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review 2020-05-30 15:50
The Great Wizards of Antiquity
The Great Wizards of Antiquity - Guy Ogilvy

by Guy Ogilvy

 

I have to admit I was expecting this to be more biographical about the known magicians in history, but it actually turned out to be even more interesting.

 

The first part covers the prehistoric culture of the Lion Man and tribal magic, then it moves on to the Orphic and Dionysian cults and the great figures of myth, which I found very interesting. A lot of history and basically anthropology comes into it, then it moves forward in history eventually coming to mathematicians and alchemists, some of whom are better known like Paracelsus, though I have to admit a little disappointment that John Dee and Nicholas Flamel got left out as these are two of the most relevant personages in the history of magic. But then another reviewer said there was a series, so maybe we'll eventually see even relatively modern magicians like Crowley, Austin Spare, Jaq D. Hawkins and Peter J. Carroll!

 

The writing style might seem dry to some, but those of us who enjoy mythology don't mind that. The personal experiences of the author also lent interest. Altogether a fascinating and well researched piece of work.

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review 2020-05-16 13:44
Occulture
Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward - Carl Abrahamsson,Gary Valentine Lachman

by Carl Abrahamsson

 

Non-fiction

 

One of the first things I noticed with this book is that the chapter headings have notes below the titles that say each of them was first given at a lecture or printed as an article someplace, so it soon became clear that this is a collection of several years' writings collected by the author into book form for presentation to a new audience. The subject matter is sufficiently different in each to create a nicely balanced volume on occult influence in society and particularly in art.

 

This is not a book for learning to do magic(k), but is more about modern cultural influences and symbols that enter mainstream consciousness through various mediums of artistic expression. In the Forword written by Gary Lachman, he explains the term 'occulture', occult + culture, coined by Genesis-P-Orridge, a cult figure in certain circles of modern day magicians, then goes on to point out connections between art and the occult and the significance of interpreting one through the other.

 

The lectures and articles cover a fascinating variety of loosely related topics. They include commentaries on alternative lifestyles and the rise of occult culture through significant periods like the 1960s and 1980s and the British and German groups and personalities who shaped much of modern occult culture.

 

The reader gets the benefit of a perspective by someone who 'was there' and understands the significance of a variety of cultural influences that still affect the culture today. He speaks of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth as well as about Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey and what he feels were the relevant contributions by controversial groups and personalities.

 

The perspective is very much about the intellectual side of the occult. No new age or airy-fairy crystal hugging comes into it. As occult history goes, this is an excellent reflection of the later twentieth century developments that built on the legacy of earlier magical Orders and traditions and the effects of an expanding cultural awareness that would shake the foundations of pre-twentieth century European occult study.

 

The significance of art and creativity is emphasised as is the freedom of social mores from the staid, limiting celibacy of groups like the early Golden Dawn and the cautions required by Medieval magicians to avoid any sniff of scandal that might lead to charges of heresy.

 

The history of Nazi involvement in the occult is detailed in one of the lectures and makes for interesting reading from a historical perspective as well. That lecture somehow moves from this to beatniks in California, which gives the reader an idea of the broad scope of some of the topics discussed.

 

This book would be of interest to anyone interested in occult history or in cultural development and the influence of art. It fills in the recent gaps in documented history for those of us who are too young to have been there for the changes in the 1980s and before as these periods are often not addressed in earlier books on the subject.

 

It also goes into everything from philosophy to conspiracy theories in recent decades and even Pokemon Go! I found all of the articles interesting for different reasons. A real treasure for anyone with interest in magick or the occult.

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review 2020-05-10 14:38
Llewellyn's Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick
Llewellyn's Complete Book of Ceremonial Magick: A Comprehensive Guide to the Western Mystery Tradition - Lon Milo DuQuette

by Lon Milo DuQuette; David Shoemaker; Stephen Skinner; Dennis William Hauck; David Rankine; John Michael Greer; Brandy Williams; David Shoemaker; Sam Webster; Anita Kraft; David Allen Hulse; Randall Lee Bowyer; Aaron Leitch; Chic Cicero; Sandra Tabatha Cicero; Marcus Katz

 

There are some very familiar names among the authors of this work, though I don't recognise all of them. The work consists of several smaller 'books' written by people knowledgeable about the various subjects covered. It starts out with introductions by Lon Milo DuQuette (a well-known and respected occultist) and David Shoemaker (whom I haven't come across before). This is followed by a section on the history of magic by Sam Webster (a name I've seen before but don't know well) which touches on some key events but makes no attempt to be comprehensive in the short space allotted.

 

Next is a section on Kabbalah by Anita Kraft and Randall Lee Bowyer. It has an extensive history, but I felt it failed to get the real depth of the subject. Why would an occultist want to learn about this? I know the answer to that, but I didn't feel it was provided for the newbie reader.

 

This is followed by Planetary Magick by David Rankine. I've been wanting to read something by David Rankine for a while as he's someone I keep hearing about! Planetary Magick is basically astrology re-branded and this gave a history of it, rather than a how-to, which seems to be the theme of the book.

