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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



Psychomagic: The Transformative Power of Shamanic Psychotherapy by Alejandro Jodorowsky (Inner Traditions)

Psychomagic describes a healing path using the power of dreams, theater, poetry, and shamanism.

While living in Mexico, legendary filmmaker, visionary writer and psychotherapist Alejandro Jodorowsky became familiar with the colorful and effective cures provided by folk healers. He says he realized that it is easier for the unconscious to understand the language of dreams than that of rationality. Illness can even be seen as a physical dream that reveals unresolved emotional and psychological problems.
Psychomagic presents the shamanic and genealogical principles Jodorowsky discovered to create a healing therapy that could use the powers of dreams, art, and theater to empower individuals to heal wounds that in some cases had traveled through generations. The concrete and often surreal poetic actions Jodorowsky employs are part of an elaborate strategy intended to break apart the dysfunctional persona with whom the patient identifies in order to connect with a deeper self. According to Jodorowsky, that is when true transformation can manifest.
Taking his patients at their words, Jodorowsky in Psychomagic takes the same elements associated with a negative emotional charge and recasts them in an action that will make them positive and enable them to pay the psychological debts hindering their lives. For example, for a young man who complained that he lived only in his head and was unable to grab hold of reality and advance toward the financial autonomy he desired, Jodorowsky gave the prescription to paste two gold coins to the soles of his shoes so that all day he would be walking on gold. A judge whose vanity was ruling his every move was given the`task of dressing like a tramp and begging outside one of the fashionable restaurants he loved to frequent while pulling glass doll eyes out of his pockets. The lesson for him was that if a tramp can fill his pockets with eyeballs, then they must be of no value, and thus the eyes of others should have no bearing on who you are and what you do.

Jodorowsky is a brilliant, wise, gentle, and cunning wizard with tremendous depth of imagination and crystalline insight into the human condition. His work is a source of inspiration for me and for many of the most important and innovative artists of our time. Psychomagic is necessary reading for all who long to shock the world into awakening and remembrance of what has always been and what is still to come. Daniel Pinchbeck, author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl
Currently there are books that have become essential to winnow out established ideas and open new horizons. The texts brought together here have that special ability to contemplate old problems from perspectives that were not thought to exist. El Mundo
Alejandro Jodorowsky seamlessly and effortlessly weaves together the worlds of art, the confined social structure, and things we can only touch with an open heart and mind. Erykah Badu, artist/alchemist
The best movie director ever! Marilyn Manson
Writers Gilles Farcet and Javie Esteban draw the secrets of [Jodorowsky's] genius out in Parts I and II of the book. In Part III Jodorowsky offers us 'An Accelerated Course in Creativity.' Simultaneously cutting-edge and down-to-earth, this one's in a category all its own. Anna Jedrziewski, New Age Retailer

Psychomagic shows how psychological realizations can cause true transformation when manifested by concrete poetic acts. It includes many examples of the surreal yet successful actions Jodorowsky has prescribed to those seeking his help.


Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses edited, translated and corrected by Joseph Peterson (Ibis Press) the publisher blurb says: For people interested in folk magic.

The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, arguably one of the most popular magick books ever published, contains two secret apocrypha ascribed to Moses, perhaps pseudepigraphically. The book consists of a collection of texts, which claim to explain the magick Moses used to win the biblical magick contest with the Egyptian priest-magicians, part the Red Sea, and perform other miraculous feats. It includes instruction in the form of invocations, magick words, and seals for calling upon the angels to affect worldly ends, from the sublime (calling down a plague of locusts and frogs upon your enemy) to the mundane (getting more money).

Many manuscripts and printed pamphlet versions circulated in Germany in the 1800s, and an English translation by Johann Scheible first appeared in New York in 1880 that had not been corrected or re-edited until now. In creating this restored, corrected edition, Joseph Peterson drew on Scheible's final edition of the text and his original sources. It will be of great interest to those who have suffered through prior editions and anyone looking for a traditional source of Western magick.

  • Used in various modern traditions of American folk magick, from Pennsylvania Dutch hexmeisters and contemporary eclectic magicians, to voodoo practitioners and African American root workers.
  • Updated or fresh translations from original German, Latin, and Hebrew sources and restoration of censored or left out passages in earlier editions and 35 pages of text never before translated.
  • Describes the biblical magick ascribed to Moses and its application.
  • Extensively illustrated with over 100 magical seals, signs, and sigils.

