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A Review of the Revelation of Saint John

Feb 16, 2007 07:04 AM
by Zack Lansdowne is a Newsletter of Informational Reviews About Technical Books in the Sciences & Academic Books in the Humanities

Review from


Revelation of St. John: The Path to Soul Initiation by Zachary F. Lansdowne (Red Wheel/Weiser) is a verse-by-verse guide toward unlocking the divine wisdom that is hidden within the pregnant symbolical language of the last book in the Christian Bible. The author, a Theosophist who is well read in the classics of Theosophy and the Alice Bailey Arcane School, as well as some of the best of metaphysical interpretations of a revelation, by Charles Fillmore, Joel Goldsmith, Yogananada, Krishnamuriti, Mabel Collins, Edgar Cayce, Frits Perls, Carl Jung, Charles Leadbeater, Helena Blavatsky, Rudolph Stiener, Sir Aurobindo and even seldom cited esoteric writers like James Pryse. It offers a synthetic and psychologically scintillating commentary into the levels of Soul Initiation represented by this universal dream of the Christian epoch. 

Each chapter is seen as an initiation into soul development and every verse is given a psychological interpretation. Anyone familiar with the tarot symbols will find much wisdom in reading this book, even if you have no faith in the previous Christian epoch, this book speaks directly to us about how the symbolic language of Revelation maintains its universal psychic validity, in much the same way as the Egyptian mythologies when rediscovered still spoke directly to our deepest formative impulses of the self and its transformation. Anyone reading this volume is offered a feast the many metaphysical cuisines that comprise the Theosophical movement's vast literature and insight into the initiatory path of the soul.

For anyone into dream interpretation, or interested in the larger vision of tarot symbols this book belongs not only on your reading list, but on the top of your reading list. It is often noted in passing at the twenty two major arcana correspond to the twenty two chapters of Revelation, with this book alone one is given an invitation to understand just how close that correspondence is or can be.


The Revelation of Saint John is a marvelous journey through the intricacies of one's on mind. Lansdowne has provided a psychological interpretation of the original Revelation that is poignant and pristine. In reading the verses of the King James' version of the Revelation laid alongside Lansdowne's interpretation we are given not only a glimpse into the Revelation of Saint John, but also a psychological peek into the revelation of Zachary Lansdowne as we see him skillfully piece together this work of Love. Using correspondence and analogy to light up the intricacies of symbolism and vivify the imagery of the world's great religions, Lansdowne interprets the last book of the Bible into simple yet effective language such that "the last shall be first" in giving us a new voice for describing the path to soul initiation. 

As we read The Revelation of Saint John, our intuitions may give us illumination and understanding about our own psychological experiences as well. We may begin to see ourselves as one with John and so John's Revelation becomes our own as we recognize fragments of our self corresponding with the Revelation's symbols. Using Lansdowne's psychological interpretation we are able translate the meaning of these symbols into the experiences of our present lives. As Lansdowne says, "...the Revelation of St. John deals with the present--that is, with the present of whoever may be reading it. It thus contains information that any reader--including you or I--can apply to become blessed." 

What Zachary Lansdowne does in The Revelation of Saint John is bring the 2000 year old Revelation of St. John into the modern era where it can be experienced anew as the Revelation of you and me.

The Revelation of St. John, the last book of the canonical Bible, has been a mystery since it first appeared. No other part of the Bible has caused more controversy. Traditional interpretations of the book fall into one of three categories: the major prophecies that are supposed to have been fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.; the historical view that Revelation predicts the course of human events from the founding of Christianity to the end of the world; or the futurist view that Revelation predicts events that will occur at the end of the world. 


It's actually none of the above, writes Zachary F. Lansdowne, a leading expert in the field of spiritual initiation. In the Introduction to this rich and complex interpretation, he writes, "According to its own verses, the Revelation is concerned with the present time, which is whatever time we happen to be reading it, and contains information that we can apply immediately to become blessed." 


This is not a book about "end times" or Armageddon and when it might come. This is a book written entirely in symbols, concealing a path for early Christians, and for the contemporary reader. Lansdowne has applied a unique psychological method of interpretation that takes each symbol as depicting some aspect of human consciousness rather than an eternal event, thus showing that the Revelation is actually a detailed instruction for the spiritual journey-a map to the wakening of higher consciousness. Moreover, while the Revelation appears in the great lineage of Judeo-Christian tradition, Lansdowne shows that its instruction can be appreciated and applied to seekers from any tradition. 


Lansdowne's line-by-line and verse-by-verse interpretation-presented here in an easy-to-read side-by-side format-is a manual for the true seeker who would follow teachings of Jesus as they were and are laid out, rather than as they have been interpreted by theologians and biblical historians. The Revelation of St. John, when unlocked by the key of psychological methodology, is revealed to contain ideas from many diverse wisdom traditions and philosophies-archangels in Judaism, chakras and kundalini in Hinduism, Buddhist mindfulness, the redemptive power of love in Christianity, and absolute standards of comparison in Platonic philosophy. Zachary Lansdowne's revelatory text makes these teachings of the path to true soul initiation available to seekers from every spiritual tradition. 


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