Archive for Weiser Books

My Review of the Little Book of Saturn

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , , on June 8, 2018 by Occult Detective

saturnI am, admittedly, not an expert on astrology. Oh, I’ve studied the subject, to be sure, and I’ve constructed charts for myself, loved ones, and friends over the years. I have been deeply interested in the subject, but view astrology as a complex science that requires the sort of dedication that I am, unfortunately, unable to give.

I do read quite a bit on the subject, as you can imagine. I have a deep respect for Liz Greene’s Saturn: A New Look at an Old Devil. Visiting the latest Weiser Books release, The Little Book of Saturn by Aliza Einhorn, brought back fond memories of devouring Greene’s work, but I believe Ms. Einhorn has delivered a worthy successor.

What you’ll find in The Little Book of Saturn is a whimsical examination of Saturn’s role in our astrological make-up. I adore the author’s voice. She is warm, exuberant, and knowledgeable.

einhornMagicians all need a wee bit astrology in their bag of tricks and Einhorn’s examination of Saturn’s place in our charts offers a deeper understanding that strips away some of the fear and anxiety so often associated with its celestial appearance.

This is, I feel, a great book to broaden your knowledge of Saturn in your life, especially for novices, but for the more advanced astrologer, there’s something here for you too. Aliza Einhorn has delivered a passionate examination of this taskmaster of the heavens.

I recommend the book, wholeheartedly.

The Little Book of Saturn: Astrological Gifts, Challenges, and Returns by Aliza Einhorn is available wherever books are sold.

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My review of the Lunar Nomad Oracle

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , , on March 9, 2018 by Occult Detective

I fell in love with Shaheen Miro’s Lunar Nomad Oracle as soon as I opened the mailing envelope it arrived in. Within an attractive and sturdy slipcase you’ll find a comprehensive guidebook and a deck of 43 cards that promise to “unlock your creativity and awaken your intuition”. I am here to attest that they will do just that and so much more.

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The artwork is stunning, with each card representing a little window into the imagination. There is a surreal, dream-like quality to the art that taps into your subconscious and ignites that sense of wonder and excitement that lurks inside us.

The guidebook does a superb job of leading the reader on a journey of discovery, of introducing them to their “lunar self”. I can’t imagine anyone not coming away from this without a better sense of themselves, of feeling whole and complete.

Miro is a natural storyteller, with a real gift for tapping into the mystical imagery that speaks to the reader on an inner level.

This is the place of etherealness and boundless reverie.

This is a deck that I would highly recommend, not just to tarot enthusiasts and the magically inclined, but to all creatives and would-be artisans. This is a trip into otherworldly realms, into the dreamland, that place where we visit when we lay ourselves down to sleep. The Lunar Nomad Oracle allows that door to be opened whilst you’re wide awake, inviting your full potential for imaginative thinking to be unfettered and free.

In case I’m being unclear: I loved this deck and think you will too.

Shaheen Miro’s Lunar Nomad Oracle is available in bookstores and online marketplaces throughout the prime material plane. Visit your favorite scriptum emporium and bring this one home. But prepare yourself to dream while you’re awake…

My review of Old Style Conjure by Starr Casas

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error with tags , , , on August 17, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Though I was born and raised in the wilds of northern Indiana, my roots run deep into the soil of the South. My parents were both born in Arkansas and my family traces our lineage, on both sides, throughout the “Land of Opportunity”.

My maternal and paternal grandparents migrated to the rural Hoosier community I call home in the 1950s, an area where dozens upon dozens of other Arkansas expatriate families decided to hang their hats.

I was surrounded by family and friends who all hailed from those southern climes and they brought with them rich and colorful folk stories and traditions handed down for generations. Coupled with that, my nearest neighbors as a child were Mexican migrants, who had their own flavor of folklore from the southwest. It was a heady influence of cultures that fueled my own interests in the paranormal and the occult.

Immersing myself in Mama Starr’s Old Style Conjure: Hoodoo, Rootwork, & Folk Magic felt very much like a homecoming of sorts.

The author, well-versed in the tradition, has a distinctive writing style the evokes the spirit of the South, comfortable and relaxed, but not without a bit of spit and fire.

The historical context of the craft is well-represented and woven throughout giving the work that sense of it being passed down from an elder rootworker to a novice conjurer, which is just the case.

