Archive for the Magick Category

“…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.

As we prepare to read the Chaos Magick classics Liber Null and Psychonaut for our next 2 Weiser Book Club meetings, it occurs to me that I’m probably not alone in my confusion over what, exactly CM is …or isn’t. Wouldn’t it be great to have a little bit of a primer?

With this in mind, I asked Bob Freeman (@OccultDetective) and Freeman Presson (@LilithsPriest) to give me a lesson on  Chaos Magick 101.

Here is (verbatim) our enlightening email exhange:

Ankhie:

I don’t know if you two have e-met yet, but in case you have not let me do the honors:

Bob Freeman (@OccultDetective) – meet Freeman Presson (@LilithsPriest) Freeman – meet Bob!

What I’d like to do today  is talk a little about the basics of Chaos Magick before we have our first #WBC7 session on Liber Null next week.

Full disclosure – Chaos…

View original post 1,796 more words

Weiser Books Responds to the Strange Case of Georgina Rose

Posted in Current Events, Magick on May 5, 2022 by Occult Detective

The Georgina Rose Affair has had the online occult community in a fervor, and understandably so. I will not go into the sordid details. They have been hashed and rehashed multiple times. The best source, should you wish to refresh yourself on the particulars, can be found on the Codex Astarte Substack.

All caught up? Good.

I discovered Georgina Rose, aka da’atdarling quite some time ago when one of her videos was promoted to me via the youtube algorithm gods. While I wasn’t overly impressed with her content, I did follow her channel, and did the same on other social media outlets, such as twitter and instagram.

For all the negatives I could address, as an occult influencer, she did get people talking, about Thelema, Ceremonial Magick, Witchcraft… Her obvious naivete in relation to the subjects she was professed to be a “leading voice” in smacked of the sort of social media popularity contest that is part and parcel of the whole online experience.

I did watch her videos, and listened to the podcast she shared with author Temperance Alden and Nike. This content was the topic of much conversation in the circles I traveled in. As I’ve stated previously, “I was chided for dismissing her as her popularity grew. I just didn’t see why everyone was so enamored with her, to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’m old(er), but she never seemed anything more to me than a “witchtok” anime cosplayer who went viral. Her videos were never insightful in any way. For being touted as a “leading voice” in Thelema, it never seemed to me that she had a grasp on what Thelema was, let alone what it could be.

There was a time when, if one spoke negatively of Ms. Rose’s content, you were labeled as misogynist, which is unfortunate. The issue was never with gender, but with her obvious naivete and misappropriation of other people’s work.

When she announced she had written a book on Thelema, set to be published by one of my favorite occult disseminators, Weiser Books, I was as surprised as anyone. Of course once the allegations of, well, that whole sorted affair, were leveled, many in the esoteric community questioned Weiser Books’ role in this, which I personally found rather unfair.

Weiser Books has always published what I feel is a balanced collection of traditional and historical magical content alongside fresh and ofttimes innovative voices. I reached out to Red Wheel/Weiser for comment, and Associate Publisher Peter Turner was kind enough to respond.

How did Georgina come to Weiser’s attention? Was she recruited, or did she approach the publisher?

Georgina was someone we were aware of as an influencer on social media on Crowley, Thelema, and the occult. She was then doing a podcast with Temperance Alden, one of our authors. (Temperance stopped doing this podcast some time in 2021 I believe.) Georgina did several podcasts on Weiser related topics and seemed genuinely well informed and a respected online source. I actually don’t recall if I reached out to her to do a book or if she submitted one to us first. I think I reached out to her.

Could you share some insights into the internal discussion and decision to pull “Begin With True Will”?

We became aware of the situation over the weekend of April 23rd-24th. On the following Monday and Tuesday senior staff meet to discuss the options. We had hoped that Georgina would address the statements made about her in a way that might make it possible for us to continue to publish the book as planned. That wasn’t forthcoming. So we arranged to have the book description and cover removed from online retailers websites. Shortly after we formerly arranged for the book to no longer be available for preorders. Online retailers can take a few days to update their metadata and affect these sort of changes to a book’s listing so there was a bit of a lag.

In light of this controversy, what is Weiser’s stance on other “problematic” authors, particularly in your back catalog? I’m thinking here of Edred Thorsson, Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, etc. Will future editions come with disclaimers (I personally hope not)?

