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Bookviews Book Reviews

 

 12-11-2006
 

 

Grimoire of Magickal Correspondences – A Ritual Handbook
by Eileen Holland

 

 

 

You are considering a ritual to work on a particular topic, say for example protection on a trip.  You have some basic questions like what phase of the moon should I work this ritual at, what tools should I use, what color candle, what herbs, what plant, what stones?  You could spend days researching through many books to find all these answers.

The idea of this book is to put all this information in one place.  This book is put together alphabetically, so all you need do is thumb through the book.  For instance: “protection”.  Look for the subheading in bold lettering that says “protection while: on a trip”.  Listed under the main heading of “protection”  is a cross reference to other associated topics (in this instance, amulets or safety to name a few) moon/planet associations, tools, method (in this instance “common sense”), colors, charms, animals, oils, stones, plants, herbs and Deities.  Under this is specific protections, such as “Divine Protection” or “protective energy” and there are specific correspondences for each of these.  And, by the way, these correspondences work just as well in a spell working as they do for a ritual. 

Each topic is covered in pretty much the same way.  Ms. Holland covers more than 500 topics.

If you are familiar with these correspondences this book is a blessing.  Rather than racking your brain for “I know what I want but I just can’t remember it right now” this book is an index at your fingertips. 

This book assumes that you either know what you are doing and using this book instead of your own Book of Shadows, or you will be looking up these items to see WHY you would be using them.  The book even starts with this in the opening Using this Book: “ … is intended for the experienced practitioners of magick. “

The book does not contain any “why”.  The beginner will not find those answers here.  This book will send the student to further research the topics and entries.

Reference back to the “protection” entries I mentioned above.  While some entries are small, and easy to sort out, some, like the protection entry, are huge.  Running through the list, it was difficult to figure out where the entry on tools ended and method began.  The list runs on into itself, with no line breaks or changes in the text to let you know where one part ends and another begins.  I found myself running through the whole list to find a plant, when it would have been helpful to, say, italicize the topic word (like tools, methods, animals or plant)  so you can quickly spot the reference you are looking for.  This was done with bolding to the subtopics later in the entry to make it easier to reference the type of protection you may be looking for.   While it may not be an issue in the smaller entries, the larger ones are harder to sort through.  That was my biggest issue with the book, but one that could be easily rectified.

I liked the concept of the book.  For the experienced practitioner this is a really good book to have around.  And if your Book of Shadows is anything like mine, even though it is alphabetical, it is still not as organized as this book is.

This is a great idea by Ms. Holland, and if the new student realizes that this book is meant not to teach but to provide a basis from which the student can further reference, the book performs as expected. boudica

 

The Way of Four Spellbook
by Deborah Lipp

 

 

Deborah had asked for reviewers to look at her book back in the beginning of 2006.  Because I knew nothing of her work, I asked Llewellyn to send me all the stuff she had wrote.  Now I'm glad I have it on my shelf. 

This book is a logical extension of the book "The Way of Four" that she wrote previously.  While there is understandably some overlap in the material, it is not nearly as bad as it could be.  There is necessary explanations of the elemental structure she uses in her practice, to give the reader context for their own study, then Deborah dives into the meat of the matter, the spells. 

Understand something, I am NOT a fan of spellbooks.  I think they are overdone and in most cases leave the implication that all life's ills can be solved with the right spell.  They gloss over or skip entirely the actual things that make a spell effective; the process of casting the spell and the actual manipulation of the magickal energies.  But this is a spellbook I would give to a rank beginner without hesitation. 

She does not skip over the energetic manipulation, there is a long chapter before the spells that talks about the theory behind the spell.  She also talks at length about topics that I don't normally see in spellbooks, the tools, the ethics, the preparation of the mind and the preparation of the magickian's body, which I have seen in no other work. 

The spells are ones that generally you can't follow without having read the text preceding it.  I know that it is a tricky thing to do, but Deborah does a stellar job of waking that very thin line.

Throughout this book, she gives the information that is needed, makes sure that there is some information that is required but provided in other sections while still keeping the spells useful to the reader. 

And this does NOT focus on things that can be considered High Magick or Ceremonial Magick.  She stays with witchcraft or elemental magick in this book, never really drifting far from that.  Even though she doesn't stray too far from the topic at hand, the spells are as useful and direct as she can make them and will appeal to a wide range of new magickians.  They also never stray into "get revenge on others" kind of spells that kill so many similar books.  These spells are things like "Dream Awareness", "To Restore a Libido", "A Kitchen Blessing", "To Bring Fertility", CLASSIC witchcraft, which most books on spells and "witchcraft" are sadly missing these days. 

