The image of the magician is exciting and tantalising, and familiar
to us all. Think of Merlin or Gandalf and we think of excitement,
mystery and adventure. But what do we feel or even know about real
magicians – those figures who throughout
history have practiced the kind of magic that for centuries was a
For reasons that will become clear as the 562 page The
Book of English Magic unfolds, England has fostered
the greatest variety of magicians in all the world, including not
only the delightfully eccentric, but also figures who have played
significant roles in the development of the arts and sciences.
Secretly we would all probably like to know a magician, or
perhaps be one. And – extraordinary as it may seem – there
has never been a greater opportunity to fulfil either of these ambitions,
since there are now more practising wizards in England than at
any other time in her history. Some will see this as an example of
the triumph of irrationalism, others as evidence of a rebirth in
an understanding of the world that is only now being touched upon
by the most advanced physicists and cosmologists.
Whatever your beliefs about magic, this book is designed to introduce
you to some of the most interesting contemporary practitioners of
magic, and to many of the most important figures in the magical world
of previous centuries. And to help you begin experiencing for yourself
the world of magic and enchantment that has succeeded in intriguing
generations of seekers, this comprehensive survey of English magic
includes a rich menu of magical things to do and places to visit.
Co-author Sir Richard Heygate runs a successful software company
and has a special interest in alternative worlds. He is also co-author
illustrated and erudite treasure-house of a book.' The Good Book Guide
'This will remain the standard work
for years to come.' Suzi Feay, The Sunday Telegraph
‘This large, cheerful,
handsome book’ Jon
Barnes, The Times Literary Supplement
'A monument to the hold magic has on the
English imagination' Matthew
Kilburn, History Today
'A model of clarity and comprehensiveness.' Liz
Williams, author Empire of Bones
'I wish all books on occult history were as clearly
written, as entertaining and as full of fascinating facts.' The
Bad Witch's Blog
'Once in a blue moon a book comes out that you get a feeling is
going to be a classic. Within minutes of receiving an advance copy,
the Treadwell’s staff all got that prickly feeling on the back
of the neck. … This is a big book, a real door-stopper. Yet,
it’s an introductory volume to magic in England: part history,
part practical, part resource guide, part theory. Illustrated, filled
with interviews with practitioners and experts, it is the kind of
newcomers’ book that an intelligent novice dreams of. The two
authors spoke with many of the most senior people in the British
magical community, and their commentaries (interspersed through the
book) make fascinating reading, and serve as a personal touch to
guide the reader. Wicca, druidry, runes, John Dee, Golden Dawn — all
in their English setting.'
'The tone is playful and serious, respectful and amused...This is
not just a book about magic though, but a book of magic, and some
of the most appealing sections are the ones that urge you to have
a go yourself...This will remain the standard work for years to come.
There's the additional attraction that all this is bound to infuriate
poor Professor Dawkins.'
Suzi Feay, The Sunday Telegraph
Sometimes we open a book and know straight away that it will become
a classic in its field, and “The Book of English Magic” is
one of these. At first glance it’s a 560 page history of magic
in England, which “of all the countries in the world….has
the richest history of magical lore and practice”. It celebrates
the wild and eclectic mix that makes up English magic, bringing together
its major streams and traditions from ancient times to the present
At first my hackles rose at the exclusion of Welsh, Scots and Manx
mages,(further volumes in the pipeline perhaps?) and I wanted to
shout “British” at the top of my voice, then remembered
that Life is following Art here, as readers of “Jonathan Strange
and Mr.Norrell” will remember.
Interspersed with the very readable but scholarly history we have
articles by and biographies of mages and sages both historical and
modern, which are very revealing and great fun, along with magical
places to visit and magical things to do. If you are new to this “extraordinary ‘other’ world” in
which magicians live, you will be led towards it gently and safely;
and even if most of the practices, people and places are familiar
to you, it is still a great read. For other practicing esotericists
there is the guilty pleasure of checking who is in and who is out,
and how many friends and colleagues get a mention. And it’s
not too cliquey for newcomers to the field!
