Sunday, May 3, 2015

Playing Catch Up: Recently Released Books That You Need

     During my hiatus from blogging there are a number of things that have taken place that, when in business-as-usual mode, I assuredly would have written about. While going back and posting a paragraph or two about each of them that had occurred from last August to the present is something I have neither the time nor inclination to do, as an author and occult book enthusiast I do want to touch on a few books that have found there way to my collection that I firmly believe belong on the nightstand of everyone reading this blog. (And also on the nightstand of all those former readers who have angrily left for greener pastures due to my absence).

     Before that, though, allow me to explain something. The last time I recommended a book it was one released by my own publisher -Nephilim Press, which happened also to be authored by a friend who I actually pitched Nephilim to when he was preparing to write his book - Rufus Opus. When I named his book Seven Spheres as a must-have, someone who clearly doesn't know me very well opined that my recommendation was likely colored by it being a Nephilim title and one written by a friend. I won't waste much time refuting that or explaining the strict standards I have for anything I put my seal of approval on, instead I'll summarize by saying I couldn't give less of a fuck if a book was written by my wife and published by my dog. If I don't find it valuable, I don't endorse it. I also do not endorse every title Nephilim has released. If you care to go back through my posts from the time I first signed on with them until now you'll notice there are several that were never mentioned here, weren't advertised or pitched by me. In their early days they dropped a couple turds, as we all know. These days you won't find a publisher that has higher standards than Nephilim, I can attest to that because I'm involved with them and I see the shit Frank puts authors through to make sure nothing that isn't great goes out the door, and you can bet when he does release somethng, the author has been put through the wringer and the material reviewed meticulously by Nephilim and by the authors peers, something no one else I know of does. But In general, if you see a product or book mentioned on my blog or site its because I find it valuable. The reason all the book reviews you see on my site are positive and complimentary is because I don't sit around and read shit books just to have something to criticize. I have a serious lack of free time and what little I do have, I spend reading books I believe I'm going to enjoy or get something from. Sometimes I am wrong and a book I thought might be good ends up being, well, not so much, and in those cases I usually toss them halfway through and forget they exist.

That being said, on to the books. 

The Book of Oberon

     On several occasions I have been published or recorded as saying that aside from the well known Grimoires we all know and love there is a potential plethora of unknown manuscripts that could represent significant additions to the corpus sitting in one library or another gathering dust, and that it is a damned shame the majority of them will never grace our shelves. The Book of Oberon is one that was spared that fate, having been rescued from ignominious  demise amongst other unwanted volumes by Joe Peterson, Dan Harms and James Clark. The Book of Oberon stands apart from its more famous counterparts in that it takes the form of a working magician's personal Grimoire. Instead of instructions for performing a set of invocations that, together, constitute the corpus of the Grimoire, The Book of Oberon closely resembles something done by Hockley or Dr. Rudd; that is, a textbook comprised of a number of rites collected from various sources for specific gains & results. Don't allow that description to fool you though - far from the "Books of Shadows" which take similar shape and contain such venerable magicks as "Pierce the eye of a worm and say blagojevich 24 times at midnight whilst eating taco bell", The Book of Oberson is VERY much a Grimoire - Summoning the denizens of the unknown, previously unseen seals and talismans, oracions as beautiful and powerful as any of Solomonic origin and all.

     I can say in all honesty, The Book of Oberon has taken its place among my "Top 5 Grimoires", both for the magnitude of material, its diversity and practical application and for the fact that it has manifested in such a complete, thorough and painstakingly researched form. In past reviews I have touted the contributions made to the corpus by both Joe Peterson and Dan Harms, and this work is, in my opinion, one of their best. Alongside those by Stephen Skinner, Harms and Peterson's works represent the best of the best, and Oberon is no exception.

     (Lest ye detractors think this review was flavored by something other than genuine respect, let me state that I have never exchanged so much as a word with Joe, have had only about 5 minutes of unrelated discourse with Dan Harms and prior to this volume had never heard of James Clark. The publisher, Llewellyn, is one about whom I have very publicly expressed great contempt)

Seven Spheres

     Having mentioned this title above, as well as the kerfluffle that ensued when I made mention of it once previously suggesting it to a facebook friend, I won't spend much time here. Besides, if you're a reader here chances are you're well acquainted with Mr. Opus and his particular style of Hermetic Magick, and you've likely already read this book. I am, nonetheless, obliged to mention it, simply because it kicks ass. In this volume RO explicates his strain of planetary magick, expanding greatly on the Planetary Gates series he released some time ago. Within we find magick influenced heavily by Agrippa, yet very clearly RO's own and therefore unlike any other. To say I was excited when RO told me he was finally going to release a print book would be an understatement, and to say that excitement was justified when I finally read the final product would be even more so. This work serves to present a working (and well proven) system of planetary magick that many, including myself, have used to great effect. Rufus' planetary work as taught in 7S formed the central rite of the Magickal Group "Gentlemen For Jupiter, of which I was once upon a lifetime a member, and although to say it was the only Jupiterian work we performed would be a lie, I can say that while working with it as a group, the group flourished and a great many of its members experienced very tangible material gains. For lack of a better paraphrase, Our Kingdom Cameth. I heartily recommend this title to all - and no, fucktard, NOT because I like the guy or because Nephilim is my home. 

That's all folk's! Well, for now anyway. There are 3 more books I need to review, and 2 more yet to read and review after that, but today's free time has come to an end and other, offline, obligations call. The next review will be a more in depth one on Stephen Skinner's Techniques of Graeco-Egyptian Magic which, in my eyes, represents the most important work in 10 years.