The Golden Bough - Book 01: The King of the Wood

Updated: Jun 16

By: A. W. Finnegan #NaturalLaw #Statism #Religion





This is a series of lectures and studies on the classic literary work, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, by: Sir James G. Frazer


This is the series of lectures that covers the first book within the larger book, The Golden Bough by Sir James G. Frazer. As I have been doing book reviews on my site, this is a far more in-depth discussion and I've created an entire study on the work, since this classic piece of literature written in 1890 has so much relevant material as it relates to occultism, esoteric philosophy, magic, religion, and ancient civilizations. There are 4 sections or book subsections that make up the entire book. Book 01: The King of the Wood, Book 02: Killing the God, Book 03: The Scapegoat, and Book 04: The Golden Bough. This is Book 01 and it consists of 12 chapters. I have made a complete breakdown of each chapter along with an introductory video. They are:


Introductory Remarks

Chapter 01. The King of the Wood

Chapter 02. Priestly Kings

Chapter 03. Magic and Religion

Chapter 04. Human Gods

Chapter 05. Departmental Kings of Nature

Chapter 06. The Worship of Trees

Chapter 07. The Sacred Marriage

Chapter 08. The Kings of Rome

Chapter 09. The Succession to the Kingdom

Chapter 10. The Burden of Royalty

Chapter 11. The Perils of the Soul

Chapter 12. Taboos


Section 00 - Introductory Remarks and Overview





This is the first of a long series of videos I will be doing on the material and content discussed in the classic literary work, The Golden Bough, by Sir James G. Frazer, first published in 1890, and continues to be an important text today on the obscure rituals found within and outside of classical antiquity. It continues to influence the knowledge-base of those in the occult arts as well as from a historical perspective.


Frazer was not a religious man or an occult practitioner, and his views are limited to a philanthropic framework, but nonetheless the work holds much relevance for the minds of all sides of the equation, from occultist to historian and beyond. This is the first video of many to come, an introductory video to give my introductory remarks and the general oversight of the many videos to come on this study.


The Sacred Grove of Diana at Lake Nemi, the site of a strange ritual with obscure origins outside of classical antiquity. This unusual ritual serves as the basis for the larger survey on magic and religion from a historical perspective in this work of literature. This ancient fertility cult of Diana: Goddess of the hunt, wilderness, chastity, fertility, and the Moon, was at the heart of this Priesthood under the title 'Rex Nemorensis', the priest known as the 'King of the Wood' where the tragedies occurred.



Chapter 01. The King of the Wood




The Sacred Grove of Diana at Lake Nemi was the site of a recurring violent tragedy that put dark undercurrents of fear and terror through the otherwise peaceful, inherently beautiful grove at the serene Lake which the Rex Nemorensis priesthood proceeded in succession with rites of murder and bloodshed. The question remains: Why and for what purpose?


"...legends that traced their spilt blood to fables containing a deeper philosophy of the relation between the life of man to the life of nature, a sad philosophy which gave birth to tragic practice."




Chapter 02: Priestly Kings



This chapter, the second chapter in the first section of the book, Book 01. Chapter 02 - Priestly Kings describes the dynamic between the religious and state role and duty of Priest and King, and the historical and symbolic significance of the Priest as King, with emphasis on the destruction of Natural law by religion/state and cutting off man/woman from his/her inherent spiritual nature to be subservient to and reliant on the religion/state to replace his/her spiritual identity and initiation The two questions to be answered:


1. Why had Diana’s Priest of Nemi, the King of the Wood, to slay his predecessor?


2. Why before doing so had he to pluck the branch of a certain tree which the public opinion of the ancients identified with Virgil’s Golden Bough?


We will search more in-depth into the origins and functions of the Priest-Kings, or Sacral Kings and their significance in as religious rite and authority of state



Chapter 03. Magic and Religion




describes the interrelationship between magic and religion, with my own additional discussion with emphasis on state, religion, and Natural Law The chapter is a discussion on the question of what magic has to do with the formation of religion, did magic come before religion? to what extent does magic influence religion and vice versa?