Weiser’s backlist includes books that were first published well over 100 years ago when what was viewed as “problematic” was very different. As a general policy we don’t remove books from our deep backlist. However, if they are reissued the books are closely read for material that may be offensive to our readers. In these instances we either provide a new foreword by a contemporary author reintroducing the book, warn the readers of any such content, and put the author’s views in historical context, or we include an “Editor’s Note” on the pages where this material is printed.

I should say this is a common problem in publishing. Rudyard Kipling, for example, was famously a racist, even using the “N” word in one of his novels. Whitewashing the past isn’t helpful.

How does this affect bringing in new authors for future publication?

We’re currently talking about making our editorial process and editorial policy more broadly known. Many people really don’t know how small publishers do what they do but in the case of Weiser’s readers we think they may appreciate a bit more transparency. In the past, we’ve tended to just want to let the books and their authors speak for themselves; that may not be sufficient these days. In terms of bringing in new authors, we’ve been talking for a while now about how best to properly research an author’s credentials and if they have expressed views that are at odds with Weiser’s publishing mission. We are now doing that research more vigorously. This would not have helped in the case of Begin with True Will (as the book was signed, edited, and already typeset before we became aware of the issues that came to light).

I want to thank Peter for addressing these concerns.

The Strange Case of Georgina Rose is an awakening moment for many of us. The company we keep reflects on us as individuals. That is not to say we should not rub shoulders with those with differing views than us. No, quite the contrary, but we need to be bold in our stance of what each of us holds true, so that there is no question as to where our allegiance lies.

I am religiously heathen, philosophically animistic, and politically Libertarian. I am, in a word, complicated. I am pro-choice, pro-gun, and an ally in trans and women’s rights. I believe in true equality between all races and genders. I always side with freedom of speech, bodily autonomy, and personal liberty.

I also believe in forgiveness, because life is too damned short to believe otherwise.

So, what are your plans for Walpurgisnacht?

Posted in Investigations, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on April 28, 2022 by Occult Detective

My “May Day” Weekend is sorted. Saturday afternoon you can find me at Viking Fest in Whitestown, then, that evening, I have the pleasure of hosting my friends with Indiana Ghost Trackers for a “ghost hunt”.

Let’s see: New Moon? Check. Walpurgisnacht? Check. Chance of rain? Check. Should make for a spectacular night.

Beltane will be a fine day for rest, recovery, writing, and reflection.

The occult community is awash in finger pointing, “told you so” proclamations, and a whole lot of track covering. I’m referring of course to the Georgina Rose fiasco. I was chided for dismissing her as her popularity grew. I just didn’t see why everyone was so enamored with her, to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’m old(er), but she never seemed anything more to me than a “witchtok” anime cosplayer who went viral. Her videos were never insightful in any way. For being touted as a “leading voice” in Thelema, it never seemed to me that she had a grasp on what Thelema was, let alone what it could be.

Then the receipts came in. Frater Pena on his Codex Astarte substack led the charge, bolstered by Marco Visconti, commentary by Temperance Alden and Nike (former podcast co-hosts), and a veritable host of others.

The thing is, it’s kind of ugly out there, and a lot of buzz words are getting tossed around that make me uncomfortable. It’s sort of a microcosm of all the BLM/Insurrection/Pandemic rhetoric that has exploded the past couple of years.

Something’s got to give.

So, Sunday…Beltane… I’m going to light a fire and visit with my cats, spend real quality time with my family, and think…a lot. Then, when the dust settles, I’m going to share those thoughts.

You have been warned.

My thoughts on Consorting with Spirits by Jason Miller

Posted in Book Review, Magick, Paranormal on April 25, 2022 by Occult Detective

Apologies for being quiet of late. It’s becoming a habit, unfortunately, but I have been having some minor health related issues and some weighty deadlines that have kept me from the blog. Again, my apologies.

So many things I should share with you: recent paranormal investigations, upcoming appearances, and a little matter of the occulture meltdown underway on social media, but let’s focus on something more prescient to our desires — book reviews! I have a couple I need to share, so let’s spend today with what is easily the crown jewel of 2022 thus far — Jason Miller’s Consorting with Spirits.

