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Review: Mystical Words of Power by Damon Brand

Mystical Words of Power, by Damon Brand

This is the first of two books from the Gallery of Magick which I have read recently which I am going to review. Previous releases from the Gallery of Magick have been concerned with “low magick” – which despite appearances is not intended in a snobby way, but in the sense of mundane, everyday, material needs. I was therefore intrigued by the title of this book: Mystical Words of Power. Could high spiritual theurgy be seriously packaged in a book meant for mass consumption?

The blurb for “Mystical Words of Power” says:

Imagine using magick without any aim, desire or hope, without trying to solve problems, and seeking no gain. Imagine if this magick started to bring you all the things you want, and solved your problems.

This had me confused, as I first thought that magick without aim would not have a point to it. This turned out to be slightly misleading: it does have an aim – the aim is to improve one’s personal qualities – mental, intuitive, psychic or spiritual even – with the idea that good fortune will occur as a side-effect, or as an indirect result. The primary method by which it aims to achieve this is a series of recondite (from my point of view) techniques drawn from the Kabbalah.

Researching the derivation of these particular Kabbalistic techniques is a fascinating subject in itself, and has led me to adopt a new working hypothesis of the Kabbalah which could change the history of the Western Mystery Tradition. The previous or current paradigm is that the adoption of the Hermetic Qabalah is a legitimate and logical development from older versions of the Qabalah, which seems to be taken for granted by the pioneers of the late Victorian occult revival and traditions which derive therefrom. However, the new paradigm I propose is this:

From the time that the Kabbalah first became known amongst Gentiles – e.g. from the time of Pico Della Mirandola or earlier – it occurred to a number of Christians to attempt to Christianize it and hence weaponise it as a tool for the forcible conversion of Jews. Jewish Kabbalists, however, soon cottoned on to what was happening, and became deeply offended: they therefore decided – either by tacit agreement or just coincidence – to cease co-operation with Gentiles attempting to learn about the Kabbalah, and claim that everything about the Kabbalah had already been published – carefully denying the existence of any other Kabbalistic teachings. However, as time went on, Gentile occultists that gaps appeared when trying to use the Kabbalah as a workable system of ceremonial magick. Receiving no help from Jewish Kabbalists, they took the liberty of interpolating Hermetic teachings to fill the lacunae. Thus was born the Hermetic Qabalah. This state of affairs continued through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with people like MacGregor Mathers, Aleister Crowley, Paul Foster Case, Dion Fortune, etc all being none the wiser. In fact, many proponents of Hermetic Qabalah, instead of realising that the Hermetic elements were only late additions to the science, persisted in believing that they derived from ancient times, e.g. to Egypt or even to Atlantis.

The evidence which is now coming to light is that the knowledge required to fill the “gaps” had been in the unpublished and untranslated Kabbalah all along! However, because luminaries of the Western Mystery Tradition hadn’t heard of it, they had no idea it even existed! By “evidence” I am referring to books which have not been translated from Hebrew into English and published until comparatively recently, such as Shorshei Ha Shemot and Brit Menucha. (NB: although published these books are still very expensive to get hold of, so their full secrets may not be revealed for a few years yet).

Anyway, I digress. Back to “Mystical Words of Power.” I had a go at the rituals contained in this book, and I can confirm that when combined with meditation, they can indeed one into a deep spiritual state of consciousness. They gave me some insights which I personally found useful, although because they are subjective they wander into the territory of Unverifed Personal Gnosis, so I shall not say too much about them.


Mystical Words of Power: The Magick of The Heart, The Soul, and The Empowered Mind by Damon Brand. ISBN 1795382848 / 978-1795382847. Available in Paperback or on Kindle.

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Review: “Golden Dawn Magic: A Complete Guide to the High Magical Arts” by Chic & Tabatha Cicero

Golden Dawn Magic: A Complete Guide to the High Magical Arts

The new book by Chic & Tabatha Cicero, “Golden Dawn Magic: A Complete Guide to the High Magical Arts,” is an introduction to the practices of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: its unique selling point is that it goes into slightly more depth than other such introductory guides. So for example, it does not simply describe the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, or the Middle Pillar Ritual, but outlines preliminary exercises of which a practioner could make use in order to get used to those rituals beforehand.

Moreover, advanced techniques such as god-form assumption, tarot divination, etc are mentioned, and the results are combined to show a Golden Dawn magician would formulate a complete “Z2” Magic of Light Ritual.

It is probably most helpful to think of this as a companion volume to the Ciceros’ “The Essential Golden Dawn,” the difference being that the former book outlines the theory, whilst the latter the practice. Nevertheless, it is at the end of the day only an introduction, and as such the authors continually refer to their other publications as shedding more light on the subject, for example: Self Initiation into the Golden Dawn; Tarot Talismans; as well as Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn itself.

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Review: “High Magick” by Damien Echols

“High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices that saved my Life on Death Row,” by Damien Echols.

Damien Echols has forcibly wrested the kind of superstardom of which most occult writers dream but never see. But then – has has paid a far higher price that any other magician – myself included – would ever want to pay, i.e. spending eighteen years on death row for a crime he did not commit.

