Traditional Forms and Cosmic Cycles
The articles collected in this volume represent some of the most unusual from Guénon’s pen. They could be described as fragments of an unknown history, a history reaching back through prehistory to protohistory, for they begin with the Primordial Tradition contemporaneous with the beginnings of present humanity. The text opens with a study on cosmic cycles, taking as point of departure the Hindu doctrine of the Manvantara, though similar doctrines appear in Greco-Roman antiquity, among Jewish Kabbalists, Islamic Sufis and Ismailis, and in the Hopi, Lakota, and Maya nations of the New World. Essential to this doctrine is that earlier ages differed qualitatively from ours, which may explain why our historicism and archaeology have yet to come to grips with ‘Hyperborea’ and ‘Atlantis’, despite the many clues embedded throughout mythology, folklore, sacred architecture, etc. That is, our own time’s quality cannot simply be projected backwards into past ages. In presenting Hyperborean and Atlantean lore—the cyclical mysteries of the West and the North—as well as material on the Hebrew Kabbalah and Egyptian Hermeticism, Guénon successfully transmits the requisite sense of such ‘other’ times, which for some may awaken the intuition of higher levels of Being.
Table of Contents
Some Remarks on the Doctrine of Cosmic Cycles (with book reviews)
Atlantis and Hyperborea—The Place of the Atlantean Tradition in theManvantara
A Few Remarks on the Name Adam—Kabbalah—Kabbalah and The Science of Numbers—La Kabbale juive of Paul Vulliaud—The Siphra di-Tzeniutha (with book reviews)
The Hermetic Tradition—Hermes—Hermes' Tomb
In the exercise of the central function of restoring the great principles of traditional metaphysic to Western awareness this true jñanin gave proof of a universality of understanding that for centuries had had no parallel in the Western world.
Frithjof Schuon, Language of the Self
René Guénon was the twentieth century's chief ambassador for the Perennial Philosophy. His mixture of arcane learning, metaphysics, and scathing cultural commentary is a continent in itself, untouched by the polluted tides of modernity. One need not accept it all, but a voyage to it is indispensable for those who yearn to understand the deeper currents of religion and history. Guénon's work will not save the world—it is much too late for that—but it leaves no reader unchanged.
Jocelyn Godwin, author of Music, Mysticism and Magic