Primordial Traditions (Living Traditions Magazine)


I remember when I first came across Primordial Traditions. It was a small anthology of articles from a website on the perennial tradition. While it was a smallish book, it was of exceptional quality and its content stood apart from what passed for spiritual and new age titles at the time. Indeed it was so well received it won the Ashton Wylie Award for Literary Excellence in New Zealand. That was seven years ago and since then Gwendolyn Taunton and Numen books have published a wide range of exceptional titles from titles on the Northern Tradition to political aristocracy (the ruling of the best or meritocracy), from poetry to a truly extraordinary tome on Alchemy. Each has been marked by great insights into esotericism while sustaining the highest possible academic titles, the Alchemical Tradition was peer reviewed for accuracy. They have been superbly presented and each a joy to read and digest. The second edition of Primordial Traditions is over 492 pages in size and a beautifully presented hardback. It offers a superb selection of essays on Tradition, Middle Eastern Traditions, Eastern Traditions, European Traditions and South American Traditions. In Tradition there are a great series of essays outliving the nature of Tradition from the nature of the Kali Yuga in spiritual and political and economic terms to a superb introduction to the works of Julius Evola. Evola has become of immense significance in modern Traditionalism. For many of us educated through the works of Rene Guenon there was a sense of passivity even I may dare to say reactionaryism which was a little uncomfortable. For a long times Evola’s works were not available in English save for a small series of essays here and there. With the publication of many of his works by Inner Traditions in English he took centre stage in modern Traditionalism with his warrior aesthetic. Gwendolyn offers a superb introduction to his work and ideas. In Middle Eastern Traditions there are a diverse range of essays covering the Sufis, Mithraism and the Yezidi. Each of these essays are significant in themselves I especially found the essay on Mithraism impressive. This is followed by a series of essays on the Eastern Traditions covering everything from Tantra to Buddhism, the imagery of Siva to use of magic in Thai Buddhism. There is so much here to digest and consider. The section on the European Traditions really took my fancy since I am a unashamed Radical Traditionalist Heathen. There is much discussed here you will not find in any other similar books including a superb study comparing the Berserkers of the Norse with the Vratya of India. There are essays on Rune Magick, Nietzsche and Greek Myth and Cuchulainn of the Celtic Tradition. The book ends with an excellent essay on Mayan astrology. This is a truly superb anthology which not only offers an erudite introduction to Tradition but covers the primordial wisdom as it is expressed in a range of traditions. Each essay is marked by a deep knowledge of Tradition and esotericism and at the same time sustaining the highest possible academic standards. This is a must have volume…


Reviewer: Robert Black. Living Traditions,  June 2014