Tag: frater u d

Postmodern Magic, by Patrick Dunn

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Postmodern Magic: The Art of Magic in the Information Age, by Patrick Dunn
Llewellyn Publishing, 0738706639, 251 pp., 2005

It’s been years since I spoke with Dunn via an online mailing list – indeed, I didn’t even realize he’d published a book! It was the book’s sensible tone, straightforward approach and material that lead me to connect the dots and finally recognize why it seemed so familiar. The list was a central focus for a chaos magick group which began in the mid to late 1990s that remains active today, in an sense, though most of the core members have moved on, as Patrick seems to have done, after a fashion, though echoes of its influence are still heard. Continue reading

Review: Space/Time Magic, by Taylor Ellwood

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Space/time Magic, by Taylor Ellwood
Immanion Press, I1904853269, 204 pp. (incl. appendices and bibliography), 2005

It’s refreshing to see a book on magick which focuses on a specific topic rather than a general introductory text, and further, one which steps outside the realms of the traditional grimoires on Enochian, kabbalah, or ceremonial workings.

Until now, time magick has been a fringe branch of exploration, with writers such as Peter Carroll and Frater U.: D.: writing brief treatises on its theory and applicability. Space/Time Magic represents the first full length, in depth study of the subject, and Ellwood’s done an admirable job.

Chapters cover everything from divination, to writing, art, music, science and meditation, and each chapter concludes with exercises to be performed to put the theory to use. Appendices detail further explorations, and the extensive bibliography could also serve as a great recommended reading list.

Ellwood writes in a familiar, personal tone, detailing many of his own projects, both historical and current at the time of writing with projections for the future, which the reader will presumably be updated on in future works.

With Space/Time Magic it’s clear that Ellwood is beginning to come into his own; I look forward to reading his future works.

Review: High Magick, by Frater U.: D.:

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High Magic: Theory & Practice, by Frater U.: D.:
Llewellyn Worldwide, 0738704717, 422 pp., 2005

‘…Many modern-day magicians regard the ultimate goal of high magic to be the recognition of one’s own true will, or Thelema. If the will begins to sway, the whole magical operation automatically strays off track as well. That’s why mental training, or training of the will, always includes cognitive training and disciplining because every person is naturally inclined to act in according to the pleasure principle whenever he or she has the opportunity. Although there’s principally nothing wrong with this, it often leads to negligence and convenience. This kind of person is quite successful in avoiding the conscious pursuit of one’s own will’.

You’ve seen it before, another book which attempts to encompass the entirety of occult technique and practice, ceremonial in particular, in a single volume. Impossible? Of course. Though this one does have the slightly distinguishing feature that it was written by Frater U.: D.:, generally known as a chaote.

Comprised of thirty-four short chapters, some only a few pages long, though the theory and work described are mostly ceremonial, it is written with a decisive chaote slant. This is clearly a book to be worked through in sequence, though while this book seems, at times, geared toward the complete neophyte, the descriptions are often brief and perhaps not as obvious or clear as they could be.

Further to the ceremonial-chaote theme, in addition to the standard ceremonial rituals one might expect, such as the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram with commentary, magical numerical formulas, etc., Frater U.:D.: also discusses magical warfare, sigil magick, and chaos magick.

While Frater U.: D.: states that he would like to keep book recommendations to a minimum (pg 64), he does suggest the odd title, including his own out-of-print and highly expensive Practical Sigil Magic (which I annoyingly still have yet to locate at a reasonable price).

Toward the end we find Frater U.: D.:’s essay on the four models of magick, which has been reprinted on the Internet freely (you can find it on Spiral Nature here: “Models of Magic“). Though this version is more expansive, and drops the bit about meta-models.

There are a few more or less minor quibbles, errors in the text, for example, on page 200 there is a reference to an illustration of a dagger not present, and on page 89 he makes note of a symbol described as a horned Taurus containing a dot, but neither the illustration on page 85, nor the one on 91 bear this dot. The text would have benefited from an index as well, while I understand that the text is meant to be worked through, for those who have read it and want to refer back to something, there will be much guessing and tedious page flipping. He quotes Crowley at length, especially Magick, and often.

Aside from the obvious chaote references of phases attributed to dead assassins, and the sigil work of Austin Osman Spare, additional chaote doctrine pops up amidst the ceremonial jargon such as this sage advice: ‘The magician should become familiar with various philosophies of life not only in theory, but more importantly in practice as well. Only then can one control every aspect of his or her own reality production’.

All in all, it’s not a bad introduction to ceremonial work, presenting the attitude of a chaote with a ceremonial magician’s devotion to principles and practice. It’s content has been seen before many times (I’ve got a good half dozen similar on my shelves), but none presented in quite this flavour. If this should be your first introduction to the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and its like outside the Internet, you could do worse.

Secrets of Western Sex Magic, by Frater U.: D.:

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Bedroom, photo by Brad CoySecrets of Western Sex Magic, by Frater U.:D.:Secrets of Western Sex Magic: Magical Energy & Gnostic Trance, by Frater U.: D.:
Llewellyn Worldwide, 1567187064, 231 (incl. select bibliography, illustrations and index), 1991, 1995, 2001

Frater U.:D.: has provided a practical guide to sex magick, one that’s been long overdue in occult literature. A brief overview is given of the history of tantra and the inner alchemy of Taoism in comparison to western sex magick, dispelling common worries and fears regarding this much misunderstood branch of the western magical tradition.

He comments on the tendency of certain types of authors to “try to tackle a subject about which they know little only because it sells well,” while noting that others often tend to exhibit “a vein of arrogance which looks down on the readers and believes that they are not yet ‘mature’ enough for ‘real’ knowledge.” I fully share his opinion that “secrecy has its place during learning and practicing, but not among authors who claim a desire to convey knowledge out of an inner commitment.” Fortunately, this excellent text avoids these pitfalls. Continue reading

Models of magic

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Brick wall, photo by PeterIn the course of exploring the possibilities of new, more efficient techniques of magic, I was struck by the fact that a structuralist view of the history of magic to date might prove helpful. After all, magicians have always aspired to restate the theory and practice of magic in the language of their times, i.e. in different models pertaining to current world views.

There is, however, some risk involved in such an approach: models do not really explain anything, they are only illustrations of processes, albeit rather useful ones. What’s more, over-systematization tends to obfuscate more than it clarifies and one should not mistake the map for the landscape anyway, a fallacy a great many kabbalists seem to be prone to.

Thus, the following five (or rather: four plus one) models of magic should be seen as a means of understanding the practical possibilities of various magical systems rather than as definitive theories or explanations of the way magic works.

It has proved effective in practice to view magic under the following categories: Continue reading

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