Review: Bid the Gods Arise


Duty-bound as son of the High Priest of Baelon, Maurin has resigned himself to an arranged marriage for the sake of his people. His cousin Aric yearns only for freedom and an escape from the visionary dreams that plague him. A single day of terror changes their lives forever. Now, slaves on a world they never dreamed existed, they find themselves caught up in a quest for freedom and the struggle against a tyrant’s throne.

They call her champion. Blood Goddess. Dania knows she is but a slave. Until the night she claims her freedom in blood. She will never submit to chains again, even if it means her own life…

Valasand Del Sirine is a Warden of the Gates, sent to Argoth on a secret mission. Her goal has been to find and eradicate the man responsible for defiling the Temple’s old colony with the scourge of a vile traffic. But there are whispers of an even greater darkness, gathering strength in the Gray Lands to the north…

Your dead shall rise against you…

All four find themselves linked in a common web of destiny, facing an evil beyond reckoning. Their only hope may lie in ancient prophecy – and in Valasand’s mysterious god…

I received an advance copy of Bid the Gods Arise in exchange for a review. As such, I had the unique opportunity to read this book without ever seeing a synopsis. I almost hesitate to write anything further as it would deprive potential readers here of the same experience. For those who wish for it, you can stop reading. For all others – read on.

The book starts as what appears to be a well-conceived work of “sword and sorcery”-style high fantasy. This on its own was enough to hold my interest as someone who had read and enjoyed other works in this genre. Then the narrative seamlessly transitions into a “Dune”-style space opera. I’ll point out here that these two terms are vastly over-simplified – author Robert Mullin has not just bridged these two genres but transcended them. Bid the Gods arise introduces us to a richly detailed universe – The Wells of the Worlds – that equally incorporates technological and “magical” elements. This world is more advanced than ours in a few, significant respects while behind in some and taking a completely different path in others. I personally would love to see the “tech bible” for his series.

Most contemporary high fantasy suffers from being pure derivations from Lord of the Rings. To a lesser extent, much can be said about the influence of Star Wars and Star Trek on the space opera genre. Mullin’s universe, however, emulates Tolkien’s project while utilizing entirely different source materials. In place of Norse and Finnish mythology, Mullin repurposes UFO and ancient astronaut theories as the basis of his secondary world. The story of Bid the Gods Arise takes place in just one corner of a vastly larger universe still waiting to be explored.

With a few exceptions, the book’s world-building is done organically. There is some exposition, but mostly at appropriate points in the narrative. A constant note of suspense and mystery balanced out the slower-paced passages. I also immensely enjoyed the characterization and chemistry of the two main characters: one is a “rule follower” with fairly rigid habits and beliefs while the other is a restless “maverick” who chafes at restrictions. Each supply something that’s lacking in the other, and their unique relationship drives much of the story.

I was particularly drawn to Maurin’s character arc. His struggle between attachment to his old life and beliefs (mainly an arranged, incomplete marriage vow on his old world) and embracing a new future (mainly a new love interest on his new world) is artfully tied into another central theme of the story: coming out from an old life serving old gods and a new life in service to the True God. I’ve rarely come across a “traditionalist” main character who is struggling with fear of risks and adapting to new circumstances. Most “action heroes” have authority issues and play loosely with the rules. As someone with the former personality type, this was refreshing to see – most authors seemingly regard it as too “boring” to explore in fiction.

Aric’s dream visions were another particularly fascinating part of the book. They were an essential story hook from the very beginning and contributed much of the suspenseful atmosphere. They were poetically mystical in a way that reminded me of Charles William’s War in Heaven (another book I highly recommend by the way). It’s awesome to come across a contemporary writer with a similar style.

