Archive for the Magick Category

My Thoughts on @WeiserBooks’ Living Thelema & The Magick of Aleister Crowley

Posted in Book Review, Magick on December 7, 2022 by Occult Detective

Two of the most important books on Thelema, the spearhead of the Western Esoteric Religio-Spiritual Movement received and disseminated by Aleister Crowley, have been rereleased by Weiser Books this month of December:

The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema by Lon Milo DuQuette (December 1, $24.95) with an Introduction by Jason Louv and a Foreword by Hymenaeus Beta (William Breeze).

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by David Shoemaker (December 1, $21.95) with a Foreword by Lon Milo DuQuette

They compliment each other very well, and their reissue is timely. Thelema, over the course of the pandemic lockdowns, became elevated in the discourse across the occult circles of social media. Now, in that aftermath, these books, and the anticipation of Marco Viscanti’s The Aleister Crowley Manual: Thelemic Magick for Modern Times due in February, look to offer up a sort of Thelemic Renaissance which I am quite eager to observe and comment on.

Now, let’s have a look at these December titles.

The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema by Lon Milo DuQuette (December 1, $24.95) with an Introduction by Jason Louv and a Foreword by Hymenaeus Beta (William Breeze).

The 30th Anniversary of the Classic Guide to Thelema, Aleister Crowley’s Spiritual System of Ritual Magick, with a New Introduction by the Author.

This is the perfect introductory text for readers who wonder what the works—rather than the myth—of Aleister Crowley are all about.

DuQuette begins by dispatching some of the myths that have surrounded Crowley’s life and legend. He then explores the practice of rituals themselves, unpacking Crowley’s often opaque writing and offering his own commentary. Step by step, and in plain English, he presents a course of study with examples of rituals and explanations of their significance. DuQuette also includes a survey of many of Crowley’s original works with an extensive bibliography and endnotes.

Formerly titled The Magick of Thelema, then released in a revised edition published in 2003, this Weiser Classics edition includes a new introduction by the author.

.:.

I am quite familiar with this book, having read both previous iterations. The standout for this edition was the great Introduction by Jason Louv who delivered an insightful call to action and beautiful summation of Thelemic thought.

The book itself is a “Weiser Classic” for good reason. Lon DuQuette is an elegant writer without all the pretense. He takes you on a journey and speaks with an almost folksy wisdom that makes you comfortable. All the while, however, he is presenting his interpretation of the truths behind the sometimes archaic language that intimidates many initiates.

The Law is for All? Well, DuQuette makes that maxim a reality by delivering a master class in the ins-and-outs of Thelema. A must-read book for anyone interested in what makes Thelema tick.

The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema by Lon Milo DuQuette is available wherever books are sold. He is your obligatory link to AMAZON.

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by David Shoemaker (December 1, $21.95) with a Foreword by Lon Milo DuQuette

“The most thorough and understandable exposition of the underlying theories and the practical applications of the spiritual disciplines of Thelema currently available. A landmark work.” ―Lon Milo DuQuette, author of The Magick of Aleister Crowley

The system of spiritual attainment developed by Aleister Crowley is notoriously challenging in its scope. Living Thelema, adapted from the popular podcast of the same name, brings a welcome approachability to Crowley’s material, without diminishing the depth of the system. The author focuses on the practical and experiential aspects of the path of Thelema, allowing the reader to grasp the true transformative power of the system.

Beginners and advanced practitioners alike will find much useful advice here, as Shoemaker brings his characteristic down-to-earth style to bear on topics such as ritual and meditation practices, sex magick, astral projection, psychotherapy for magicians, the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and that pinnacle of attainment known as the crossing of the Abyss.

The author’s background as a practicing psychotherapist allows an entirely unique fusion of esoteric wisdom and cognitive science.

