Tag Archives: Bkwyrm

Teutonic Religion

Ingeborg Svea Norden reviews Teutonic Religion: Folk Beliefs & Practices of the Northern Tradition by Kveldulf Gundarsson in the Bkwyrm archive.

This book says little about runes as such; it’s mostly rituals, plus some comments on the gods and on the problems that Norse pagans have to deal with in the modern world.

My main problem with this one is Gundarsson’s choice of language: First, he insists on calling the gods by their Old High German names, instead of the familiar Norse ones he used in _Teutonic Magic._ (A typical newcomer to Germanic paganism would not know that “Frija” is actually Frigg, and “the Frowe” mean Freya!) Second, the rituals themselves (and even a few spots in the main text) are full of revived “Germanic English” words that few non-linguists would recognize or use. A priest who had to check a glossary every three minutes would spoil the atmosphere at a large Heathen gathering, to put it mildly. Other than the language problem, though, Gundarsson’s second book is as well-researched and thoughtful as the first. He does his level best to convince people that Asatru is spiritually valid and relevant in the present-day world.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s

The Black Book of Satan

Majere, Pr.ODF, reviews The Black Book of Satan by Christos Beest in the Bkwyrm archive.

This is one of the primary texts of Britain’s notorious Order of Nine Angles – perhaps the largest exponent of Satanism outside of the American/LaVeyan sphere of influence. The Black Book is a collection of Sinister rituals, ranging from initiation rites to the infamous Black Mass, including commentaries given on the nature of Black Magick and it’s applications. Although not for all tastes, and certainly controversial in some respects, it is perhaps one of the best alternatives available to the late Anton LaVey’s “Satanic Bible”. Not available for general retail – available by mail order only.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s

The Black Arts

Bkwyrm reviews The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish in the Bkwyrm archive.

Fascinating. But quite horrendously misnamed, I think. Since when was Numerology a “black art?” Or Alchemy? Still, a captivating book. Sections include: The World of the Black Magician, Names and Numbers (Numerology), The Cabala and the Names of Power, The Stone and the Elixir, Astrology, Ritual Magic, and Worship of the Devil. Two appendices contain information on Grimoires and additional information on Numerology. A very complete and detailed bibliography is provided for those who want more in-depth information. An index provides easy access to information. This book is written in the usual Cavendish style, dry and scholarly, but try to plug though it. The subject matter is interesting enough that the writing style is not particularly important.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s

The A∴A∴

Randall Bowyer reviews The A∴A∴ by Aleister Crowley (alleged) in the Bkywrm archive.

This is one of several booklets available from Mandrake which carry this note: “The above excerpts and fragments were copied by Cosmo Trelawny from a mass of papers and typescripts left in his rooms by Macgregor [sic] Reid. The originals were then sold to a bookseller, and lost when his shop was bombed during the war.” There is a faint aroma of herring about this.

I don’t know Cosmo Trelawny, but George Watson MacGregor Reid was Chosen Chief of A.D.U.B., a Druid order established in 1245 E.V., from which the Golden Dawn and Speculative Freemasonry are descended (no, really!)* . His MacGregor pedigree is exactly as legitimate as those of S.L. MacGregor Mathers and several other turn-of-the-century occultists: it seems that in those days it was as popular to be a MacGregor as it is nowadays to be the reincarnation of Crowley. One wonders why Reid was distributing the papers of his cousin (Aleister MacGregor Crowley, you know). It was certainly not because he had inherited them, since AC survived both Reid and the Battle of Britain. Of course, AC did frequently complain about the piles of MSS that had been permanently borrowed or simply stolen from him by various people (see the May 1995 Thelema Lodge Calendar for a fine example), but that is beside the point. So, regardless of how it comes to us, what is this little book about?