The Magick Toolbox: The Ultimate Compendium for Choosing and Using Ritual Implements and Magickal Tools by Carl Neal (Weiser Books) Solitary Wiccans and pagans can be intimidated by the number and variety of tools they need to work their magic. The Magick Toolbox is the first consumers' guide to the magical tools Wiccans and pagans use for magic and ritual. Carl Neal takes the mystery out of selecting and caring for magical implements. Filled with down-to-earth advice, this essential guidebook takes a common-sense approach to the purchase or "crafting" of magical tools.

Carl Neal has been a practicing pagan for many years. He began selling altar tools at small pagan events in 1995. By 1999 he was selling magickal tools and ritual implements, not only at events, but online all over the world. He is the author of Incense: Crafting and Use of Magickal Scents. Neal lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Learning Ritual Magic: Fundamental Theory and Practice for the Solitary Apprentice by John Michael Greer (Weiser Books) Learning Ritual Magic is a training manual for anyone serious about improving their magic based on the western mystery traditions, including tarot, ritual magic, Qabalah, and astrology. "What you get out of [magic] can be measured precisely by what you are willing to put into it—and time is the essential ingredient in successful magical training," the authors write. And just as no one expects to run a marathon or play a Bach violin concerto without sufficient training, so practitioners of the magical arts shouldn’t expect to work complex, powerful magical rituals without a solid grounding in the techniques of Hermetic high magic. By spending at least a half hour a day practicing the lessons found in Learning Ritual Magic, the solitary apprentice attains the proper groundwork and experience for working ritual magic.

Learning Ritual Magic provides lessons on meditation and a set of exercises designed to develop basic skills in imagination, will, memory, and self-knowledge, all of which are absolute fundamentals to magical attainment. While the authors discuss the essentials of magical theory, they focus on daily, basic perspectives rather than launching into details of advanced practice.

Designed for the solitary practitioner, Learning Ritual Magic concludes with a ceremony of self-initiation.

John Michael Greer, Clare Vaughn, and Earl King, Jr. founded a magical order in the Rosicrucian and Golden Dawn traditions, updated for modern times. Greer is the author of Paths of Wisdom: The Magical Cabala in the Western Tradition, Circles of Power: Ritual Magic in the Western Tradition, Earth Divination, Earth Magic: A Practical Guide to Geomancy, and Natural Magic: Potions and Powers from the Magical Garden. The authors live in Seattle, Washington.

Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World edited by Paul Allan Mirecki and Marvin Meyer (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 141: Brill Academic) The essays in this volume show a broad range of contemporary ways to appreciate magic and the practice of ritual empowerment in the ancient world. The theorical sophiscation and close readings of the surviving evidience may make this volume an explamar of approaches for future studies in the subjects. The essays are organized into six sections: 1) "New Texts of Magic and Ritual Power," 2) "Definitions and Theory," 3) "The Ancient Near East," 4) `Judaism," 5) "Greek and Roman Antiquity," and 6) "Early Christianity and Islam."

Part 1 presents four essays in which new magical texts and new interpretations are made available. It represents some basic research and is the toughest going for nonspecialist readers. In "A New Magical Formulary," William Brashear and Roy Kotansky present the editio princeps of P. Berol. 17202. This fourth‑century papyrus sheet from a magical handbook preserves six recipes in Greek: a Christian liturgical exorcism with histonolae focusing on Jesus' miracles, a pagan invocation to silence opponents, a hymnic invocation, an adjuration with ritual procedures, a spell to achieve an erection, and a sacred stele termed the "second." In "Two Papyri with Formulae for Divination," David Jordan improves upon two previously published papyri with formulae for divination. The first involves a ritual with 29 palm leaves, each with the name of a god written upon it, and the other involves instructions for receiving an oracle through an invocation. In "An Early Christian Gold Lamella for Headache," Roy Kotansky gives the editio princeps of a Greek text from a private collection in London. This second‑century lamella may derive from a Hellenistic Jewish milieu that appropriated Jesus' name for its magical purposes, or from an early type of Jewish‑Christianity. The text apparently dates from a time when magical texts had not yet been "commercialized" to the extent that can be observed when later formulaic language replaced the more independent style of amulet composition. In "A Seventh‑Century Coptic Limestone in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford," Paul Mirecki presents the editio princeps of a series of short texts written on a large Coptic limestone. The titles and incipits of the four gospels and a list of the apostles' names often occur together in Christian magical texts, suggesting a context of ritual power for these texts and even for the limestone itself. The wide‑ranging possibilities for the stone's function suggest either that it was a scribe's display copy for school texts or for the writing of amulets, or else that it was a monastic boundary stone with inspirational or apotropaic words of power.