“In this entertaining and (dare I say it?) lively book, David Shoemaker reminds us that Thelema is not just a philosophy or a study but a spiritual practice. From applied ‘how to’ advice to thought-provoking ‘how about’ posers, Dr. Shoemaker offers his personal take―informed by twenty years of walking the talk, along with his incisiveness as a professional therapist―on how to get the most out of the fundamental Thelemic practices of yoga and ritual, both inside and outside of the temple.” ―Richard Kaczynski, author of Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley

.:.

I had the Anima Solis edition of this book and you’ll not find many differences between these volumes, though the former is passingly rare and, having lost mine through an unfortunate accident, this edition is a godsend, as they say. Shoemaker’s narrative voice is the star here. It’s why I see such a similarity and complimentary aspect between this an Baba Lon’s book.

Living Thelema presents a system for making the practice a part of your life, by embracing the spirituality of it, and stripping away some of the things that weigh it down. All things you add later as you advance and progress.

It’s well-reasoned, personal, and insightful. It find the beauty in the symmetry and simplicity, by making the complex palatable.

It’s a beautiful book and should be read and studied by magicians and witches of all stripes.

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by David Shoemaker is available wherever books are sold. Here is your link to AMAZON. Use it wisely.

I could go on, but I am struggling with a nasty bout of flu and while the spirit is willing, the mind and body are not up to the task. Suffice to say, these books are definitive. If you have an interest in Thelema, I believe this is where you begin, before Crowley. These prime you for what is to come in the Old Crow’s Holy Books.

Enjoy.

Welcome to The Occult Detective

Posted in Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on November 14, 2022 by Occult Detective

Welcome, sleuths. Pull up a chair and pour yourself a drink. We’ve got plenty to talk about…

New Promotional Poster

Posted in Horror, Investigations, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on September 19, 2022 by Occult Detective

My thoughts on @WeiserBooks’ The Big Book of Candle Magic by Jacki Smith

Posted in Book Review, Magick on July 6, 2022 by Occult Detective

Sorry I’m a little late on this. Less than a week ago, Weiser Books dropped something special — Jacki Smith’s The Big Book of Candle Magic. I’ve read a lot of books on candle magic, I suspect you have too. It’s a subject that seems very simple on the surface. It is part and parcel of a lot of our practices. Trust me when I say, this is the definitive book on the subject.

Here’s the publisher’s copy:

The definitive guide to candle magic, written by a leading authority with over 30 years of experience making magical candles and creating candle spells.

Author Jacki Smith, founder of Coventry Creations (currently among the largest and most successful magical supply companies), shares her magical secrets with readers, enabling them to empower themselves through successful spell casting. Her book explains the nature of magic spells and provides examples for a wide variety of purposes including love, money, healing, and protection, liberally punctuated with tips from “Aunt Jacki,” deriving from her many years of experience.

The Big Book of Candle Magic shows:

  • How to create your own candles
  • The basics of crafting your own spells
  • How to use basic supplies for everyday magic

If you don’t know Jacki, you know of her. Her Coventry Creations has left a massive footprint on the magical community. She is sort of the “queen bee” of candle magic and has spent the past couple of decades building her brand as they say, and it shows.

The author has a big personality. She writes with authority. She is straightforward. Direct. She’s not here to put on airs, as my grandma used to say. The Big Book of Candle Magic is instantly accessible, with no ostentation.

If you’ve been looking for a book on candle magic, look no further.

Clocking in at over 300 pages, “Aunt Jacki” has delivered on the book’s subtitle — a comprehensive, in-depth guide including instructions for casting your own spells. Hel, more than a hundred pages are easy to navigate indexes. And that’s the best part. The Big Book of Candle Magic is useful. Everything is well organized, lovingly typeset, and augmented with pictures and diagrams that make all the sage advice all the more potent.

I could go on with lavish praise, but that only distracts you from doing what must be done — ordering the damn book. So, ignore any further yammering and click on the following link so that you can add The Big Book of Candle Magic by Jacki Smith to your library as soon as possible.