With minor exceptions, the spellwork here is fully developed and practical, hammering again and again the connections between ones ancestors, the Bible as source, purity of intent, and justification for taking action.

In many ways, I am reminded of the pow-wow magic of the Pennsylvania Dutch (of which I’m more intimately familiar), but while the roots of pow-wow run back to Europe, conjure is firmly grounded in African-American slave culture.

The magic presented here is powerful stuff. It’s not the sort of mojo I keep in my bag of tricks, but I am fascinated by its deep, colorful history and its continued presence in the modern world.

Conjure is the magic of the people and it works. If you’ve an interest in pursuing these works, I can recommend no better place to begin.

Old Style Conjure: Hoodoo, Rootwork, & Folk Magic by Mama Starr Casas is available wherever books are sold or you can weave your own brand of magic and purchase it directly from the publisher by the simple manipulation of the keyboard at your fingertips. Just click HERE to begin your adventure into the magic of the folk.

The Weiser Book of #OccultDetectives, edited by @JudikaIlles

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Occult Detectives with tags , , on May 2, 2017 by Occult Detective

wbodI proudly parade my near lifelong obsession for the occult detective genre in all its forms and guises on this blog. That obsession led me to not only pursue a writing career entrenched in the conceits of the genre, but to explore the preternatural outside the realm of fiction as a paranormal investigator.

It is also no secret that October is my favorite month, that I have an unnatural attraction to Hallowe’en, Samhain, and all the trappings the Witching Season has to offer.

Well, when the Season of the Witch rolls around this year, readers are in for a real treat as my two favorite preoccupations collide with the October 1st release of The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing, edited and introduced by none other than one of the premiere occult authors and scholars of the modern age — Judika Illes.

Judika Illes has compiled an amazing collection of occult detective stories, mining some of the best paranormal mysteries the early twentieth century had to offer, written by such legendary authors as Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson, Sax Rohmer, Dion Fortune, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

As one devoted to the genre, both as a fan and an author, I understand the awesome task Illes has undertaken. To pore over the sheer volume of early occult detective tales and select the very best and defining tales for a collection such as this would be a maddening endeavor for any scholar, but Judika Illes has done an admirable job of putting together a brilliant and impressive table of contents here.

As well read in the genre as I am, Judika Illes has managed to unearth no less than four spectacular tales that had escaped my attention: The Dead Hand by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace, The Vampire by Alice and Claude Askew, The Witness in the Wood by Rose Champion de Crespigny, and The Eyes of Doom by Ella M. Scrymsour.

Whether you are new to the genre or a lifelong fan, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing is a collection you absolutely cannot do without. Why, I am already pining for the coming of October when I can once more crack the spine of this assemblage of paranormal thrillers and read them when the moon is high and unseen spirits roam unfettered.

The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives, edited and introduced by Judika Illes is available for preorder from amazon.com.

 

My review of Varla Ventura’s Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires & Other Creatures of the Night

Posted in Archive with tags , , on October 24, 2013 by Occult Detective

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If you’re looking for the perfect book to spend the Witching Season with, one to sink your teeth into as you burrow under the covers to escape the cold and dread of October’s grim, then I have just the book for you.

Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night: Facts, Fictions, and First-Hand Accounts by Varla Ventura is a delightful little tome, filled with delicious illustrations and wondrous tales, both real and imagined.

What a gorgeous book this is. The real stars of Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night are cover designer Jim Warner and Dutton & Sherman Design’s magnificent interiors. First, they used one of my all time favorite fonts (Caslon), with additional text printed in Felltype, and they printed it in this rich, chocolate brown on off-white paper. It’s simply beautiful to behold.

One of my best friends has a Letterpress print shop and he’s been plying his trade for more than sixty years. When I showed him this book he drooled all over it. We spent the better part of two hours poring over the cover and interior pages as we marveled over the attention given to every little detail.

As for the content itself, Ms. Ventura has compiled an impressive array of monstrous tales from all manner of beasties that haunt the night. If you love monsters, then this book will certainly become an instant favorite. I’ve already read it twice and have placed it on my most honored reference shelf for quick and easy access.

As you can tell, I loved this book. I think you will too.

