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  You are in: Home > Theology & Religion > Prophet for a Dark Age  
 

Prophet for a Dark Age
A Companion to the Works of René Guénon

Graham Rooth

Graham Rooth MD, MRC Psych, is a retired consultant psychiatrist with a longstanding interest in languages, and the relationship between spirituality and humanistic therapies. His recently made a new translation of Hubert Benoit's The Supreme Doctrine, published with other Benoit publications in The Light of Zen in the West (Sussex Academic Press, 2005).

 
Provides comprehensive coverage of the key concepts employed by Guénon and interprets the less familiar terms from Sanskrit, Hebrew and Arabic. The text makes extensive use of extracts from Guénon’s original work.
Graham Rooth is the translator of the bestselling The Light of Zen in the West, incorporating The Supreme Doctrine and The Realization of the Self, by Hubert Benoit.

René Guénon is a major figure for anyone who recognizes a need to rediscover the spiritual roots from which Western society has become so comprehensively alienated. Immersing himself in the search for spiritual truth, he chose Islam as the vehicle for his spiritual life. Settling in Egypt, he clarified and deepened our understanding of the teachings of traditional metaphysics, his central message being that there is at the source of all humanity’s traditions a ‘Primordial Tradition’ – a Universal Metaphysics which sets out the principles that underlie this Tradition. The truths it embodies are universal and unchanging, and form part of a unified body of higher knowledge which transcends the multiplicity of religious dogmas and philosophical systems that abound in Western society. He wrote about the need to transcend the formal and emotional aspect of religion in order to prepare ourselves for an understanding of ‘pure metaphysics’. He explained how traditional societies achieved this, exploring the symbols used, in order to help individuals forward to levels of understanding which are otherwise inaccessible to minds blinkered by the limitations of the currently prevailing Western approach to existence and its meaning.

This book provides an overview of Guénon’s work. It is arranged in four parts each of which provides extracts that express his views directly and commentaries that summarize or paraphrase his written work. The objective is to allow Guénon to speak for himself rather than produce a critique of his ideas.

Part One, Religion and the Primordial Tradition, explores Guénon’s ideas about the nature of the primordial Tradition or ‘Perennial Philosophy’ and the part it would play in a traditional society. It sets out his views on the major religions and how they are related to the primordial Tradition. There are sections on the monotheistic religions and the oriental religions. The largest section deals with Vedantic Hinduism, reflecting the dominant and enduring role that this played in the development of Guénon’s ideas.

Part Two, The Spiritual Journey and the Integral Being, focuses on the quest for enlightenment and the means of achieving it, with an emphasis on the role of initiation and transmission. It examines the difference between ‘realization’ and salvation. It explores the spiritual quest in the light of Guénon’s theory of the integral being and its multiple states, which postulates that the human state is one aspect only of innumerable different states comprising the totality of a single being.

Part Three, Western Society and the Growth of Modernity, presents Guénon’s critique of contemporary Western society in terms of its historical development and current worldview. It highlights the spiritual dangers that confront the West and examines the processes and attitudes symptomatic of its spiritual decline. It provides an overview of Guénon’s ideas about subjects ranging across the sciences, the humanities, philosophy and psychology. The section on philosophy draws together many of Guénon’s ideas about the nature of manifestation and ultimate reality.

Part Four, Symbolism, explores the significance Guénon attached to the history and meaning of the symbols shared by all the great traditions. It summarizes his thoughts on the nature of symbolism, how it achieves its effects and its particular significance to the spiritual life. Many examples are provided from the natural world, the animal kingdom and human activities, demonstrating the important part played by symbols in all cultures, and the common features they share, suggesting the possibility that many of the more important ones point to an ancient, common origin.