Even with all this, I feel there are some few slight problems.  First off, the inclusion of deities in the spells.  While I DO believe that there is absolutely a need and a use for deities in any magick or ritual application, she lists deities in these spells, making it another "pick a God from Column A, two devi from Column B...."  And while she does talk briefly about the use of a deity in a spell, it is not to discuss the aspects that you are drawing upon or what you should be asking for from that deity, it is simply to say "I'm suggesting these deities and you don't have to use them if you don't want to."   But for the new Llewiccan, it may look like they are supposed to use those deities and with only three paragraphs of guidance, I don't feel that is enough. 

The other thing that I found somewhat irritating is the amount of ceremony these spells used.  For example, the "To Restore Libido" candle spell uses four pages of chants, instructions and illustrations to do this spell.  While I think that this instruction is ABSOLUTELY necessary and it is a wonderful example of this, I found the amount of instruction to be personally irritating.  Please note, that I am not knocking the review down because of this factor, it is a personal bias and one that I am aware of. 

All things considered, I am going to give this book 4 1/2 stars out of 5.  I think that this book is everything that a spellbook should be, and very rarely are.  It is a book that needs to be given to all those who are looking into doing magick on their own who don't have a teacher.  This book and "Before You Cast a Spell" should be REQUIRED reading for anyone who is just starting in the magickal paths.  I feel this is a superior book. 

Congratulations Deborah.

Copyright:  "Copyright Daven http://davensjournal.com   All rights reserved.  Permission granted to reprint this review as long as the entire article and this copyright statement are kept intact.  Contact him at daven (at) davensjournal (dot) com"

 

Gathering the Magic: Creating 21st Century Esoteric Groups
by Nick Farrell

 

 

If you have ever wondered what thought processes went into creating the group you happen to be a member of, this is your book.  In this one manual, Nick reveals a lot about how esoteric groups are created, how to handle them and what kinds of problems may plague such groups and how they die. 

With topics like Group Leadership (focusing on the problems faced by the leadership and the problems of bad leadership) as well as practical things like a training program, I feel that this is a book that is all too often desperately needed.  Until now Gathering the Magic, there was nothing to fill this void. 

This is not just for esoteric groups.  This is a book that will be immensely useful to anyone who has any kind of group.  From the Saturday Morning Bridge Club to the Grand Lodge of Right and Immanent Alchemists and every organization in between, this book can give desperately needed  hints and pointers. 

That was the excellent, now for the not so good. 

Because this book is from a publishing house in England, it is going to be very difficult to acquire here in the United States. Overseas shipping and exchange rates are probably going to put this book out of the reach of some people who would normally buy it. So the impulse sales probably aren't going to be there too much. 

The other thing that I had a real problem with is the cover artwork.

Don't get me wrong, I like line drawings, but in this case the art looks like it belongs more as an illustration in a Dragon Magazine or a fantasy game.  It has a female and a male who are obviously casting magick at each other, with expressions of anger.  The woman looks somewhat elfin to my eyes.  This means that it looks as though it is a work of fiction or fantasy rather than a serious scholarly work on the life cycles of an esoteric groups. 

Despite that, the contents of the book are, while not revolutionary, extremely well thought out and necessarily pointed out. I was happy to see something that can help those who want to create groups.  Having a reference work that will help them that is up there with "The Virtual Pagan" and other works.  It will be even better when this particular books crosses over the pond and is more common here. 

For the review?  Four and a half stars out of five.  And it would have been higher except for the cover art and the lengths that will have to be gone to in order to secure a copy. 

I still think that the use of this book more than makes up for the trouble acquiring it.  I have JUST the place on my shelf for this work.


Immanion Press/Megalithica Books has printers both in the U.S. and the U.K.  That means that readers in both countries will have easy access and domestic shipping for all of our books.  All titles are also available through all Amazon.com sites, again with standard shipping.

We are also available through various pagan shops internationally; if your local shop doesn't carry our books, have them contact orders@immanion-press.com for more information or visit http://www.immanion-press.com .

Copyright:  "Copyright Daven http://davensjournal.com   All rights reserved.  Permission granted to reprint this review as long as the entire article and this copyright statement are kept intact.  Contact him at daven (at) davensjournal (dot) com"