First, here’s what Weiser Books had to share —

“Working with spirits can be some of the most dangerous yet some of the most gratifying work a magickal practitioner can engage in. With Jason as your guide in this book, you are in some of the best hands out there when it comes to approaching and working with spirits. This is a book I wish I had fifteen years ago when I began working closely with spirits.” —Mat Auryn, author of Psychic Witch

Throughout history, humans have sought power and knowledge from spirits. Learning how to conjure, communicate, and negotiate with these unseen powers is one of the keys to success in magic.

Consorting with Spirits presents a detailed explanation of what spirits are, their different classifications, and how they exist in relation to the world we normally perceive. The reader will then learn a system of practices that will cultivate three main skills: The capacity to perceive spirits clearly, the ability to interact with them effectively, and the tools to deepen your relationships. It is this focus on deepening relationships and increasing clarity in communications that has been missing from much of the material about spirits.  

This book will teach you different ways of interacting with spirits, from offerings and invitations to forceful conjurations. With these tools in hand, you can work with your spirit allies to achieve any goal, from protection, to wealth, to vast knowledge.

Consorting with Spirits shares:

  • Proper training necessary for calling and conversing with spirits.
  • How to evaluate the messages you receive.
  • A full view of different modes of contact and what situations each mode lends itself to
  • Why the best sorcery is local.
  • The tools to establish and maintain a long-term relationship with spirits (consorting).
  • The 6 different manifestations of spirits and their corresponding magickal operations, qualities, benefits, and drawbacks.
  • The 4 methods of interacting with spirits: prayer, conjuring, compelling, and evocation.

Let me begin by stating emphatically, Consorting with Spirits: Your Guide to Working with Invisible Allies is an impressive work. On twitter I shared that I found it to be “a brilliant exploration of spirits in all their many & varied forms. A must-read for occultists & paranormal investigators alike.”

As I have stated many times, my introduction to the magical world as something distinctly real and vibrant as opposed to the stuff of fantasy, myth, and folklore was the book Unseen Forces by Manly Palmer Hall. I formulated many of my ideas about spirits from that treatise and slowly began to interact with those varied forms until a more clear (but far from complete) picture began to emerge.

What Jason Miller has done here is validate my own internalized beliefs (through UPG, trial and error, and theory and practice), and doing so by pulling back the veil and taking the reader on a fantastic journey.

Consorting with Spirits is an Unseen Forces Advanced Course, and it was everything I wanted and needed.

If there are negatives to this book, it is that it is a) too short, and b) not in a beautiful hardcover.

That said, it is an impressive volume in its trade dress. It sports a lovely and evocative cover by Wojciech Zwolinski and interior art by tattooist Matthew Brownlee. The font choices are easy on the eyes and tables and diagrams are crisp and well tended.

Matt Auryn delivers are terrific foreword, personal and professional at the same time, as all the best forewords tend to be. Mat has that certain air about him that is comforting and it really comes across here. He was an ideal choice to lure us further into the work.

But, let’s be clear, Jason Miller’s the star here. His narrative voice is erudite and instructive, but balanced in a way that makes the process almost interactive and collaborative. There is no doubt that this is a man who has indeed consorted with the sort of beings that are part and parcel to a man in my profession as it is in his.

Perhaps the greatest praise I can give in regard to this book is that you will learn from it, and you will be able to incorporate the lessons here into your personal practice. Miller delivers all the tools you need.

I had stated that this book is a must-read for occultists and paranormal investigators. Especially investigators. Too many of my colleagues are closed to the near infinite possibilities of the things they are interacting with. Consorting with Spirits would be the perfect mind opener for many.

Consorting with Spirits: Your Guide to Working with Invisible Allies by Jason Miller is available wherever books are sold as of the 1st of May. It is surely the ideal Beltane gift (especially to one’s self). This one needs to be a part of your library. Trust me on this one.

I’d rate it 6 out of 5 Stars.

My thoughts on Blackthorn’s Protection Magic & Brigid’s Light, available now from @WeiserBooks

Posted in Book Review, Magick on March 1, 2022 by Occult Detective

The world is on fire. It is times like these when we need the comfort of magic the most. Let’s face it, social upheaval, pandemic, and war are clear and present signs of transition, and magic is always at the fore as we realign ourselves for the age to come. For me, I find solace in well crafted esoterica, and I am thrilled to share with you today two books celebrating birthdays, both from the good folks at Red Wheel/Weiser.