Chapter 04. Human Gods




This chapter, the fourth chapter, in the first section of the book, Book 01. Chapter 04. Human Gods describes the history of humans being equated with gods or deities, and oftentimes for those in positions of authority, religion, or proficient in occult practices, with my own additional discussion with emphasis on state, religion, and Natural Law This builds off the ideas from the last chapter, where magic preceded, influenced or amalgamated with religion, and later becoming its taboo



Chapter 05. Departmental Kings of Nature



This is the fifth chapter in book 01: Book 01. Chapter 05. Departmental Kings of Nature. This chapter looks at the practice of Kings as priests that rule over the elements through departments, with power being distributed compared to one king ruling all building off the ideas from the last chapter, where humans were taken as gods in the supernatural sense, and ruled others through superstition and fear of punishment


Much of this course puts emphasis on Natural Law and the gradual process by kingdoms, religions, state, of stripping the individual of his/her inherent nature and full potential, in return for an obedience to religion/state through fear and superstition



Chapter 06. The Worship of Trees




This chapter, the sixth chapter, of Book 01, describes the history, custom, and significance of the worship of trees, with my own additional discussion with emphasis on state, religion, and Natural Law


The chapter is a discussion building on the origins and concept involved in the 'King of the Wood' at the Sacred Grove of Diana, and the history the role trees, forests, and vegetation have played in societal structures and religious influence. The historical outline and theoretical framework will be discussed



Chapter 07. The Sacred Marriage



This chapter, the eighth chapter in the first section of the book, Book 01. Chapter 08: The Kings of Rome, describes the Kingship of the Roman Empire, the culture and society and their customs with my own additional discussion with emphasis on state, religion, and Natural Law.


The chapter is a discussion on the Kings of Rome, also the God Jupiter in which served as a model to emulate, with additional insight on the role and symbolism it played in the society. The historical outline and theoretical framework of both magic and religion will be discussed...


Chapter 08. The Kings of Rome




This chapter, the eighth chapter in the first section of the book, Book 01. Chapter 08: The Kings of Rome, describes the Kingship of the Roman Empire, the culture and society and their customs with my own additional discussion with emphasis on state, religion, and Natural Law. The chapter is a discussion on the Kings of Rome, also the God Jupiter in which served as a model to emulate, with additional insight on the role and symbolism it played in the society. The historical outline and theoretical framework of both magic and religion will be discussed...


Chapter 09. The Succession to the Kingdom



This is the ninth chapter, in the first section of the book Book 01. Chapter 09 The Succession to the Kingdom describes the customs of succession by kings in various cultures and the customs involved in the appointment of new kings to the throne, the religious and symbolic associations therein, with my own additional discussion with emphasis on state, religion, and Natural Law


The chapter is a discussion on the question of succession of kingship in various ancient kingdoms, the customs and traditions around the world, the similarities between them, the differences between them, the symbolism, The historical outline and theoretical framework of succession to the throne by kings will be discussed


Chapter 10. The Burden of Royalty




The chapter is full of interesting facts on the life of royalty, the sacred kings and the life they lived, the strict observances, taboos, and unusual behavior that could be comparable to nothing short of abuse, in various ancient kingdoms, the customs and traditions around the world, the similarities between them, the differences between them, the symbolism, and the historical outline and theoretical framework of the burdensome life of many of the royal lines will be discussed



Chapter 11. The Perils of the Soul



The chapter is a study on the deeper meanings of life and death and the spirit world, the basic substance behind the the enigma and mystery of death, and the superstitions and perhaps partial truths that formed the basis of many taboos which were created to guard themselves against. This fear-based lifestyle centered around sorcery and the influence of demonic spirits or those of the dead and the restless dead, it studies the deeper meaning of death in various ancient kingdoms, establishing customs and traditions around the world, the similarities between them, the differences between them, the symbolism and superstitions therein



Chapter 12. Taboos




The chapter is a study on the taboos as strict observances or rules that cultures of the past lived by, many of which had to do with protection or security against sorcery or death, many of which had superstitious undertones and based in fear. This fear-based lifestyle centered around sorcery and the influence of demonic spirits or those of the dead and the restless dead, it studies the different taboos at every end of the globe from ancient to more modern times, establishing customs and taboos around the world, the similarities between them, the differences between them, the symbolism and superstitions therein.

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