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.
This isn’t a flip-through book, and don’t try to read it in one sitting. It’s densely packed with information on the history of magical practices in the world. The work has a ceremonial magick focus, rather than Pagan, and is well worth reading – if you can get through it. Cavendish writes in a dry, scholarly style, complete with footnotes, bibliography, and an index. Some of the facts may be up for discussion, like the idea that all the witches in England united to keep Hitler from invading, but the work is a good broad general overview. Does not go into too much detail about modern practices and does not contain rituals.