viewing the craft through the interpretive lenses of ceremonial magick, solar and astrological lore and symbolism, classical mythology and the Roman Mystery cult, Mithraism, Lamb establishes four distinct vantage points from which to survey Freemasonry. Thereby, Jaime Paul Lamb enables Masons, new and old, to develop a more nuanced appreciation of the Craft and a deeper understanding of the Fraternity’s priceless initiatory heritage.

Hermetic Masonry

By Frank C. Higgins

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

Alchemically Stoned – The Psychedelic Secret of Freemasonry

By P.D. Newman, Tria Prima Contributor

P.D. Newman’s bold and daring theory provides a radical interpretation of Masonic symbolism. In the tradition of Wasson, Hofmann and Ruck, in “The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries” (1978), and Heinrich’s “Strange Fruit: Alchemy, Religion, and Magical Foods” (1995), Newman suggests that practical psychoactive pharmacology, rather than philosophy, lies concealed in the root of some of our allegories and mysteries. Admitting to being more than a mere theoretician, Newman draws from his own personal experiences, and a wide range of sources, in presenting his theory in a logical manner, which merits consideration. – Arturo De Hoyos, 33* Grand Archivist and Grand Historian Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction

Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy

By Robert Hewitt Brown

An unabridged, digitally enlarged printing to include all illustrations by the author. Originally titled: Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy, or, The Origin and Meaning of Ancient and Modern Mysteries Explained

Three Books of Occult Philosophy

By Henry Agrippa

One of the most complete repositories of Pagan and Neoplatonic magic ever compiled, this book is packed with material  by Pythagoras, Pliny the Elder, Cicero, Ptolemy, Plato, Aristotle, and many other authorities. Donald Tyson’s detailed annotations clarify difficult references and provide origins of quotations, expanding upon them as necessary in order to make Agrippa’s work more accessible.

 

Our favorite tarot decks

Jaime’s Favorite

Cbd Tarot De Marseille

By Yoav Ben-doav

Yoav Ben-doav’s Tarot de Marseille is a faithful reproduction of the 1760 Nicholas Conver Marseille deck. This is a quality pack, printed on nice cardstock. Even the “little white book” is worth reading (a rarity). The images are clean and unadulterated – pure Marseille. I definitely prefer this to other Marseille decks I have owned – including the new Jodorowsky deck that I was so excited about, but turned out to be printed on flimsy cardstock and containing these weird little hidden “eggs”. If you are a Rider-Waite, Thoth or other “occult” deck reader, I encourage you to try aligning yourself with the tarotic current of the GD, because this (and maybe the Wirth deck, but that wasn’t until 1887, I believe) is what Mathers & Westcott (and probably Levi, Hockley and Mackenzie before them) would have been using. If you don’t “feel” it, your precious Riders and Thoths aren’t going anywhere.

Pat’s Favorite

Rider Waite Smith TAROT DECK

ByBuilders of the Adytum

Centennial The Rider Waite Smith tarot deck is one of the most recognizable and popular decks in the world. It was created in 1910 as a collaboration between artist and occultist Pamela Colman Smith and Freemason mystic A.E. Waite. Both were members in the Golden Dawn. It was heavily influence by the work of Freemason and occultist Eliphas Levi. The deck takes a step back from the overt Christian references found in earlier decks. For example The Pope is replaced by the Hierophant. Another big difference from earlier decks is that Pamela Coleman Smith illustrated the pip cards into scenes making for, in my opinion, more associations and stories to be found in a spread. The pictures and style have influenced countless decks since including Paul Foster Case’s Bota deck. The basic version of this deck is fine but I prefer the Centeennial deck. The colors seem closer to what Smith intended.

Jake’s Favorite

B.O.T.A. TAROT DECK

ByBuilders of the Adytum

 Not far off visually from the beloved Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the Builders Of The Adytum tarot does well to eliminate (and illuminate) a few “blinds” hidden by our illustrious brothers and sisters of tarots past. It does this all while maintaining the wonderful egregore of the tarot and, in my opinion, creates a perfect balance between the concealed and the revealed. The BOTA deck is the perfect evolutionary step in the mystical timeline of humanities illumination and is a wonderful tool for the initiate in his practice. This deck designed by Freemason Paul Foster Case and artist Jessie Burns Parke comes in black and white. Case believed it was imperative that each student color in their own deck. Every trump card has a Hebrew letter written in the lower right hand corner associating it to writings of Case. After Case’s death the B.O.T.A deck became available in color.  

What's your favorite deck?