I was pleased to see that the unknown and uncelebrated, those who
have been working out of the public eye are honoured, as well as
the more famous faces. As Alan Richardson points out, “The
real magicians I know ….have full-time jobs in the normal
world, where their workmates know nothing about their “other” lives.”
The people we know of from their published writings are but the tip
of a magical iceberg.
Nit-picking apart, I particularly enjoyed Penny Billington’s
lists of fiction relevant to each chapter.As Dion Fortune knew, concepts
hard to grasp in textbooks or lectures are more easily assimilated
through “occult fiction”, and tend to germinate more
readily in the mind too. I was really pleased to see Lobsang Rampa
get a brief biography. Rampa and Dennis Wheatley led me into the
byways of occultism through their fiction at an early age, thanks
guys! Nice illustrations too. This really is the ideal Yule/Christmas
gift, so guess what my friends will be getting….
Inner Light Book Review
'...all of us, unless we are turnips, are touched by the numinous
nature of life, the sense that there is more to things than meets
the eye.Therefore the history of magic does not merely concern the
vanity of secret knowledge and the quest for dubious powers but also
the art of seduction and the quest for meaning.
So they are all here
in fabulous array, the quacks and the innocents, the serious nerdy
dreamers and the bravura jokers, the drop-out priests and sublimated
women, working in that area of our experience where nothing can be
scientifically proved – or disproved (very convenient) – and
which they call magic and which I prefer to call poetry.
and Avebury, Merlin and runes and crop circles, freemasons and ley
lines, Tolkien, CS Lewis, Rowling and Pullman, King Arthur, Camelot,
alchemy and astrology and fortune-telling, numerology and ESP, Rosicrucianism,
on and on it goes... I especially loved the olde worlde woodcuts
and engravings by way of illustration, the detailed instructions
on how to do magic for yourself...Best of all is the end, when the
authors compare a book to a magic wand, conjuring up “a new world with every turn of the page”.
No writer could resist that.'
Duncan Fallowell, The Daily Express
'A magical mystery tour...'
'A massive, somewhat disconcerting compendium'
Val Hennessy, The Daily Mail
I wish all books on occult history were as clearly written, as entertaining
and as full of fascinating facts as The Book of English Magic by
Philip Carr-Gomm and Richard Heygate.
It is a big door-stop of a book and when I got it, about a week
ago, I thought it might take me ages to get through. But it certainly
didn't - instead I didn't want to put it down.
The Book of English Magic reminds me of The Dangerous Book for Boys
- which teaches grown-up boys (and girls) how to thrash someone at
conkers, race a go-cart or swot up on the solar system in a nostalgic
style harking back to some golden childhood that probably never existed,
while still imparting useful skills for adults, perhaps with their
own kids. Although, of course, The Book of English Magic teaches
how to dowse for water, cast a spell or swot up on the famous magicians
in English history rather than anything as mundane as conker fights.
I'm sure the similarity between the books is deliberate, with this
being published at the same time as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood
Prince reached English cinemas, boosting interest in anything schoolboy-wizard
But I would say the book's style is no bad thing, whatever the reason
behind it. It makes it very easy to read while still being extremely
The book begins with the ancient roots of magic - cave paintings
and standing stones left by our early ancestors. These hint at prehistoric
attempts to tap into the power of the land, honour the dead and ensure
good hunting - although no-one today really knows their purpose.
Chapters move forwards through the centuries, covering druids; Anglo-Saxon
sorcerers; Merlin and the Holy Grail; witches and warlocks; alchemists'
attempts to make the philosopher's stone; John Dee in the Elizabethan
age; cunning folk; freemasonry; the 18th-century Age of Reason leading
into the Victorian era and a renewed fascination with magic; Aleister
Crowley and Dion Fortune; and finally the modern era of "The
Each section includes potted biographies and personal accounts by
experts in the traditions covered. You may not go along with everything
these luminaries claim, but it is interesting to read their stories
alongside those of others. One of the lovely things about this book
is that it seems to encourage the reader to take what interests or
inspires them and ignore the rest.