Banshees, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Creatures of the Night: Facts, Fictions, and First-Hand Accounts by Varla Ventura is available both online and in your local brick & mortar. As usual, I recommend ordering where it does the author and publisher the most good — direct from the proverbial horse’s mouth.

My Review of Anita Kraft’s Qabalah Workbook for Magicians

Posted in Archive with tags , , on June 6, 2013 by Occult Detective

qabalah workbookI don’t know Anita Kraft personally, even though she spent a fair amount of time in my backyard, so to speak. I am, as most of you know, a proud Hoosier, and Ms. Kraft attended Indiana University and, according to the Introduction in her magnificent work, The Qabalah Workbook for Magicians, attended her first Gnostic Mass in Indianapolis. About this same time I was spending a fair amount of mine in Indy as well, consuming hallucinogens while kicking back metaphysically in a sensory-deprivation tank. Small world.

Now, if you were paying attention, you’d have noticed that I described Ms. Kraft’s recent Weiser Books release as magnificent. That is not hyperbole. As a near lifelong student of esoterica, I know a thing or two about Hermetic Qabalah. It was never a passionate focus of mine, but I cut my teeth there and did the work. While I appreciated the song and I learned all the notes, it just wasn’t one that I wanted to add to my set list. But a working understanding of Hermetic Qabalah is vital to the development of any practical magician and that’s why I loved Anita Kraft’s approach in The Qabalah Workbook.

This work is a must-have for any beginning student, in my opinion, but even more so, the ideas found within its pages are fresh and compelling for those of us a little longer in the tooth.

Thelemites will find the material quite comfortable, as the works of Aleister Crowley are quite dominant throughout. Not a Crowley fan? Don’t let that scare you off, there is plenty here to sink your teeth into. But be aware, this book is most likely the first in a series. Kraft covers the Sephiroth more than adequately, but the paths, where most modern magicians hang their proverbial wizard’s cap, are not. Don’t fret it. Plenty of work to be done here.

And that’s what I like best about The Qabalah Workbook. It is what it says it is — a workbook. I have little doubt that if you do the work as presented, you’ll be a better magician once you get to the other side, and that’s why I am more than happy to recommend this book to you, whether you ‘re a seasoned esotericist or someone eager to take their first steps into this magical world.

As to the physical book itself, I simply love the cover featuring Kircher’s Tree of Life. The interior fonts and illustrations are easy on the eyes and the off-white pages mean no unsightly glare. That goes a long way with me.

The Qabalah Workbook for Magicians: A Guide to the Sephiroth is available wherever books are sold, but here’s a link to Weiser Books’ online store. Feed the bear and maybe it won’t eat you.

Now, why don’t you join me over at Freeman Presson’s blog so we can read his review of  this very same book. I’m curious to see if he found it as enlightening as I did.

My 3 Word Review of The Best of the Equinox Vol. 2: Dramatic Ritual by Aleister Crowley

Posted in Archive with tags , , , on March 25, 2013 by Occult Detective

dracMy three word review: BUY THIS BOOK.

There — that was short, sweet, and to the point, no?

Look, chances are you already own Crowley’s Equinox, right? If not, this four volume series is tailor made just for you. Weiser’s doing the heavy lifting for you, having the honorable Baba Lon assemble the very best that the Equinox has to offer. The first volume covered Enochian Magick. Volume two tackles Dramatic Ritual and nobody, and I do mean nobody does dramatic ritual like Uncle Al.

Now how about those of you who already have the Equinox steadfastly weighing your overwrought bookshelves down? Why, oh why, if you’re a devoted Crowley aficionado, would you dare to drop your hard earned coin on a second helping of these delectable treats? Because of the aforementioned Lon Milo DuQuette, whose introductions are worth their weight in gold — that’s why.

I could go on and on about the intricacies of the rituals within, about the poetic and sublime poetics, and the mind-shatteringly beautiful and rapturous words, lovingly crafted and fulfilling the title’s promise… but I won’t. Because you know it already. Why would you even hesitate?

Here there be magick.

Buy the ticket. Take the ride. Thank me later.

The Best of the Equinox Volume 2: Dramatic Ritual by Aleister Crowley is available wherever books are sold. Let you fingers do their little dance on the keyboard and order your copy today.

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