I’ve confirmed once again that I shouldn’t bother with reading overtly religion/spirituality books. Most of the books that have value, I have read, own and have drank from. The last four or five I’ve attempted to read and gotten further than a chapter or two have been entirely lacking, almost all frou frou tidbits of confectionary with no basis in much of anything at all — in other words, they are more works of fiction than they are serious tomes. Not everyone has the insights or apparent talents of Carlos Castaneda, so I do wish that people would stop trying to emulate him. Full disclosure: I’ve never been interested enough in Carlos to actually read his books, largely because my understanding is they are mostly hallucinogenic-inspired works and I’ve never put much faith in what folks have to share about their spiritual experiences under the influence of chemicals, valid or not. My own personal take on it is that drugs are entirely unnecessary as part of the ecstatic experience and prone to misguiding you more than guiding you. And while I don’t get down on folks who disagree with my sentiment, I also don’t actively seek out information that I feel is potentially rank with flaws.
So, I’ve encountered three types of books of late in this genre of books — the aforementioned drug-induced insights; the archeological/history guru who makes some pretty bold unsupported statements about the old world religions; or the fluff-artists who speak of spells, incantations, and potions that are entirely fictional creations with no basis in pretty much anything other than tossing in words like magic, fairy, wicca and celtic.
So what am I hoping to find? To be honest — I’m not clear on that myself. But I don’t want to read books with meditation exercises, healing rituals, wild claims about what the old people did, rules on how to be a model citizen within a tribe, candle magic, “hedge wicca”, druid-not-druid crossover, zen-appropriation without any zen (if I see another “The Zen of…”, I might scream), same with tao/dao, shamanism without actually delving into the spirit realm, shamanism where spirits follow real-world human analogues in behavior (the last book I read lost me completely with this notion of a spirit acting like a butler, although it had mostly lost me up to that point), “The only right way to…” books…
I’m more just kvetching here, not looking for recommendations. Of course, if you know of something that you think might blow my mind, I take suggestions. Keep in mind, however, that over 35 years, I’ve hit quite a bit of content across the spectrum, so don’t be surprised if I have read it or have an opinion about it.