Psychic Self-Defense: The Classic Instruction Manual for Protecting Yourself Against Paranormal Attack, by Dion Fortune
Weiser, 9781578635092, 238pp., 1930, 2001
“This is a warning to the curious: Times, points of view, and fashions change, but never principles.” I doubt Dion Fortune knew how true those words would be eighty years after she wrote Psychic Self-Defense. A lot has changed in the world, both the mundane and magickal landscape are drastically different from her time, so much so that it can be hard to see how relevant this book remains today.
The book is divided into four sections. Part I deals with the types of psychic attack, such as witchcraft, vampirism, and when ceremonial magick goes wrong. It also deals with the signs of the attack and analyzing the nature, figuring out what type of attack it is. Part II deals with differential diagnosis or the other things that could be going on. Part III tackles diagnosing the attack in detail, how they are made, and the motives. Lastly, Part IV is what you’d expect from a book with this title, methods of defence.
Part IV deals with a variety of methods, starting off from simple to more complex. The beginner reading this book can learn how to make Holy Water (provided they are Christian), or using garlic to absorb a negative psychic atmosphere. Getting more complex (but more common in this day) you get the Qabalastic Cross and LBRP, as well as creating magickal circles. Finally she touches upon destroying thought forms, and dealing angels, and the “Occult Police.” Continue reading
Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil, by Liz Greene
Weiser Books, 9781578635078, 196 pp., 1976, 2011
It’s hard to say 25 years later how good of a book Saturn really is. Some books it’s easy to tell how they’ve aged, but this isn’t one of them. My problem in discerning how good the book is stems from the fact that throughout the book, the foreword, the blurb on the back it talks about how revolutionary and ground breaking this book is, yet nothing in it is new to me, in fact every book I have on modern astrology agrees with it. So either this book really was prolific in that sense, or it was overly hyped up.
The basic premise of this work is two-fold: Saturn is this misunderstood force and can be beneficial, and astrology has to be taken out of the realm of dictatorial fate.
Tackling the first part, this “New look at an Old Devil” this is where I have trouble seeing what makes this book special. If it was the first book to engage with Saturn in a positive light, then it has done its job, because all my modern astrology books mention some of the good side of Saturn, and when I was apprenticing my astrology teacher showed me both sides. Continue reading
Runecaster’s Handbook: the Well of Wyrd, by Edred Thorsson
Red Wheel/Weiser, 9781578631360, 129 pp. (incl. glossary and index), 1988, 1999
Runecaster’s Handbook is a concise volume, targeted at providing the reader with just enough information to go about making and casting the rune-lots. As such, it touches briefly on a great many subjects, constantly referencing and referring the curious reader to Thorsson’s other works: Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic, and Runelore: A Handbook of Esoteric Runology.
Thorsson begins with a chapter on the history of the runes, followed by a chapter on divinatory theory. His approach to history is scholarly rather than the wishful thinking commonly found in Occult or New Age books. He clearly outlines which associations and practices have been documented historically and is explicit in presenting interpretation as interpretation rather than fact. Continue reading
Qabbalistic Magic: Talismans, Psalms, Amulets, and the Practice of High Ritual, by Salomo Baal-Shem
Destiny Books, 9781594773587, 470 pp., 2011
There are books aplenty on magic and its many side paths, but there are only a few of which I can truly say, ‘this is unique, this is something you must have on your shelf, this is a book you will turn to again and again.’
- Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki
Ashcroft-Nowicki is right, this is just such a book and it’s very refreshing to see. What makes this book on Qabalistic magick so different? No lengthy tables of associations for the Spheres and Paths, no cross-pollination or paradigms, no Christianization; this book is about the Jewish Qabalah, rather than the altered form more popular in Western Magickal Traditions. Continue reading
Foundations of Magic: Techniques and Spells That Work, by J F O’Neill
Llewellyn Worldwide, 0738707430, 253 pp. (incl. appendices and index), 2005
Reviewed from an uncorrected proof
Foundations of Magic is presented as an introductory course to non-denominational magic. It has been written with the absolute beginner in mind, even, or perhaps especially, the sceptical beginner. O’Neill’s goal is to teach the reader what he regards as the basic skills required for successful magical workings and provide a mini-grimoire of spells that the student can undertake for their own benefit and to demonstrate that magic does in fact work.
The book is organized into two parts. Part I comprises three chapters, covering the definition and description of Magic, the Psychology of Magic, and lastly, the actual process of casting spells, including a practise spell. Continue reading