There are also lists for further reading - both fiction and non-fiction,
ideas for places to visit to see the sites of occult history for
yourself and suggestions for practical magic experiments to try at
home (perhaps sometimes using metaphorical round-ended scissors).
It even offers warnings called "Traps for the Sorcerer's Apprentice",
including not getting too attached to theories that may be proved
wrong and not letting fortune telling dominate your decision-making.
My only real criticism of The Book of English Magic it is that it
sometimes claims for England important figures and movements that
weren't entirely English. This includes author CS Lewis, as was earlier
pointed out by a reader of my blog. CS Lewis certainly lived in England,
and the book does state that he was born in Ireland, but I could
understand the Irish feeling that he shouldn't have been in a book
dedicated to English magic at all.
Nevertheless, as an English magician myself, I can't help feeling
a little thrill of pride in reading a book that states "of all
the countries in the world, England has the richest history of magical
lore and practice"...
Review in A Bad Witch's Blog
'This book is such a treat! The writing is lucid and wonderfully
easy to read, yet conveys an astonishing amount of information. Although
I am very well-versed in the subject, practically every page contained
things I didn't know, and while it is indeed a perfect book for the "intelligent
novice" it's far more than that - it's a serious, in-depth survey
of a massive topic. Philip Carr-Gomm wears his erudition lightly,
but this is no light-weight study; co-author Richard Heygate vividly
portrays the insights of the many contemporary magicians he interviewed.
Fact after fascinating fact, idea after intriguing idea, character
after eccentric character, all described with intelligent appreciation
and the occasional tongue in cheek. A generous sprinkling of delightful
anecdotes - my favourite being a gentleman named Cyril Hoskins, who
fell out of a tree while trying to photograph an owl and "while
suffering concussion had given permission for a Tibetan lama, with
the full name of Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, to inhabit his body." Bless!
Only in England. Note, please, that it's an OWL - the bird of wisdom!
The book is also very well put together - nice paper, gorgeous cover,
decorative section headings, lots of illustrations (Mr. Rampa is
shown with an enigmatically smiling Siamese cat). Little "potted
biographies" of notable figures are set into the text, so it's
perfect to read in little snippets....but beware! I opened it with
the idea of leafing through first, reading more thoroughly later...several
It would have been a wonderful book even were it merely an historical
account, but at each step the book does more - it invites the reader
into the reality of magic in several ways. First are the many interviews
with real people, who speak of their magical experience and work.
These "open up" the book by providing windows into other
lives; it is as though a druid and a shaman, an alchemist and a dowser
came by for a cup of tea and sat talking at the kitchen table until
late. And each of them is someone we'd be happy to have stay overnight,
so we could resume our conversation in the morning.
Another way the book reaches out to us is the "interactive" section
at the end of each chapter, which presents Things to Do, from ley-hunting
to Renaissance astrology, alchemy to ESP. The suggestions include
some that are ideal for the whole family, but also others suitable
for considerably more advanced students. There is in each section
as well a comprehensive resource guide, including both print and
online sources and, most excellently, sources in fiction, for those
who know that fiction is often truer than fact! The innocents among
us are warned, in sections called "Traps for the Sorcerer's
Apprentice" of the various delusions that await the unwary.
Books about magic tend to have been written - with a few exceptions
- either by people who "believe in it" - tiresome in their
credulity - or by academics who by definition don't - equally tiresome
in their elaborate, futile attempts to explain the obviously non-material
in materialist terminology. It's a real pleasure to encounter these
authors' refreshingly balanced approach.'
