Tag Archives: David Shoemaker

Weiser Books social media and Patron giveaway for November 2023

Courtesy of the publisher, Red Wheel / Weiser Books, I recently received at the Reading Room new copies of four books which I will be offering for a social media and Patron giveaway through November 2023.

Hermetic Library Weiser Books Social Media and Patron Giveaway for November 2023

I will be giving these away to Patrons and on both Mastodon and Bluesky. At the end of the month, I’ll randomly select winners from a pool of entries across all three places for each book and send those out in the next postal exchange mailing. Each person entering in the ‘verse or on Bluesky will need to follow the library’s profile there, both favorite and boost the post about the giveaway, and then reply with at least a comment letting me know which one of the four (yes, if you’re responding only on social media, you’ve got to pick only one of them per platform!) they want. (Each person on social needs to do all four things!) So, I’ll give away all these paperback copies to the random winners, but you could increase your chances to win one by entering in more than one place, or, you know, hey, why not all three?!

The Complete Enochian Dictionary: A Dictionary of the Angelic Language as Revealed to Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley by Donald C Laylock, preface by Stephen Skinner, foreword by Lon Milo DuQuette. [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Laycock the Complete Enochian Dictionary

“The complete reference for understanding the Enochian language (“the language of the angels”), the proper pronunciation of the letters of the Enochian alphabet, and the use of evocations to call forth celestial beings and perform Enochian magic.

In 1581, Dr. John Dee, an advisor in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, began a series of scrying experiments intended to explore the ability to contact the spirit world. With Edward Kelley acting as the medium in these experiments, Dee was able to record these communications as they were transmitted in Enochian, the language of the angels. Dr. Dee’s efforts furthered the development of the system of Enochian magic and his methods of invocation have been taken up and expounded upon by Aleister Crowley and many other magicians.

Donald C. Laycock has thoroughly analyzed the work of Dee and Kelley. In this volume, he recounts the history of their experiments. He provides a pronunciation guide for the twenty-one letters, significant to untangling both the meaning and the derivation of the messages handed down from Dee and Kelley, and an essential Enochian/English and English/Enochian dictionary. The result is a fascinating linguistic and magical mystery story integral to any study of the Enochian tradition.

This new edition of Laycock’s work includes a new preface by Stephen Skinner that sets the tone and historical context for today’s readers. Lon Milo DuQuette’s foreword gives a delightful and edifying description of how he and his students put The Complete Enochian Dictionary to the test with astonishing results. This book is a must-have for any serious magician’s library.”

Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by Hermetic Library Anthology Artist David Shoemaker, foreword by Lon Milo DuQuette [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Shoemaker Living Thelema 2022

“The system of spiritual attainment developed by Aleister Crowley is notoriously challenging in its scope. Living Thelema, adapted from the popular podcast of the same name, brings a welcome approachability to Crowley’s material, without diminishing the depth of the system. The author focuses on the practical and experiential aspects of the path of Thelema, allowing the reader to grasp the true transformative power of the system.

Beginners and advanced practitioners alike will find much useful advice here, as Shoemaker brings his characteristic down-to-earth style to bear on topics such as ritual and meditation practices, sex magick, astral projection, psychotherapy for magicians, the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and that pinnacle of attainment known as the crossing of the Abyss.

The author’s background as a practicing psychotherapist allows an entirely unique fusion of esoteric wisdom and cognitive science.”

Liber Kaos: Chaos Magic for the Pandaemonaeon (Revised and Expanded Edition) by Peter J. Carroll [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Carroll Liber Kaos 2023

“An advanced course in the practice of chaos magic written by one of its most respected practitioners—in a newly revised and expanded edition.

Peter J. Carroll—renowned writer and practitioner of chaos magic—offers a remarkably clear presentation of the practice of chaos magic. His approach combines methods from shamanism, paganism, and chaos science.

Liber Kaos includes:

· a selection of extremely powerful rituals and exercises for committed occultists

· instructions that lead the reader through new concepts and practices of chaos magic

· a magical training course for the individual or for groups, with details of the author’s magical order

· instructions for carrying out the essential rituals of chaos magic

a fresh look at aeonics, cosmogenesis, auric magic, and shadow time, as well as the technical aspects of spells and equations

Originally published by Weiser Books in 1992, this new edition is substantially revised and updated and includes new, previously unpublished material.”

The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema by Lon Milo DuQuette, foreword Jason Louv, foreword Hymenaeus Beta, part for the Weiser Classics Series [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Duquette The Magick of Aleister Crowley

“The 30th Anniversary of the Classic Guide to Thelema, Aleister Crowley’s Spiritual System of Ritual Magick, with a New Introduction by the Author.

This is the perfect introductory text for readers who wonder what the works—rather than the myth—of Aleister Crowley are all about.

DuQuette begins by dispatching some of the myths that have surrounded Crowley’s life and legend. He then explores the practice of rituals themselves, unpacking Crowley’s often opaque writing and offering his own commentary. Step by step, and in plain English, he presents a course of study with examples of rituals and explanations of their significance. DuQuette also includes a survey of many of Crowley’s original works with an extensive bibliography and endnotes.

Formerly titled The Magick of Thelema, then released in a revised edition published in 2003, this Weiser Classics edition includes a new introduction by the author.”

Living Thelema

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Living Thelema: A Practical Guide to Attainment in Aleister Crowley’s System of Magick by David Shoemaker.

David Shoemaker Living Thelema

Living Thelema is a brand that David Shoemaker has developed through a website and podcast segments by that name, and in this book which collects essays on a fairly wide range of topics within the field of orthopractic Thelemic magick. Many of these were previously published elsewhere, and despite revisions for this volume, they don’t always seem to be addressing a consistent audience. In his introduction, the author claims that the book is intended as a primer, but with idiosyncratic insights to benefit more experienced practitioners. Many of the essays conclude with short bibliographies of “recommended reading.”

