"I was in Chapters in Dublin recently and on passing the yoga section a picture popped at me immediately. It was Charles Stansfield Jones, AKA Frater Achad in the dragon asana (detailed in Crowleys Liber E vel Excitorum). As it was on sale I bought a copy!My overall impression of the book is positive. It is well written and edited and maintains a good flow. It has a good balance between theoretical material and practical suggestions. It is written by someone who has a background in both yoga and magick. This is in many ways a very thelemic book in that the instructions are mainly derived from Crowley texts (especially liber E). References to several other thelemic texts are made throughout. If one reviews the content, it is in many ways a recapitulation of Crowleys BOOK 4:
PART 1" and "EIGHT LECTURES ON YOGA" but streamlined down to a minimum of theory and some practical suggestions. Most of the suggestions for practice are derived from "LIBER E VEL EXCITORUM" (also by Crowley), though reference is also made to" LIBER III VEL JUGORUM, LIBER RESH VEL HELIOS", and a rather fleeting reference to "LIBER ASTARTE VEL BERYLLI", which I personally found quite disappointing as this (along with the applied examples of "LIBER NU" and "LIBER HAD") is THE thelemic reference for batkhi yoga.
In giving a history of yoga a severe over emphasis was placed on Aleister Crowley whilst ignoring other magickal luminaries like Dion Forune, whose book "THE CIRCUIT OF FORC"e deals with decidedly with the occult anatomy of yoga); Franz Bardon, whose "INITIATION INTO THE HERMETICS" is the first integrated system of Western yoga; and no mention is made of the work of John Woodruffe, AKA Arthur Avalon in the impulses of yoga in the West.
It was also initially confusing as to what branch of yoga was being explored as the initial introduction made a big hullabaloo about the advantages of hatha yoga, yet the rest of the book deals almost exclusively with Raja yoga. Of quite some use is the chapter on the chakras and the nadis, which does not appear in any of the Crowley works mentioned above. It is concise yet informative.Overall this book is a synopsis of several texts by Aleister Crowley on yoga and practical instruction. It has limited added material for a well read Thelemite and in most cases Crowley covers the ground more deeply. Still in all of this I am not criticising this book at its core because it does exactly what it says on the tin.
It is a concise guide to yoga for (Thelemic) magick. It does not fulfil my wildest wet dreams for a book on yoga and magick, but it is suitable and accessible for someone approaching this subject for the first time, and the synthesis of multiple texts and the editing down to the bare essentials makes it a better starting point than Crowley for the budding Thelemite. If I'm asked for a text by a Cath initiate (newbie), I will probably be referring them to this book. And for my Irish readers, though I would first like to point out I am not an employee of Chapters, copies are still available at only EUR5.99!
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