Not long ago I had the pleasure of reviewing a volume that quickly superseded all other works on the subject, including my own Book of Abrasax, and took it's place as a classic of modern magickal thought. That book was Stephen Skinner's Techniques of Graeco-Egyptian Magic; the first of two volumes intended to make accessible one of the most venerated and powerful systems of magick.
Today I awoke in a rather foul mood. That unpleasantness, however, quickly abated when I opened up Feedly for my daily blog and feed check and I was greeted by the news that the selfsame Mr. Skinner had recently released a similarly intended volume, this time for Solomonic Magic. I don't think I need to tell you how big of a thing this is - While myself and a couple of others who, for lack of a better term, "know our shit", do teach the Magick of the Grimoires (See also Aaron Leitch, Ashen Chassan, et. al) there has never been anything like this - a genuine textbook that makes the Grimoires "do-able".
The Grimoire Tradition is, at present, a bountiful field from which an aspirant can choose any number of paths. With new, critical and corrected translations of known and unknown manuscripts coming out at a rate of two or three each year, there is no shortage of material available to the student from which to practice. - The availability of source materials in abundance, however, is rendered moot for most because while these Grimoires contain the conjurations, voces magicae, divine names and seals necessary to accomplish your work, never has there been a single framework, ritual structure or reference book to teach you the when, where, at what time, with what incense, facing what direction, after what type of fast, with what prep and preliminaria, etc...
To demonstrate the importance of the teachings you'll find in this volume, let us consider a man who owns a solid gold, diamond studded rolex watch, but who cannot read a clock. Sure, he has an incredibly valuable watch, definitely fun to show off and certainly a conversation piece, but practically speaking if he can't tell time it may as well be a plastic one received in the bottom of a cereal box. So it is with Grimoire Magick. Opening one of the works released by Joe Peterson, Dan Harms or Stephen Skinner you find yourself in possession of a system of magick both ancient and powerful, one of the precious few modern books of true value and which explicates magick ritual as known to our forefathers. But, however beautiful the conjurations and however accurate the seals, if you don't know the basics you may as well be reading something by Migene Wippler or some other such fuckery.
And that is where this volume comes in. A cursory glimpse at the contents suffices to convince me that this volume is something that could have saved me several years of trial and error while attempting to create a ritual structure for use with the evocations found in the classics.
In addition to covering all of the practical considerations we can see that this volume offers sections on Major Magical Techniques, forms of divination, a treatise on the concept of imprisoning spirits and material of great value to the academician. Without a doubt, this book is poised to be my top pick for 2015.
* As a final note - as I always do, let me offer the following disclosures. I do not know Mr. Skinner beyond having a few minutes of chat on facebook when he released TGEM a year or so ago. I have no stake in this book, no connection to Golden Hoard and no motivation beyond a sincere admiration for the author and appreciation for his work.