L.R.Fredericks, Amazon Review
'As someone who is both a ‘magician’ and a ‘magicKian’ this
book is a profound gift – a magical masterpiece no less! There
is often no middle ground between the ‘two magics.’ The
former is usually an attempt to imitate real magic, practiced (often)
by sceptical folk who are well versed in psychology, linguistics
subtleties and other means of ‘pulling the wool over peoples
eyes.’ The latter often takes no notice of some of the necessary
balances and healthy scepticisms of the former. This book does! It
is both mystical and psychological, supernatural and rational, heavenly
The two authors, who clearly (and wonderfully) represent different approaches,
manage to serve up a delightfully well written, intellectually stimulating, un-put-down-able
adventure into all things magical (from merry old England’s perspective).
No stone of Albion remains unturned. They lead us (readers) into magical encounters
wonderful and weird, and not only academically but practically too – offering
wonderful ‘what to do now’ pointers and exercises into gaining our
own magical experience.
This book clearly involved a tremendous amount of research which, I must say,
is evident on every page, and not only in terms of scanning wizard’s grimoires,
diaries and biographies but face to face interviews with the modern day witches,
shamans and alchemists.
Also for those who love a book to look like a book – well, you’re
in for a treat. When this arrived in the post I tore off the wrapping paper and,
for a while, just sat there in awe. It is a marvelously fine volume which begs
to be lovingly lifted off the book shelf – almost in slow motion. One needs
to take time with this book, not just skim read. It demands a little preparation
before indulging. Find an appropriate period where you won’t be disturbed,
make a large pot of coffee and draw near a side table, sit back in a comfy chair
and prepare to be taken through Narnia’s wardrobe into an enchanted world
where anything is possible.
We need books like this - oh we so need them in our disenchanted modern world
of instant everything - not least to remind us older ones that Narnia does in
Mark Townsend, Amazon Review
‘The Book of English Magic explores the curious and little-known
fact that, of all the countries in the world, England has the richest
history of magical lore and practice.’
The scene is set. Armed with magical maps of England and London,
we take our seats on the charabanc for a geographical and historical
excursion through the trackways, villages and cities of England,
in search of magic in all its forms.
This is a thorough and well-researched journey with knowledgeable
and trustworthy guides; the Open University study tour of the occult
rather than the Blackpool illuminations trippers’ special.
Yet it reads so well and easily that absorbing a wealth of information
feels like a recreational delight.
This book was crying out to be written; presenting us with the continuity
of magical practice on one small island from prehistoric times to
the present day.
So the bus starts and the authors, our tour guides, lead us through
the magical eras. The tour schedule is packed and there are many
fine photographic views through the windows as we travel. We will
journey from our Ancient roots - caves and the hidden treasures of
the land - to The Wizards’ Return - the renaissance of English
Magic in the twenty-first century.
By its conclusion, the trip will have taken in the worlds of, respectively,
the ancient Druids; the Anglo-Saxon sorcerer; Merlin, King Arthur
and the Holy Grail; Witches and Warlocks; Alchemists and Puffers
- including such notables as ‘The Queen’s astrologer,
Dr, John Dee, and ‘The shag-haired wizard of Pepper Alley'.
Emerging from the Elizabethan era we are inducted into the mysteries
of Freemasonry and the Power of Number; the Secret Chiefs, Hidden
Masters and the Adepts of the Rosy Cross of the Rosicrucians, Theosophists
and Ceremonial Magical orders, to be brought firmly into the modern
era, ‘Opening Pandora’s box’ with The Great Beast
and the Priestess of the Sea.
But now comes the clever twist.
