Posts tagged Book Review
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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Book Review: 'The Last Scabbard' by Josephine McCarthy

Josephine McCarthy’s new novel The Last Scabbard is not a novel indeed. It is an exercise in magical vision waiting to be activated. In ancient Tibet sacred text were buried to be found by designated people in the future and unfold their power when the time was ripe for what they had to say. Similarly, there is a secret text in this book, buried in the earth of a fantastic novel, waiting to be released by each one of us as a reader.

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A treasure rediscovered... The Summa Sacre Magice

This year a truly liminal book release is coming our way. Very little is known about the book so far as it has only recently been rediscovered. Yet the impact of its vast content could easily require us to rewrite some chapters in the history of Western Magic. Reason enough for us to take a brief sneak preview at the little we know about the book today...

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Book Review - Josephine McCarthy: Magical Knowledge I, Foundations


There is a significant difference between ritual and visionary magic. Unfortunately it is so significant, so essential in nature that for people who have practiced ritual magic for years it's quite hard to get their heads around it. It's actually not unlike trying to solve a creative thinking puzzle. It bends your brain until it hurts - or someone shows you the solution (at least in my case that is). To fully understand the impact Josephine McCarthy's Magical Knowledge I can make on traditional ritual magic it is important to better understand this puzzle first. 

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