A hands-on guide to protection magic using essential oils, incense, spells, and tarot from a beloved and trusted authority.

Blackthorn’s Protection Magic
guides readers through the realm of the green witch to a glade filled with options for your protection. Amy Blackthorn discusses spiritual, emotional, and physical security in an easy-to-understand way. The book provides an overview of what protection means to witches and then explores practices in more depth, including:

  • Essential oils for protection magic
  • The role plant allies play in both protecting and healing
  • What tarot can teach us about our strengths and weaknesses
  • Oracle spell work as a potent source of protection

As a witch who has worked in executive security for nearly fifteen years, Amy possesses the botanical spirit of an animist witch, able to see the inherent spirit in plants, as well as a keen eye on ways to make a home feel safer and more secure, on the magical and the mundane levels. For example, holly trees provide magical protection from lightning, but also make a prickly barrier outside the home to keep burglars from lurking in the shadows.

I love me some Amy Blackthorn. I spoke of comfort earlier, and Amy epitomizes comfort in all the best ways. Her books, while erudite and insightful, are also the literary equivalent of comfort food. Her latest, Protection Magic, is a timely read.

Divided into four parts, Blackthorn covers magical protection for the Mind (Psychic), Body (Physical), and Spirit (Emotional), with the final section delving into an info dump of miscellany and correspondences.

This is a lovely little primer that I feel is ideal for new practitioners, especially for women. Not that there aren’t new tricks to be found for us old dogs and of the male variety. The thrust, however, is practicality in every sense of the word. There are so many little tidbits that stand out as the author attempts to cover every situation, from identifying magical components (and weeding out fakes) to real world protection and defense in the physical sense.

This is a holistic approach that transcends mere occult protection, but impresses upon you the need to make magic a part of your being, utilizing it in all facets of your life.

Brilliant stuff, and the book cover is lovely to boot. The interior is spartan, with newsprint-like pages. At times the font-size runs a tad small in some of the subsets, but nothing to overly concern yourself with. It’s a book I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend, especially for those in the early stages of their craft.

Blackthorn’s Protection Magic: A Witch’s Guide to Mental and Physical Self-Defense by Amy Blackthorn is available today, the 1st of March, wherever books are sold. Here’s a link to Amazon.

Stories, spells, rituals, and recipes celebrating the worldwide influence of this beloved Celtic goddess, with contributions from Amy Blackthorn, Laura Tempest Zakroff, Courtney Weber, and many others

This anthology celebrates Brigid, an ancient and mysterious Celtic spirit who ranks among today’s most popular modern goddesses. Venerated in many forms including as a saint and a goddess, Brigid has traveled the globe alongside the Celtic diaspora. Once a goddess with a narrow territory, she is now an internationally beloved presence. While acknowledging her origins, this book also explores Brigid from the perspective of those outside her original Celtic homeland.

Editors Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella have gathered art, poetry, stories, spells, rituals, recipes, and traditions as an homage to the worldwide influence of Brigid’s magic and lore, especially among the descendants of immigrants to the Americas. In compiling these individual works, Cairelle and Laura have given voice to those traveling ancestors by showcasing a rich and beautiful heritage manifested through embodiments of devotion by their descendants, as well as others touched by Brigid.

Are you looking for inner healing, something to help take the weight of these past few years off your shoulders, even if it’s just for a brief respite? Brigid’s Light is what you’ve been waiting for. This book is a celebration and I assure you, it will lift your spirits and fill you with light and hope.

Past the powerful cover art by the talented Stuart Littlejohn you are treated to wonderful examinations of the Brigid Spirit. It begins with an insightful foreword by one of my favorite people to chat with, Judika Illes, then the anthology becomes a spiritual journey through the many facets of the character of Brigid, through ritual practice, poetry and essays, recipes and spellwork, and more.

I was thrilled by all of the contributions, but especially Courtney Weber’s A Ritual with Brigid — “I crave. You crave. We crave.” — and Lucia Moreno-Velo’s Brigid’s Place, which really caught me off guard.