There are many themes interwoven throughout the narrative. One central motif is tyranny vs freedom (both physical and spiritual). Parallel to it is the idea of being consumed by desires that grow beyond their proper boundaries: power, self-will, pleasure, immortality, etc. Many are inherent in the structure of the imagined world itself, which is clearly shaped by Judeo-Christian theology. Unlike much “Christian fantasy”, however, it is not a straight series of renamed biblical parallels. It incorporates many thought-provoking concepts that, strictly speaking, would not apply in the “primary world.” This was particularly interesting to me as a Christian author who writes for the general market. It makes the book more than a work of purely “Christian” fiction and gives it a larger target audience.

There are a few big caveats for the sensitive reader. This book contains some infrequent uses of profanity as well as an unvarnished look at the horrors inherent in human slavery. The central antagonist is a murderous psychopath who derives pleasure from raping, torturing and killing his slaves. There’s one scene where a slave, in turn, exacts a particularly brutal revenge against her master. There are also two subplots involving sexual affairs, though these are not portrayed as positive things: in one case, a participant becomes disgusted that they are simply “using” each other; the second leads one of the characters to an extremely unwise but irreversible decision. I’ll also say that these parts of the narrative are non-graphic and tastefully crafted to portray the feelings of the characters without necessarily evoking them in the reader, which is my primary concern. I would, of course, advise strong caution for certain age groups and some will want to avoid these passages regardless.

All this considered, I give the book a solid five stars. An awesome debut from a master storyteller! I look forward to exploring more of the Wells of the Worlds.



H. Halverstadt Books

H. Halverstadt Books, where my friend Heather Halverstadt and I contribute monthly, has officially rolled out their new website, complete with reviews, articles and resource pages. Check it below! Featured review is of Severed Signals by Steve Rzasa.

H. Halverstadt Books

Severed Signals



Review: War in Heaven


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We’re all familiar with the works of Lewis and Tolkien, but how many have heard of their fellow Inkling Charles Williams? This book was my first introduction to an exceptional yet largely forgotten Christian novelist whom C.S. Lewis admired greatly and considered a lifelong friend. He once remarked that Williams was “writing that sort of book in which we begin by saying, let us suppose that this everyday world were at some one point invaded by the marvelous.”

Fittingly, War in Heaven, as the first of Williams’s published novels, begins with a highly fantastical (i.e. “marvelous”) premise: What if the Holy Graal was found hiding in plain sight in 1930s England – and provided great power for either Good or Evil? This lays for the foundation for a grand, poetic drama of spiritual warfare, Arthurian lore, Black Magic, and divine providence.

The book’s opening sentence begins with a particularly artful “hook”:

The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse.

From there, the first part of the book unfolds like a murder mystery, though – unlike most true detective stories – the murderer is revealed to the audience quite near the beginning. The rest of the story is spent uncovering his specific motivations for the murder and how it fits into his larger plans. The closest comparison would be the contemporary thriller genre, though the pacing is quite different and can seem somewhat slow to a 21st century reader – the “action” element, while present, is de-emphasized in favor of characterization and dialogue. This is somewhat understandable, as Williams wrote well before the rise of contemporary cinematic culture (in England, at least, classical and Elizabethan drama largely occupied the cultural space now taken by Hollywood films). The plot, however, is kept riveting by the placement of “hook” revelations at key places in the story. It also has a somewhat unconventional structure that reverses linear time in places – some chapters will end with an event that the next chapter then precedes.

Somewhat unusually from the standpoint of contemporary writing (and sound business practices), the book’s cast of characters is portrayed in a way that makes the antagonist clear from the very beginning but leaves the identity of the main protagonist or “hero” debatable (some clarity comes only at the very end). This approach has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it allows for a wide cast of interesting characters all receiving more or less equal time within the story. On the other, it can sometimes result in ambiguity as to exactly where the story is going – though the plot itself (and the MacGuffin device) mostly compensates for this. Characterization is otherwise fabulous: the villain and his supporting characters, in particular, are drawn in a compelling, operatically heightened fashion that leaves no doubt about their evil nature but avoids caricatures. This is no mean accomplishment in a story about Good and Evil in the very highest sense.

