I have been practicing moderation by not acquiring Nicola Spanu’s Proclus and the Chaldean Oracles: A Study on Proclean Exegesis, with a Translation and Commentary of Proclus’ Treatise On Chaldean Philosophy because my TBR is already very long, and I know that the chances of me getting to it this year are slim given my reading plans, especially since I just spent my stimulus check on two MyCopy books, several Prometheus Trust volumes, and a few tech items to make the pandemic more bearable. Yes — I, diamond-slaying, napkin-burning, fabric-softener-eschewing Millennial that I am, stimulated the economy and ate my avocado toast, too.
However, this morning, I received an email notification that Taylor and Francis has rolled out their new ebook platform, which allowed me to (a) lust over the table of contents again while crying in my heart of hearts over the lock symbol after (b) seeing which books the platform decided to surface alongside it in the search results.
A few years ago, I wrote a novella called A Matter of Oracles, which I intend to self-publish. My divination for 2021 indicated that it may not be the best time to release creative work, so I have decided to prep for 2022 and hope to lay good groundwork this year. Something I find very satisfying about the novella is that shortly after writing it, I was listening to the Secret History of Western Esotericism, saw a few Twitter threads, and through both, learned that my worldbuilding was highly believable in the context of how divination has historically been regulated. It always feels like a win when this happens, like passing an exam with higher marks than one expected.
The search results reminded me of a book that I had put on my TBR at about that time, and they also surfaced another few that looked cool, too. I thought I’d share the citation info for some of the ones on Hellenic and Hellenized areas of the ancient world, but also an interesting comparative title from more recent history that piqued my interest because I have next to no knowledge about oracles in Japanese religions.
The last book in the list doesn’t seem to be strictly about oracles, but includes them in an analysis of divine mania.
- Addey, Crystal. 2016. Divination and Theurgy in Neoplatonism : Oracles of the Gods. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315577784.
- Bocking, Brian. 2013. The Oracles of the Three Shrines : Windows on Japanese Religion. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315028552.
- Dillon, Matthew. 2017. Omens and Oracles : Divination in Ancient Greece. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315577791.
- Ustinova, Yulia. 2017. Divine Mania : Alteration of Consciousness in Ancient Greece. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315098821.
People keep saying that serendipity is lost in digital environments, and then I type Proclus oracles Chaldean into a search box and serendipity (search relevancy ranking bugs?) happens anyway. Hermes has his way.