Preface
Brief Biography with Dates of Major Publications
Translator’s Note and Acknowledgments
Glossary

PART I  THE PRIMORDIAL TRADITION AND RELIGION
The Primordial Tradition
Origins of the Tradition
Core Concepts in the Tradition
   The Nature of the Primordial Doctrine
   The Ever-Present Centre and Its Representations
     Holy Land
   Universal Man
   The Word
     Logos
   The Traditional Society
     The Traditional Society as a Reflection of the Cosmic Order
     Harmony, Justice and the Law
     The Nature of Spiritual and Temporal Authority in a Traditional Society
     The Priesthood
     Royalty
Religion
Esoteric Religion
   Exotericism and its relationship to Esotericism
Theology
   Monotheism and Polytheism
   Pantheism
God
   Anthropocentrism and Divine Attributes
Miscellaneous Religious Concepts
   Angels
     Lucifer
     Metatron
   Demiurge
   Gnosis
   Heaven, Paradise and Hell
     Paradise
     Hell
   Hermes and Hermetism
   Idolatry
   Immortality
   Influences, Spiritual and Other
   Morality and Religion
   Mysticism
   Pilgrimage
   Profane
   Prophets
   Reincarnation
   Revelation
     Revelation and Inspiration
   Rituals and Sacraments
   Ritual Orientation
   Rosary (or Chaplet)
   Sacrifice
   Satan
     Satanism
   Silence
   Spiritual Poverty
The Oriental Traditions
The Hindu Tradition
   Deliverance
     Moksha
     Jîvan-mukti
     Krama-Mukti
     Vidêha-Mukti
  tman
    tman and Self
     Self and ‘Personality’
    tman and the Different States of the Being
   Brahman
   Caste
     The Hindu Concept of Caste
     Brhmana (Brahmin)
     Kshatriyas
     The Relationship between Kshatriyas and Brhmanas
     Caste and Class
   Darshanas
     The Six Classical Schools of Thought in Hinduism
   Time
     Kalpa
     Manvantara
     Kali-Yuga
   Additional Concepts (Sanskrit Terms)
     Adhikrî
     Advaita-Vda
     Agarttha
     Ahamkra
     Aishvarya
     nanda (Beatitude)
     Apûrva
     shramas
     Avatra
     Avidya (Ignorance)
     Bhûtas
     Bhuvah
     Boddhisatva
     Brahma-Randhra
     Buddhi
     Chakra
     Dahara
     Deva
     Devat
     Dharma
     Dhyna
     Hrda-Vidya or Dahara-Vidya
     Dvija
     Gunas
     Hiranyagarba
     Îshvara
     Jîvtman
     Jnna
     Kaivalya
     Kla. Kla-Mukha. Kla-makara. Kîrti-mukha
     Kma
     Krana. Krana-sharira. Krya. Krya-Brahman
     Karma. Karma-Mimns. Karmamrga. Karma-Yoga
     Kosha
     Krishna
     Kundalinî
     Linga
     Loka
     Manas
     Mantra
     Manu
     Mrga
     Marû
     My
     Nirûkta
     Nirvna; Parinirvna
     Om (Aum)
     Prajpati
     Prjna
     Prna
     Primordial Nature
     Purusha and Prakriti
     Saccidnanda
     Samskra
     Sadhana
     Shakti
     Shruti and Smriti
     Sûrya, the Sun; the Seventh Ray
     Sûtrtm
     Tanmtras
     Trimûrti
     Veda
     Vednta
     Yoga; Yogin
Buddhism
The Chinese Traditions
   Daoism; Confucianism
   Some Daoist Concepts
     Dao
     Great Triad
     Gua
     Invariable Middle
     Primordial State
     Qian; Kun
     Sage
     Son of Heaven and Earth
     Taiji
     Void
     Wang
     Wuwei: Non-Action, Non-Acting
     Yin-Yang
The Monotheistic Religions
Christianity
   Christianity’s Continuing Influence
   The Traditional Character of Christianity
   Early Christianity and Christian Esotericism
   Later Christianity
   Catholicism
   Protestantism
   Christian Concepts
     Baptism
     Church
     Cross
     Fall
     Grace
     Hesychasm
     Kingdom of Heaven; Kingdom of God
     Original Sin
     Pope
   Christian Symbolism
     Chrismon
     Church Design
     Gammadion
     The Feasts of St John
Islam
   Islam
   Islamic Esotericism
   Islamic Terms and Concepts
     Al-Aql
     Al-Arkn
     Al-Haqîqah
     Al-Mustaf
     Ar-Rûh
     As-Sharî’a
     At-Tarîqah
     Dhikr
     Fullness
     Gog and Magog
     Ilmul-Hurûf
     Lhût and Nsût
     Majdhûb
     Qf
     Sufi
     Walî, Nabî and Rasûl
Judaism
   Hebrew
   Israel
   Kabbala
   Hebrew Terms and Concepts
     Adam Kadmon
     Beith-El
     Burning Bush
     Cain and Abel
     Creation
     Edom
     Elijah
     Elohim
     Enoch
     Ihei Aor
     Iod
     Jehovah
     Jerusalem
     Jonah and the Whale
     Kadosh
     Kether and the Sephirotic Tree
     Kohanim
     Luz
     Malaki
     Melchisedek
     Noah
     Ruahh Elohim
     Tabernacle
     Temple of Solomon
     Tetragrammaton
     Yetzirah