Periodically, after introducing the magical periods and areas, with illustrative
potted biographies of significant figures, the authors relinquish the microphone,
passing it to a ‘guest compere’, a contemporary scholar and/or practitioner
of the type of magic being discussed. Through personal anecdote and academic
findings, a practical, modern perspective is given to such arcane areas of magical
practice as shamanism, wicca, druidry, alchemy, and so on, with ‘guest
presenters’ ranging from the relatively unknown to those famous in their
field. It is the experience that counts, allowing us direct connection with contemporary
practical magical working. And the results range impressively from successfully
selling premises by Druidic invocation to having ‘the metal of your consciousness’ totally
transformed by Enochian magic.
And at the end of each stage along the journey, the charabanc stops, allowing
time for our own explorations. These are suggestions for practice of each type
of magic, so the opportunity is there to, for example, (from Chapter One) join
lost knowledge groups; go ley hunting; learn dowsing; seek crop circles and explore
holy wells; with resource lists of reference books, maps and websites as backup.
And when we have finished our explorations, there is a list of relevant occult
fiction of the period to help us to engage imaginatively with the subject matter.
Then, back on to the coach and off to the next period.
Arranging such diverse sections of material and information must have been challenging,
but the format they’ve adopted definitely works. The separate sections
are clearly defined with visual strategies including varying borders, margins
and font modifications.
To paraphrase Steven Skinner, commenting on Dr Dee, none of the wonderful, eccentric
charlatans/showmen/magical adepts protrayed in these pages should be taken out
of a wide historical context; each is not ‘a blip in magical history, but
a continuity.’ From Stonehenge to the backstreets of magical Covent Garden,
through countless generations of seekers, magic has surfaced to enrich the knowledge
of successive generations.
Take your place in this history: buy this book and step on the bus!
Billington, Amazon Review
What Carr-Gomm and fellow author Richard Heygate have achieved is
to make you feel like you are spending time with two very knowledgeable
friends...a 'must have' for any Pagan library.
Pagan Dawn, The
Journal of the Pagan Federation
'Good value for money with over
550 pages...and may even be destined to become something of a modern
'[There is] a big, vital narrative in this book. The
Introduction states that '...of all the countries in the world, England
has the richest and most varied history of magical lore', and it
makes this point well, giving a glimpse into the enchanted undergrowth
of England's culture, countryside and ancient cities.
This is a good thing; everyone but the English are proud of their
cultural roots - as if English was the language of the observer,
the special case of a non-magical tradition, viewing with a detached
eye the weirdness of other cultures, when in fact we have the richest
magical culture in the world.
Despite its flaws, I think this book is destined to become a beloved
work of reference for a fair few magicians. I can imagine dusty copies
reached down years hence from the shelf, a treasury of magical resources,
a little bit like the role Julian Cope's magnificent 'Modern Antiquarian'
plays in the exploration of sacred sites.' Dave
Lee, Chaotopia Review
'The book is an unusual jigsaw puzzle: each chapter
is a piece which can be understood on its own, but when all the pieces
are fitted together they form a bigger, coherent picture. It
shows that the English and their magical paths are like a patchwork
quilt of different fabrics, forming a colourful and harmonious whole
like an English field system seen from the air. English magic has
not developed in isolation but has been enriched over the centuries
by waves of incoming traditions, a demonstration of the English gift
for absorbing new ideas from diverse sources. In consequence,
English magic is full of those oddities, curiosities and eccentricities
which are traditionally the hallmarks of England.
The astonishing diversity and complexity of English magical disciplines
are explored both comprehensively and accessibly, enabling the neophyte
reader to work through the text swiftly and select an area of interest
with ease. The more learned will find the book a useful summary
of many aspects of magic that are not always covered in one source
book, and it is up to date. Not much more could be asked of an introductory
volume that, in fact, amounts to an encyclopaedia. The authors are
to be congratulated on what is clearly a labour of love.' Alexander
J Betts, Albion
REVIEW FOR US READERS:
In England’s Green and Pleasant Land
Back in the Seventies, when I began my magical studies, it never
occurred to me that nearly every tradition of magic that I could
find came from a single small island perched off the northwestern
shores of Europe. The few books on the subject that were
readily available in those days, when they said anything at all
about the origins of the teachings they transmitted, traced them
back to the mystery temples of Egypt or the lamaseries of Tibet
when they didn’t retreat into obscure mutterings about Atlantis
and Lemuria. None of them described the material between
their covers as “English Magic.”