Even without a personal connection to Brigid, you will find the warmth of the words inside a sublime comfort, which seems to be the theme for today.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly. I think you will love it. It’s light and passionate, and we can all use a little bit of that in our lives right now.

Brigid’s Light: Tending the Ancestral Flame of the Beloved Celtic Goddess, edited by Cairelle Crow and Laura Louella is available wherever books are sold. Here’s a convenient link to its Amazon listing.

Mythologically Speaking

Posted in Magick, Wyrd on February 16, 2022 by Occult Detective

“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?” 

― John Lennon

I had a peculiar moment when I was a small boy. Growing up in the Midwest, there’s a staple to that upbringing that is prevalent for most — church services on Sunday. While I must assume the vast majority of children buy into whatever religion the adults in their lives is selling, it never clicked with me in any meaningful way.

I enjoyed Sunday School well enough. Was never much more than story-time, really. During sermons I was armed with tiny tablets of paper from my grandma’s pocketbook, drawing Universal Monsters, alien spaceships, and super-heroes while some old man rattled away about original sin and the passion play.

The kicker was some innocuous reference to the Christianization of Heathens, usually by the sword, that triggered a thought in me that this desert religion being fostered upon me was not the faith of my ancestors, but one saddled upon them by conquering forces. My ancestors, those who called Northern Europe their home, believed in an altogether different pantheon of deities, deities I read about in books by Hamilton and Bulfinch and the like, that I found in picture books and comics, and in movies on Saturday afternoons.

I went into the school library and checked out a book by Padraic Colum called The Children of Odin and devoured it, realizing as I immersed myself in this tales of the ancient Norse, that these were the stories my forefathers told around the campfire — stories of Odin and Thor, Loki and Frigga, Sif and Freya, Balder, and more.

It occurred to me, as a boy not yet even ten, that these stories should mean more to me than those found in the Old and New Testament.

The myths of a culture are defining references that speak to a greater truth, that showcase virtues that a people held in high estimation. This was cemented even more once I had discovered the Havamal and began adding Celtic tales to my growing obsession.

Myths were the attempt of our ancestors to answer difficult questions about te world around them. They were teaching tools, disguised as colorful stories, that spoke of mighty beings and devious creatures that were as important to their daily lives as their flesh and blood.

These ancient gods were a real and vibrant force. Before philosophy and science, mythology defined the universe for those who came before us.

As these mythological entities were stripped away from us, so too was the magic that held us together as tribes and communities. The common bong was severed, as we lost our ties to the gods that breathed life into us and to the very land from which we sprang, then slowly over the centuries we became unmoored and lost.

Recapturing those tales that spoke so eloquently to our ancestors, reminds of of those ties that bind us. They call out from beyond the pale, life breathed anew into their lungs.

Why do I study mythology? Because they are my roots and without roots, a tree cannot stand.

Bob Freeman
occultdetective.com
writing from the banks of
Little Pipe Creek

My Thoughts on @LlewellynBooks’ Norse Divination: Illuminating Your Path with the Wisdom of the Gods by Gypsey Elaine Teague

Posted in Book Review, Magick, Wyrd on February 10, 2022 by Occult Detective

Journey into the Norse Pantheon to Uncover the Secrets of Your Past, Present, and Future

Reveal your life’s path in a brand-new way with Norse Divination, the only book designed around the Nordic gods themselves rather than the Futhark. Through concise yet enlightening analyses of these deities and their relationships to each other, you’ll unlock answers to your deepest questions and find more happiness and success.

An excellent primer on Norse mythology, this book teaches you how to easily create your own thirty-six-piece divination set and use it to explore the gods and goddesses’ beliefs, customs, loves, and deaths. Each deity, along with important mythological items, has a dedicated chapter outlining who they are, what their role is, and how they can help you divine the best course of action in any scenario. Featuring clear and thorough instruction on how to read all thirty-six pieces in their past, present, and future positions, Norse Divination helps you harness hidden knowledge and forge a unique practice.

Let me be honest right out of the gate: this is not the book I was expecting. Now let me explain why that’s not a bad thing.

I suppose I should first interject my obligatory apology for being late to review this. By now, you’re well aware of my bout with the plague. But that’s behind me now and we’ve one last book review to make good on, in this case, something that enters into the magical realm I am most connected to and enamored by — Northern European Heathenry — via Gypsey Elaine Teague’s aforementioned book, Norse Divination.