Essential Kabbalistic Texts

Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation

By Aryeh Kaplan

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan has translated Sefer Yetzirah, the oldest and most mysterious of all kabbalistic texts, and now brings its theoretical, meditative, and magical implications to light. He expounds on the dynamics of the spiritual domain, the worlds of the Sefirot, souls, and angels. When properly understood, Sefer Yetzirah becomes the instruction manual for a very special type of meditation meant to strengthen concentration and to aid the development of telekinetic and telepathic powers.

The Essential Zohar: The Source of Kabbalistic Wisdom

By Rav P.S. Berg

The central text of Kabbalah, the Zohar is a commentary on the Bible’s narratives, laws, and genealogies and a map of the spiritual landscape. In The Essential Zohar, the eminent kabbalist Rav P. S. Berg decodes its teachings on evil, redemption, human relationships, wealth and poverty, and other fundamental concerns from a practical, contemporary perspective. The Zohar and Kabbalah have traditionally been known as the world’s most esoteric sources of spiritual knowledge, but Rav Berg has dedicated his life to making this concentrated distillation of infinite wisdom available to people of all faiths so that we may use its principles to live each day in harmony with the divine.

The Bahir: Illumination

By Aryeh Kaplan

The first book in any language ever to reveal the methodology of the ancient Kabbalists, this is one of the oldest and most important of all ancient Kabbalistic texts. All references, both to manuscripts and printed material are carefully cited, and the complete Hebrew text of The Bahir is included.

The Two Great Pillars of Boaz and Jachin: Foundations of Freemasonry Series

By William Harvey

Prominent masonic scholars explore the history, myth and symbolism behind Freemasonry’s twin pillars. Included here are: The Two Great Pillars, Pillars of the Porch, The Dual Unity of Jachin and Boaz, The History of the Two Pillars and The Pillars of Freemasonry.

Maps of Meaning

By Jordan B. Peterson

Jordan B. Peterson’s Maps of Meaning is now available for the first time as an audio download!  

Why have people from different cultures and eras formulated myths and stories with similar structures? What does this similarity tell us about the mind, morality, and structure of the world itself? From the author of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos comes a provocative hypothesis that explores the connection between what modern neuropsychology tells us about the brain and what rituals, myths, and religious stories have long narrated. A cutting-edge work that brings together neuropsychology, cognitive science, and Freudian and Jungian approaches to mythology and narrative, Maps of Meaningpresents a rich theory that makes the wisdom and meaning of myth accessible to the critical modern mind.

The Secret Teachings of All Ages

By Manly P. Hall

A classic. The Secret Teachings of All Ages is perhaps the most comprehensive and complete esoteric encyclopedia ever written. The sheer scope and ambition of this book are stunning. In this book Manly P. Hall has successfully distilled the essence of more arcane subjects than one would think possible. He covers Rosicrucianism and other secret societies, alchemy, cryptology, Kabbalah, Tarot, pyramids, the Zodiac, Pythagorean philosophy, Masonry, gemology, Nicholas Flammel, the identity of William Shakespeare, The Life and Teachings of Thoth Hermes Trismegistus, The Qabbalah, The Hiramic Legend, The Tree of the Sephiroth, Mystic Christianity, and there are more than 200 illustrations included here. This is essential reading for anyone wishing to explore esoteric knowledge.

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

By Joseph Campbell

Since its release in 1949, The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In this book, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.

As relevant today as when it was first published, The Hero with a Thousand Faces continues to find new audiences in fields ranging from religion and anthropology to literature and film studies. The book has also profoundly influenced creative artists – including authors, songwriters, game designers, and filmmakers – and continues to inspire all those interested in the inherent human need to tell stories.

Morals and Dogma

By Albert Pike

This is Albert Pikes’ 861 page volume of ‘lectures’ on the esoteric roots of Freemasonry, specifically the 32-degree Scottish Rite. Until 1964, this book was given to every Mason completing the 14th degree in the Southern jurisdiction of the US Scottish Rite Freemasons.

Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 9 (Part 1): Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious

By C.G. Jung

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

Three Books of Occult Philosophy or Magic

By Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts – the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.

The Penguin History of the World: Sixth Edition

By J.M. Roberts

The completely updated edition of J. M. Roberts and Odd Arne Westad’s widely acclaimed, landmark bestseller The Penguin History of the World For generations of readers The Penguin History of the World has been one of the great cultural experiences – the entire story of human endeavour laid out in all its grandeur and folly, drama and pain in a single authoritative book.

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