 

Then we have a chapter on Alchemy, written by Dennis William Hauck. Again, we got a good overview of history. I was pleased to see mention of the Greek occupation of Egypt, though I've yet to find a book that goes into Alchemy among the Ancient Egyptians compared to the Greek interpretation that is known as Hermeticism.

 

Demonology & Spirit Evocation by Dr Stephen Skinner comes next. This is one of those very familiar names. He explains the history of demonology and how the name 'Demon' got applied to a variety of pre-Christian spirits, both good and malevolent. Apparently he believes all magic comes from spirits, which many magicians might argue.

 

The Magick of Abra-Melin by Marcus Katz follows. I read the Book of Abra-Melin the Mage when I was in High School and fairly new to occult literature so I was a little surprised to see how steeped in Judeo-Christian religion this book actually is. The ritual to contact your Guardian Angel plays an important role and for that reason would be of interest to Thelemites. As with the other sections, this one gives a history and a general idea of what it's all about.

 

Enochian Magick and Mystercism by Aaron Leitch is about Angel Magick and provides some interesting history about the Elizabethan era and especially about John Dee. The Golden Dawn by Chic Cicero & Sandra Tabitha Cicero, authors I've heard of for years, follows. This one started out sounding like a recruitment advert for the Golden Dawn, but settled into history after the initial burst. I think this one crammed too much history of Western esotericism into one chapter. If I hadn't already been familiar with half of the history, which covers far more than the role of the Golden Dawn, I would have been lost. Ironically all that history fits into a fifteen year time frame in the Victorian era and emphasises that much of what we know as Western magic(k) is based in 19th century Christian mysticism. They didn't mention that the original GD members believed in celibacy, even between married couples, but it did point out that women were included and even influential in the Order.

 

Thelema & Aleister Crowley by David Shoemaker was no surprise as Crowley would have to turn up in a book of this nature. He was mentioned briefly in the previous chapter, but there was more focused attention on his magical influence in this one. The only thing that niggled is lack of information about the actual origins of the concept of Thelema, which is written about in Plato and the Bible.

 

Polytheistic Ceremonial Magic by John Michael Greer I found a little confusing. It started out with a welcome overview of magic(k) preceding the Christianisation of various systems, then suddenly I was reading passages from a couple of other authors. Perhaps some extracts needed introduction. It then goes into the authors own amalgamation of Druidry and Golden Dawn format ritual instruction as well as a couple of well-known rituals like the LBRP.

 

We wrap up with Magician's Tables by David Allen Hulse, something important to any book about Ceremonial magick, then The Future of Ceremonial Magick by Brandy Williams, which was, shall we say, abstract and more about the future of our world than specifically about where magick is going.

 

The author information, placing them both in the Caliphate OTO, explains the lack of mention of Kenneth Grant or of Austin Spare and the rise of Chaos Magick from the 1970s. Despite that, for someone completely new to magic(k) of any kind, the book does provide a lot of interesting history and context for a lot of practices still prevalent today. It would make a good companion book to go with the old texts mentioned throughout the book.

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review 2020-04-07 14:33
The Ancient Magick of Trees
The Ancient magick of Trees - Gregory Michael Brewer

by Gregory Michael Brewer

 

This is a very informative book, presented in four parts. The first part covered lore about trees in different cultures. It seems well-researched, but I found the tone reminiscent of children's textbooks. Still the information was interesting.

 

The second part is the books greatest strength. A list of trees with attributes and detailed drawings to show leaves, bark and any other identifying characteristics of the tree. These entries would make identification very easy and I may well take it out on my walks to get to know my local trees better.

 

The third section details tree correspondences in various systems, followed by part four which suggests activities to work with trees magically. These were written in a tone more in keeping with other new age books and the actual content seemed well thought out and appropriate for the target audience with an interest in paganism and nature magic.

 

Overall a very worthwhile book on the topic.

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review 2019-11-27 10:16
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Elemental Magick (The Donovan Coven #1) by Jacki James
Elemental Magick (The Donovan Coven #1) - Jacki James

#GRRC, @Jackileejames, #Paranormal, #Fantasy, #MM, #Romance, 4 out of 5 (very good)

 

Elemental Magick is the first book in The Donovan Coven series. We start off with the Grimoire itself as it tries to ensure it becomes Aaron's. There is instant attraction between Malakai and Aaron, quickly followed by proclamations of love and being soul mates. If you don't like insta-love, trust me, you probably won't like this book.

 

The story itself is fast-paced, quickly moving from one scene to another without a real chance to get to know each character. It flows nicely though, so as long as you're prepared to go with the flow and not dive too deep, you'll be fine. As you might expect, Aaron is a whiz at magic, even though he's a newbie. And at least one of his friends is a latent witch too.

 

This was a brilliant book, full of action both in and out of the sheets. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more in the series.

 

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

 

Merissa

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/single-post/2019/11/26/Elemental-Magick-The-Donovan-Coven-1-by-Jacki-James
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