Part 2 presents five essays that address explicitly theoretical matters of definition and description. These essays should appeal to all readers of this volume as they address fundamental issues of meaning, methodology and interpretation of ancient magical practices. In "Great Scott! Thought and Action One More Time," Jonathan Z. Smith opens hiswitty essay with a discussion of the origin and meaning of the popular thaumatic ejaculation "Great Scott!," which serves as an installment into the scholarly debate on the definition of magic as a phenomenon that is either primarily "thought (belief)" or "action (ritual)." Smith concludes with a plea for a theoretical resolution to this question of duality as a new interdependence of idea and action.. In "Theories of Magic in Antiquity," Fritz Graf responds to R. A. Markus' study on pre‑Augustinian theories about magic and Augustine's own neglected semiotic theory. Graf demonstrates that there were several different pre‑Augustinian theories of magic in both Greek and Roman thinking, and that Augustine's theory was not as neglected as Markus supposes. Graf offers suggestions on how the results of his study are useful for the further history of theoretical reflections on magic. In "The Poetics of the Magical Charm: An Essay on the Power of Words," Henk Versnel tackles poetics in the double sense of "the art of making poetry and the art of creation." Through a careful exegesis of several texts, Versnel demonstrates that the magical charm is the product of a happy alliance between the expectancy of a marvelous potential in an "other world," beyond the boundaries of space and time, and oral utterance, which can belong to common communication or can even transcend speech and help create the "other world." This essay admirably captures certain central features of most operative magic. In "Dynamics of Ritual Expertise in Antiquity and Beyond: Towards a New Taxonomy of `Magicians,"' David Frankfurter offers a cross‑cultural analysis of what he calls "the dynamics of ritual expertise," in the service of constructing a spatial (center/periphery) model for understanding indigenous conceptions of ritual expertise. This model, which allows for a certain fluidity among types, engages current discussions of taxonomy in the history of religions (definitions of "magic" and "magicians") beyond the static classifications of M. Weber and G. Van der Leeuw. In "Fiat Magia," Christopher A. Hoffman begins with E. E. Evans-­Pritchard's observation that all labels (such as the term "magic") are essentially arbitrary, and proceeds to survey some of the major approaches and taxonomies in the modern history of the study of magic. Hoffman ends by noting that the approaches he surveys have been valuable in helping scholars move away from the essentially negative evaluation of magic that once dominated the field.

Part 3 presents four essays on magic and ritual among ancient Mesopotamians, Hittites, Canaanites, and Israelites. In "Dividing a God," Richard H. Beal examines Hittite terms and rituals used in priestly instructions for "dividing a deity." Hittite ritual specialists were able to create two separate cult centers for the same deity by performing specific rituals that caused the deity to divide itself. Then, through a pattern of rituals of considerable interest to scholars of magic and ritual power, the allomorph was coaxed into moving to the new cult center. In "Translating Transfers in Ancient Mesopotamia," JoAnn Scurlock applies to ancient Mesopotamian studies the classic analysis of modern Moroccan ritual and belief by E. Westermarck. Scurlock identifies and analyzes Mesopotamian rituals and beliefs concerning "transferal," in which a concrete or abstract quality, such as a disease, is transferred out of an afflicted person, animal, or object into another person, animal, or object. She identifies a striking congruence between ritual and belief in ancient and modern religions. In "Necromancy, Fertility and the Dark Earth: The Use of Ritual Pits in Hittite Cult," Billie Jean Collins analyzes Hittite texts concerning ritual pits and the sacrifice of pigs to the supreme underworld deity. Collins shows that previously separate porcine associations of fertility and purification/offering were combined to generate a ritual koine in which fertility became chthonian by virtue of its symbolic association with the pig and the ambiguity inherent in the term "earth" (fertile soil and underworld). In "Canaanite Magic Versus Israelite Religion: Deuteronomy 18 and the Taxonomy of Taboo," Brian B. Schmidt proposes that the prevailing interpretive mode, which avers that ancient Israel syncretistically adopted Canaanite magic, finds only partial justification in isolated biblical traditions. Schmidt argues that the Hebrew Bible, taken as a whole, hardly yields a unified portrayal of what constitutes magic over against religion, let alone how one is to distinguish ancient Canaanites from ancient Israelites.

