I’ve just started reading James Frazer’s classic work on magic and the origins of religion. The version I’m reading is an abridgement prepared by the author. The original work reached several volumes – I think six? A little too much for me.

I attempted to read this as a teenager and sheepishly put it down when it went a little beyond me. Not the subject matter, mind you, but the way it was presented. I was an avid reader but it proved too dense and dreary for my teenage brain. Even now it is not an easy read, as it is written in a somewhat stilted, turn-of-the-century academic style.

Despite this, and despite its 750 pages, I feel it absolutely critical that I read this book and absorb it. It is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the religious mind of the human being – whether you’re a student of comparative religion, a witch, a shaman, or a seeker of any kind.

One of my favorite things about this book is that it’s in the public domain and therefore free. You can download it straight to your kindle from Amazon for exactly zero dollars.

I’ll be posting my favorite bits as I reach them.

(Illustration: J.M.W. Turner’s painting of the Golden Bough incident from The Aeneid)