There are three introductory paragraphs explaining that the Golden Dawn and the Theosophical Society were the inner and outer schools of the A∴ A∴, and listing some 45 “Chiefs” of the Order from the XVIII, XIX, and XX centuries e.v. Blavatsky, prime mover of the Theosophical Society, does not appear in this list, but – surprisingly? – Macgregor Reid does. Then we are treated to twelve pages of vitriolic biographical sketches which sling mud at most of the illustrious chiefs just mentioned. Blavatsky appears here (“an exponent of semi-fake Occultism”), but – surprisingly? – MacGregor Reid does not. Eugene Vintras is listed on p. 1 as a Chief, but on p. 8 we are told that he was refused admission to the Order. Two of AC’s life-long heroes, Levi and Bennett, are dismissed as a traitor and a snake, respectively. And, best of all, we read of S.L. MacGregor Mathers that:

“Macgregor [sic] was a drunken sot,
in point of fact God’s incarnated snot.”

I have no idea what the point of this essay might be, other than to discredit the A∴ A∴ and make AC look silly. If it is true, however, that G.W.M. Reid was somehow involved in this nonsense, then I can think of one MacGregor who deserves to be remembered as “God’s incarnated snot.”

(* MacGregor Reid could also refer to G.W.M. Reid’s son. R.A.F.M. Reid, who became Chosen Chief on his father’s death in 1946.)

The Art of Ritual

Bkwyrm reviews The Art of Ritual: A Guide to Creating and Performing Your Own Ceremonies for Growth and Change by Renee Beck and Sydney Metrick in the Bkwyrm archive.

Subtitled “A Guide To Creating and Performing Your Own Rituals for Growth and Change”. This is the work I use most extensively to provide framework and ideas for ritual design, and the book I recommend to everyone who is starting to design their own rituals. While it occasionally reads like it might be someone’s dissertation, this book is easy to understand and enjoy. This work covers just about everything: what a ritual is, the myths, symbolism, and history of ritual, types of rituals, the process of ritual, the elements of ritual, the tools needed (and how to make/find them), how to build a personal altar, and the application of ritual in everyday life. It can be used as a workbook, instruction manual, inspiration source, and reference text.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s

The Art and Architecture of Freemasonry

Julianus reviews The Art and Architecture of Freemasonry by James Stevens Curl in the Bkwyrm archive.

This is the first book of its kind and you could not ask for a better introduction to the subject. Well researched and lavishly illustrated this survey covers the development of Masonic iconography in detail and demonstrates its influence on religious and secular architecture. Discussions of Solomon’s Temple, mortuary architecture and Mozart’s Masonic music (“The Magic Flute” being only the most famous example) are included. This is a high-quality art book, easily worth the price to anyone interested in the subject and I hope Professor Curl publishes more on this topic.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s

Summoning Spirits

Julianus reviews Summoning Spirits: the Art of Magickal Evocation by Konstantinos in the Bkwyrm archive.

It is high time someone came out with a specialised handbook to this important branch of Magick, and this is a fair initial entry. It has the handicap of the usual patented Llewellyn “Magick 001” tone which I can barely stomach anymore. There is also the obligatory “It’s-all-perfectly-safe-and-easy-and-it’s-certainly-not-Satanic-at-all-nope-nope-nope” chapter whose presence I have never understood, since I presume the reader already knows this or he would never have picked up the book in the first place! The book itself is a pretty complete overview of the subject, in fact it is practically self-contained, and I am rather uncomfortable with the idea of divorcing an advanced practice such as Evocation from a fully-rounded Magical curriculum as Konstantinos does. He also places far too little emphasis on banishing and purification, telling the reader to rely on “Divine Providence” or some such goop– and people say Crowley lays booby-traps for the unwary! The author’s research is pretty good, and he thankfully avoids the old “these-spirits-are-really-just-parts-of-your-own-subconscious” cliche. So this is a promising start for a guy who’s just 23– I wouldn’t want to read anything I would have written at that age!– and I’ll look forward to seeing really decent stuff as he matures.

You can find this book at Amazon, Abebooks, and Powell’s