As soon as I got into the first essay, I started to encounter some problems. In this “Introduction to the Qabalah” Dr. Shoemaker defines “The Qabalah” simply as “the mystical branch of the Jewish tradition” (4). A few pages later, he begins referring to “the Hermetic Qabalah” (9), but at no point does he clarify any relationship or distinction between the Jewish Qabalah and the Hermetic Qabalah, let alone their relationship to Thelema. Such sloppiness in the history of religions, along with the faulty translation of sephiroth as “spheres” (4), may be par for the course in occult manuals, but when the chapter opens with a note boasting that “A different version of this essay appeared in the instructor’s manual of … an undergraduate psychology textbook” (3), the errors are cause for added dismay.

Although there is an “Introduction to the Qabalah,” there is no corresponding “Introduction to Thelema” in this volume. Readers are clearly assumed to be familiar with the existence of an occult movement that recognizes Aleister Crowley as a founding teacher, orients itself to The Book of the Law as sacred writ, and manifests through O.T.O. and A∴A∴ along with newer esoteric orders. The modern history of occultism receives no treatment here—besides the author’s autobiographical introduction.

The “beginner” materials on establishing a magical regimen and fundamental practices are generally clear, and compare favorably to other books of this type, both the explicitly Thelemic ones, and more generic ones on ceremonial magick. The self-helpy tone is reasonably suited to this content, so it doesn’t get in the way here. With this substance in view, the book may in fact be best suited to Thelemites working in ad hoc groups or in solitary circumstances. It has doubtless been welcomed by the author’s own students and others who already view him as an authority.

I guess it’s too much to expect doctrinal insight from a book that claims only to be a “practical guide,” but Living Thelema does seem to offer itself as a primary demonstration of Dr. Shoemaker’s qualities as a “claimant” (his preferred term) to administrative authority in A∴A∴. The book has a colophon containing the A∴A∴ seal, but no assertion of a full imprimatur. The key passages of the book in this respect can be found in the second of its three major sections, which is headed “Perspectives on the Path of Attainment.” I’m afraid that I failed to derive any real insight or inspiration from the content most relevant to this issue, and—without any wish to be drawn into argument—I must confess deep reservations about the picture of O.T.O.’s relationship to A∴A∴ drawn at the end of the chapter on “The Methods and Tools of A∴A∴”

I actually found the language of the doctrinal sections somewhat off-putting in its frequent chattiness, and its ubiquitous use of the abbreviation “K&C of the HGA” to reference that Knowledge and Conversation which is the first critical task of adeptship. Further, I was puzzled by the essay on “The Formulas of L.V.X. and N.O.X.,” which seemed to lack real depth, and to be at pains to counter particular misconceptions that I’ve never seen circulated.

Besides his esoteric credentials and experience, Dr. Shoemaker is a clinical psychologist with a Jungian orientation. His integration of Jungian theory with magical doctrines is, I think, exemplary. He avoids the common pitfall of using Jung’s work to legitimize occultism, as if 20th-century psychological theories were somehow more objectively valid than a body of initiatic practice and esoteric teachings. A strong case can be made for Jung’s de facto standing as an esoteric adept, but to the extent that one accepts that case, it is necessary to see his writings as an exotericization of what he learned in his attainment. They are therefore most useful in providing alternative, confirmatory views of occult processes. The chapter on “The Role of the Ego in the Great Work” in Living Thelema is an admirable use of Jungian ideas in the context of Thelemic initiation. Dr. Shoemaker’s clinical experience is on display chiefly in the third section of the book, which supplies advice regarding mental hygiene and relationship issues for Thelemites. This material seemed unobjectionable in itself, but it did lend something of a remedial, therapeutic flavor to the conclusion of the text.

I have collaborated with Dr. Shoemaker in person on projects under the aegis of O.T.O., and in our interactions I have found him to be personable, perceptive, and prudent. I had high hopes for his first book-length work on magick, but I cannot say they were quite fulfilled. [via]

Jane Wolfe

Jane Wolfe: The Cefalu Diaries 1920 – 1923 by Jane Wolfe, commentary by Aleister Crowley, compiled and introduced by David Shoemaker, the 2008 deluxe edition from College of Thelema of Northern California (now International College of Thelema), is part of the collection at the Reading Room. The papercover version is still available via print on demand.

David Shoemaker Aleister Crowley Jane Wolfe The Cefalù Diaries from College of Thelema of Northern California

“A fascinating look into the training undertaken by Jane Wolfe, a student of Aleister Crowley, at the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily. This book collects the bulk of Wolfe’s surviving diary entries from Cefalu, most of which were typed, complete with handwritten commentary from Crowley on many pages. The diary is presented in grayscale facsimile format. Compiled and Introduced by Dr. David Shoemaker.” [via]

David Shoemaker at Atlantis Bookshop on Jul 11th, 2014

David Shoemaker will be giving a talk, “The System of Aleister Crowley’s A∴A∴ Methods and Tools of Attainment”, followed by a Q&A session and book signing for Living Thelema, at Atlantis Bookshop on July 11th, 2014.

“David Shoemaker at The Atlantis Bookshop

The System of Aleister Crowley’s A∴A∴
Methods and Tools of Attainment

Friday 11th July
£10 entry
Doors at 7pm; Event begins at 7:30

The talk will be followed by a Question & Answer Session and book signing featuring
Dr. Shoemaker’s new book, Living Thelema.” [via]