Part 4 presents three essays on aspects of magic within Judaism. In "Secrecy and Magic, Publicity and Torah: Unpacking a Talmudic Tale," S. Daniel Breslauer investigates the rejection of magic in the Talmudic tractate Sanhedrin and seeks to understand the type of Judaism contrasted with magic. Breslauer focuses on the ideas of Rabbi Aqiva and the story of his martyrdom, and the approach to magic by Aqiva that later dominates the Talmudic approach. Breslauer suggests that the Talmud, through its narrative of Aqiva's death, teaches that magic is a process and an attitude, not a particular action, that the difference between magic and liturgy lies not in what it accomplishes but in its public display, and that magic is antithetical to Judaism because the Jewish mission is one of public proclamation rather than secretive ritual. In "Shamanic Initiatory Death and Resurrection in the Hekhalot Literature," James R. Davila explores an aspect of the Hekhalot tradition of the shamanic vocation of the "descenders to the chariot": an experience of initiatory disintegration and reintegration that establishes the shaman's supernatural power. Those who "descend to the chariot" in their quest to gaze directly at God face great dangers, specifically personal disintegration that burns and rends its victims; but worthy mortals like Enoch and Rabbi Aqiva (Akiva) are transformed rather than destroyed. This is an experience strikingly similar to that of shamans who undergo a personal destruction and resurrection in order to function in the supernatural world. In "Sacrificial Themes in Jewish Magic," Michael D. Swartz discusses how the image of the ancient sacrificial cult influenced the literature of Jewish magic. Both magic and sacrifice deal with physical aspects of religion, and each is concerned with dispelling the demonic and attracting the divine. The two elements that make a ritual specifically magical in its appropriation of the Temple ritual are the power of the divine name and the means by which the ritual makes an exclusive cult available to all who possess its secrets. Both elements entail a shift in focus from the collective concerns of the Temple cult to the concerns of the individual.

Part 5 presents five essays on magical texts and practices in Greco-Roman antiquity. In "The Ethnic Origins of a Roman­Era Philtrokatadesmos (PGM IV 296‑434)," Christopher A. Faraone reconsiders arguments for the Egyptian origin of a Roman‑era philtrokatadesmos found in a PGM text (with five other attestations). Faraone argues, primarily against Robert Ritner's analysis, that this philtrokatadesmos in fact derived not from Egyptian models and traditions, but rather is an amalgam of two originally separate Greek and Semitic practices that entered Roman Egypt, when it accommodated local practices by acquiring Egyptian features. In "Sacrifice in the Greek Magical Papyri," Sarah Iles Johnston examines a neglected area of research, the roles that sacrifice played in magical rituals. Focusing on three spells found in PGM IV, Johnston argues that the practitioner of sacrifice innovated within standard patterns, neither ignoring traditional rituals nor reversing or corrupting them. Such a practitioner was a "creative conservator" of traditional rituals, who used expert knowledge to extend sacrificial rituals while preserving their underlying ideologies. In "Beans, Fleawort, and the Blood of a Hamadryas Baboon: Recipe Ingredients in Greco‑Roman Magical Materials," Lynn R. LiDonnici examines the four types of substances used in recipes within the PGM and focuses on the fourth type, which consists of exotic substances with no ordinary roles in temple life or domestic shrines, and which may or may not have any actual pharmacological effects. A primary concern of scholars has been the identification of these substances. LiDonnici suggests that synonyms and descriptions of these substances in the PGM are not a license for substitution with other more normal materials, and that common plants cannot be assumed to lie behind rare and unusual substances required in the PGM handbooks. In "The Witches' Thessaly," Oliver Phillips focuses on the ancient Greek reputation for sorcery in the geographical region of Thessaly. Phillips investigates primary texts indicating this reputation for sorcery and, at the end of his analysis, suggests that the popular legend of Medea is the primary source, associating her with the Thessalian port of Iolcus. In "Speech Acts and the Stakes of Hellenism in Late Antiquity," Peter T. Struck argues that in order to understand Iamblichus' work de Mysteriis, which advocates the practice of mysterious sacred rites to achieve spiritual ascent in contrast to the strategies of pure contemplation extending from Plato to Plotinus, scholars must be attentive to two entangled visions: magic and Eastern foreigners. Struck analyzes the debate between Iamblichus (irrational, magic, foreign languages) and Porphyry (rational, contemplation, Greek language), and demonstrates that both thinkers agreed on the terms of the dichotomy, though they valued them in different ways.

