Pagan Studies - Altered States

Piatkus Publishers Guide Books Series

Maya Prophecy, Shamanism, Color Healing, Angels, Tibetan Buddhism, Kabbalah, and Reiki
(a series of guidebooks from London) 
by Ronald Bonewitz, Gordon MacLellan, Pauline Willis, Paul Roland, Stephen Hodge, Paul Roland (again), and Penelope Quest (respectively)
Piatkus Publishers, Ltd.


London-based Piatkus Publishers has released a series of guide books on many different spiritual and magical paths. Written by an expert in each topic, these guides combine description and background material with exercises, visualizations, and resource lists to provide practical information for the seeker.

Each guide averages 125 pages, and many are illustrated with diagrams or depictions of items or places discussed in the books. While written by different authors, the Piatkus Guides are uniformly easy to read and well-organized. However, the resource sections (commonly lists of useful addresses, further reading lists and glossaries) vary more in quality from book to book.

Penelope Quest’s Reiki, Paul Roland’s Kabbalah and Stephen Hodge’s Tibetan Buddhism all explain disciplines that require external validation for participation. As such, the guides discuss the philosophies of their respective disciplines, what would-be members or practitioners can expect by way of initiation, and the duties and life that practitioners lead. All three are good primers, and Paul Roland’s Kabbalah is especially lucid in its description of an often-misunderstood tradition.

Gordon MacLellan’s Shamanism, Pauline Willis’s Color Healing, and Paul Roland’s Angels are guides to more personal traditions, and their exercises and visualizations are especially useful. Each guide expects you to want to experience directly the paths described by the book, and therefore walks you through the basics.

Dr. Ronald Bonewitz’s Maya Prophecy stands alone as a guide to a historical writing, and includes excellent history on the Mayans and the surrounding Central Americans as well as their mythologies. Its conjectures on the origins of some Mayan legends and the Mayan calendar are especially intriguing. Maya Prophecy is an excellent guide, but less involving than the other books in this series.

Piatkus is publishing many more of these guides on subjects including the Tarot, Crystal Wisdom, Feng Shui and Meditation. If the quality of these seven titles is any indication, they’ll be worth investigation.


RATING: 3 Broomsticks

» Originally appeared in newWitch #01

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