You can always drop back by here later and thank me.

You can lead an occult detective to water…

Posted in Magick on July 1, 2022 by Occult Detective

Occult Detective Bob Freeman is creating a watering hole for paranormal adventures.

Well, I went and done it. I created a patreon. My ultimate aim is to wear my Occult Detective hat full time. If you’d like to help me achieve that goal, any assistance would be appreciated.

There are $1, $3, and $5 tiers for those of you on a budget, and trust me, there will be plenty of content at those levels. There are also $10, $20, and $40 tiers for those looking for a deeper dive.

Let’s make some magick together.

The Longest Day

Posted in Magick on June 21, 2022 by Occult Detective

Hard to believe we’ve arrived at Midsummer already.

Time, that perverse construct of our material realm, continues to be in a state of flux. If this universe were a writer, I would swear they had absolutely no sense of pacing.

None whatsoever.

But we persevere, no? Through pandemics and recessions and civil unrest and a climate system that has decided we’re due for another global upheaval. Hot. Cold. Flood. Drought.

Make up your bloody mind already.

Regardless, I am writing here in hopes that you are well, in mind, body, and soul. We need each other more than ever I think. I mean, I’ve always been a bit of a social creature, so long as the gatherings are small and intimate, and if a bit of nature’s about.

Absolutely no interest in hordes of folk milling about. I am, however, interested in conversations. It’s always been part and parcel of my investigations into the strange and unusual and of my magical practices as well. Connecting with outside intelligences. That’s what sings to me, be it a circle of close friends about a campfire or consorting with spirits, if you will.

Anyway, I’m happy to be consorting with you right now.

In that regard, I’ve got a lot of exciting things in the works. For one, I’ll be launching a patreon soon. The idea of which is to allow me to connect with folk, you know, as in people like you, in a more intimate manner. It will afford me the ability to share things that I otherwise don’t get the opportunity to do.

There will still be free content here, of course. All of this will just show up there first. And, sure, there will be more over there, but then, I guess, that’s the point, right?

Anyway, I thought this magically charged day would be a good day to announce it coming… the patreon I mean. I’m looking to open the door on my “watering hole for paranormal adventurers” on the first of July. I hope you’ll swing by and have a look around and maybe sit for a spell.

Watch for my review of The Shamanic Soul: A Guidebook for Self-Exploration, Healing, and Mysticism by Daniel Moler later this week.

Magick Without Fears Hermetic Podcast

Posted in Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on June 9, 2022 by Occult Detective

I was thrilled to finally be a guest of Frater R:.C:. on his Magick Without Fears podcast. While I wasn’t at my best (thanks a lot, opioid analgesics), it was an absolute honor to chat for a couple of hours (three if you’re a patron) with one of my favorite people.

We were all over the place, talking about everything from occult detectives and paranormal investigation, the Satanic Panic, music, psychedelics, cancel culture, Dungeons & Dragons, and a host of other things I can’t remember right now.

Pain medication is rarely conducive to cognizance.

To be honest, I could have talked for hours more.

A huge thanks to Frater R:.C:. for having me on. If you don’t already, be sure to put Magick Without Fears in your podcast queue.

Now Available — Weiser Classics Editions of Liber Null & Psychonaut, Predictive Astrology, and Alchemist’s Handbook

Posted in Book Review, Magick on June 2, 2022 by Occult Detective

Three new Weiser Classics editions became available on Wednesday, June 1 and these are essential reading for those looking for a well-rounded occult education. Let’s take a quick look at each.

Let me begin with the book I am least familiar with — Predictive Astrology: Tools to Forecast Your Life & Create Your Brightest Future by Bernadette Brady.

Predictive Astrology shows the reader how to use Time Maps to approach to the fate of the transits, and includes new methods for calibrating and filtering progressions, returns of all kinds, eclipses, and planetary areas. By combining these techniques, you can reveal the future and put various aspects of your life into perspective.