The author’s own classical education comes through in the constantly poetic tone, expansive vocabulary and extensive use of Latin quotations (the average reader will probably appreciate having a dictionary near at hand). The book is also heavy with philosophical and theological concepts that, while they add thematic layers to the story, can seem esoteric to an outsider and require some mental effort to digest – particularly when appearing in the characters’ dialogue. Also, the spiritual elements (predominantly orthodox) are derived from High Church Anglicanism and may appear strange to those outside this tradition (like myself). I nevertheless found the concepts interesting (from a skeptic’s viewpoint), and much of the imagery was genuinely enriching in a poetic sense.

There are, of course, some elements of the book that I would charitably describe as dated. Authors from the 1930s are apt to use “ethnic” descriptions a bit more freely than a 21st-century audience would find appropriate. This book contains no outright slurs, but this sentence is used in reference to one of the antagonists (a particularly nasty individual who practices Black Magic): His bearded face was that of a Jew. It’s hardly overt (or even intentional) anti-Semitism, but it’s clearly something written before such sentiments were considered beyond the pale. 

This book was also written prior to the emergence of “Christian Fiction” as a separate market as well as the associated content standards. As such, while free of sexual content and technically a “Christian” novel, it does make use of profanity in places. This is usually “mild” terms such “d*mn”, “h*ll” etc, but there is also at least one use of the word “b***h” and of the Lord’s name in vain. I will point out that both of these last are clearly intended to illustrate the speakers’ own moral failings or depravity. It is, however, something more sensitive readers may want to keep in mind.

All in all, I would describe War in Heaven as a volume of compelling drama, skillful wit, beautiful language, gorgeous imagery, and ultimately, great literary value – but one can easily see why it has not achieved the lasting commercial success of either Lewis or Tolkien’s works. I would recommend it to anyone currently writing supernatural or spiritual thrillers – it’s an interesting example of how these types of stories were written decades before Frank Peretti. I myself look forward to exploring more of this author’s literary creations.






Review: The Red Rider

Most of us have probably come across the story of Little Red Riding at some point during our childhood. The Red Rider can be read as a legitimate sequel that takes things in an entirely new direction. Get ready to see the classic tale reimagined as you’ve never seen it before. What if the “wolf” was something else entirely? Something far more sinister – and only one of many?

What if Red Riding Hood hunted werewolves?

The above premise is what instantly drew me in to this book. I consider The Red Rider an outstanding example of what Hollywood screenwriter John Truby calls “undercutting the genre.” Basically, every story genre makes use of a “symbol web” composed of images (symbols) with special power that has value to the audience. Arthurian lore, for example, has the recognizable symbols of the Round Table, Excalibur, etc. A masterful storyteller can take advantage of audience familiarity and twist these symbols around so they defy expectations – in this case transforming a children’s fairy tale into a supernatural action thriller with a Zorro-style vigilante. The idea of re-purposing classic stories is one that has always fascinated me – what if you allowed a reader to simultaneously experience a familiar childhood wonder right alongside the more heightened emotions of the thriller genre? I hope to explore this concept in my own writing someday, and I congratulate author Randall Allen Dunn for blazing the trail.

A “werewolf” theme actually fits quite well with the original Little Red Riding Hood story when you think about it. The Red Rider further expands things by taking the werewolf legend itself back to its original roots. Hollywood has so transformed the concept in modern times that we often entirely forget that the werewolf of historical folklore is not the unwilling victim of a curse but a sorcerer acting out of malevolence. The book is therefore not simply a monster story but an epic clash of good and evil portrayed in overtly Christian spiritual terms. I was reminded at many points throughout the narrative of the following passage from Proverbs:

There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men. (Proverbs 30:14)

In my view, a well-written monster or horror story takes the imagery of this verse and portrays it in concrete terms. Taken literally, terms like “teeth as swords” and “jaw teeth as knives” imply an image quite close to things like vampires, werewolves, and all manner of imagined beings. It illustrates a key point – all these things are merely externalized manifestations of the evil existing within human beings.

