Category Archives: Occult Book Reviews

The Soul of Lilith

Randall Bowyer reviews The Soul of Lilith [Amazon, Amazon, Abebooks Bookshop, Bookshop Local Library, Local Library, Internet Archive] by Marie Corelli in the Bkwyrm’s Occult Book Reviews archive.

Corelli The Soul of Lilith

Corelli was Queen Victoria’s favorite novelist, which should tell you a lot about the book, but Crowley was also familiar with Corelli’s work and honored her with a reference to her toe-jam in one of his better poems, “Birthday Ode” in Snowdrops, owners of the 1986 Teitan Press edition will note that the editor has confused Marie Corelli with Mabel Collins, the book’s charm is more antiquarian than literary, i.e. it is quaintly Victorian but is no masterpiece by modern standards, it is, however, not without appeal to the occultist, as the tale revolves around magical themes, its main character is determined, Crowley-like, to master the secrets of life through the power of will, and there are several amusing jabs at Theosophy, there is also an unintentionally hilarious character–an idealized self-portrait of the author–who voices all of Corelli’s complaints about society, over and over and over, her style is long-winded and moralizing, and her characters and situations are none too believable, four of the main characters, e.g., are non-Muslim Arabs (three Christians and a pagan), two of whom are uneducated peasants who speak flawless English, and one of whom is blonde, but all her faults notwithstanding, we must hail Marie Corelli as a Past Master of the Bewildering Run-On Sentence, in fine, then, the book is entertaining, if not wholly in the way its author intended, I would, however, recommend that you not buy some arm-and-a-leg Kessinger xerox, but wait till you can find it for $1.50 in a junk-shop in Kokomo.

The Spiral Dance

Bkwyrm reviews The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Goddess: 20th Anniversary Edition [Amazon, Bookshop, Abebooks, Local Library] by Starhawk in the Bkwyrm’s Occult Book Reviews archive.

Starhawk The Spiral Dance

A classic. The original is hard to find, most new Wiccans have the updated version. People say that this book is responsible for more covens forming than any other work to date, and I believe it. Starhawk explains the why, where, how, and everything else of Wicca from the perspective of her Reclaiming tradition. Of course, the tradition is not much of a tradition, but unlike a lot of other Wiccan authors, she accepts that Wicca is a relatively new religion. Her research is also pretty shaky at certain points, and some of her comments are not exactly male-friendly. Contains guidelines for rituals, including some very elaborate poetry for casting a circle. This is one of those books that you should probably read, even if it’s just to get a perspective on modern Wicca.

The Spiritual Sayings of Kahlil Gibran

Magdalene Meretrix reviews The Spiritual Sayings of Kahlil Gibran [Amazon, Abebooks, Local Library] in the Bkwyrm’s Occult Book Reviews archive.

Gibran Spiritual Sayings of Kahlil Gibran

“The art of the Egyptians is in the occult.
The art of the Chaldeans is in calculation.
The art of the Greeks is in proportion.
The art of the Romans is in echo.
The art of the Chinese is in etiquette.
The art of the Hindus is in the weighing of good and evil.
The art of the Jews is in the sense of doom.
The art of the Arabs is in reminiscence and exaggeration.
The art of the Persians is in fastidiousness.
The art of the French is in finesse.
The art of the English is in analysis and self-righteousness.
The art of the Spaniards is in fanaticism.
The art of the Italians is in beauty.
The art of the Germans is in ambition.
The art of the Russians is in sadness.”

Kahlil Gibran, best known for his book “The Prophet,” was a great mystic and captivating writer. This collection of aphorisms, short-short stories and one short play is small but it packs a big punch.

Though Gibran falls into moralizing towards the end in pieces like “Your Lebanon and Mine” where he says to those who see only the political, warring side of Lebanon, “Remember that you are naught. But when you realize your littleness, my aversion to you will change into sympathy and affection. It is a pity that you do not understand, You have your Lebanon and I have mine.” or “Your Thought and Mine” where he says, “Your thought speaks of the beautiful woman, the ugly, the virtuous, the prostitute, the intelligent, and the stupid. Mine sees in every woman a mother, a sister, or a daughter of every man.” these forays into claimed superiority serve as veins in marble rather than blemishes. Moreover, Gibran tells us, “Our worst fault is our preoccupation with the faults of others.” thus confessing his humanity. Gibran is not a god to be worshipped, he is a brother toiling alongside one in the struggle for enlightenment and peace.