Part 6 presents three essays on magic and ritual power in early Christianity and Islam. In "The Prayer of Mary Who Dissolves Chains in Coptic Magic and Religion," Marvin Meyer discusses several texts, especially P. Heid. Inv. Kopt. 685, featuring the Virgin Mary offering a prayer of power in order to provide release from bondage. Meyer provides an overview of the larger setting of the prayer of Mary, and illustrates how the prayer of Mary and rituals of liberation from bondage also function within the context of the Coptic church. This raises the question of whether the magical Mary of texts of ritual power may be distinguished from the miraculous Mary of the Coptic church. Or, as Meyer puts it, "Mary still is in control of the chains, but the question remains, who is in control of Mary?" In "The Magician and the Heretic: The Case of Simon Magus," Ayse Tuzlak studies the figure of Simon Magus in the light of differing early Christian portrayals of him as a heretic and as a

magician, with a view to understanding the way some early Christians understood the terms "magic" and "magician." In "Ancient Execration Magic in Coptic and Islamic Egypt," Nicole B. Hansen investigates the extent to which the folklore of modern Egypt can be traced back to pharaonic times. Taking as a point of departure Ritner's observation that ancient Egyptian execration praxis remained virtually unchanged for 4000 years, Hansen demonstrates the continuity of the mechanics of execration practice in Egypt in later times. In this way she shows that the ancient religious beliefs and practices have been recast by practitioners of magic in terms of the two religions dominant m Egypt in later times: Coptic Christianity and Islam.

The Index of Primary Sources at the conclusion of the volume offers a useful research tool for the volume as a whole. Though many of the essays are too technical for easy appreciation of nonacademic audience, most of the essays offer enough general fodder for anyone interested in current research in ancient magic traditions.

Introduction to Magic: Rituals and Practical Techniques for the Magus by Julius Evola, UR Group, Introduction by Renato Del Ponte (Inner Traditions) The rites, practices, and texts collected by the mysterious UR group for the use of aspiring mages. Rare Hermetic texts published in English for the first time. Includes instructions for developing psychic and magical powers.
In 1927 Julius Evola and other leading Italian intellectuals formed the mysterious UR group. Their goal: to bring their individual egos into a state of superhuman power and awareness in which they could act "magically" on the world. Their methods: the practice of ancient Tantric and Buddhist rituals and the study of rare Hermetic texts. So successful were they that rumors spread throughout Italy of the group's power, and Mussolini himself became quite fearful of them. Now for the first time in English Introduction to Magic collects the rites, practices, and knowledge of the UR group for the use of aspiring mages.
Included Introduction to Magic are instructions for creating an etheric double, speaking words of power, using fragrances, interacting with entities, and creating a "magical chain." Among the arcane texts translated are the Tibetan teachings of the Thunderbolt Diamond Path, the Mithraic mystery cult's "Grand Papyrus of Paris," and the Greco-Egyptian magical text De Mysteriis. Anyone who has exhausted the possibilities of the mundane world and is ready to take the steps necessary to purify the soul in the light of knowledge and the fire of dedication will find a number of expert mentors here.

Excerpt from Preface by Retano Del Ponte:

The collaboration that Julius Evola sought out at the end of the 1920s with the most interesting figures of Italian esotericism to form the famous UR Group, aside from the example it has provided and continues to pro­vide to anyone seriously engaged in the esoteric sciences, is also extremely important in the overall context of Evola's work. For it was precisely dur­ing this period that he came to expand his own interests in the real, time ­honored realms of Tradition, and at least two of his principal works, Revolt Against the Modern World and The Hermetic Tradition, are contained in seed ­form in some of the monographs published by UR. The attendant experi­ences with the UR Group should therefore not be neglected, for in order to clarify essential points necessary to a comprehension of the spirit of Evola's lifework, indeed it is necessary to investigate the precedents, limits, and outcomes of their endeavors.

The first task the UR Group set for itself was to invest the word magic with a particular, active, and functional connotation (as opposed to the conno­tation of knowledge or wisdom attributed to it in antiquity) that was close to the concept delineated by Roger Bacon: practical metaphysics. Far re­moved from the abhorred "spiritualistic" practices that were so fashion­able at the time, from vulgar spiritism, pseudo-humanitarian Theosophy, and any of the confused and inferior forms of occultism, the UR Group, apart from particular teachings that one or the other of the collaborators may have been most familiar with, intended to reconnect with the very sources of Traditional esoteric teaching, according to that principle of Kremmerz, for whom magic "in all its complexity is simply a series of demonstrable theorems and experiences with concrete effects; the magical truths, as abstract as they may be, owe their evident demonstration in concrete `fulfillment,' just as abstract mathematical truths have mechani­cal applications.

