Uncle Ramsey’s Little Book of Demons: The Positive Advantages of the Personification of Life’s Problems, by Ramsey Dukes
Aeon Books, 1904658091, 256 pp. (including notes), 2005

It is odd to review a book that tells me “If you enjoyed this book, keep it secret and deny any knowledge of it.”1 In this book Uncle Ramsey sets forth to help the reader cope with problems in everyday life, by understanding and interacting with the demons that lurk beneath and inside all forms of reality. Demons are living in our cars and photocopiers, friends and lovers, and perhaps most importantly inside of our self. The most frustrating or brilliant move (or both) that Uncle Ramsey made in this book was not dealing with the nature of the demon, are they real in some animistic sense, are they external projections from a troubled mind, are they purely mental constructs never extending past the confines of our skull, are they collective energies built by a hundred united thoughts, or all they all of these, or something else?

Whatever the answer, if there is one, is deemed less important in this book, as getting results, which while frustrating to me, is admirable. Another part I felt was lacking more information on how to deal with the demons. It is advocated that we converse with these demons, treating them calmly and with respect unless forced otherwise, and through these conversations we will learn to work with them. Though no instructions on how to converse, or other ways to deal with them are covered. The point is made that any formula given to deal with demons would be ineffective as your demons read the book with you and will be aware of these tricks2, which I cannot disagree with, but even a few examples to get the mental ball rolling I felt would have been helpful, and only one real example of someone working with their demon and that experience was given. The book also explored a theory I’m fond of, that demons are actually manifestations of both sides of a spectrum, but we only see one side, or horn at any given time, so that confidence and uncertainty, or victim and bully, are the same experience, and learning to deal with one helps you deal with the other.

Demons are found and explored everywhere, every reaction we have, every interaction, every problem, be is small or systemic, therein lies a demon. I somewhat like the world that Dukes paints for us, and how a greater degree of connection and communication with the world around us leads to a more fulfilled and productive sense of living. I don’t think I could review this book, without mentioning that Uncle Ramsey’s quirky and mildly angry sense of humour is one of the most refreshing I’ve read in a book on magick, and is definitely a part of why I enjoyed this book so much.

If you’re looking for another way to tackle life’s problems, then check out Uncle Ramsey’s Little Book of Demons, and see if you can’t unearth some demons in your life.

  1. p. 235 []
  2. p. 47 []