Magick and Divination

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Deep Magic Begins Here, by Julian Vayne

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Deep Magic Begins Here, by Julian VayneDeep Magic Begins Here: Tales and Techniques of Practical Occultism, by Julian Vayne
Mandrake of Oxford, 9781906958527, 183 pp. (incl. sources, notes and bibliography), 2013

Julian Vayne has written and contributed to eight books, and writes regularly for the always excellent Blog of Baphomet. His earlier book, Now That’s What I Call Chaos Magick, co-written with Greg Humphries, is one I regularly recommend to budding chaotes and those who want to get a feel for what chaos magick is really like. Continue reading


Trees of the Goddess, by Elen Sentier

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Ogham staves, photo by Jenny BachTrees of the Goddess, by Elen SentierTrees of the Goddess: A New Way of Working with the Ogham, by Elen Sentier
Moon Books, 9781782793328, 101 pp., 2014

For millennia, trees have been held sacred among indigenous cultures and great civilisations alike. Tree mythology features in all major world religions. Trees speak deeply to our human collective unconscious, as symbols of otherworld connection, longevity, nourishment, and the mysteries of transformation.

To the ancient Celts, certain trees held special value as a magickal alphabet known as the oghamTrees of the Goddess is a short book describing these sacred trees in the context of the mystical “Song of Amergin,” translated by Robert Graves in The White Goddess. While the ogham’s popular use as a calendar is loosely based on Graves’ work, his interpretation has been disputed (in true Pagan style) as a corruption of original sources. Continue reading


The Sacred Rite of Magical Love, by Maria de Naglowska

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The Sacred Rite of Magical Love, by Maria de NaglowskaThe Sacred Rite of Magical Love, by Maria de NaglowskaThe Sacred Rite of Magical Love: A Ceremony of Word and Flesh, by Maria de Naglowska
Inner Traditions, 9781594774171, 122 pp. (incl. appendices, notes, bibliography, and index), 2012

Maria de Naglowska was a Russian-born writer, translator, and journalist living in Paris in the 1930s, and this is the third volume in the series of Naglowska’s books Donald Traxler has translated.

Unlike the first two books, The Light of Sex and Advanced Sex Magic, The Sacred Rite of Magical Love is an allegorical novella, possibly incorporating autobiographical elements. It was first published under a pseudonym, Xenia Norval, and serialized in her street newspaper La Fleche, organe d’action magique, from 1930-1931, and later rereleased as a supplement in the journal in 1932 under her real name. Continue reading


Homemade Magick, by Lon Milo DuQuette

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Lon Milo DuQuetteHomemade Magick, by Lon Milo DuQuetteHomemade Magick: The Musings & Mischief of a Do-It-Yourself Magus, by Lon Milo DuQuette
Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738732985, 203 pp. (incl. appendix, index, and photo credits), 2014

Lon Milo DuQuette‘s work will be familiar to many, especially those following a ceremonial or Thelemic Path. He’s written more than 15 books on magical and occult topics, covering the Thoth Tarot, Enochian magick, kabbalah, and Aleister Crowley. He’s also written several autobiographies, albums, and has occasional lecture tours. DuQuette’s history in the occult has been well documented, and he’s become well known for his folksy anecdotes grounded in practical work.

DuQuette has been a practicing magician for four decades, and was initiated into the Ordo Templi Orientis in 1975, and founded a lodge in 1976 that remains the longest continuously operating lodge in the United States. Since 1996, he has been an OTO Deputy Grand Master, and also serves as an Archbishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. So it should come as no surprise that his magical practice is heavily informed by Aleister Crowley, Thelema, and his work with the OTO.

His latest book, Homemade Magick, is in part a magical memoir, but it frames these sections with instructional guidance for budding magicians. It covers much of the groundwork for getting started in ceremonial magick, such as how to choose a meaningful magical motto, perform a self-initiation ritual to open oneself up to the mysteries, and learn how to integrate one’s magical and mundane lives into a unified whole. Continue reading


Planets for Pagans, by Renna Shesso

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Planets for Pagans, by Renna ShessoPlanets for Pagans, by Renna ShessoPlanets for Pagans: Sacred Sites, Ancient Lore, and Magical Stargazing, by Renna Shesso
Weiser Books, 9781578635733, 261 pp. (incl. bibliography and index), 2014

One of my strongest childhood memories is of a night in Mahopac, in upstate New York, lying on a chaise lounge on a family friend’s deck, mesmerized by a sky filled with stars! Where did they come from? To a city kid who saw a mostly dark sky every night, who was enamoured of astronomy at the time, the brightness and number of stars was incredible. This was proof that they really were there for me, too, and not only for some astronomer sitting behind a telescope in a desert or on a mountaintop.

One of the first things Renna Shesso writes – in fact, insists on – is going outside and looking at the sky, even if all you can see are a few of the brightest stars and planets. There is no substitute for direct witnessing, she tells us, and she’s so right. She explains how to identify the constellations and the space between their constituent stars using our hands – no fancy instruments required. This is the way our ancestors did it – who saw quite a bit more in the night sky than we do — and it still works. Continue reading


The Inner Light, by P.T. Mistlberger

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The Inner Light, by P T MistlbergerThe Inner Light, by P T MistlbergerThe Inner Light: Self-Realization via the Western Esoteric Tradition, by P.T. Mistlberger
Axis Mundi Books, 9781846946103, 585 pp., 2013

The Inner Light is a book geared around self-realization in the Western magical system. It seeks to help the reader find and understand the path to one’s self, how to peel away the layers of falsity to find their core.

As a reader, it is sometimes hard to tell if a book is right for me, so I’m happy to see when the author discuss whom the book is written for. Mistlberger describes the text as being for “spiritual seekers who desire some historical rigour and background theory,” as well as “academics or intellectually oriented students of the esoteric paths who desire to undertake some practical ‘inner work,’“ in addition to “the curious general reader,” and lastly the “serious student of inner work.” So this book is for occultists and non-occultists, as well as beginners and seasoned practitioners, and people interested in history and theory and people interested in practical work. Needless to say I wasn’t reassured by the sweeping claim of the book being for everyone literate, but that’s just the intro and authors need to sell their books, so let’s look deeper at The Inner Light and see who it is really for. Continue reading


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