I must say that I found Jan Fries’ new book, “Seidways,” hard going. Not that this is any fault of Jan’s – but each chapter gave me so much ‘food for thought’ that I had to keep putting the book down to give my brain a rest! Once again, Jan Fries shows himself to be one of the most innovate and creative of contemporary magical authors, and Seidways is, in my opinion, his best effort yet. This is the definitive study of magical trance states – brimming with information on the use of trance in different cultures, as well as a very ‘hands-on’ guide to exploring the ‘seething’ techniques which Jan has demonstrated at the Oxford Thelemic Symposium – and much more. This is the best book on practical magick that I have seen for some time. I really admire the way Jan ‘dances’ across the paradigms, blending historical accounts with contemporary personal accounts of trance states, drawing together perspectives as diverse as Japanese Shamanism to Crowley, NLP to the Typhonian Current. His perspective on the Finnish & Nordic magical practices is fascinating, and his stance on the ‘seidr – seething’ debate is equally instructive. Whilst the purists pick over the shards of history, Jan Fries has given us a very practical body of techniques which any practically-minded magician will be able to use. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed!
Dragon Bones: Ritual, Myth and Oracle in Shang Period China by Jan Fries, from Avalonia UK, is a new release that may be of interest.
“Dragon Bones is a masterly and insightful exploration of ritual, myth and oracles in Shang Period China (16th-11th century BCE). Combining wide-ranging scholarship with pragmatic practicality, the author shines a light on one of the most obscure and least-known areas of ritual practice in the ancient world, demonstrating its value and connection to the development of magical practices in China over a period of many centuries.
Combining historical accounts, myths, practical meditation and the oracle bone inscriptions themselves, Dragon Bones elucidates an arcane system of divination and offers its wisdom to the modern world. To provide a relevant context for the dragon bone oracle, the reader is guided through a wealth of material by Chinese philosophers including Kongzi (Confucius) and Laozi, exploring philosophies such as Daoism and its cosmology.
The offerings, sacrifices and rituals which form the mystical matrix from which Chinese magic developed are considered with an elegant perspective which explores both the practices and their use and relevance, considering their development from early shamanic practices into more stylised forms of social and cultural ceremonies which contributed to the evolution of formal rites to serve communities.
As well as its detailed discussion of the historical and mythical figures, gods, spirits, ancestors, mountains, rivers, animals, types of weather and implements which provide the context and provenance of the development of the dragon bone oracle, Dragon Bones includes a dictionary of over three thousand inscriptions, the most comprehensive of its kind created. As the earliest recorded Chinese texts, the dragon bones reveal unique glimpses of a period where history and myth merge, shaped by philosophy, political power and magic, and whose lessons are as relevant today as they have ever been.” [via]
Kali Kaula by Jan Fries is a book released a while ago by Avalonia Books, but Kuala has recently come to mind due to a recent release from another publisher. For those interested in Kaula as a type of Tantra, this may be something of interest.
“Kali Kaula is a practical and experiential journey through the land of living magical art that is Tantra, guided by the incisive, inspired and multi-talented hands of Jan Fries. By stripping away the fantasies and exploring the roots, flowers and fruits of Tantra, the author provides an outstandingly effective and coherent manual of practices.
Acknowledging the huge diversity of Tantric material produced over the centuries, Jan Fries draws on several decades of research and experience and focuses on the early traditions of Kula, Kaula and Krama, and the result is this inimitable work which shines with the light of possibility. Unique in style and content, this book is more than a manual of tantric magick, it is a guide to the exploration of the inner soul. It contains the most lucid discussions of how to achieve liberation in the company of numerous Indian goddesses and gods, each of whom brings their own lessons and gifts to the dedicated seeker. It is also an eloquent introduction to the mysteries of the great goddess Kali, providing numerous views of her manifold nature, and showing the immense but hidden role played throughout history by women in the development and dissemination of tantric practices and beliefs.
Jan Fries explores the spectrum of techniques from mudra to mantra, pranayama to puja, from kundalini arousal to purification to sexual rites, and makes them both accessible and relevant, translating them out of the Twilight Language of old texts and setting them in the context of both personal transformation and the historical evolution of traditions. The web of connections between Tantra and Chinese Alchemy and Taoism are explored as the author weaves together many of the previously disparate strands of philosophies and practices. This book challenges the reader to dream, delight, and develop, and provides an illustrated guidebook on how to do so.
Bliss awaits those who dare.” [via]