The Lost Magic of the Belle Époque
(nonfiction – history – occult)
Release date: October 30, 2016
at Inner Traditions • Bear & Company
Historian Tobias Churton explores the magical, artistic, and intellectual world of the Belle Époque Paris. He brings into full perspective the personalities, and forces that made Paris a global magnet and which allowed later cultural movements, such as the “psychedelic 60s,” to rise from the ashes of post-war Europe.
Writer and educator Tobias Churton presents an original piece of arcane history in the Occult Paris.
He has certainly brought this world to life! You’ll be introduced to the mysterious side of Paris and its unique characters involved like Stanislas De Guaita, Joséphin Péladan, and Papus.
I was satisfied with the new information I’ve gained from Occult Paris, but some chapters simply weren’t engaging to me.The esoteric philosophies and groups were more intriguing than the trivial conflicts between some artists/philosophers. Churton is a precise, academic writer. He’ll carry out all he can muster so his readers are well-informed. He has done an excellent job doing so.
A couple of subjects from Occult Paris have captured my interests including:
- Mysticism in Symbolist Art
- The seeress Anna Kingsford (1846 – 1888)
- The perspective of God as an androgynous being
- The revival of Cathar history
- The influence of Madame Blatvatsky upon Paris
- Composer Claude Debussy’s connection to the occult
Fun fact: There is more meaning involved behind the Symbolist art of Baphomet (much more than a spooky devil figure).
Churton’s inspiration for Occult Paris came from his discovery of Péladan, a writer
and critic of the arts. Péladan published a few books sparking the interest of the occult within the Parisian community. He hosted art exhibits, the Salon de la Rose + Croix, for Symbolist artists.
Another fun fact: Péladan influenced artist Salvador Dali’s works.
Overall, despite a few tedious chapters, Churton has written a lively portrayal of the secretive, late 19th-century Paris. I highly recommend being familiar with the western European occult and key figures before taking a dive into this book.
Occult Paris isn’t an easy read but you’ll be rewarded with the knowledge of its veiled history after you’re done.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Source: “Freebie” – I’ve received this book free of charge from the author/publisher.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
is Britain’s leading scholar
of Western Esotericism,
a world authority on Gnosticism,
Hermeticism, and Rosicrucianism.
An Honorary Fellow of Exeter University,
where he is a faculty lecturer,
he holds a master’s degree in Theology
from Brasenose College, Oxford,
and is the author of many books,
including Gnostic Philosophy and
Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin.
He lives in England.
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