Offering many new techniques and concepts, this classic groundbreaking work (first published in 1976) is finding a new and growing audience. The book brings predictive astrology into a world of its own.

This new Weiser Classics edition includes a new foreword by Theresa Reed, author of Astrology for Real Life.

I am not much of an astrologer. Oh, sure, I can weasel my way around a chart and wrap my head around the basics. Reading this book for the first time was a real eye opener as it introduced new concepts to me that helped rearrange my thought processes around the map of the heavens and how they relate to your birth chart and portent analysis.

Definitely a must-read if you haven’t before and this edition is lovingly produced. You want charts and diagrams? This one delivers. You can buy Predictive Astrology HERE. At $26.96, this feels like a bargain.

Alchemist’s Handbook by Frater Albertus is the very definition of classic. I first read this in the mid-1980s, discovered in the occult stacks in the Ball State Library. I quickly devoured it. The subject matter was more in line with my roommate’s fascinations, he was well suited to the practice of chemistry, excelling in the sciences, so we studied it together. I was more at home with the philosophical side of the work. In this, my roommate and I made a great team, and Frater Albertus’ work was instrumental in both our developments.

The Alchemist’s Handbook has long been considered a modern-day classic on the actual practice of alchemy since its first publication in 1960. The book still stands as a groundbreaking work presenting in clear, concise language a practical manual of working knowledge that was formerly handed down only under oath of secrecy.

The scope of alchemical work is to provide both a means to synthesize all the other sciences and the necessary training of the intellectual and spiritual faculties. “Hermetic philosophy, with its practical arcanum,” writes Frater Albertus, “repeats itself over and over again in the ancient axiom ‘As above, so below. As below, so above.’”

The Alchemist’s Handbook discusses in detail:

  • The basic fundamental principles of alchemy.
  • A guide to the formation of an inexpensive home laboratory with illustrations of the necessary equipment.
  • Step-by-step instructions for the work of the Lesser Circulation, the alchemical transformation within the plant kingdom.

“The teachings of Frater Albertus are part of a lineage that traces back to Rosicrucian sources and much earlier and The Alchemist’s Handbook is still the best introduction to that lineage. If you feel the call of Alchemy and want real information on the subject, this is definitely the book you will want to read, reread, and read again. It may just turn out to be the book that changes your life.”—From the foreword by Robert Allen Bartlett, author of Real Alchemy: A Primer of Practical Alchemy

First published by Weiser Books in 1974, this new Weiser Classics edition includes a new foreword by Robert Allen Bartlett, author of Real Alchemy.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bartlett’s Foreword, and was not surprised that his early experiments were with damiana, as were my own. I was only moderately successful with it, but it was a start. Alchemist’s Handbook is a treasure. If you don’t have this in your collection, you need to rectify that post haste. You can get a copy HERE for only $18.95. Well worth every penny.

Finally, we have a personal favorite — Liber Null and Psychonaut by Peter J. Carroll. On the “Mount Rushmore of Chaos Magick you’ll find Carroll there, alongside Austin Osman Spare, Phil Hine, and Ramsey Dukes.

Peter Carroll’s classic work has been profound influence on the Western magical world and on the practice of chaos magick in particular. In Liber Null and Psychonaut, Carroll presents an approach to the practice of magic that draws on the foundations of shamanism and animism, as well as that found in the Greek magical papyri, the occult works of Eliphas Levi and Aleister Crowley, and the esoteric meditative practices of classical India and China. Also very much at work in the text are 20th century scientific ideas of quantum physics and chaos theory.

The result is a profoundly original work of magical studies that also includes a selection of extremely powerful rituals and exercises for committed occultists with instructions that lead the reader through new concepts and practices to achieve Carroll’s definition of magic itself: the raising of the whole individual in perfect balance to the power of infinity.

