Reviews

Book, film, tarot and oracle reviews.

A Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools, by Evelyn C. Rysdyk

By Susan Starr | August 25, 2014 | 2 comments

A Spirit Walker's Guide to Shamanic Tools, by Evelyn C. RysdykA Spirit Walker's Guide to Shamanic Tools, by Evelyn C. RysdykA Spirit Walker’s Guide to Shamanic Tools: How to Make and Use Drums, Masks, Rattles, and Other Sacred Implements, by Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Weiser Books, 9781578635573, 258 pp. (incl. glossary, resource list, and bibliography), 2014

Forming your own relationship with your helping spirits, teachers and power animals is essential in shamanic work. Shamanism is a highly individualistic practice in which your skill and effectiveness largely depends on your ability to communicate and work well with them. Anything you can do to make your connection stronger is welcome — especially by the spirits, and author Evelyn C. Rysdyk believes there’s no better way than by crafting your own “power tools.”

Rysdyk assumes you are already an experienced shamanic journeyer and you know your spirit community. Continue reading


The Essential Enochian Grimoire, by Aaron Leitch

By Gesigewigu's | August 18, 2014 | Leave a comment

The Essential Enochian Grimoire, by Aaron LeitchThe Essential Enochian Grimoire, by Aaron LeitchThe Essential Enochian Grimoire: An Introduction to Angel Magick from Dr. John Dee to the Golden Dawn, by Aaron Leitch
Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738737003, 352 pp. (incl. appendices), 2014.

Considering everything that has been written on Dr John Dee and Edward Kelley’s Enochian system in the last century and a half, one can’t help but wonder what could be considered “essential” for an Enochian grimoire. Where does one start? What is included? Which Enochian systems? Which elements? Leitch admits this was a challenge when sorting out the material and decided “[i]t must present a simplified overview of the entire system, thereby allowing the student to see the whole proverbial elephant before focusing on the trunk, ears, legs, or other elephantine components in detail.” Again though, with all that Dee wrote, and all that has come since, a simplified overview is not an easy task. Continue reading


Temple of the Drum, by Dragon Ritual Drummers

By Mike Gleason | August 4, 2014 | Leave a comment

Temple of the Drum, by Dragon Ritual DrummersTemple of the Drum, by Dragon Ritual DrummersTemple of the Drum, by Dragon Ritual Drummers
CD: Dragon Ritual Drummers, 12 tracks, 55:34 min., 2011

I am extremely grateful that a friend pointed me in the direction of Dragon Ritual Drummers a few years ago. In the intervening years, I have had the pleasure and opportunity to receive and review several of their releases and I have yet to be disappointed by the quality of the performances and production values. These folks know how to use their instruments to attain the best possible results.

Almost all of their music is written by members of the group, though they do include a few traditional songs to add a little extra flavour and variety — “Fanga” and “Shaharazad” are examples on this album. Perhaps the most striking thing about their performances is that they don’t use “studio tricks” to make their recordings: there is no sampling from other sources, no instrumental enhancements of any sorts. What you hear is all natural, although it is possible Continue reading


William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard

By Gesigewigu's | July 21, 2014 | 3 comments

William Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard

William Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard

William Blake’s Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision, by Marsha Keith Schuchard
Inner Traditions, 9781594772115, 398 pp., 2008

Reading William Blake one cannot help but realize this is a man who is both religious and spiritually active, especially his poems known as the prophecies. The question is what was the nature of his spiritual life? What inspired Blake to create works that are both heavily Christian and at the same time antagonistic to many Christian ideals? The surprising answer is laid out as Schuchard leads us back into the complex religious web of mystical Christianity of the 17th and 18th century.

No clear, singular document exists that explains Blake’s religious life and upbringing, so Schuchard researched and wrote this text as a “reconstruction of the lost religious history of the family of William Blake.” This area is rarely investigated, and considering how bizarre and complicated a picture Schuchard paints it’s not surprising that “sensible academic critics have cautiously refrained from taking the plunge” into this counter-religious culture. Continue reading


World of Dust, by Joel Biroco

By Psyche | July 14, 2014 | Leave a comment

Detail from "Deja Vu," by Joel Biroco
World of Dust, by Joel BirocoWorld of Dust, by Joel Biroco
Coronzon Press, 185 pp., 2013

Joel Biroco’s now classic essay, “Go underground and be a chaos magician,” was revolutionary to my teenage occultnik self. It was fierce and angry and punk as fuck.  The Exorcist of Revolution, the book that it was taken from, has been labelled as “juvenilia,” and probably rightly so, but I was a juvenile, and that ferocious urgency resonated deep within.

That essay was my introduction to Biroco. After devouring it, and everything else I could find online, I spent a small fortune collecting back issues of Kaos, the influential chaos magick magazine he edited, and any chapbooks I could scrounge up on eBay. It an was instructive period.

Biroco’s work has always been powerful, but World of Dust haunts: Continue reading


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