Posts in Book Review
Venomous Words | an Afternoon Tea in London

When writing non-fiction, hiding behind smoke and mirrors of arcane language is never good style, but just another version of the Emperor's New Clothes. Magic will dwell in your words, when you have sentences to say that can be read and understood on multiple levels - not by replacing an 'i' with a 'y' or trying to imitate the powerful and yet complex language of one Daniel Schulke.

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'Decad of Intelligence' by ithEll colquhoun

Just recently in 2017 FULGUR added a set of 10 outstanding doorways to the already existing body of magical expedition maps. Their breathtaking book 'Decad of Intelligence' is a beast so rare and precious, it actually is not a book at all. It is the kind of object you will not want to place on a shelf, but rather allow it to breathe in your temple.

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Book Review - The Testament of Cyprian the Mage

In a not at all metaphorical sense JSK’s final double volume is an expedition into the ancestral blood-ties of this famous sorcerer-saint. To embark on it is to encounter Cyprian the Mage. Not only as the hero of an ancient polemic against the last surviving pagans, but more importantly as a still present inner contact, a powerful spirit in its own right.

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Book Review - Michael Carroll: Fearless at Work

Fearless at Work actually isn't a book about work. It's a book about cowardice. The kind of cowardice most of us comfortably have forgotten about, and to aid that process we conveniantly began to call it everyday life. It's the cowardice that masks itself as numb acceptance or bitter withdrawal, as grudging tolerance or thick-skinned suffering. Fearless at Work is a book about the siege-mentality that most of us have come to live in these days.

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A rare 1920s Example of Occult Book Publishing

Despite being buried in oblivion by most of us today, Dr. phil. Franz Sättler was quite a remarkable figurehead of the 20th century German speaking occultism. Born on 7th March 1883 in Brüx, Bohemia and deceased about 1942 in Nazi captivity, Sättler during his lifetime was not only a remarkable and highly gifted orientalist, travel writer from the Orient and co-author of the first German-Persian dictionary, but also a spy, a magician, a dealer in occult books and services, a social reformer, a rebel for sexual freedom and - obviously - the founder of the cult of Adonism. (...)

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Book Review | Part 2: 'The First Years of the Fraternitas Saturni'

In Eugen Grosche (1888-1964, aka Gregor A Gregorius), the founder of the Fraternitas Saturni, we come across one of the most chatoyant characters in the more recent tradition of Western Magic. Throughout his life he had a strongly polarising effect on people. While avoiding much of the public excesses and scandals of his magical contemporaries (e.g. Austin Osman Spare, Aleister Crowley or the slightly younger Rosaleen Norton), his impact on the German speaking tradition of magic cannot be over-estimated. (...)

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Book Review | Part 1: 'The First Years of the Fraternitas Saturni'

(...) Just like the previous release, Mr.Lechler’s new book on 'The First Years of the Fraternitas Saturni' is of incredible value in light of the above. It continues to dismantle many of the myths of our tradition that we allowed to turn cold and become false orthodoxy. The results of his painful private studies and research continue to break open the stone we, i.e. the German speaking tradition of magic believed to firmly stand on. In doing so, Mr. Lechler’s new book offers a vast amount of new perspective, new interpretations and of living stories to come. (...)

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Book Review: 'Heinrich Tränker' by Volker Lechler - Part 2

Volker Lechler’s biography of Heinrich Tränker opens a profound new perspective on our magical past as it emerged in the early 20th century. Based on the life and work of Tränker as its central hub the book paints an equally broad and incredibly accurate and detailed picture of the origin stories of many of our current magical orders and how they were formed by the personalities and human weaknesses of their founders. 

Acquiring such knowledge and understanding of one’s own tradition’s history is so much more than satisfying academic or historic curiosity. It enables today’s students of magic to consciously realise the human errors woven into the tapestry of tradition they learn from.

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Book Review: 'Heinrich Tränker' by Volker Lechler - Part 1

How do you review a book that begins to dismantle the myths of an entire tradition? A tradition that depends so much on the numinous, the ill-defined such as Western Ritual Magic. A tradition in fact that was only able to develop in the absence of books like this.

Such books are the results of decades of research, countless hours, weeks and months in old archives, of reading, re-reading and cross-referencing handwritten notes, letters and biographical evidence left behind by their now famous authors. Such books begin to replace myth with fact and craving for a mythical past with the knowledge of what truly happened. It is books like these that make the busts of our ancestors tumble and threaten to reduce them to what they truly were - people who struggled to understand the path of magic just as we do today. Yet, maybe even more drastic to some, books like these threaten to make entire lodge egregores tumble and fall - in the bright light of historic facts, in the mirror that reveals our ancestors’ flaws and lies born from their desire to recreate a romantic past rather than recognising it for what it was.

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Book Review: 'Magic of the North Gate' by Josephine McCarthy

The 'North Gate’ is a book as daring in its approach, dense in its content and demanding in its techniques as a line of metal hooks in a steep rock face. Simply reading it will amaze you about what real everyday, practical magic can do to yourself as well as the world around you. Just like a steep rock when faced from down below this book will also scare you - about the sheer amount of work that lies ahead of you and about how insufficient your own foundations suddenly might seem. 

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Petting Scorpions - On Anxiety Disorders and the Demonic Realm

Petting Scorpions is an expression I came across in Daniel Smith’s book ‘Monkey Mind’. It is a small volume exploring the reality of living with anxiety disorders from a very personal point of view. In essence, Daniel is sharing his own story of dealing with his multiple anxieties from when they first emerged to the present day as an author, husband and parent. It is no happy-ending story, as he remarks himself. Rather it is a story that enables one to take a closer look at the siamese twin relationship one needs to accept when suffering from this kind of mental disorder.

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Book Review: '20th Century Magic' by Alan Richardson

Yesterday I finished reading 20th Century Magic and the Old Religion (originally published as 'Dancers to the Gods') by Alan Richardson. Well, to be honest, I didn’t finish the whole book but just its long biographic introduction which is why I bought it in the first place. What follows from there - and what I only read in excerpts - are about 70 pages of the personal magical diaries of Christine Harley and Charles Seymour respectively as well as the rare article The Old Religion by Charles Seymour.

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Book Review: Magical Knowledge III - Contacts of the Adepts

I never thought a single book could contain an entire library. I never thought a single book could contain the actual workload, the depth of practical guidance that easily fills an entire lifetime as a magical adept. With the final part of Josephine McCarthy’s Magical Knowledge trilogy, however, this is exactly what you are holding in your hands.

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