The irony is that every one of them did in fact teach English magic. Whether
they passed on tidbits of Wiccan lore or scraps of esoteric Freemasonry,
outlined Dion Fortune’s polarity workings or Aleister Crowley’s
sexual magic, taught the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram or gave instruction
in the Enochian calls, they drew the great majority of the magical
teachings they had to offer from occult traditions that derived from
Now it’s only fair to say that had I known that curious detail,
it would have done nothing to diminish my fascination with magical
lore. The fantasy fiction that whetted my desire for wizardry
in the days before I realized that magic had an existence outside
the world of fairy tales was itself mostly from England: J.R.R.
Tolkien, Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, and the brilliant but now forgotten
children’s author Joan North were the writers I loved most
in those days. More generally, England itself had a firm place
in my imagination, as something like an archetype of the opposite
of everything that surrounded me in suburban Seattle, Washington. England
was a place where knights and castles actually existed, where standing
stones millennia old broke the sweep of grassy downs, where the thought
of ancient magic coursing through the landscape wasn’t as preposterous
as it seemed where I lived, in a place where all the history I learned
in school started very little more than a century before I was born.
That was my version of the very common American love affair with
Britain, and as the example shows, that love affair is a complicated
thing. When cultural critic William Irwin Thompson, in his
visionary work At The Edge of History, described America as a country
with tremendous energy but no history, he touched on something that’s
all the more central to our national imagination because it’s
based on a profoundly one-sided view of our past. I was never
taught, for example, that a hill rising up above the Duwamish river
no more than an afternoon’s walk from the house where I spent
most of my teen years was once the center of the world.
Its name was Sbabadil in those days, and it was the place where the
animal powers of Coast Salish legend chanted the world into being
from a lump of mud Muskrat brought up from the bottom of the sea. A
mile or so away, in the rundown suburb of Belltown, another hill
standing up stark above the floodplain was the house of the old rain
spirit Squlats, Stormwind’s grandmother, and one of the most
moving scenes in the great Duwamish epic of Northwind and Stormwind
took place there. I would have loved reading about Northwind
and Stormwind if I’d had any way of finding out about the story
in my childhood. Instead, I read about Gandalf, the Light Maze, King
Arthur and the heroes of the Mabinogion.
The fascinating thing is that the American projection of history
onto England has something of a mirror image on the other side
of the Atlantic. When my wife and I were traveling in England a few
years ago, we stopped for supplies at a supermarket in St. Albans,
and noted that English supermarkets, like American ones, have little
motorized rides at the front door to absorb the excess energy of
small children on shopping trips. The device at this store
was a little car which bounced and jolted around, going nowhere. What
made it interesting was the imaginary landscape painted on the wall
in front of the windscreen. It was a highly condensed English
version of America: huge skyscrapers on one side, tall cacti
and desert scenery on the other, and a great sweeping cowboy-infested
plain reaching away to distant mountains in between.
Now of course England has its own grand architecture, and the views
from atop the Sussex downs are as sweeping as anything on America’s
Great Plains. Still, America seems to be the place where the
English park their dreams of limitless space, just as England is
the place where Americans park their dreams of deep time. To
put it another way, as a chance-met acquaintance said to me on that
same trip as we walked among the stones of Avebury, the difference
between the English and the Americans is that the English think a
hundred miles is a long distance, and the Americans think a hundred
years is a long time.
In an age when magic is commonly either traced back to the distant
past or consigned to it, this odd habit of thinking goes a long way
to explain why it was that the vast majority of the magical lore
available to an eager student in 1970s America came from England
and nowhere else. Still, there’s at least one more factor
involved, which is that England has in fact produced much more than
its share of important esoteric and magical traditions.