The narrative itself immediately drew me into the heroine’s story. Haunted by a nightmarish encounter with a “wolf that spoke” Red Riding Hood – “Helena” – carries physical scars marking her as an outcast in her village community. She soon becomes the only one who can defend her home against a monstrous force – the same that devoured her grandmother and marred her own face. The character’s arc is well-drawn and compelling. One can literally feel her frustration and rage at the passivity of those around her in the face of evil running rampant. This actually made the book itself a somewhat frustrating experience due to the constant resistance the protagonists faces from those on her own side. Ultimately, there is only one person with the will to stand up and fight back: Helena herself. It reminded me of a point I’ve made elsewhere: horror is passive – outrage is active.

One other thing I appreciated is that the story avoids reliance on profanity or graphic sexual content (there is one scene where a villain character is clearly contemplating rape, but that’s as far as it goes). There is a high degree of violence, which more sensitive readers might find to be a bit much, but I wouldn’t call it gratuitous.

I do have some quibbles, of course. The characters’ dialogue tends to lapse into 21st century language and terminology, which lessens reader immersion in an otherwise well-constructed setting (18th-century France with some obvious historical liberties). It was clear at times that the characters were taking certain actions because the author needed them to instead of as a natural extension of who they were. Key plot elements were revealed rather quickly, such as the identity and nature of her enemies, which affected narrative tension and drive. The main villain’s plans and motivations came off as slightly cliched. These are all ultimately minor details, however, in the grand scheme of the story. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good action thriller with spiritual overtones and some balanced elements of horror. I look forward to cracking open the next installment in this saga.

Signal Boost: A Light in The Darkness

Greetings, Voyagers! For all of you who enjoy original and well-written speculative fiction, I am taking a moment today to spotlight the Superversive Literary Movement – a movement devoted to heroic and uplifting stories, inspired by the ideas of essayist extraordinaire Tom Simon. They are currently seeking subscribers for A Light in the Darkness, a newsletter of Christian Fantasy and Science Fiction from Superversive Press.


This newsletter offers news of new releases, freebies such as e-booklets and wallpaper graphics, plus announcements of upcoming sales and other intriguing topics.

Seven Deadly Tales: A Collection of Faustian Bargains (Lou’s Bar & Grill)

The free e-booklets (short ebooks) subscribers receive access to include: “Sloth” by Superversive Press contributor Frank Luke. “Sloth” is a Twilight Zone like short story from Frank’s new book: Lou’s Bar and Grill: Seven Deadly Tales — a book of faith and Faustian bargains.

And, for those who are unclear on what the Superversive Literary Movement is, Holy Godzilla of the Apocalypse, a short ebook of popular articles from the original Superversive blog (original post available here), explains exactly what all the excitement is about. Visit their website at!

Click here to subscribe to A Light in the Darkness and get your copy tomorrow!



Thoughts on Enoch, Part 3

My last two posts have parsed some of my thoughts on the meaning of just one passage from the Book of Enoch. It’s possible to write entire books on this text and its relationship to the biblical canon, but that’s already been done by scholars far more qualified than myself. What I’d like to leave you all with today is a final thought from the standpoint of a fiction writer.

Serious authors usually adopt a specific set of themes, symbols and motifs early on that manifests in their subsequent writing. Indeed, the opportunity to portray these very things is usually what draws them to the writing process. A primary theme in J.R.R. Tolkien’s works, for example is the temptation of power, expressed in the symbol of the Ring, with the recurring motif of characters’ desire to possess it. What makes these story elements so powerful is that the reader can usually discern some parallel to things in their own world. In Tolkien’s time this was largely the emergence of mechanized total war, centralized social planning, and the creation of the atom bomb (in his personal letters, he explicitly uses the “ring of power” imagery to critique these very things). This doesn’t mean that all truly meaningful stories are allegory (which Tolkien disliked), but rather they carry an enduring “applicability” to multiple types of readers, each of which can see some reflection of their own concerns and circumstances.