According to Kremmerz, magic, "or Arcane Knowledge, is divided into two parts, the Natural and the Divine. The former studies all the phenomena due to the occult qualities of the human organism and the way to access and reproduce them within the limits of the organism engaged as a means. The latter is dedicated to preparing the spiritual as­cension of the initiate, in such a way as to render possible a relationship between man and the superior natures invisible to the vulgar eye."' One must bear in mind, furthermore, that "the point at which the former ends and the latter begins is very difficult to determine ... and it therefore very often happens that both magical directions [the Natural and the Divine] move forward in tandem.

  Let us examine more closely the processes engaged in by the UR Group, who, explicitly via both natural and divine magic, or "High Magic," hoped that they would be the Introduction leading to its seductive and arduous threshold.

The point of departure for modern man was the necessity to dissipate the fog of everyday reality, so as to open a way for himself to a new existen­tial dimension. The new man must aspire toward a direct vision of reality, "as in a complete reawakening.

From this aspiration, by means of an internal magical process, one must arrive at a "change of state," whose final point of arrival coincides with the alchemical opus transformationis: "self-transformation is the necessary pre­liminary to higher consciousness, which does not know `problems' but only `tasks' and accomplishments."

The contents of the three volumes of introduction to Magic can be subdi­vided into four well-defined categories: 1) "Esoteric doctrine and culture," consisting of the exposition of methods, disciplines, and techniques of actualization, with a particular deepening of symbology; 2) "Practice" ­ie, accounts of experiences actually lived through in person; 3) "Publica­tion or translation of classic or rare esoteric texts" with appropriate com­ments and explanations; and 4) "Recognized doctrines placed in appropri­ate context," often incorporating critical or polemical footnotes.

Especially important in the first volume [the one translated here: Introduction to Magic], re­garding "Practice," are the contributions by "Luce" on the "Opus Magicum" (The Magical Work: Concentration, Silence, Fire, Perfumes) and by "Alba" on the magical sense of nature (De Naturae Sensu); regarding "Doctrine," the monograph written by "Abraxas" on "Knowledge of the Waters," a brilliant and evocative interpretation of a very famous esoteric symbol, and one by "Ea," "On the Magical Vision of Life," useful in that it synthe­sizes the significance of magical action for those who propose to become "alchemical heroes": "A great freedom, with action as the sole law"

Among the "Documents" published in this volume, notable for their im­portance are the translation from the Greek of the "Mithraic Ritual of the Great Magical Papyrus of Paris"-the only ritual of the Ancient Mysteries to have survived intact-with an excellent introduction and extremely accurate commentary"; an original treatise from alchemical Hermeticism, De Pharmaco Catholico, in a synthesis by the same anonymous author, translated and annotated by "Tikaip6s"; and extracts from De Mysteriis, attributed to the Neoplatonic Iamblichus, the Buddhist Majjhima-nihdjo, and the Tibetan Bde-MiChog-Tantra.

In the second volume, regarding "Doctrine" we must note above all the two important studies by "Pietro Negri," on "The Western Tradition" (un­fortunately never completed) and on the "Secret Language of the `Fedeli d'amore,’ reported on and discussed by the same Luigi Valli'; and the notable contributions by Evola on "Esotericism and Ethics," "Initiatic Con­sciousness Beyond the Grave," "On the Metaphysics of Pain and Illness"; as well as the monograph by "Arvo" on "The Hyperborean Tradition," sub­ject to many interesting developments. Among the anonymous writings regarding "Practice," the most compelling are "Teachings of the Chain," "The `Double' and Solar Consciousness," and "Dissociation of the Mix­tures."

Among the "Documents and Texts" in the second volume, we find the annotated translation of the Turba Philosophorum (The Crowd of the Phi­losopher), one of the most ancient and widely quoted Hermetic-alchemical texts; an important and annotated version from Kremmerzian contributor "Tikaipos" of the Golden Verses, attributed to Pythagoras; as well as three songs by the Tibetan ascetic Milarepa.

In the third volume, which appears richer in source material than in practical doctrines, most notable are Evola's own writings on "Aristocracy and the Initiatic Ideal"' and "On the Symbolism of the Year," as well as those by "Arvo" on "'Oracular' Arithmetic and the Background of Con­sciousness." Regarding "Practice," we find the "Experiences" of "Taurulus," the "Magic of Victory" by "Abraxas," and the important account of the Hindu alchemist Narayanaswami, of whom we have already spoken

Notable among "Documents and Texts" are passages from the Clavis Philosophicae Chemisticae (The Key to Chemical Philosophy) by Gherard Dorn and from the Enneads of Plotinus, astutely annotated by Evola, as well as selected passages from the works of Kremmerz and Crowley.

