Review: Encyclopedia of Spirits

Another wonderful volume from Judika Illes-this would make a wonderful addition to any library, whether pagan or non-pagan, for research or ritual work.  The Encyclopedia of Spirits compiles many of the major deities and spirits from around the world, from both present and past cultures, such as China and Ancient Greece.

A lot of the spirits, I have never heard of, mostly because I have never read or taken an interest in the cultures that they are part of.

Each article for each spirit has been well researched and well presented with clear description.  The profiles include their titles, alternative names, their place or culture of origin and rank within their pantheon (if there are), the different versions of the most well-known stories they are featured in, specific dates, places , plants and animals that are sacred to them (this only applies to deities), their manifestations, attributes and celestial bodies associated with them, as well as objects that would make appropriate offerings to them.  Although, not all profiles include all of the things mentioned.  At the end of each profile, Illes give names of deities or spirits associated, whether linked by familial connections or in stories.

Illes also uses examples from modern popular culture, particularly when it comes to spirits from Japan, as they are often used as inspiration for popular cartoons and comic books, such as Inuyasha and Yu Yu Hakusho.  Some of the most well-known American television dramas also use spirits that are notorious for hauntings and creating mischief, both harmful and non-harmful.

Some of these articles also include historical or cultural notes, particularly if deities were originally people who were ‘deified’ after death.

Whether you a writer of fantasy or horror, a pagan or witch, or just a follower of the paranormal and supernatural, the Encyclopedia of Spirits is an absolute must-have.