Six Ways: Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic, by Aidan Wachter
Red Temple Press, 9780999356609, 168 pp, 2018
Six Ways: Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic, by talismanic jeweller Aidan Wachter, offers readers a refreshingly nuanced take on contemporary chaos magick. The book presents the fundamentals of Wachter’s spirit-based approach to practical sorcery, while providing valuable insights drawn from the author’s experience. At 33 chapters, Six Ways covers a wide range of topics of interest to occultists, including servitors, offerings, the dead, dirt, dreams, breathwork, trance, sigils, talismans, and more. The text includes a large number of inspiring and open-ended exercises and rituals. Some exercises are aimed at beginners, but many will appeal to experienced practitioners, and the rituals can easily be used as written alongside others without causing undue dissonance.
Six Ways stands out for its consistently high quality. The book is well designed, and it is clear that great care went into the content, editing, cover, layout, typography, and illustrations. The physical book actually feels magical, which is not an impression that paperbacks often make. The book provides a fantastic example of what indie publishers are capable of when they get things right.
The content is well written, clear and concise. The book could serve admirably as a beginner’s introduction to practical enchantment and chaos magick, while more experienced practitioners will find great value in the wealth of insights, stories, examples, and practical suggestions. Throughout the book, Wachter manages to touch on the deepest mysteries of life and death, while maintaining a sense of humour and a capacity for joy and wonder.
I found the book to be interesting from beginning to end, but especially appreciated the material on talismanic magick. I believe that artists and musicians will resonate with Wachter’s approach. For the author, a talisman is a “vessel-power-being” that can take myriad forms, and the text provides simple methods for creating objects or performances that function as talismans. For example, he writes “The sorcerer can generate a brief passage to play musically while working, keeping the intention in mind, perhaps focusing on the sigil. She can get into the current she seeks to work via any method, and use the voice, guitar, piano, flute, or drum to move deeper and more fully into the current.”
My only disappointment was that more of the author’s own illustrations were not included. The sigil on the cover only hints at what might have been had Wachter chosen to include more of his art. I hope that, in the future, the author considers releasing a book containing more of his sigils, talismans, and illustrations.
Overall, Six Ways presents an approach to enchantment that is both useful and inspiring. By threading the needle between mysticism and magick, Wachter manages to find a sweet spot. Six Ways provides genuine “approaches and entries” into sorcery, as it offers up potent gateways to personal empowerment, alongside glimpses into the deep mysteries of magick and being. I encourage artists, occultists, and anyone interested in chaos magick, animism, and practical enchantment to seek out this book.
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Frater 232 was born in Zaragoza, Spain, and grew up in a small town in the midwest of the United States. He is a poet, pianist, composer, computer programmer, surrealist, and practicing sorcerer. His esoteric interests include Greco-Egyptian magic, Solomonic magic, traditional witchcraft, kabbalah, and the Marseilles Tarot.