Gibran occasionally lapses into bitterness in his aphorisms though this bitterness mainly centers around being a man without a home or nation. This is entirely reasonable, considering that much of this book was written while Gibran was in exile from his country and excommunicated from his church.

Gibran has been called the Dante of the twentieth century. Orientals call him the Beloved Master. He has been compared to William Blake and to Rodin – in fact, he was commissioned to paint the latter’s portrait. Though born in and in love with Lebanon, Gibran is a mystic for all lands and all religions. As the Beloved Master himself said, “God made Truth with many doors to welcome every believer who knocks on them.”

The Sun At Night

Bkwyrm reviews The Sun At Night [Amazon, Bookshop] by Roger Williamson in the Bkwyrm’s Occult Book Reviews archive.

Williamson The Sun at Night

Neat book. I tend to be very critical of occult fiction, since most of it is rewarmed crap. This work is definitely original. It does tend to remind the reader at times of Dion Fortune’s The Sea Priestess, but in a good way. This is an “occult morality tale”, about a young man, magickal orders, self-deception, love, and books. It’s not long, about 100 pages, and is the perfect length to read on a train or plane trip. Highly recommended.

The Ultimate Evil

Julianus reviews The Ultimate Evil: An Investigation into America’s Most Dangerous Satanic Cult with New Evidence Linking Charlie Manson and the Son of Sam [Amazon, Amazon, Abebooks, Bookshop, Local Library] by Maury Terry in the Bkwyrm Occult Book Reviews archive.

Terry The Ultimate Evil

The subtitle of this weighty mass of journalism is “An Investigation of America’s Most Dangerous Satanic Cult with New Evidence Linking Charlie Manson and the Son of Sam.” This tells you more about the author’s ambitions than his actual achievements. While Terry does do a good job recounting the .44-Calibre Killings and he does make a good case that David Berkowitz did not act alone, it does seem kind of significant that so many suspects turn up dead just days after the investigation focusses on them. Unfortunately the book becomes progressively weaker as he tries to document a nationwide satanic murder-cult. Much of his “evidence” consists of prison rumour, numerous dead german shepherds, and some very idiosyncratic “decodings” of the “Son of Sam” letters. He is also quick to see possession of mass-market editions of Eliphas Levi as incriminating. Terry obviously didn’t bother with personally researching contemporary occultism. He seems to have this idea that Magick is all about kinky sex, drugs and sadism and that any “white covens” are just fronts for the real satanic masters. His idea is that the “Sam cult” derives from the Process Church of the Final Judgement and from OTO. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason for this except that Terry became friendly with Ed Sanders, author of “The Family,” possibly the most thoroughly-discredited book on the Manson cult ever written. You can almost see Sanders standing over Terry telling him to put in this or that gratuitous mention. OTO took legal exception to some references and these were deleted from subsequent editions; when you read the original version you can see why.

In the end Terry doesn’t have much to show for ten year’s work aside from a collection of corpses, both human and canine. Interestingly, several of his informants are clearly telling him that the whole case is really about drug trafficking (certainly a .44 seems more in tune with organised crime than with devil worship) and that the “satanic” aspects were a veneer used to control the troops. From this book it seems those same aspects served equally well in obfuscating any attempt to solve the crimes.

Beltane Fortune and Favor

Beltane Fortune and Favor is a Quadrivium Oil newly available online only from Bkwyrm‘s Quadrivium Supplies.

Quadrivium Supplies' Beltane Fortune and Favor Quadrivium Oil

“BELTANE FORTUNE AND FAVOR oil was made in the second hour of Beltane in 2012, the Hour of Jupiter, Day of the Moon. This is an oil designed to assist the user in beginning projects that will be finished, achieving long-term goals, and providing focus and energy to the tasks at hand. The ingredients in FORTUNE AND FAVOR include oils that are considered effective for promoting long-term luck, initiative, good fortune in business and love, and health in body and mind. Additional ingredients are included to repel evil, increase focus, assist in spiritual development, and gain personal mastery. Each bottle of FORTUNE AND FAVOR also contains a small lodestone, to attract power and luck.

