Graeco-Egyptian Magick: Everyday Empowerment, by Tony Mierzwicki
Megalithica Books, 1-905713-03-7, 256 pp. (Incl. bibliography, appendixes, and index), 2006
Tony Mierzwicki’s Graeco-Egyptian Magick is an excellent beginner’s guide to the astrological magick found in the Greek Magical Papyri (PGM or Papyri Graecae Magicae as it is referred to in academic circles). It’s clear that this is not the only source text he’s well acquainted with.
Those who practice modernized astrological magick may find this book difficult at first. The astrological sequence of initiatory and practical processes follows the Ptolemaic Order (Luna, Mercury, Venus, Sol, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) because that was the order most prominently used in Antiquity, particularly by the magicians whose works form the basis of the book. He also includes the Homeric hymns for six of the planets, and all of the Orphic hymns for the seven planets. Continue reading
Sagittarius, by Joanna Martine Woolfolk
Taylor Trade Publishing, 9781589795617, 92pp., 2011
I was a bit surprised when I saw Joanna Martine Woolfolk, author of The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need, had written a book entirely about Sagittarius. After all, she should know better than to pigeon hole people according to their sun signs, our astrological chart and personality is far more complex than that. She addresses that concern in the introduction, and holds to the fact that while there is a lot more to our charts, we are our sun sign first, so giving her that benefit of the doubt, I continued. Continue reading
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