Kissing the Limitless: Deep Magic and the Great Work of Transforming Yourself and the World, by T. Thorn Coyle
Weiser, 9781578634354, 268 pp., 2009
“This is a book of deep magic, of high magic, of magic for our hearts and souls. The potency of this magic rests deeply within us, and the universe supports its unfolding.”1
This isn’t your standard book on magick. This book is about the Great Work, Union with the All, the Divine, the Cosmos, the Limitless, and that is a refreshing change. Do not misunderstand me, I enjoy and see value in magickal books that provide us techniques to go the way of our wishes and to help us succeed in life, but it is nice to see a book on magick that puts that aside in favour of Union.
That being said this is more or less a beginner’s book, while we might often think of the Great Work as the ultimate quest for the experienced mage there is no reason why it cannot and should not be started earlier, and Coyle makes a good case for that. Though as with more goal and desire oriented magick the Great Work can be dangerous for those unready. “There are too many people who enter this work only partially prepared and walk around spiritual and magical communities with shattered auras or egos puffed up out of proportion to their beings or great ‘powers’ they use to manipulate others.”2 We’ve all seen these people, and while this is just one book Coyle does set out to help them, and help minimize this occurrence.
This book is set out to focus first on healing the self, and admittedly it’s treated in large and occasionally very vague terms, but it’s there. There is an early focus on stabilizing the self, on releasing/repairing/accepting damage before anything deeper is undertaken. The book is divided into three sections (something that will not come as a surprise to those familiar with Coyle or the Feri system) and they are Breath – The Star Goddess, Will – The Divine Twins, Desire – The Peacock Angel. This division didn’t come across as cheesy shoehorning to make it fit into a symbolic system as is often the case in themed parts and chapters; those familiar with the figures can see how each section develops on the last and focuses on the traits of whom it is named for.
What appeals to me is the realism of this book. Coyle recognizes that “the Great Work includes body, emotion, mind, practice, our jobs, our families and relationships, and our studies and work in every facet of our lives. Nothing is excluded in the realms of magic and spirituality.”3 Too many books either separate magick from the rest of our life, or treat it as an additional factor, but Coyle presents it as all interconnected, the Great Work is the breath of our life and flows into and from everything we do, our job, our home, our friends, our magick are all part of the same unit.
Each section of the text includes instructions for doing the Work, and sometimes they are wholly and completely magickal, and other times they are grounded in our mind and physicality of our life. There are also pauses for reflection, to re-evaluate things before proceeding. In that way this book isn’t much different from many beginner texts, but the focus on the Great Work, and the exercises are what really puts the book into another category. The rituals and exercises included in the book range from cleansing your energy system, Soul alignment of the three selves, overcoming childhood taboo or complexes, and of course recognizing and uniting with the divinity and the divinity inherent in the self.
Nowhere in this book of magick is there a rehashing of the LBRP, or the apparently required set of rituals devoted to wealth, employment, and love. These things may develop as you do the Work, but they are not the focus in this book — the focus is the Great Work and transforming yourself, rather than maintaining a status quo through magick. If one actually follows this text it will be a book that challenges them, and forces them to challenge their world, and for those seekers ready to begin or refine that journey, this book has the philosophy and tools to get you started.