Tag: Reviews

World of Dust, by Joel Biroco

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

The Theban Oracle, by Greg Jenkins

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The Theban Oracle, by Greg JenkinsThe Theban Oracle, by Greg JenkinsThe Theban Oracle, by Greg Jenkins, PhD Weiser Books, 978-1-57863-549-8, 237 pp, (incl. appendix and bibliography), 2014There are effectively three books within The Theban Oracle: an introduction to what the author calls “Medieval Metaphysics,” including the few references to the Theban alphabet; a method for divination using the alphabet and correspondences created by the author, which requires the reader to make a casting set using the instructions included; and examples of spell-casting with the support of the Theban letters. Read More

Magic Without Mirrors, by David Conway

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Magic WIthout Mirrors, by David ConwayMagic Without Mirrors, by David ConwayMagic Without Mirrors: The Making of a Magician, by David Conway Logios, 9781463761724,336 pp., 2011For a large number of individuals of a certain age, Magic: An Occult Primer was the introduction to the world of magick. At the time there wasn't a whole lot of information about the author available. In the intervening years The Magic of Herbs and Secret Wisdom: The Occult Universe Explored were also produced by the same author, but without (to my knowledge) as much acceptance and fanfare.This book is essentially Conway's autobiography. It is filled with amusing anecdotes and enlightening background information. It also contains snippets of magickal information as well, though that is not its primary purpose. Read More

The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need, by Joanna Martine Woolfolk

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Astrology, Bracken House, London, photo by Remko van DokkumThe Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need, by Joanna Martine WoolfolkThe Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need, by Joanna Martine Woolfolk Taylor Trade, 9781589796539, 2008The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need is an updated and revised edition of the 1982 text, now including more depth in the meaning of the signs, relationships, and includes “the latest information about new discoveries in astronomy.”Let’s tackle this book based on the title, is it really the only astrology book you’ll ever need? It is a fairly comprehensive text. It covers all of the basics of modern astrology that you’d be looking for: sun signs, decanates, moon signs, ascendants, the planets, the houses, and how to read a chart. All of these sections are well written and informative, though I feel a bit of expansion would be helpful for those with less of a background in astrology, especially near the end of the book when everything was being drawn together in chart interpretation. That being said I found the descriptions of the different concepts fairly reliable and more precise in wording than a lot of current astrology books. Usually the language is a bit more cloudy and vague in an astrology book, here the language is more exact and specific, which is refreshing to see an astrological author willing to put their money where their words are because it’s a lot easier to be wrong when you’re specific rather than hedging with vague language. Read More

Stones of the Seven Rays, by Michel Coquet

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Stones of the Seven Rays, by Michel CoquetThe Stone of the Seven Rays, by Michel CoquetStones of the Seven Rays: The Science of the Seven Facets of the Soul, by Michel Coquet Destiny Books, 978-1594774331, 352 pp., 2012Stones of the Seven Rays contains two major parts: “The Esoteric Tradition of Stones,” and “Stones of the Seven Rays.” The latter catalogues the properties of the primary stones for each Ray. Within each section, substitute stones are listed (e.g., rock crystal for diamond), which expands the usefulness of the material.This edition is very nicely produced. It is printed on extra-gloss paper, and is full of excellent colour photos, mostly by the author. It gives a structured overview of gemstone lore associated with the doctrine of the seven rays.The model of the seven rays comes from Theosophy. The best source for anyone who wants more detail on the Rays and their natures would be Alice Bailey's Esoteric Psychology, Vol. 1: A Treatise on the Seven Rays. The rays are considered to be primary energies and intelligences emanating from the Source, as the archetype of all of our septenary enumerations (planets, heavens, days of the week, and so on), and as forces that condition the course of evolution by cycling in and out of prominence in a great cycle reminiscent of the yugas of Indian cosmology. Read More

The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses, by Claude Lecouteux

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Claude LecouteuxThe Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses, by Claude LecouteuxThe Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses: From Pagan Folklore to Modern Manifestations, by Claude Lecouteux Editions Imago, Inner Traditions, 9781594774652, 246 pp., 2007, 2012Claude Lecouteux offers an exhaustively researched history of poltergeist activity and hauntings from the middle ages to today. Packed full of case histories and general information, The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses is an essential addition to the library of any serious ghost hunter or paranormal enthusiast. Lecouteux maintains an evidential viewpoint, balancing skepticism with the inevitable conclusion that, like it or not, poltergeist phenomenon is real.One particular gem is a chart that compares the views of different eras regarding "Poltergeists due to the presence of living beings." In the Pagan Middle Ages, this activity was mostly attributed to the dead, genies, and spirits. During the Christian Middle Ages, attribution was given to the devil, demons, and the dead. In post-Medieval times (16th-17th centuries), witchcraft and hoaxes were usually to blame, and of late, paranormal researchers attribute the phenomena to the dead or people with psychic abilities. With regard to the difference between spirits and the ghosts, Lecouteux writes: Read More

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