Behind The Crystal Ball is a fascinating exploration of occult practice which takes the reader on a whirlwind tour through time and space, traveling from the ancient Tigris-Euphrates river valley to the streets of our modern-day cities. On the way, it catalogs the many ways people have used magic over the millennia in the hope of improving their lives. Although most ancestral and contemporary superstitions sound foolish to us, they are cultural reminders of a time when magic was nearly indistinguishable from science. Professor Anthony Aveni argues persuasively that we cannot separate a cultures perception of reality from its times. The ancient priests of Egypt saw the dung beetle, or scarab, as a sign of life not because they were ignorant primitives, but because they were using the available clues in the world around them to map out a greater truth. When Kabbalists sought to discover meaning through the letters in a name or an historical date, they were seeking to satisfy a very deeply held urge. The ancients sought the same goals we now obtain from science and religiona clearer picture of humanitys place in the cosmos. How and why has Western thought and scientific inquiry diverged from magic? At a time when crystals, channeling, faith healing, earth worship, and transcendental meditation are enjoying a renaissance, the lines between science, magic, and the occult are beginning to blur once again. Comparing Harry Houdini and scientific provocateur Richard Feynman, Professor Aveni asks, "Is magic in the eye of the beholder?"Aveni, Anthony is the author of 'Behind the Crystal Ball Magic, Science, and the Occult from Antiquity Through the New Age' with ISBN 9780870816710 and ISBN 0870816713.