Interestingly, it was in Ur and Krur that a constructive critique was initiated of the specific works by Rene Guenon most open to analysis and discussion. One of these was La crise du monde moderne (The Crisis of the Modern World) which Evola would later publish in an Italian edition in 1937 (second edition, 1953; third edition published by Edizioni Mediterranee in Rome, 1972); another was Autoritt spirituelle et pouvoir temporel (Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power)." In the later editions of Introduction to Magic, Guenon's Aperaus sur l'initiation (Considerations on the Initiatic Way) was included.

Despite their differences of position, Guenon definitely appreciated Evola's honesty and intellectual rigor; the two men engaged in an intense mutual correspondence beginning in 1927 and ending only with their deaths. Together they collaborated on the material for "Diorama Filosofico" (Philosophical Diorama), a special page carried by the daily Il Regime Fascista (The Fascist Regime, edited by Farinacci), contributing at least twenty-six collaborative articles between 1934 and 1940."

More in-depth research would be well advised in order to shed a brighter light on the attempts by the inner circle of the UR Group to revitalize the esoteric roots and initiatic processes of the Roman Tradition.  Aside from the contributions by Reghini, by some of Steiner's followers, and by Evola himself (most notably his piece "Sul `sacro' nella tradizione romana" [On the "Sacred" in the Roman Tradition], published in the third volume), there is an interesting and enigmatic account in the last chapter of the third volume entitled "La'Grande Orma': la scena e le quinte" (The "Great Trail": The Stage and the Wings), signed by a mysterious "Ekatlos” In it the author strives to point out the traces of a long-perpetuated, ancient initiatic chain in the very bosom of the land around Rome, and its attempt, however futile, to exert a rectifying influence within the sphere of the Fas­cist movement during the first years in which it took power.

In regard to this, Evola himself wrote that the aim of the "chain" of the UR Group, aside from "awakening a higher force that might serve to help the singular work of every individual," was also to act "on the type of psychic body that begged for creation, and by evocation to connect it with a genuine influence from above," so that "one may perhaps have the possi­bility of working behind the scenes in order to ultimately exert an effect on the prevailing forces in the general environment.”

Although this attempt did not meet with its hoped-for success, the monographs in the Introduction to Magic provide invaluable material for those individuals who, even today, might combine intention and capabil­ity in order to repeat the experiences of UR and, if possible, surpass its results on a practical and actualized level.'' However, there is always the great hidden danger in groups or cliques of this kind that uncontrolled or uncontrollable forces may gain the upper hand, when the corresponding ability is weak or is lacking to contain and transform the inherent subtle forces in all of us into positive power. If this was not the case in the UR Group-which, however, was able only to partially achieve what it had hoped to accomplish-it is all the less likely in contemporary times, when we have witnessed the eager tendency to improvise and re-create groups or communities whose intention, at least, was to further the mission of UR, and yet which gave rise to negative outcomes and uncontrolled nega­tive forces, as has happened at least twice in Italy in the past thirty years."

In conclusion, we would emphasize that the treatises found in Intro­duction to Magic are definitely not designed for the general public, but for a few qualified people who already grasp a precise sense of the notions put forth by the UR Group. Certainly these few, to conclude with the words of Kremmerz, "will find new and fertile nourishment for the spirit wearied by empty philosophies and even emptier conventionalities ... just as they will find that serene and loyal clarity, the unquestionable sign of all true knowledge, which will give them a firm and stable orientation."

Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist by Julius Evola, translated by Guido Stucco, edited by Michael Moynihan (Inner Traditions) Julius Evola's masterful overview of the political and social manifestations of our time, the "age of decline" known to the Hindus as the Kali Yuga. It reveals the occult war that underlies the crises that have become a prevailing feature of modern life and includes H. T. Hansen's definitive essay on Evola's political life and theory

Men Among the Ruins is Evola's frontal assault on the predominant materialism of our time and the mirage of progress. For Evola and other proponents of Traditionalism, we are now living in an age of increasing strife and chaos: the Kali Yuga of the Hindus or the Germanic Ragnarok. In such a time, social decadence is so widespread that it appears as a natural component of all political institutions. Evola argues that the crises that dominate the daily lives of our societies are part of a secret occult war to remove the support of spiritual and traditional values in order to turn man into a passive instrument of the powerful.
Evola is often regarded as the godfather of contemporary Italian fascism and right-wing radical politics, but attentive examination of the historical record--as provided by H. T. Hanson's definitive introduction--reveals Evola to be a much more complex figure. Though he held extreme right-wing views, he was a fearless critic of the Fascist regime and preferred a caste system based on spirituality and intellect to the biological racism championed by the Nazis. Ultimately, he viewed the forces of history as comprised by two factions: "history's demolition squad" enslaved by blind faith in the future and those individuals whose watchword is Tradition. These latter stand in this world of ruins at a higher level and are capable of letting go of what needs to be abandoned in order that what is truly essential not be compromised.

