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Two Good Books

From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Two Good Books
Date: Mon, 03 Aug 1998 17:13:57 -0800

Other posters to alt.magick.tantra have previously recommended "Tantra:
The Cult of the Feminine" by Andre van Lysebeth, a Belgian author, but i
had not seen a copy until yesterday, when snake-boy and i chanced upon
it in the San Jose Barnes and Noble book store. I bought it and read it
on the bus home from bliss-city -- it is really, really, REALLY good.
The cost for the hardcover is $30.00, but don't let that stop you; this
one is a keeper. The translation (by van Lysebeth and a friend) is not
the best -- that is, you can tell it was written by someone who uses
English as a second language -- and the index is inadequate (nothing a
once-over with a sharp eye and Pilot Razor Point pen won't fix), but
still, this is now my FAVOURITE book on tantra, western disciples of
sacred sexuality, and allied mystical paths to recommend to people who
want both basic and advanced information on tantra. Leaving all the
solid sexual praxis aside (but why would one WANT to???). Van Lysebeth's
historical analysis of the ages-ago Dravidian versus Aryan wars and the
part these actions played in the development of the cults of
Kali/Durga/Parvati/Sati/Shakti and Shiva/Bhairava/Rudra is alone worth
the price of the book. Swami catyananda sez, "check it out."

Book #2, also seen for the first time at the same bookstore by the same
two star-spangled humans on the same day, is "The Great Book of Tantra."
This is essentially one of those oversized all-colour picture books
(like the Thames and Hudson books on tantra, kundalini, freemasonry,
spirals, sacred dance, etc.),but a good bit thicker and more text-laden.
What REALLY sets it apart, though, and causes me to recommend it to
everyone who reads this newsgroup is that is contains full-page
reproductons of a series of so-called "ritual paintings" from the 18th
century, all produced by the same inspired artist. (Most of them are
spattered with red or white paint -- symbolizing blood and semen -- 
indicating that they had been used in rituals, hence the series title
"ritual paintings.") These tantric images include some of the most
outrageously cosmic and psychedelic depictions of Kali and Siva i have
ever seen, and even to try to describe them would be to do them an
injustice. A word to the wise should be sufficient: Get a copy of this
book as soon as ever you can. Yonis on the knee-caps! A linga for a
nose! Snakes and severed heads! Siva as a corpse with a hard-on pulling
the blood-soaked created universe from Kali's womb! Kali fucking Siva on
top of a coprse in a flame-engulfed cremation-grounds! Kali cutting her
own head off and offering it to Siva! Siva grinning like a
Jack-o-Lantern as his snake-eyebrows rise up and bind Kali's legs! Yum
yum yum.

catya, bride of siva, bibliomaniac, in love

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