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Review: Pacts With The Devil, by S. Jason Black & Christopher S. Hyatt

By Psyche | May 28, 2004 | Leave a comment

Pacts With the Devil: A Chronicle of Sex, Blasphemy and Liberation, by S. Jason Black and Christopher S. Hyatt
New Falcon, 1561840580, 285 pp. (incl. appendices and post-scripts), 1993, 1997, 2002

The authors open with a bit of demonic theory and brief overview of Satanic and demonic pacts throughout history. They explain that they ‘prefer to believe in the existence of non-human forces’, while at the same time acknowledging that there is ‘no “proof” of their existence in the scientific sense. More, [there is] no proof that these forces are good or evil – or that even our human concepts apply to them’ (pg 16). The histories they’ve collected are varied, and humorously recounted. Unfortunately a bibliography is not included, and the reader is left to seek out the source of most of these stories hirself. However the entire text is peppered with personal anecdotes, both awesome and entertaining, and the reader is easily drawn in.

The authors state that the ‘paramount utility of names and sigils is as a beacon to the hidden world from which magic draws its power.’ Noting that ‘this is why traditional forms are important and still useful. Not because the standing armies of Hell literally exist…but because when certain signs are made, and certain actions performed, it is understood by “another” what you are calling and how “it” (or they) should respond’ (pg 109).

The practical section includes rituals from the The Grimorium Verum, The Grand Grimoire and The Constitution of Honorius, as edited by the authors ‘in order to make them more sensible and usable by the person so inclined’ (pg 149). Ritual methods are explained clearly and simply, with alternatives suggested in place of the traditional sacrifices required, presumably for variety and freedom of choice as well as the obvious legal reason. Also included are demonic names, lengthy calls, sigils, and illustrations by S. Jason Black.

Highly critical of the Christian church, the authors take every opportunity to mock it, whether or not the point made is relevant to the discussion at hand, seemingly only included simply because one of the authors have a personal grudge against the religion he was raised in. However, as they state themselves: ‘No matter what we call ourselves, “neo-pagan” or “new age” or “yogi” or “atheist” we are still puppets for the patterns and fears etched into our minds with acid as a child. Unless we directly confront those symbols and fears, “principalities and powers”, there will be no breaking free, and when that confrontation occurs, long-repressed forces will rise up that will result either in empowerment or collapse’ (pg 66). Perhaps this minor obsession with the ‘evils’ of Christianity is merely a reflection of that.

While hardly a scholarly text, it is informative and entertaining; a practical approach to the more ‘sinister’ side of occultism. The authors assume the reader already has some familiarity with occult theory and practical experience. Those with a kindling interest in the ‘darker’ path will find this book a welcome addition to their library.