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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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Psychic Self Defence for Footballers (and the rest of us).

Cristiano Ronaldo, Read Madrid footballer and Portuguese international has apparently been cursed by a Voodoo priest with the intention of ending his career. Pepe, the Voodoo priest in question (presumably no relation to the Real Madrid number three), claims that he is not doing it because he has a thing against Real Madrid or Ronaldo personally, but because he has been paid good-money to do so. Well, you can’t fault the man’s ethics!

But the real question is who hired Pepe to work this evil magick? Journalists have come up with a short-list of likely suspects. They have narrowed it down to Ronaldo’s ex-girlfriends, and several million Barcelona / Man City / England / etc fans.

“But Alex,” I hallucinate that I hear you say, “can you not provide some magical help or advice for those of us who might find ourselves caught in the same situation? Even if we don’t play for Real Madrid?” Why certainly! Here is my quick guide to Psychic Self-Defence.

By far the most lucid and sensible account of the subject is the book of the same name by Dion Fortune. Unfortunately, from the cases I myself have heard about, this book is obviously far too sensible for anyone to take any notice of! Basically, Dion’s gist is this: at least 90% or more of cases of alleged psychic attack are in fact nothing of the sort – instead they are far more likely to be either imaginary or symptomatic of a psychoneurotic condition (or worse).

Hence the first step in warding off a perceived magical or psychic attack is to seriously consider whether it might not be as bad you first thought. I have heard from people who claimed that they were being attacked and cursed and hexed right left and centre – and then casually admit that they had been hospitalised for schizophrenia in the past, and not make any connection between the two.

So let us assume that you have been able to dismiss every possible mundane explanation for the run of misfortune you are experiencing, and suspect that it may well indeed be a psychic attack? What then? The simple answer is that just as a psychic attack starts from somebody else’s mind, so a good psychic defence starts from your own. You basically have to fervently Will that you are protected, and it is so. There are a number of methods which facilitate this.

Essentially by visualising a magical barrier surrounding oneself, and concentrating on the idea that it will protect you from malicious influences, this has the effect of actually repelling such forces. The most famous method of forming such a magical barrier is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, which was originally devised by the Golden Dawn.

The casting of the circle in Wicca is itself a circle of protection which protects all the participants whilst they are taking part in a particular ritual.

In his book, Auras: What They Are and How To Read Them, the author Joseph Ostrom describes several Aura meditations which are effectively protection rituals. For example, visualising oneself in a gold-metallic aura: this not only protects from unwanted external influences, but also energises and perks up the individual thus protected.

There are many other such protection rituals which are based upon the same principal e.g. the meditation on the Cloak in Martinism, numerous variations on the Pentagram ritual itself, etc. One important fact is that these rituals not only protect from external malign forces but also close down ones own psychic sensitivities if one has negligently left them open.

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