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Fang, Fur, Blood, and Bone just howls for more quality experimental magic. From upstart UK publisher Imanion Press, this first-time offering by Seattle-based author Lupa sets a tone for the future of magical practice. Her composition of research, skepticism, and practical anecdotes gives readers a rarely-offered 21st century look at magic at its dirtiest and most real.  This is not a tome for the armchair, nor is it some ethical argument to have behind the safety of a computer screen. Thoughtful, intelligent, and based on real experience, this book delivers a controversial and necessary addition to occult literature.

Cultural assimilation, a guaranteed issue with any book on shamanism written by a non-tribal member, is confronted and discussed quite well. Lupa's proffered argument for the loose cultural approach of neopaganism gives a foundation for her practice that doesn't need sundry claims of authenticity. What Lupa writes about, she really practices, and her expertise is evident in the realism of her examples, particularly where she relates her successes and failures. There are few if any back shot references to what the Indians of the YadaYada tribe did giving all readers relief from this abused method of building authority. Instead, she confesses her errors in a way so realistic that you know she really practices what she writes.

Contention with this book is minimal. There are spots that escaped proofreading, but it still excels proofing and copy practices elsewhere in the occult publishing industry. One chapter on therianthropy would read better if moved to the end of the book, where it would make a nice setup for Lupa's next book on Otherkin and therianthropy. There are areas, particularly regarding familiars, where more information would be helpful, such as methods for diagnosing whether an animal is a familiar or not. Methods for building discipline while in trance would also make the book more usable to other practitioners. Certainly, plenty of information on the how-tos of these mystical techniques are on the Internet, but readers look to books for expertise and for the techniques that really work. Lupa clearly has this expertise, and it's acceptable to share methods for the absolute basic ground skills of magical practice.

What makes this book outstanding beyond its focus on genuine practice is Lupa's head-on confrontation of the controversies that are part of her practice. She talks about animal sacrifice, and intelligently contrasts the way animals are handled in meat processing industries versus religious slaughter. She also delves into her own practices of ritual sacrifice, and her interactions with deities as a result. I was particularly moved by her interactions with Bast and Anubis.

FFBB is not a beginner's book, it's a practitioner's book, and it comes as a welcome relief from other books in the occult field. Lupa makes no apologies for her practices, she assumes a specific stance, and she sticks to it. FFBB is groundbreaking, intelligent, and gives its reader concepts that work.    

 

~ review by Diana Rajchel

Author: Lupa

Immanion Press, 2006

pp. 224, 21.99

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