The same kind of multilayered symbolism can be seen in Scripture (arguably the ultimate origin of it). Just what is the significance of the “tree” motif and its connection to Life and the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Why are concepts such as “waters,” “mountains,” and “stars” so symbolically recurrent throughout the Bible? Why are certain specific things highlighted so strongly in the lives of the patriarchs, prophets and kings of old? Just what is this meant to tell us?

Those who’ve read my novel The Gevaudan Project and its associated short stories know that I make some use of the Tower of Babel as a storytelling symbol. Biblical commentators over the generations have meditated on the significance of this event – and the reasons for it – from a variety of directions, few of them mutually exclusive. My own perspective (outlined at length in Human Horizons and Morals are For Men, Not Gods) is the following: the Tower is the penultimate symbol of centralized, tyrannical power, manifesting again and again in various forms across the generations. The primary one I illustrate in my fiction is the inherently power-hungry aspirations of utopian intellectuals and ideologists – the so-called “gods of the latter age.” “Heaven on Earth” inevitably produces the opposite.

In the Book of Enoch, however, I have now found what may be a far more powerful illustration of the same concept. “Heaven on Earth” was exactly what the Watchers must have promised the human race before the Flood. The world likely greeted them with joy as sons of God supposedly sent to restore the Edenic kingdom. They surrendered their daughters, their wills, their lives and ultimately their very souls unto these beings for the sake of a false promise – and it ultimately destroyed them.

Babel are the Watchers are ultimately interconnected – for what was else was the one but an attempt to call down the other once more? What else have all of history’s tyrants sought but to reign on earth as these beings did? What else do their ideologies promise but their own form of forbidden knowledge? What is the arbitrary power of “experts” but a modern rule by magicians? As the great film director Cecile B DeMille asked at the close his of his epic The Ten Commandments:

Are men the property of the state, or are they free souls under God? The same battle continues throughout the world today.

A truly free-will being has neither need or desire for the occult wisdom of fallen angels, wizards or central planners. In their heart of hearts, all three types of beings know we do not need them – and this is why they must destroy all who oppose them by the most savage means possible. Let them try. Scripture tells us that they themselves will finally be destroyed.

Second Coming
Image: Pinterest


Thoughts on Enoch, Part 2

Last week, I began a topical analysis on the Book of Enoch, with special emphasis on the following passage:

And Azâzêl taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures.  And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. (1 Enoch 8:1)

To recap, my conclusion is that this refers to “magical” knowledge used for occult purposes as opposed to technological. I parsed my thoughts on this using examples from the likely time period of the book’s composition in Ancient Babylon (see Thoughts on Enoch, Part 1). I still find this the most reasonable reading of the text.

There’s just one thing: this perspective may have led me down a fairly terrifying rabbit hole. Let me show you what I mean with another set of examples.

  • Swords, and knives:
Related image
Image: Charme & Sortilege

Example of an “Athame” blade used by Wiccans and Satanists in occult rituals. See also Magical Tools in Wicca article on Wikipedia. 

This thing is for sale, mind you. 

  • Shields:
Protective Shield Pentacle Necklace, wiccan pagan wicca pentagram witchcraft
Image: eBay

Wiccan shield necklace for magical protection (also for sale). 

  • Breastplates:
Related image
Image: Pinterest

Modern Egyptian breastplate necklace. Perhaps not as overtly occultic as the other examples, but…

  • The fabrication of mirrors:
Image result for scrying mirror
Image: eBay

A scrying (i.e. divination) mirror for sale. You can get these on eBay. EBay!

  • The workmanship of bracelets and ornaments:
Image result for occult bracelet
Image: Alchemy England

Just one example of a Satanic bracelet – also for sale. Why?!

  • The use of paint, the beautifying of the eyebrows…all sorts of dyes:
Image result for wiccan makeup
Image: Noctemy

A “modern” look… or perhaps a very ancient one? 

