Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Crata Repoa Decoded by Nick Farrell (book review)

As most of my regular readers know, the latest limited edition offering by Nick Farrell is The Hidden Path Behind Initiation or Crata Repoa Decoded. In the book, Farrell comments on the "syncretic fantasy" of masonic ritual, the Crata Repoa, written in 1770 by Karl Friedrich von Koppen and Johann Wilhelm Bernhard von Hymmen. Treating the Crata Repoa as an allegory of initiation, Farrell teases out a general path that all initiates of spirtual traditions suffer though.

And it is a path of darkness and suffering, with a lot of death and underworld experiences, if Farrell's reading of the allegory is correct. This is a point that I am currently hard pressed to argue with, given both my depression and the fact that I feel as if my connection to the higher has dried up (my depression probably would not be as bad as it is if I felt that I was still under the blessing of the higher, but that ship has sailed). Given my personal state of mind, I am not so sure that I can do justice in reviewing this book, still one must try.

One of the amusing things that has occurred since Farrell has published this book, or I assume that it would be amusing if my mental state was close to normal, is that Farrell recieved a "cease and desist" notice from someone claiming that Farrell had revealed real secrets about an Order constructed from the Crata Repoa. Personally, I do not see how he could have revealed real secrets unless the Crata Repoa itself is being considered a secret, for the majority of the book is his own reading of the allegory.

This is not a book that you buy to learn the secrets of another group--this is a book that you read to learn something about the secrets of the group that you already belong to. In my case, that would be an offshoot of the Golden Dawn tradition, and not any group based on the Crata Repoa itself.

One of the theories that occultists have is that the path of initiation, especially the mystical and magical versions, has certain landmarks, no matter what version that one suffers though. And Farrell theoricizes that this is exactly what the allegory is supposed to be about, the common experiences that initiation would bring about. After reading the book, I must admit that Farrell seems to be right that the Crata Repoa was an allegory to talk about these spiritual experiences.

Farrell also points out places where the Crata Repoa might have influenced the creator of the Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript, in particular the use of the names of certain officers of the Order.

Normally, at this point, I would give a star rating to the book, but honestly I am not sure that I can do that with complete clarity, so I will not attempt to do so. Do I think that the book is worthwhile to my readers? To some of them, yes--but I am not sure that my entire audience would benefit from reading this book, especially if they are not yet ready to start to struggle with the overall arch that the path of initiation entails.