Beltane is considered one of the eight solar holidays of the year, and is celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere on May 1. It celebrates the beginning of summer, the planting time, and is largely considered a festival of fertility and planning for long-term results. This oil was designed and made with these goals in mind.” [via]

Mercury Dimes

Bkwyrm, of the Occult Book Reviews site at the library, has a special offer on Mercury dimes, including a special on a combo of dime and ritual oil that seems like a pretty good deal. These are special order, so check out the Mercury Dimes page for details.

“The Mercury dime is a ten-cent coin struck by the United States Mint from 1916 to 1945. Designed by Adolph Weinman and sometimes referred to as the Winged Liberty dime, it gained the term “Mercury dime” because the depiction of Liberty, in her winged cap, was often confused with the Roman god Mercury. The reverse of the coin shows a a bundle of wooden sticks with an axe blade emerging from the center, called a fasces, symbolizing unity and strength, and an olive branch, signifying peace.

In hoodoo and some forms of American folk magic, a Mercury dime is considered an extremely lucky talisman. Traditionally, it is pierced, anointed with oils, and worn on a cotton string around the ankle. It is said to turn black if the wearer is being attacked with negative magic. Other practitioners wear a Mercury dime as a pendant around the neck for the same reason, but also as a charm for luck. The Mercury dime is also a common item found in “mojo bags” or “mojo hands” created for various purposes, usually related to luck or money. Due to the god Mercury’s position as patron of games of chance and sleight of hand, the Mercury dime is considered a powerful talisman for gambling purposes.

We recently discovered a local coin dealer who had something of a stash of circulated Mercury dimes. This means the coins are somewhat worn and tarnished, as they were actually used. A coin dealer would find that this makes the coin worth less to them, but for magical purposes, a circulated coin may well be more effective than an uncirculated one – the theory is that the coin has been in contact with other money and has been “in the flow” of circulation, and will work more effectively for attracting wealth. Because the Mercury dimes are 90% silver, they have become slightly more difficult to find, as the cost of silver has increased.

QUADRIVIUM SUPPLIES has a limited number of Mercury dimes, which we are offering to our customers in the following ways:

  • The coin alone ($10).
  • The coin as a pendant, set in a nickel-plated bezel on a sterling silver chain ($15).
  • Special Holiday Offer – The coin in conjunction with a vial of oil, regular or electional ($20).

For leap year coins, please add $5 to the price.

Because of the limited number of coins, these are available by special order only.” [via]

 

 

Ritual Oil Reading List

Bkwyrm, of the Occult Book Review site, has posted the start of a reading list you may be interested in at “Ritual Oil Reading List“.

“Making a reading list on this topic is very difficult, because there’s no one book I can point to and say “Here, you should read this, it’s absolutely accurate and will teach you all about making oils!” There’s been a fair number of books on oils published and while some of them are absolute bullshit from start to finish, some of them are fairly good with some gaping blind spots, some are pretty awful with some good information hidden inside, and some are publishing information available in other places, but written in a more coherent way and thus more useful.” [via]

Where Do I Buy…

Bkywrm, of the Occult Book Review site, has posted about how to find reputable vendors for essential oils used as ingredients on her Quadrivium Supplies blog at “Where Do I Buy….“.

“I get asked about where to get the ingredients for the oils I make. While I would much prefer you buy your oils from ME (obviously), I know there’s a lot of do-it-yourself types out there. This is the first in an installment of “Where Do I Buy….?” entries.” [via]

New oil and sampler pack special

Bkwyrm, of the Bkwyrm.net Occult Book Reviews site archived at the library, has a new magical oil, “Pay Up!”, and a special offer on sample packs over at Quadrivium Supplies, which may be of interest, about which she posted at “New Oil — Pay Up!” and “Anointing Small Candles“.

 

“It’s taken a long time to develop this oil. It’s probably a most-tested oil in our entire line.”

“Pay Up! oil is designed to get what is owed to you.” [via]

 

“The Sample Pack consists of five oils of your choice (electional or regular), in 1/4 dram size, packaged together and sold for $10 plus shipping. This permits people who aren’t sure about what oil they need, or people who aren’t sure that ritual oils are their thing, to try a selection without making too significant an investment in a full bottle of one particular oil.” [via]