  • The use of stones of every valuable and select kind:
Image result for occult gemstones
Image: Luciferothica

Sphere gemstones used in witchcraft for their occult “energies.” Like pretty much everything else I’ve covered, they are – you guessed it – for sale. 

Disturbing much? 

Join  me next week as I wrap up this series in Part 3. 




Thoughts on Enoch, Part 1

The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible by [Heiser, Michael S.]

Greetings, Voyagers! With The Gevaudan Project launch out of the way, I am at long last returning to my topical posts. Today, I’ll actually be revisiting some themes I touched on in my previous posts Human Horizons and Thoughts on Magic, Part 1 and Part 2. Like all of us, I continue to learn as I read, so I’m always ready to consider things from a new perspective. A book I recently finished was The Unseen Realm by Dr. Michael S. Heiser. I’ve written a full review which is available on Goodreads for anyone interested in checking out this book for themselves, which I highly recommend.

For my purposes here, I’ll touch on just one of the book’s main points: namely, the identity of the “sons of God” mentioned in Genesis 6 who intermarried with the “daughters of men.” Biblical commentators have historical held to two schools of interpretative thought on this passage. The most common view today sees the “sons of God” as righteous men from the line of Seth and the “daughters of men” being wicked descendants of Cain. The other view identifies the “sons of God” as fallen angels (also called “Watchers”) who took human wives to produce hybrid offspring (the “Nephilim” or “giants” mentioned in Genesis as well as other passages in the Old Testament). As Heiser points out, the second interpretation was, in fact, the traditional one among Second Temple Jews and ante-Nicene Christians. The evidence he presents is too voluminous to be quoted in full, but I’ll take a moment to say that I found it quite convincing as someone who has done some previous reading on the Early Church.


Forbidden Secrets

In addition to fathering semi-divine offspring, the Watchers were also seen as having imparted “forbidden knowledge” or “heavenly secrets” to the men of the pre-Flood world. The exact nature of this knowledge is described in the most detail by apocryphal texts such as the Book of Enoch:

And Azâzêl taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures.  And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjâzâ taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, Armârôs the resolving of enchantments, Barâqîjâl, taught astrology, Kôkabêl the constellations, Ezêqêêl the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiêl the signs of the earth, Shamsiêl the signs of the sun, and Sariêl the course of the moon. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven . . . (1 Enoch 8:1-2)

I’ll take a moment here to emphasize that I do not regard the Book of Enoch as inspired Scripture nor, strictly speaking, an accurate record of events. There is a reason it was ultimately left out of the biblical canon. Those who have read my post Secrets of the Ancients also know that I envision pre-Flood humans as vastly intelligent and inherently innovative. If we accept this passage in a completely literally sense, almost all of the “arts” or “technologies” it mentions are things they would have been fully capable of creating or learning on their own. Indeed, a straightforward reading of Genesis indicates that individuals such as Jabal, Jubal and Tubal-Cain did just that and were not (as in Enoch) morally censured for doing so.

With that being said, I tend to take a more nuanced view of the Book of Enoch than the two usual Christian camps of uncritical acceptance on the one hand and just as absolute rejectionism on the other. The one ignores clear problems and contradictions within the text while the other completely ignores the high regard many early Church Fathers had for the book as well as its use by the biblical writers (see Heiser’s podcast on this topic here).  So what would a truly reasoned approach to the book look like?

