The Light of Sex: Initiation, Magic, and Sacrament, by Maria de Naglowska
Translated by Donald Traxler, Forward by Hans Thomas Hakl
Inner Traditions, 9781594774157, 125 pp. (incl. appendices, notes and index), 2011
Maria de Naglowska (1883-1936) was born as Mariya Naglovskaya in St Petersburg. She left Russia for Berlin before settling in Geneva; lived in Rome, and later Paris. The rumours surrounding her fly: she may have known Rasputin, she may have had a love affair with Julius Evola, she may have been a member of this or that secret society. We do know that she was a journalist, a poet, and she has several books to her name.
Today de Naglowska may be best remembered for her “translation” of Paschal Beverly Randolph’s Magia Sexualis, which, as I learned from the Donald Traxler’s introduction, seems to have included much of her own material, as well as that from other sources. Though with this new translation of The Light of Sex – the first time it has appeared in English – and several other translations of her work forthcoming from Inner Traditions, her renown is likely to grow.
In Paris de Naglowska earned the nickname La Sophiale de Montparnasse” for her teachings on “Satanism” and sex magick. Though she called herself a “Satanic woman”, her views on Satanism were not based on traditional Christian mythology. She equated god with life, and Satan with the negation of life, and both aspects are a necessary part of being human. Continue reading
Planetary Spells & Rituals: Practicing Dark & Light Magick Aligned with the Cosmic Bodies, by Raven Digitalis.
Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738719719, 317 pp. (incl. appendices), 2010
While modern Paganism often revolves the cycles of year and the lunar calendar, most of the sky is often ignored. Raven Digitalis brings this into focus: the planets, the luminaries, and their importance in magick. He takes things beyond the Sun and the Moon and including the other important figures in our solar system (like Pluto!) and cultural mythology. Continue reading
Swami Panchadasi’s Clairvoyance & Occult Powers, by William Walker Atkinson, ed. Clint Marsh
Weiser Books, 9781578635009, 187 pp., 1916, 2011
Swami Panchadasi reminds me a bit of Professor X, if only for the fact they’re both fictional psychics. Swami Panchadasi is one of ten known alias of William Walker Atkinson who as this legion of authors wrote over one hundred psychic and magickal texts, probably the best known being The Kybalion.
Clint Marsh, the editor of this book, and author of The Mentalist’s Handbook, raises a good point in the introduction. “Does it matter that all these Hindu mystics and other exotic psychic practitioners never existed?” I agree with Clint that when it comes to practical working systems this doesn’t necessarily matter, but representing yourself as from a tradition you seem to have little understanding of is something I’d disagree with. Continue reading
Teachings of the Santeria Gods: The Spirit of the Odu, by Ocha’ni Lele
Destiny Books, 9781594773327, 270 pp. (incl. glossary and index), 2010
Teachings of the Santeria Gods centres on the diloggun, a method of divination involving cowrie shells cast on a mat. The backs of the shells are filed down, but the important thing is the “mouths” of the shells—how many are facing upward gives the diviner the number of an “odu.” Each odu comprises an almost-endless array of stories (the pataki) about particular orisha, or cautionary folk tales. This is what makes this style of divination so interesting; the choice of the story to be told to the querent, and the ebo (sacrifice to be made in order to banish the querent’s ill-luck, avert disaster, or appease angry spirits, among other things) to be made gives a diviner near-infinite possibilities. Continue reading
Defense Against the Dark: A Field Guide to Protecting Yourself from Predatory Spirits, Energy Vampires, and Malevolent Magick, by Emily Carlin
New Page Books, 9781601631701, 223. pp, 2011
“When we lie awake, listening to the sounds of the night, we imagine all the things that could be making those strange sounds”.
Defense Against the Dark aims to introduce the reader to disruptive and occasionally dangerous entities and educate on how to avoid them, engage them, and if need forcibly remove them. The “dark” tends to be a hit-or-miss area with a lot of books in the occult arena. I find almost everything regarding the dark can be categorized into three camps: the Light, the Illusion, and the Fucked. What I mean is a lot of books say if these dark creatures exist just imagine a bubble of purple light (or whatever is in vogue) and you’re completely protected, or that these beings don’t and can’t exist because God/Universe loves us too much, or lastly they exist and are powerful and if you encounter them you’re screwed.
Carlin takes a pleasant middle ground, she admits that these beings exist, these beings can harm you, generally they are rare (especially the more dangerous ones) and you can protect yourself but it isn’t always easy. Continue reading