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
Where Do Demons Live?: Everything You Want to Know About Magic, by Frater U.’. D.’.
Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738714790, 187 pp., 2010
In Where Do Demons Live? Frater U.’. D.’. assumes the persona of “Aunt Klara”, an agony aunt for occultniks, delivering lectures on magickal combat, magickal musick, the models of magick (with a focus on the elusive cybernetic model) and answers questions about Freemasonry, witchcraft, the Golden Dawn, the OTO and Satanism.
The result is many ways reminiscent of Aleister Crowley’s Magick Without Tears, in that it represents in a collection of brief essays on a wide variety of topics, though in a vein all his own. Much like Frater U.’. D.’.'s previous works (Practical Sigil Magic, Secrets of Western Sex Magic, High Magic I and II), the advice and recommendations given by Frater U.’.D.’.'s alter (altar?) ego are refreshingly direct and matter of fact. Continue reading
Disciple’s Guide to Ritual Magick: A Beginner’s Introduction to the High Art, by Frater Barrabbas
Megalithica Books, 9781905713080, 332 pp, 2007
Every once in a while a book comes along which is profoundly simple in its goals, even if the execution is not so simple. This is one of those books. The goal is simple: to provide an introduction to the Arts Magickal. It is, however, no mere intellectual exercise for it requires an experiential component which many other introductions forgo for a variety of reasons.
Many of today’s self-proclaimed magicians will be shocked by Frater Barrabbas’ belief that it is necessary to have a disciplined, orderly, and consistent approach to creating magick. Continue reading