Whereas most would-be occultists might want to cast spells for money, sex, power, and all the rest, Damien has been using his magickal skills for the considerably less frivolous ends of avoiding being executed; preserving his life, health and sanity; winning his eventual freedom; and coping with severe PTSD after having been released.

The blurb of this book describes Damien as having been initiated into a lineage of Zen Buddhism whilst incarcerated: however, almost none of this comes across in the present book. Instead, what we have is a number of Hermetic techniques, mostly drawn from the Golden Dawn, with a smattering of Franz Bardon thrown in for good measure.

Thus, what we get is: a number of Chi-techniques (thus placing Damien squarely within the Energy Model of magick). This at least shows original thought not present other books on magick. He goes on to give his own take on some well-known techniques of magick such as the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (sophisticated by the addition of Metatron and Sandalphon in “the column”), as well as the Middle Pillar Ritual. He proposes the Lesser Invoking Ritual as a replacement for the Golden Dawn’s Supreme Ritual, whilst describing practical techniques of creating thoughtforms, charging amulets and talismans, the magick use of tattoos, and intriguing thoughts on urban shamanism.

Most of the practical techniques function at the same level as “Neophyte” in the Golden Dawn. Hence a complete beginner to magick might profit from reading this book.

HOWEVER – and this is the biggest fault of the book – it lacks any kind of Bibliography or suggested reading list. So if complete beginners are indeed the book’s intended target audience, and they wanted to know where to go to find out more (as one naturally would), they would not find such information here. This is especially frustrating as Damien constantly mentions advanced concepts such as the Qabalah, the Holy Guardian Angel, Evocation, etc without giving further explanation. (A book such as Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick, or John Michael Greer’s Circles of Power would serve better in this respect.)


High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Save My Life on Death Row by Damien Echols is available from Amazon in Hardback or on Kindle.

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Review: The Sworn Book of Honorius (Liber Iuratus Honorii) – by Joseph H Peterson

The Sworn Book of Honorius / Joseph Peterson

(First published on Amazon):

Joseph H Peterson always produces high quality versions of classic grimoires so I was very pleased to be able to get hold of this, which I did with the aid of a gift voucher I manifested from the universe (there’s magic for you! 😉 ). Anyway, so here is my analysis of “The Sworn Book of Honorius” which I will hereinafter abbreviate as TSBOH:

TSBOH dates from the 14th century (i.e. 1300s). Now at that time in Europe there were only two types of men – and unfortunately they were men, not women – who could get an education and hence be able to read a grimoire: Religious (monks and priests); and the sons of Royalty and Nobility. Correspondingly, if you survey the various grimoires dating from the pre-Renaissance era, you will find that they fall into one of two types, which I term Sacerdotal and Royal – reflecting the assumptions that the grimoire-writer makes about his intended audience.

TSBOH is a -Sacerdotal- grimoire – it not only assumes that the operator has the willing assistance of a Christian priest, but that he will also lead a life identical to that of a cloistered monk and be familiar with the daily office as a man in monastic orders would be. (Another example of a Sacerdotal grimoire would be the Heptameron of Peter Abano – but TSBOH is *far* more intense in the preparation it prescribes, and far more ambitious in what it sets out to achieve). Examples of what I would term “Royal” grimoires would include the Keys of Solomon both Lesser and Greater, which do not seem to require such a dependence on priests, but do promise to confer magical powers especially useful to princes and noblemen.

Like other pre-renaissance grimoires such as the Heptameron and Greater Key of Solomon, TSBOH assumes that the spirits manifest to visible appearance in the air before the circle, without the aid of a particular skrying medium.

The actual structure of TSBOH is as follows: first, the Operator should consecrate the “Seal of God” (actually the prototype of the Sigillum Dei Aemeth) and complete a forty-day operation to attain the Beatific Vision. In this sense it is akin to a shortened version of Abramelin, except that the required prayers are more sophisticated. This being achieved, the Operator can then progress on to an elaborate series of conjurations of Planetary and Elemental Spirits of both an Angelic and Demonic nature – for achieving more conventional “low-magic” goals.

Regarding Peterson’s edition itself, this contains both the Latin and English editions (newly translated) as well as the relevant diagrams, and a scholarly introduction which makes the point that many of the barbarous words of evocation which crop up in later well-known grimoires come from Byzantine sources, which I personally find fascinating. Peterson’s text does a good job of making clear that TSBOH directly inspired several Solomonic grimoires such as the Greater Key and multiple parts of the Lesser Key (Goetia, Ars Notoria) as well.

IMHO, there are two main difficulties to turning TSBOH into a working grimoire for the modern grimoire magician. Firstly, the number and complexity of the various prayers and invocations, and their need to be compiled and collated before use (but – thanks to Peterson’s edition – at least this can now be done!). Secondly and more unfortunately is the need for a monastic lifestyle, and more specifically a Christian monastic lifestyle – the operations in TSBOH are closely connected with the theology of the Christian religion to separate them.

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