PART II  THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY AND THE INTEGRAL BEING
The Spiritual Journey
The Goal of the Spiritual Journey
   Supreme Identity
   Salvation and Deliverance
Initiation
   The Conditions of Initiation
   Other Aspects of Initiation
     Initiatory Symbolism
     Initiatory Hierarchies
     The ‘Born-Again’ Initiate
     Initiatory Rituals and Rites
     Passivity and Initiation
Methods Associated with the Spiritual Journey
   Concentration
   Contemplation
   Detachment
   Service
Other Themes
   Birth and Death
     Birth
     Death
     The Journey after Death
   Body
   Conversion and Retournement
   Corruption
   Eden; The Edenic State
   Ego
     Extinction and the Ego
   Guru
   Mask
   Mystery
     Greater and Lesser Mysteries
   Peace; as-Sakînah; Shekina
   Soul
   Spirit
   Transcendence
   Transitions
The Integral Being and its Multiple States
The Doctrine of the Multiple States of the Being
Associated Concepts
   Celestial Ray
   The Human State
   Milieu
   Spiritual Hierarchies
   Subtle World; Subtle State
   Transformation
PART III  WESTERN SOCIETY AND THE EMERGENCE OF MODERNITY
Aspects of Western Society
Historical
   The Celts
     Druids
     Lia Fail
   The Middle Ages
     Christendom
   Mediaeval Themes
     Carnivals and Festivals
     Chivalry
     Emperor
     Grail
     Guardians of the Holy Land
     Heraldry
     Hermetism and Alchemy
   Initiatory Organizations Originating in the Middle Ages
     The Compagnonnages
     Fedeli d’Amore
     Fede Santa
     Rosy Cross; Rosicrucianism
     Templars
   Freemasonry
     Modern and traditional
     Operative versus speculative Masonry
     Anderson and Désaguliers
     Freemasonry and Gnosis
     Some Masonic Symbols and Concepts
Modernity
The Birth of Modernity
   The Renaissance
   Rationalism
   Laïcisation
   Nationalism
The Nature of Modernity
   The Divergence between East and West
The Approach of the Dark Age
The Effects of Secularism
   Egalitarianism
   Materialism
  ‘ Progress’
  ‘ Commodification’ and De-Sacralization
     The Triumph of ‘Middle Class’ Values
     Money
     Sport
     Teaching
The Modern Worldview
   Imagination and Illusion
   The Illusion of Ordinary Life
   Sentimentalisme
   The Decline of Genuine Spirituality
     Popularization and the ‘hatred of what is hidden’
     Religious Belief in the West
   Cults and Pseudo-Spiritual Activities
     Divination and False Prophecies
     Magic
     Spiritualism and Spiritism
     Mediumship and Mnes, Ob, and Pretas
     Mormonism
     Theosophy
The Irresistible Advance of Anti-Traditionalism
   The Loss of the Traditional Sciences
The Next Stage: Counter-Tradition and Counter-Initiation
   Counter-Tradition
   Counter-Initiation
The Only Way Out
The Humanities
Art
Architecture
     Dome
     Keystone
Language and the ‘Phonic’ Arts
   Language and its limitations
     Sacred and Profane Language
     The Primordial language
     The language of the birds
     The language of the gods
     The world as a divine language
   Poetry And Music
     Poetry
     Rhythm
   Myth
   Theatre as a Symbol of Manifestation
Psychology
   Psychology and the Subtle State
   Psychology and the Spiritual
The Faculties
   Memory
   Mind
     Mind and Thought
     Consciousness
     Subconscious and ‘Superconscious’
     Dream
Psychoanalysis
Philosophy, Logic and Metaphysics
Philosophy
   Leibniz
   Pragmatism
Logic
Metaphysics
     Metaphysics and Theology
     Pseudo-metaphysics
