Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Book Review: Secrets of Greek Mysticism by George Lizos

Book Review: Secrets of Greek Mysticism by George Lizos

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received a free copy of this book via Weiser in exchange for an honest review.

I recently finished several books, finally having a moment to catch up on my hobbies. The end of the school year is always really crazy, especially after spring break, but we are finally on the home stretch! Last month I finished Secrets of Greek Mysticism: A Modern Guide to Daily Practice with the Gods and Goddesses by George Lizos. I am not going to lie, when I started this book I was a little combative...okay maybe very combative. I did not agree with Lizos's interpretation of the Greek pantheon and myths and did not like that he claimed scholars, people who dedicated their lives to the study of Greek mythology, were wrong in their interpretations. In fact, I very openly raged to my fiance about my initial thoughts, who dutifully listened to me complain about every occult book I read. Yes, even my highly recommended books have periods where I become upset and he hears it all! My highest criticisms often come from one of two places: cultural appropriation or disrespect of experts, especially scientists. I recognize the second one partly comes from white supremacy culture (worship of the written word, especially those from a 'narrow' viewpoint). As a scientist, I am not willing to back down when occult authors attempt to rewrite well-documented science. That isn't how the world works, but that was not the case with Secrets of Greek Mysticism. Yes, I was and still am upset he claims most if not all, scholars are incorrect, but after sitting with my initial feelings, analyzing them, and getting to know Lizos's arguments, my opinion has changed. So what am I talking about?

Lizos takes a theological instead of a mythological approach to the gods and goddesses. What does this mean? According to Lizos, a mythological approach misrepresents the the deities and attributes too many human emotions to them, painting them as fickle tyrants in need of transactional worship. Lizos believes the myths are an allegorical collection of stories that draw from theology with the intention of communicating the deities' qualities in an entertaining yet educational way. The myths were meant to convey some information to everyone and leave deeper meanings up to students of theology. My only qualm with this is why would the general populace not be given the same information as mystery students? The general public highly valued and respected the gods and goddesses, so why make myths so difficult to understand? Why gatekeep?

Book Review: Secrets of Greek Mysticism by George Lizos

Despite my protests, Lizos's interpretations of the myths as well as his personal experiences with them create a refreshing narrative and outline of "worship." This is an approach I would like to personally apply to Norse mythology and even Celtic to get a better understanding of what the deities actually mean, not man's humanization of them.

The majority of the book is spent discussing the 12 main gods of Olympus with entire chapters dedicated to each. Each chapter opens with a brief personal introduction followed by the essence of the deity, their virtues, activation mantra, journal prompts, connecting with the deity in nature, hymns, symbolism, and meditation. This consistent approach allows you to build a relationship with each deity at your own pace and really get to know them. I loved Lizos's personal experiences with each deity while traversing across Greece and would have liked more of these stories throughout. The book ends with a section on connecting with the gods through monthly festivals and rituals, that will not only deepen your connection but add to your overall practice as well, giving it rhythm and meaning.

Even if you are not interested in Greek mysticism, Secrets of Greek Mysticism: A Modern Guide to Daily Practice with the Gods and Goddesses by George Lizos is well worth the read as it can help you approach your own deities in a new and profound way. Despite some of my protests, I do strongly believe Lizos's approach to the gods is one worth reading and understanding, and applicable across pantheons. 

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