It wasn’t a passion for Englishness that attracted me to the
Golden Dawn tradition of magic, the first system I seriously studied,
or later on drew me to the modern Druid movement; it was that the
first was among the most comprehensive, detailed, and functional
systems of magical practice in the world, and the second combined
effective and satisfying magical and spiritual teachings with a reverence
for living Nature that I had come to feel was essential to any valid
response to the troubles of our time. Still, it so happens
that both these traditions, and many others, did in fact first come
into being on English soil.
The remarkable relationship between England’s green and pleasant
land and some of the most influential magical traditions of the modern
world forms the territory that Philip Carr-Gomm and Richard Heygate
have set out to explore in detail in The Book of English Magic. The
result is well worth reading, and for several reasons.
First, of course, there’s the simple pleasure of reading, because
The Book of English Magic is a lively and interesting book about
a lively and interesting subject. It’s also a very good
general introduction to magic: not just the history and teachings
of magic, though it covers these in quite some detail, but some of
the basic practices as well, for Carr-Gomm and Heygate spice their
narrative with descriptions of how to perform many of the elementary
types of English magic. An abundant selection of resources
for further reading and study makes The Book of English Magic among
the best sources anywhere for those whose curiosity inspires them
to go beyond what any single book can teach them.
Still, to my mind the best thing about this admirable book is that
it draws the distinction none of the books I studied in the Seventies
managed to make. It is, precisely, a book of English magic;
it links the panoply of occult traditions it surveys to that small
island off the northwest coast of Europe where so much magic, and
for that matter so much of today’s global culture, had its
origins; in the process, in the friendliest possible way, Carr-Gomm
and Heygate throw down a gauntlet that I hope many other authors
around the world take up.
For there are many other traditions of magic that didn’t originate
in England, of course; every land and every people in the world have
magical teachings and practices to share. By turning over the
most popular occult traditions of the present time to show the “Made
In England” label on the bottom, The Book of English Magic
challenges today’s magical practitioners—and the many
other people interested in magic and the occult—to recognize
that like every other creation of human culture, magical traditions
are rooted in particular places and histories, and to look for the
magic that might be hidden in plain sight where they live, as Sbabadil
was hidden from me in my childhood. Some of the readers who
pick up that gauntlet may well write books of their own about the
magic of their own homelands, or the lands in which they now live—and
they would be well advised to take detailed notes, as they read The
Book of English Magic, for they will find no better example of how
to take on such a task and accomplish it with aplomb.
John Michael Greer
Author, The New Encyclopedia of the Occult
Grand Archdruid, Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA)
I cannot praise this book enough both for its content
and its style. It is a hefty tome at over 500 pages but beautifully
bound and (once you get over the odd use of a lighter typeface for
'practitioner' contributions) designed. It may not be cheap
but it is excellent value.
The structure is worth commenting on because, quite simply, it works
and it puts to shame a lot of the shoddy editing that you currently
get in the publishing industry.
As you read through the many testimonies in this book, you will see
people with serious academic accomplishments rub alongside people
whose status in society may be 'lowly' but who are accomplished in
their abilities to see things the rest of us do not or in giving
some sort of 'spiritual' service to others. The respect of each for
all and of all for each is in marked contrast to cultures that 'look
up to' priests, rabbis or imams and leave their spiritual thinking
at the door of the church, mosque or synagogue.
This is not to denigrate the latter - they have their role as community
religions which contain many strands of deep intellectual engagement,
mysticism and consolation - but the structural difference (despite
the High Priestesses and Grades of some advanced magical and pagan
traditions) is that power comes from below instead from above. The
wicked tantric Crowley was seeking to liberate his followers, even
from their allegiance to him!
Highly recommended and enjoyable - a book I shall keep close by my
desk for reference. Tim Pendry, www.Goodreads.com