The author has traveled extensively to study esoteric philosophy, the magical arts, and alternative religion. He's the editor and a contributing author to the e-zing 'The Familiar'. This is his first book.

The book provides a program of study and activities aimed at improving the reader's mental control and magical power through layered techniques. The developmental process utilizes an allegorical beast that's part unicorn, horse, and lion that the author calls Dragonflame.

Chapters 1 through 3 provide an explanations of intent, magical rituals, and visualizations that highlight the alchemical process of transformation. These are supplemented with information about focal deities, astrological signs, the related Major Arcana cards in the tarot (based on the Golden Dawn attributions), and its Hebrew letter assignment. Each exercise takes several days and progress is supposed to be tracked in the reader’s magical diary. Ritual supplies like candles, oils, and incenses are recommended. 

Chapter Four progresses into talisman-making. Instructions include detailed illustrations and a ritual for making one or two talismans that will be used in further workings. Chapter Five "The Mechanics of Your Interior Spaces" gives instructions for casting a sacred circle, setting up an altar, charging candles, and consecrating tools used in ritual work. The characteristics of the Sephiroth in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life are described.

Chapter 6 is "Rituals of Transformation." Each ritual has a goal and a purpose: Come Back Done (to recover from tragedy); Moon Rite (to open the mind's eye); SOS Ritual (for help in a desperate situation); Spiral Rite (for magical progress and development); Vesta Ritual (to manifest continued success); Mars Ritual (tap into your reservoirs of power); Lakshmi-Ganesha Ritual (for monetary growth). Each ritual includes a list of supplies, procedures that include petitions and will-power building activities, a group of sacred names to chant. Rituals are performed over a prescribed number of days. Some suggestions for the timing of rituals is indicated; this generally coincides with particular moon phases and/or days of the week. Planetary hours are mentioned but not explained. 

The book concludes with supplemental sections: a glossary of terms, a Willpower List of ideas, References and books for recommended reading, and an index.

This is a decent guide for someone who is getting into magic and paganism on a solitary basis and needs instructions on working complicated spells and rituals that require an intense mental focus over several days. The book emphasizes purpose and intent, necessary ingredients in building magical powers. Rituals offer extra options for "advanced practitioners."

There are pluses and minuses to the extremely diverse selection of deities covered by the rituals. Some may find the mix of practical Qabalah, Hebrew names of God, Golden Dawn rites, deities of several pantheons, and practices of other religions mixed in with Wiccan ritualistic procedures a bit jumbled. The extensive supply list includes essential oils, incenses, and plant substances that can be expensive or difficult to obtain. The fragrances corresponded to deities/purposes appear to reflect the author's eclectic preferences.    

The book is carefully written and well organized, but it pushes the boundaries of outlining a complex, multi-layered magical practice in a limited amount of space. It's recommended for experienced beginner/intermediate solitary practitioners with a relaxed, eclectic view of tapping into various pantheons. It’s suitable for readers who want to learn techniques for developing magical power and are ready to perform more complicated rituals and spells.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Author: Lawren Leo
New Page Books, 2014
254 pg, $15.99

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