     Imagery in Metaphysics
     Integral Metaphysics
   Fundamental Constructs
     Being and Non-Being
     Contingence
     Dualism and Non-Dualism
     Essence and Substance
     Existence
     Intellect
     Knowledge
     Manifestation
     Principle
     Universal
   Subsidiary Concepts
     Action
     Becoming
     Chance
     Determined; Conditioned
     Destiny and Finality
     Dialectic
     Emanation
     Equilibrium
     Freedom
     Individualism
     Macrocosm and Microcosm
     Negation
     Possibility
     Reality
     World
   The Conditions of Our World
     Matter and Substance
     Measure
     Quantity
     Space
     Time
Mathematics and Geometry
Mathematics – Indefinite and Infinite
   Fractions and Infinity
     Finite
     Limit
   Number
   Numerals
Geometry
PART IV  SYMBOLISM and SYMBOLS
   Symbolism and Analogy
   Symbols and Nature
Axis Symbolism
     Cross
     Ladder
     Mountain
     Pole
Centre Symbolism
     Cave
     Island
     Omphalos
Symbols Derived from Natural Phenomena
   General
     Darkness
     Dew
     Fire (Sanskrit: têjas)
     Light
     Night
     Rain
     Rainbow
     River
     Stones
     Water
   The Heavens
     Ianua Coeli
     Moon
     Planets
     Stars
     Sun
     Zodiac
   The Animal Kingdom
     Bear and Boar
     Dragon
     Horns
     Snake; Serpent
     Birds
     Fish
   The Vegetable Kingdom
     Plants, Flowers, Seeds, Fruit and Trees
     Flowers
     Fruit
     Germ
     Seed
     Trees
   Metal, Minerals and Precious Stones
     Metal and Metallurgy
     Gold and Silver
     Jade
     Sulphur, Mercury and Salt: An Alchemical Ternary
Symbols from the Human Sphere
   The Body
     Androgyne
     Eye
     Hand
     Heart
     Skull
   Artefacts and Activities
     Book
     Bread
     Bridge
     Carpentry and Wood
     Door; Gate; Gateway
     Geometry
     Keys
     Numbers and Numerology
     Vessel
     War
     Weapons
     Weaving and Embroidery
     Wheel
     Wine
   Various
     Ark
     Black and White
     Globes
     Labyrinth
     Seal of Solomon
     Swastika
     World Egg

Index

“The works of René Guénon (1886–1951) are the focus of this book, presented in translation with commentary and a glossary for unfamiliar terms. The title is divided into four sections of work: religion and the primordial tradition, the spiritual journey and the integral being, western society and the growth of modernity, and symbolism, with each section providing extracts of Guénon (1886–1951) are the focus of this book, presented in translation with commentary and a glossary for unfamiliar terms. The title is divided into four sections of work: religion and the primordial tradition, the spiritual journey and the integral being, western society and the growth of modernity, and symbolism, with each section providing extracts of Guénon’s work with observations and summarizations by Rooth. Although all of Guénon’s books and most of his articles are available in translation through the Sophia Perennis Press, his work remains largely unknown in the Western world; this title attempts to bring the tenets of ‘Guénonian traditionalism’ to a wider audience.” Reference & Research Book News

 

Publication Details

 
Paperback ISBN:
978-1-84519-251-8
 
 
Page Extent / Format:
400 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
 
Release Date:
April 2008
  Illustrated:   Yes
 
Paperback Price:
£29.95 / $59.95
 
 

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