As stated above, I expected something quite different from this one, something more akin to an exploration of the runes. This is not that. I have read Gypsey’s work before, having read, reviewed, and enjoyed her work on The Witch’s Guide to Wands. I should have known by that work that I would be getting something fresh, unique, and wonderful.

That’s how I found Norse Divination. Teague knows her heathenry and has a special connection to the gods. As a scholar, she acknowledges the scant information we have on the people and faith that sprang out of those ancient climes, but through this connection that has blossomed over time and space, with so many being reunited with these godforms, Gypsey is able to bring the past in line with the present to deliver a remarkable system of divination that honors the roots from which it springs.

Utilizing 42 symbols, Gypsey has developed from her rune work a system that brings the gods into the mix. It is very intuitive, and I created for myself makeshift disks, burning the symbols into the wood. What I found was a very natural and insightful set of divination tools that fulfill their promise.

As always, I find Gypsey’s words meaningful and comfortable and believe you will find them the same. As for the book itself, well, it’s a thing of beauty. The interior design and layout is wonderful, but the star of the show is that magnificent cover. I could stare at that one all day.

If you’ve a love of divination, this book is for you and demands a place on your library shelf. For many heathens, well, this might be too outside the box for them, but I do hope they would be open-minded enough to not dismiss it out of hand. I lean toward more traditionalism as well, but found this to be inspired and worthwhile.

Norse Divination: Illuminating Your Path with the Wisdom of the Gods by Gypsey Elaine Teague is available wherever books are sold. I encourage you to bring this one home.

My thoughts on Kelden’s Witches’ Sabbath

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

As I write this, the morning after Imbolc, I await Winter Storm Landon’s arrival. Rain is pelting the canopy over the back door, evolving ever so slowly into sleet, before the increasing eventuality of voluminous snowfall that threatens a visit to these haunted climes.

It seems a good time to share with you my thoughts on The Witches’ Sabbath: An Exploration of History, Folklore, and Modern Practice by Kelden, especially in light of recent events.

I was riding a high after watching the latest episode of Kindred Spirits featuring paranormal investigators Amy Bruni and Adam Berry, which presented a ritual, The Shroud of the Revenant, from Greg Newkirk of Hellier fame. I love that kind of innovation. But that high was soon soured by Travel Channel’s latest paranormal entertainment series, Vampires In America, which is the very worst sort of sensationalist garbage that damages the entire paranormal community. Couple that with the gods awful documentary, The Book of Secrets: Aliens, Ghosts, and Ancient Mysteries, and, well, my resolve was all but shattered.

So, writing this review is, in many ways, cathartic —a way to rekindle my faith in the magical community, and a reminder that there is a wealth good to be found there. It just requires a bit of digging sometimes.

First, allow me to share Llewellyn’s introduction:

Discover the Hidden Depths of the Sabbath

Take flight for a mesmerizing exploration of an event long shrouded in fear and mystery―the Witches’ Sabbath. Kelden presents an in-depth examination of the Sabbath’s historical and folkloric development as well as its re-emergence within the modern practice of Witchcraft. From discussions on the folklore of flight and the events of nocturnal gatherings to enchanting rituals and recipes, you’ll find everything you need to not only understand the nature of the legendary Sabbath, but also journey there yourself. Offering impressive research and compelling stories from across Europe and the early American colonies, this book is the ultimate resource for discovering an oft misunderstood and overlooked aspect of Witchcraft.

Includes a foreword by Jason Mankey, author of The Horned God of the Witches

I received an advanced copy of The Witches’ Sabbath in mid-December just as my bout with the dreaded plague was sinking its tendrils into me. This book was a gift from the gods as it was a welcome distraction from my discomfort. While the book was released in the US in January, its February release in Canada and the UK helps alleviate some of the guilt I feel for not reviewing this book sooner.

Beyond addressing the book’s content, can I first gush over Tim Foley’s gorgeous woodcut that graces the cover? I love the colors, the stark blacks, and the otherworldly imagery that takes me back to my childhood, when I first took those fateful baby-steps into the world of witchcraft. Delicious by all accounts.