Background and Interpretation

Its original author or authors remain unknown, and it appears to be a composite document with material from several different time periods. Most scholars trace it, at the very earliest, to the Jews’ captivity in ancient Babylon. It could have begun at that time as an “artistic” work similar to John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” – something most contemporary Christians would consider good reading but hardly inspired Scripture. Milton’s work, incidentally, makes many poetical allusions to events and circumstances in his own time period – Lucifer’s War in Heaven is actually described with weapons immediately recognizable as 17th-century cannons. The list of “forbidden arts” in Enoch was probably a poetic way that its Jewish author, drawing on pre-existing oral traditions about the Watchers, indicated those aspects of Babylonian culture where demonic influence was most pervasive. In fact, scholarship tends to bear this out. One book I highly recommend is The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Traditions, from which my own analysis is largely derived. In light of this, here’s how I would parse Enoch 8:

  • Swords, knives… The metals of the earth and the art of working them:

To start off, it would be absurd to view “metalworking” itself as somehow inherently sinful, given that smiths existed in Ancient Israel are even spoken of positively in some Biblical passages (see an extended treatment of this subject here). Also, the use of bladed objects and tools would already have been a necessity as early as Cain and Abel. Animal sacrifice is mentioned very early on in Genesis, and later books describe in detail how an offering was slain and its remains cut in pieces. There’s a case to be made that Cain actually slew Abel with his own sacrificial blade.

So is this statement completely inaccurate and without value? Not quite. One interesting fact that escapes modern readers is that most ancient cultures viewed blacksmiths as sorcerers, particularly when forging swords (one fascinating historical overview is available here). This is how they would have been viewed in Babylon – and in all likelihood they would have gladly accepted the label. Their art involved spells, enchantments and incantations in addition to regular metallurgy. Contemporary readers of Enoch would have immediately grasped what it was referring to. It may even be a clue pointing to a “magical” occult practice that existed in the pre-Flood world. We are all familiar with the mythological archetype of an “enchanted sword.” One obviously has to be careful when using fiction as an interpretive tool, but could this perhaps describe something the like the “Sith swords” created by “Force alchemy” in the Star Wars Legends universe? 

Image: Wookieepedia
  • Shields:

Technically, this would fall under the category above, but I’ll take a moment to point out that the use of shields has historically been just as much ritual as practical. Just one example would be the ceremonial shields used by Celts for religious ceremonies (see this Wikipedia article on the Battersea shield). Perhaps this could harken back to a pre-Flood artifact used in occult religious ceremonies or that provided supernatural means of protection as opposed to strictly physical?


Breastplates have also historically had occult and ceremonial uses just as significant as their use in combat. One prominent example would be as part of the attire of Egyptian pharaohs as seen below:

Related image


And, of course, most readers here will be familiar with the “ephod” breastplates of Levite priests. It’s not too hard to picture the Watchers giving them to their followers for use in a false religious system.

Image result for ephod breastplate
  • The fabrication of mirrors:

Mirrors have a strictly practical use, but have also been used throughout history as a means of divination. See this Wikipedia article on scrying.

  • The workmanship of bracelets and ornaments… The use of stones of every valuable and select kind:

Jewels in Ancient Babylon were used as magical amulets ensuring good fortune or giving power. All the Mesopotamian gods are described as using amulets in battle.

  • The use of paint, the beautifying of the eyebrows…all sorts of dyes:

We may be inclined to think strictly in terms of carnal sexuality, but even this has supernatural implications. Cosmetics were believed to have magical properties within Babylonian culture, and the goddess Ishtar is mentioned as wearing makeup specifically imbued with the power of sexual attraction.

Sculpture, Art, Statue, Religion, Ancient, Ishtar

  • Enchantments and root-cuttings:

This corresponds to the occult-based practices of ancient Babylonian medicine (asutu) as well as herbal ingredients for magic and amulets containing herbs and roots. Perhaps it could even imply the use of spells to alter the substance of herbs and give them unnatural and dangerous properties. To put it in other terms, “magic potions.”


  • The resolving of enchantments:

This likely refers to exorcism techniques with Babylonian religion (asiputu).

  • Astrology… the constellations:

This corresponds to planetary omens mentioned on tablets 50-70 of “Enuma Anu Enlil”, and ancient Babylonian astrological text widely used by the priestly caste.

  • The knowledge of the clouds:

This corresponds to Babylonian meteorological omens, or the “signs of Adad” on tablets 37-49 of Enuma Anu Enlil.

