4.0 out of 5 stars
These books have good exercises.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 22, 2015
These books tend to have great exercises. I mostly bought these to check them out for newer people I kept running into and because someone said they were 'more advanced' (That's a matter of opinion I feel, I consider them intermediate. I'm not sure which of his books are considered advanced..) They seem to start a little rough and get better as it goes along. He puts far more effort to explaining the elements than any 'beginner' books. This one had a better history section than the last.
I have some concerns, however. (And I'm sorry but this wound up being long.)
There are a lot of typos, especially mid way through to the end. Words like 'is' and 'are' were sometimes eschewed from sentences altogether which caused me a lot of double takes and eventual exacerbated sighs.
The herbal section was concerning to me on some points. Not sure where he learned from but I find myself comparing it to an herbal book by a well known professional herbalist (Gladstar). I'll just say, buy an herbalism book if that's your interest, it's a way better way to go than occult books.
He mentions that "Aluminum is only for Mercury magic and avoided by most herbalist." (No S on herbalists.. many, many tiny typos like that.) He doesn't say why, so here is Gladstar's explaination: "One of the few rules that most herbalists agree on is never to use aluminum pots and pans for preparing herbs, as heat releases microscopic amounts of toxic substances from the aluminum." With herbalism one needs to take care, as they would with any medical substance- herbs are not to be taken lightly. That's just my concern with a lot of occult books, I don't think they stress that enough. Better to buy a specialized book that's just herbalism.
But my biggest beef with this book was the 'Who are the Gods' section, chapter 5. I am not a fan of using archetypes to label deities, trying to fit them into archetypal boxes, or mashing them all together as the same basic deity because they have been deemed to fit an archetype. Often I noticed deities crammed into an archetype who don't truely or entirely fit the bill. Bast and Hathor for example, were stuck in the moon goddess section even though their primary functions were actually solar based (Hathor was often depicted with a sun disk between Her horns, actually.) Lots of little points like that that actually add up. Hekate is not a crone; I really wish neo pagans would actually study Her instead of trying to cram Her in the crone role to fit the modern 'maiden, mother, crone' concept. (Which btw a great many deities stuffed in this triple concept don't fit. Actually very few ancient deities did. For the record, Hekate was refered to as Shining Maiden historically; check out Theoi.com for great Greek deity info with documented historical reference.) There were just so many things that made me wonder how much research was actually put into the many deities mentioned. It seems like a lot of occult books use this archetype feature but never bother really studying the deities much because 'they are all basically the same archetype'. Every book I've read that does this just has a terribly shallow sense to deity approach. They don't give the individual respect the deities deserve. I'll use the final misassociation I noticed as an example of why I don't feel he studied as deeply as he could and perhaps should. The angel Uriel is not the same being as Ariel. I'm not entirely sure where he got that.
"Uriel (לֵאיִרּוא "El/God is my light", Auriel/Oriel (God is my light) Standard Hebrew Uriel, Tiberian Hebrew Ûrîēl) is one of the archangels of post-Exilic Rabbinic tradition, and also of certain Christian traditions.
In apocryphal, kabbalistic and occult works Uriel has been equated or confused with Urial,  Nuriel, Uryan, Jeremiel, Vretil, Sariel, Suriel, Puruel, Phanuel, Jacob, Azrael and Raphael. "
"Ariel (Hebrew: Ari'el, Arael or Ariael ,אריאל) is an archangel found primarily in Jewish and Christian mysticism and Apocrypha. The name Ariel, "Lion of God" or "Hearth of God," occurs in the Hebrew Bible but as the name of an angel the earliest source is unclear.
(I'll pop in here with the note that if you don't think subtle nuances in names don't matter, you might be surprised how even one letter causes a whole new meaning in many languages. Also, you will never use ceremonial magic effectively if you really don't think it makes a difference. Not that you care neccissarily, but you should know Wicca got its base in large part from ceremonial magic which is where the structured ritual elements come from. And I'm sorry if I come off as elitest here, but this is a particular interest of mine.)
According to the German occultist Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535): "Ariel is the name of an angel, sometimes also of a demon, and of a city, whence called Ariopolis, where the idol is worshipped."
Chapter xxiv. Of the names of Spirits, and their various imposition; and of the Spirits that are set over the Stars, Signs, Corners of the Heaven, and the Elements.
~Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Cornelius Agrippa
(15th century work which much of modern occultism is based on. Highly suggest reading it.)
"There are again twenty eight Angels, which rule in the twenty eight mansions of the Moon, whose names in order are these: Geniel, Enediel, Amixiel, Azariel, Gabiel, Dirachiel, Seheliel, Amnediel, Barbiel, Ardefiel, Neciel, Abdizuel, Jazeriel, Ergediel, Ataliel, Azeruel, Adriel, Egibiel, Amutiel, Kyriel, Bethnael, Geliel, Requiel, Abrinael, Aziel, Tagriel, Alheniel, Amnixiel. There are also four Princes of the Angels, which are set over the four winds, and over the four parts of the world, where of Michael is set over the Eastern wind; Raphael over the Western; Gabriel over the Northern; Nariel, who by some is called Uriel, is over the Southern. There are also assigned to the Elements these, viz. to the air Cherub; to the water Tharsis; to the Earth Ariel; to the Fire Seruph,or according to Philon, Nathaniel."
Ariel is not the same as Uriel just because the names are similar, as you can see there are many 'similar' angelic names. But their basic name meanings are different reavealing their differing purposes. You'll notice Uriel (associated as Nariel) is named among the 'Princes of Angels' associated with the winds, where Ariel is listed among the Elements as a seperate being. If you look them up, the angels of the winds are not the same beings as those listed of the elements. Each sentence was differentiated by "There are also", which puts each set as an addition the first list of the twenty eight mansions of the moon rulers. I.e., three seperate lists of angels. I personally trust Agrippa far more, being one of the original greats which this book draws from, however indirectly. For sake of triple checking my endeavor here, I looked up multiple names online, and weither various individuals are considered one in the same. In less than an hour I found this same info, so it's not like one couldn't do the research to fact check their work prior to publishing. It just.. really frustrates me. Maybe it doesn't matter to someone who will draw on anything and anything they think would be useful reguardless of research depth, but I personally neither agree with nor condone that method.
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