This Weiser Classics edition is a thoroughly revised republication of Liber Null and Psychonaut, first published by Weiser in 1987, and includes a new foreword by Ronald Hutton, a leading authority on modern witchcraft and paganism.

I discussed Liber Null & Psychonaut, in general, and Chaos Magick, in particular, with my friend, Freeman Presson, and Weiser Books’ Lisa Trudeau (aka Ahnkie) back in March of 2011, when Red Wheel/Weiser last released this book. It’s worth a read, I think. And I made a short post about Chaos Magick in reference to Magical (Dis)Orders back in 2015 that is somewhat apropos, especially considering the release of Stranger Things’ season four, and the synchronicity of 1986.

All this to say that, Liber Null and Psychonaut are hugely influential books on me. As they are both now bound together, I impress upon you the necessity for you making these a part of your library. I don’t see anything dramatically different from the previous 2011 release, other than the new foreword by Hutton, which is quite nice, but perhaps, like me, you already own several copies and differing editions? What’s one more? This one’s lovely and priced to sell at $18.95. Click HERE to bring it home.

There you have it, Three for Thursday, I suppose. I cannot recommend these Weiser Classics highly enough. They are quality editions, lovingly reproduced, and in all cases, the new forewords add to the experience.

We are living in dark times. Treat yourself to a bit of the light. That’s what these books, and others like them, represent. Portable light to drive back the shadow.

Buy now. Thank me later.

“…in Heaven & Earth…”

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on May 24, 2022 by Occult Detective

I shared this story with friends last night, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t shared it here, or, at least, I don’t recall doing so. Proceed with caution and with an open mind. I will do my best to maintain the confidentiality of the owners and location.

A few decades back, give or take, I was asked to investigate a business property. It was housed in an old building, constructed in 1912. This building saw a lot of traffic in its heyday, but fell into disrepair and was little more than a derelict structure for many moons until the current owners revitalized it in the late twentieth century.

The owners reached out because they were having inexplicable fires occurring in one of the upstairs rooms. Electricians were baffled. As they were also experiencing other paranormal phenomena, calling me in seemed apropos.

I was able to identify much of the phenomena as residual, such as the sounds of pre-War radio, though I was pretty sure there was an intelligent spirit on the ground floor, and something a little darker in the basement. My main concern lay with the electrical fires however.

After several visits, I became confident the culprits were what some call land wights or the fey, but most simply refer to them as fairy folk. Precocious and alien, wights are preternatural spirits, sometimes malicious, but then, their thinking is different than our own. They frequent abandoned places, woodlands, groves, streams, and yes, neglected buildings.

I set a trap for the creatures, honey and polished stones, and I sang to them while I strummed a tune on my guitar. Gathered into water collected from the most sacred local spot I knew, I took them to that place and released them, unto Seven Pillars, the Gateway Between Worlds, where they could make a new home for themselves.

When I speak with those who have become weekend hobbyists, often because they enjoy the Discovery Channel’s slate of ghostly programming, predominately I see they’re of a mind that there are two, maybe three types of spirits — intelligent ghosts of the deceased, residual spirits, and demons. That kind of thinking is not healthy. This is a lesson every occult detective or paranormal investigator needs to take to heart.

Become acquainted with the history and folklore of the area you frequently investigate. What’s that oft (read: over-) used line from Hamlet? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Or something like that.

We have to recognize that existence is much more expansive than that which is at our fingertips. We move through a reality that encompasses various planes and dimensions and divergences, and it is all populated by a myriad of preternatural intelligences.

The sooner would be “ghost hunters” wrap their heads around that, the better.

Chaos Magick for the Clueless (which would be me) – a conversation with Bob Freeman & Freeman Presson

Posted in Magick on May 20, 2022 by Occult Detective

Hard to believe it’s been over 11 years since Freeman Presson and I sat down for a chat with Ankie (Lisa Trudeau). A lovely conversation with lovely people.

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