  • The signs of the earth:

This corresponds to terrestrial omens mentioned in the “Summa alu” another Babylonian religious text.

  • The signs of the sun:

This corresponds to celestial omens (the “signs of Sin”) on tablets 1-22 of Enuma Anu Enlil.

  • The course of the moon:

Yet another set of celestial omens (“signs of Shamash”) found on tablets 23-36 of Enuma Anu Enlil.

The Takeaway

There are a few points I’m making in all of this. One is the very strong historical, textual and traditional evidence that the “sons of God” passages in Genesis 6 literally describes fallen angels descending to intermarry with humanity and teach them forbidden knowledge. The Book of Enoch contains the most detailed account of what this could have consisted of, but is primarily based on practices that existed in Babylon (the closest thing its author – almost certainly not Enoch himself – could have observed to what he was attempting to describe). Furthermore, this knowledge was specifically occult knowledge as opposed to civilizational or technological. I emphasize this last point in order to reemphasize one I’ve already made in Human Horizons. God created humans specifically with the ability to create, to innovate and to explore – pre-Flood man would not have needed fallen angels to teach him any of these things. In fact, that was almost exactly the opposite of what the Watchers were doing. One of the early Church Fathers, Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), offered his own summary of how they interacted with mankind:

But if this idea take possession of some one, that if we acknowledge God as our helper, we should not, as we say, be oppressed and persecuted by the wicked; this, too, I will solve. God, when He had made the whole world, and subjected things earthly to man, and arranged the heavenly elements for the increase of fruits and rotation of the seasons, and appointed this divine law — for these things also He evidently made for man — committed the care of men and of all things under heaven to angels whom He appointed over them. But the angels transgressed this appointment, and were captivated by love of women, and begot children who are those that are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings, and partly by fears and the punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense, and libations, of which things they stood in need after they were enslaved by lustful passions; and among men they sowed murders, wars, adulteries, intemperate deeds, and all wickedness. Whence also the poets and mythologists, not knowing that it was the angels and those demons who had been begotten by them that did these things to men, and women, and cities, and nations, which they related, ascribed them to god himself, and to those who were accounted to be his very offspring, and to the offspring of those who were called his brothers, Neptune and Pluto, and to the children again of these their offspring. For whatever name each of the angels had given to himself and his children, by that name they called them. [See Second Apology, Chapter 5, “How the angels transgressed”]

Join me next week as we continue this topic in Part 2.


Announcing: Talos

Author Image

Greetings, Voyagers! I’m officially back from my post-launch sabbatical. As a reward for your patience, I would like to officially announce my next novel, currently in-progress and which I expect to take me at least two years to finish. The first draft of the first chapter is currently available for download from my mailing list. As with the The Gevaudan Project, advance review copies will also become available to all subscribers.

Now, without further ado, I announce:





From the heart of blood and darkness, a god is born…

Four people meet at the center of a storm. 
Mourning his deceased wife and carrying the scars of life-altering injuries, former Seattle detective Ronan Church has dedicated himself to the pursuit of a killer only he believes exists…
Rebuilding her life in the wake of unspeakable loss, former refugee Mei Li Tran, now established in her career as a 911 dispatcher, is tested to the limits of her skills even as she faces the demons of her past…
Widowed years before and raising a child alone, Sioux Falls police sergeant Michael Emmerich finds a quiet fulfillment in his work. But a bizarre series of murders and threats, steadily escalating to unprecedented levels, shakes his orderly world and brings his city into the grip of fear…
FBI counter-intelligence officer Petra Schiller comes to Sioux Falls on the trail of a major security breach at the U.S. military’s DARPA research division. What she finds is a revelation more deadly than anything she could have imagined…
All soon find themselves ensnared in a web of terror and violence, conceived by architects whose ambition is nothing less than the destiny of the human race…


Man will be surpassed.



If this has whetted your appetite, sign up below to immediately download a draft of the first chapter today and receive an advance review copy ahead of release!

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