As for Kelden’s work, it is a wonderful read. A bit disjointed, perhaps, with an odd narrative, but I sort of like it. Kelden’s writing style matches the theme and tone of the book, which is both a concise and comprehensive exploration of the Witches’ Sabbath, in folklore and in practice today.

This is the place of wild magic, beyond myth and fantasy, where the shadow realm thrives outside this earthly realm and awaits for initiates to discover its location. Kelden does a masterful job of invoking the essence of its true nature, of presenting it through solid academic research to give it substance, but also through fanciful examination of legend and lore to expand upon its majestic presence beyond the veil.

The Witches’ Sabbath is whimsical and fantastic and wholly enchanting. It is a promise, an affirmation, if you will, of all that is wonderful and magical and dangerous about the world of witchcraft. So much of this has been lost in the past few decades. It’s nice to see the satanic majesty of it all reaffirmed.

Beyond the academia, you will find a wealth of practical exercises and spellwork to align yourself for visiting the Sabbath, should you fain to do so. While I found some of the exercises somewhat lackluster, overall it’s an ambitious undertaking, and I recommend it on many levels.

I see this work as imagination fuel. While the path may not be exactly the one you wish to travel, the very idea of it can lead you toward the proper trail where fancy becomes reality.

A delightful read that I recommend without hesitation, Kelden’s The Witches’ Sabbath: An Exploration of History, Folklore, and Modern Practice is available wherever books are sold. You’ll certainly want this one in your home library.

My thoughts on Elemental Powers for Witches by Frater Barrabbas (spoiler alert — it’s terrific)

Posted in Book Review, Magick on January 28, 2022 by Occult Detective

I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things after my bout with the plague. I found it hard to concentrate on reading for any real length of time during the height of it, but I did find that in those moments when I could wrap myself up inside a book, it was an important part of the healing process.

One of the books I found solace in was the latest release from Frater Barrabbas, an author I have been keen on approaching, particularly his book Spirit Conjuring for Witches. So, when offered a chance to read Elemental Powers for Witches, I was more than eager to do so.

Before I give you my brief thoughts on the book, let’s hear what Llewellyn has to say about it:

Bring Element-Based Ceremonial Magic into your Modern Witchcraft

What was once only available to ceremonial magicians can now be yours with this guide to advanced elemental energy work. Frater Barrabbas presents a ritual system that uses the forty qualified powers as well as the sixteen elementals―paired elements, such as earth of water, that create a more articulated expression of magical power. A companion to Spirit Conjuring for Witches, this book covers working with your own energy, uncrossing mechanisms that remove internal blocks, and a variety of magical tools, including sigils, pentacles, and crystals.

Featuring numerous illustrations and diagrams, Elemental Powers for Witches teaches you how to use specialized ritual energy patterns that are more effective than the regular witch’s circle. Frater Barrabbas walks you through exciting new rituals he has developed over the years, including the eight-node magic circle, invoking and banishing spirals, Western and Eastern gateways, the Rose Cross Vortex Rite, and more. From using the tarot as a Book of Shadows to calling upon elemental spirits, this book helps you enhance your practice while staying true to your primary tradition of the Craft.

First, I really appreciate what Frater Barrabbas is looking to accomplish here — to offer up alternative practices through a systematic, yet simplified exploration of ceremonial magick. It is ambitious and well plotted. If ceremonial practices are not your thing, this book may very well be for you. Afterward, I suspect you’ll change your tune.

While I found some of the text a bit rambling in parts, Barrabbas has ultimately created a terrific system of magick, synthesizing a veritable smorgasbord of occult practices all under one umbrella, from yoga to tarot to sigil magic and more.

For someone new to magick, or with little experience, this is a superb primer and initiatory starting point. It is elegant at times and insightful, with a lot of knowledge and background all in its core, creating a firm foundation from which to build on. It puts me in mind of some of Donald Tyson’s work in the late 1980s.

All in all, a book I highly recommend, for those new to ways of magick and those more seasoned. I certainly found some very useful practices within. As a magical system, steeped as is in the western tradition, it’s solid, inspiring, and most important, it’s useful.

You want to do more than learn about magick? Do you want to practice the art? Well, you really need look no further. This book will set you on a path from which you can grow and prosper from.

Elemental Powers for Witches: Energy Magic Simplified by Frater Barrabbas is available wherever books are sold. I give this one my highest recommendation.

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