Secrets of Western Sex Magic: A Practical Handbook for Men and Women by Frater U:. D:. (Llewellyn's Tantra & Sexual Arts Series: Llewellyn Worldwide) Sex is a source of joy and pleasure‑and a bountiful source of potent magical energy! Until recently, many of the techniques of Western sex magic were closely guarded secrets available only to initiates. Now you can learn how to unlock the powerful energies raised during the sex act and use them to manifest your deepest desires.

Secrets of Western Sex Magic includes physical, psychological, and magical exercises to develop skills in visualization, concentration, and psychic energy arousal and flow. This engaging exploration of the history and techniques of sex magic is suitable for both men and women, regardless of magical experience or sexual preference.

During the sex act, your attention becomes focused into a "laser beam" of concentration for a moment. All great systems of magic teach the power of concentrated thought‑sex magic is no exception. Sex magic's "secret" is that it is a tremendously potent way to direct consciously controlled sexual energy to accomplish material and personal goals.

Secrets of Western Sex Magic describes the erotic secrets of sex magic‑one of the oldest magical disciplines‑in a frank, explicit, and nonjudgmental style. Unlike other published sex magic manuals that have a traditionally male orientation, this book equally addresses your unique magical needs and wants whether you are a male or female magician: 

• Explore how sex magic differs from mystical sexual practices such as Tantra
• Make your own aphrodisiac teas and liqueurs
• Intensify and prolong orgasm to increase your sexual magicks, the vital inner power released during sexual activity
• Consecrate and charge sigils, amulets, and talismans using sexual energy
• Transfer sexual energy to heal or strengthen a partner

Make your magic more effective than ever when you unleash the primal power of sex! Frater U:. D:. openly explores all aspects of sexual practice and preference‑from the fundamentals of sex magic training to autoerotic, heteroerotic, homoerotic, group, and so‑called "deviant" practices‑with a system of specific techniques to build your magicks and broaden your magical and sexual horizons. You need not belong to any lodge or occult group to apply these esoteric secrets‑you reap astounding benefits no matter what your level of magical experience. He has worked within the magical tradition for decades, training with Yoga and Tantra masters. He is recognized as the founder of Pragmatic Magic and works as a freelance writer, workshop speaker, and software developer.

Spiritual Merchants: Religion, Magic, and Commerce by Carolyn Morrow Long (University of Tennessee Press) provides a major account of the folklore and commerce of hoodoo in USA cities. They can be found along the side streets of many American cities: herb or candle shops catering to practitioners of Voodoo, hoodoo, Santería, and similar beliefs. Here one can purchase ritual items and raw materials for the fabrication of traditional charms, plus a variety of soaps, powders, and aromatic goods known in the trade as "spiritual products." For those seeking health or success, love or protection, these potions offer the power of the saints and the authority of the African gods.

Spiritual Merchants provides an inside look at the followers of African-based belief systems and the retailers and manufacturers who supply them. Traveling from New Orleans to New York, from Charleston to Los Angeles, she takes readers on a tour of these shops, examines the origins of the products, and profiles the merchants who sell them.

Long describes the principles by which charms are thought to operate, how ingredients are chosen, and the uses to which they are put. She then explores the commodification of traditional charms and the evolution of the spiritual products industry--from small-scale mail order "doctors" and hoodoo drugstores to major manufacturers who market their products worldwide. She also offers an eye-opening look at how merchants who are not members of the culture entered the business through the manufacture of other goods such as toiletries, incense, and pharmaceuticals. Her narrative includes previously unpublished information on legendary Voodoo queens and hoodoo workers, as well as a case study of John the Conqueror root and its metamorphosis from spirit-embodying charm to commercial spiritual product.

No other book deals in such detail with both the history and current practices of African-based belief systems in the United States and the evolution of the spiritual products industry. For students of folklore or anyone intrigued by the world of charms and candle shops, Spiritual Merchants examines the confluence of African and European religion in the Americas and provides a colorful introduction to a vibrant aspect of contemporary culture.

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